Monthly Archives: March 2010

From the Hither Shore

Water - Murano Dusk 1 cropped This one was inspired by reading the Silmarillion, and remembering holidays in the islands of Western Scotland. From the southwest tip of Mull, you can look out to sea and see the Atlantic curving away into forever over the shoulder of Iona. I’ve posted some of them in my Etsy shop. The one at the top there is actually from the second set I did—originally, the plan was to do them all in white on black, but that ran into two problems.

First, the white ink was giving me a lot of trouble—it wasn’t gluing the paper down nearly as much as the black does, so I was finding it quite a bit harder to keep registration and avoid getting messy ghost images. Water - Tiziano Black 1 cropped That was a problem with the Fabriano Tiziano I normally use for black (shown at the right) and even worse with the Arches Velin Noir I’d got specially for this. It’s incredible stuff, a really rich deep sexy black, and a nice rough texture—but the combination of that and the white ink, which had been oiling out slightly, gave me a great deal of trouble, and I managed about one good print in three from the run. Secondly, I found the sharp contrast a bit much—with that density of line, it gave a very different impression from the one I’d had in my head. I went looking for coloured paper (I’d been planning that all along, but hadn’t thought of using black on colours until I saw how the white on black had come out) and—unsurprisingly—it’s very hard to find paper the colour of a Highland sound in late summer. The blue at the top is Daler-Rowney Murano “Dusk”; this next one is Fabriano Tiziano “Sugar”.
Water - Tiziano Sugar 1 cropped This is actually the first time I’ve re-inked a block with a different colour of printer’s ink, rather than using acrylic as I’ve tried a few times. Since it was black over white, not the other way around, it worked out—in fact, the black woke up some of the white (it had been a few days, so the block was dry) and you can see white foam on the tips of some of the waves in the “Dusk” print at the top.

Lindworm

Knotwork dragon - Disegno 1 cropped This one was truly horrendous to ink & print from. I ended up cutting away most of the plate rather than simply leaving the raised area, since the sheer size of the open areas means it’s almost impossible to avoid inking the cutlines and then rubbing the paper down onto them. In the end, I managed to pull a half-dozen good prints, but produced quite a lot of offprints in the process – I’ll have to find something interesting to do with them. My normal reflex for this sort of thing is to cut scraps, varnish the hell out of them, and turn them into earrings, pendants, or the like, but this ink doesn’t take varnish well. I’m going to experiment with a protective coat of spray varnish before putting the good stuff on, but that will take a warm day and more energy than I have right now.

Epoxy jewellery

Here are three of the pieces I was experimenting with at the beginning of February – I’ve been working on them on and off, coat after coat of paint and then varnish, and now they’re sitting on my desk waiting to go to their new owners. They’re all prototypes – I’m happy with the look of each of them, but there are lessons to be learned from them all too.

Ultramarine & antiqued bronze panel pendant Pendant, 45x65mm, weighs 21g. Ultramarine swirled panel in an epoxy setting, with an antiqued bronze finish. One of the advantages of using two-part epoxy over polymer clay is that it cures at room temperature, rather than having to be heated in the oven, so I can use acrylic paints and (as here) inset rectangles of artist’s mountboard, without worrying about what that sort of heat will do to it. Next time I do one of these, I’ll drill a larger hole (or two holes) to loop cord through directly, rather than trying to bend a jump ring threaded through that thickness of solid material.

Brown & gold square choker slide Brown & gold choker slide, 35mm square, weighs 8g. Sits a bit lower on the ribbon than it does in the picture – next time, I’ll centre the slide on the back a bit more. I actually made three others using the same paper, but didn’t clean the work area quite thoroughly enough and got flecks of epoxy on the front surface. So that’s another area to be careful with.

Aventurine & antiqued bronze choker slide Aventurine & bronze choker slide, 20x30mm, weighs around 12g. Aventurine cabochon stone in an epoxy setting, with an antiqued bronze finish. I need to be a bit more careful about moulding the epoxy around the slide – this one ended up weighing a bit more than it had to, and I had to clear the slide holes with a scalpel after it had finished curing.