Tag Archives: varnish

Rose pendants

Blue rose pendant

These are what I’ve been working on over the last week or two – they’re made entirely of paper & glue, painted & varnished. The handmade original (below) was sitting around for a few months, while I kept picking it up and thinking “must do an improved version of this”, and then shortly after that I got access to a working laser cutter again. This is ten teardrop-shaped petals, a small central circle, and a more or less key-shaped back piece – the loop is integral, bent back on itself & glued in place.

Blue rose pendant

Here’s another version, in malachite because I’m still not quite up to tackling proper York, Lancaster, or Tudor roses. The design still needs more work – something about the shape of the petals, mostly – and I’m still trying to sort out an efficient way to deal with the assembly process.

Malachite rose pendant

Etsy jewellery

Malachite & silver relief pendant
I’ve added some new jewellery to my Etsy shop. This set are double-layered artist’s mountboard, cross-grained for strength & stiffness, and reinforced with a total of five or six layers of paint & varnish. I’ll put them up for strength against most metal jewellery, and I inadvertently managed to prove that they’re waterproof by leaving one in the pocket of my jeans before laundry day.

Because I’m nice, and because it’s quite thoroughly springtime (as opposed to the freak mini-summer we had last week) the code SUNSHINE will get you free shipping for a week or two.

Malachite & silver pendant

Out of this wood do not desire to go

Midsummer Night's Dream collage

This is my latest collage piece, made from a play script of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There’s something dreadfully transgressive about ripping up books, but that adds to the artistry of it! (NB: No actual books were harmed in the production of this artwork, and I’m even thinking in adding some wood frames to it, that I can even build myself with the right wood tools that are easy to get, and anyone can learn more at woodworkingtoolkit.com. The play script had led a long and happy life, having been used in several productions, before dying naturally and being saved from the recycling bin. Which slightly undermines the transgressivity involved, but we have to start transgressing somewhere.)

This is a very personal response to the play, almost the ultimate expression of the auteur principle possible without a proper theatre. I can choose to foreground some issues, place characters in their proper place, and generally take absurd liberties with the text—in other words, just what any director would do given complete freedom. At the same time, the form imposes some interesting constraints. I didn’t allow myself to add anything to it, and everything placed on the canvas (the backing material is a standard 40x40cm gallery canvas) had to be cut from flat paper. And because rules are there to be broken, the detailing on the rose is drawn by hand in ink.

WIP 2: Midsummer Night's Dream collage This is one of the first work-in-progress pictures I took, showing the final placement of text scraps without a frame. The sides of the canvas (30mm deep) I painted flat black, to evoke theatre flats, and the varnish on the face is deliberately matte—this play has had enough gloss put on it in the past without my adding any more!

This is the first Shakespeare collage I’ve done, so I’m not sure which features of this one are going to be general and which are play-specific. Dream is an intensely theatrical play, and not only because of the play-within-a-play performed by the mechanicals. Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of that always present in theatre, because actors sicken, pine, and get grumpy if they don’t get the opportunity to play someone who can’t act every so often. Writing about it, I’m already thinking of three different versions I could do, but I’d rather work on another play first.

Craft fair preliminaries

Malachite & gold notebook (unvarnished)

There’s something quite special about varnishing a piece. On the one hand, it makes the colours glow and shine, jump out at you and grab the eye. On the other, it’s the no-changes-now point—once the varnish goes on, there’s not much you can do to change any problems.

Rationally, of course, that’s false – this varnish needs three coats to get the effect I want, and it’s easy enough to intersperse a correction. But it’s still a powerful state-change.

I’m doing this for a craft fair I’m attending—the Mad March Fair, at the Queen’s Head pub in Rye. If you’re in the right part of South-East England on Saturday 26th March, drop by and say hi! I’m taking prints, jewellery, masks, and some of these notebooks along, and I know there will be a lot of other amazing craftspeople there too.

Hither Shore misprint chokers

Hither Shore choker (Dusk) 1

Like every other printmaker out there, I get misprints of different degrees of horrendousness whenever I try and do something. I’m lucky; I get more good prints than misprints. But that doesn’t mean I like waste, so I’ve been looking for things to do with the discards instead.

Since I discovered that Mod Podge works really well as a sealant for water-soluble printing ink, without picking it up and smearing it around, I’ve been trying out a few things, and this is one of the results.

Hither Shore choker (Dusk) 2

As I posted about before, they’re lacquered and laminated paper, strong & flexible, with ribbons to tie at the back. You can find the Etsy listing here.

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.