Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Robert Dancik 'Faux Bone' Art & Soul class

This evening class was a complete stretch for me - a completely new material to work with, and I didn't even know how to use the tools!!! Robert is a patient teacher with a good sense of humour. He taught us how to put a blade into a jeweller's saw, and how to put a bench pin onto a bench. Then he taught us how to use the jeweller's saw and bench pin! The aim was to produce an 'amulet pendant' with the faux bone, and have sterling silver fixings.

Robert explained what 'faux bone' is ( http://www.fauxbone.com/ ) and how to shape it - and then we started sawing, filing, sanding and polishing. Once we were happy with our basic shape, it needed decorating. I 'engraved' mine with an awl, and then set about making it look old. Faux bone is brilliant white until you 'age' it. It took about 15 layers of shoe polish & acrylic paint to get mine the way I wanted it. I believe that if I had had the courage to leave the acrylic paint on for longer each time, the process would have been quicker!

Finally, I used the metalworking skills acquired in the Beverly Gilbert class to cut the silver, wrap around the top of the piece, and rivet together. I also added a rivet as decoration about 2/3 of the way down. As we were so short of time - and we were already an hour later finishing than published - Robert drilled all the holes in the piece for me. I really think this should have been a whole day class, as this is the only project I didn't finish in a week of classes, and I know I was not alone!!!

All I have to do to finish it is to add 2 eyepins to the top so that I can use it as a pendant. The wires are cut ready...

It was a great class, and I would love to find the time to experiment more with the faux bone.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Ann Baldwin Art & Soul class

Day 3 of Art & Soul was a change from metal and beads and organisation. I took Ann Baldwin's 'Collaging with words & paint - Text & Texture' class. I haven't painted a picture for about 30 years.....

Ann is a British artist who lives in California, and who works with a range of media. If you want to know more, have a look at her website: http://www.annbaldwin.com/

Ann made us dive in at the deep (and fast) end by getting the whole class to create a collage on red paper, using pieces cut from magazines, which had to be text based but where you couldn't use whole words!!! We had 30 minutes... There were about 25 of us in class, and the whole class was pretty quiet - you could feel the concentration - while we all snipped and stuck, snipped & stuck!!! Ann randomly selected a few collages to explain about composition and what made them work. Each and every collage was quite different, and some were pretty amazing.

Ann demonstrated her own 'collaging with paint' technique, talking about the paints she likes, the way she works in her studio, and showing us how she creates texture and builds up a painting. Ann's paintings have somewhere in the region of 45 layers of paint on them. Each layer adds depth, and the colours look quite different when layered to the way they would look if you mixed them on the pallette then applied them. I enjoyed the class, and liked using the fluid acrylic paints. When I last painted, I used gouache paints, and this was quite a different experience.

I was quite pleased with the piece I produced, even if I only had time to add about 15 layers of paint. It is A4 size:

A few days after the class, I needed to create a double page spread in an altered board book round robin, so I thought I would use the techniques I had learnt (and the same colours, as those are all the paints I have!!!!) and this is the result:

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Beverly Gilbert classes at Art & Soul

It was with a little trepidation that I went to Beverly's Beads on metal class. I had seen her absolutely fabulous work on her website - http://www.gilbertdesigns.net/ - and I had never strung a bead!!! As it turned out, I needn't have worried at all - Beverly is a fantastic teacher, and I enjoyed the learning!

The class was divided into 2 distinct parts - working with metal, and working with beads. Beverly took us through cutting metal, making holes in metal, stamping metal, & cold metal fixings (rivets! & jump rings). Beverly also checked what we had learnt at various points. Here is the back of the piece I made - a bit messy, but not bad for a first attempt!

In the afternoon, we moved on to the beading part of the class - and the beading was freeform, but with some rules to start off with, in order to 'anchor' the bead embellishment to the metal base. Beverly supplied the beads to those who wanted them - she makes 'bead soup', drawing from 40 or more tubes - and the soup is gorgeous. Beverly offers various different colourways for her bead soups, and the one I used on this piece is called 'tropical surf' - yum!!! I am really pleased with the finished piece, and it has been commented on by lots of people in lifts, airports, shops etc over the last few weeks.

I also took Beverly's 'Beachcomber' class - where we wrapped a beach-related object in a 'bead net' in order to turn it into a pendant. I chose to wrap a large shell. The bead kit is called 'antique copper'. This was much trickier to start with, as we had to work on the piece loosely, and gradually increase the number of 'lines' around the shell to encase it securely. I guess this took me about 2 hours:

and I enjoyed the process so much I began another! I must add a couple more strands and a hanging loop....

Leslie Parsons Art & Soul class

Leslie Parsons 'Joy of Instant Art' was an extended 'light bulb moment' for me. We did create some simple art in class- covering a few slide mounts, creating some neat little 'sewing notion' embellishments, trying our hand at image transfers, but creating the art was not really the point of the class. As Leslie said this was the last art retreat she will teach at, I'm sure she won't mind my sharing her ideas.

Basically, it is all about organising your 'stuff' so that you can find it when you need it. Now, I have boxes and bags full of embellishments and stamped images, but I can never find the right one when I need it. So, I either use another one, or I stop mid-creation and search through all my stuff until I find it, by which time I have usually got right out of the creative mood...

Leslie suggests getting yourself a 'notebook' - or ring binder as we in the UK would call it. You fill the notebook with clear plastic protector pages with all sorts of different sized pockets - some intended for slides, some for coins, some for ATCs, some 4 x 6 photos - whatever kind of pages you can find. And then, you fill them up with your 'stuff'! And, because you can see them all neatly organised, you can always find what you want. Leslie did give us all notebooks with examples of the pages in class - and the one improvement -suggested by another class member - is that you can buy these ring binders with zip-up edges - and this stops your bits and pieces getting lost if you accidentally turn your notebook upside-down!

The other part of the idea is that you do little bits of art when you have time - and maybe while you are watching tv, or out camping - for instance, spend an evening covering slide mounts in a range of papers and colours and put them in the notebook. One day, you will want to 'frame' an image on a project, and you will have lots of frames to choose from... Create a number of small embellishments - I have already created lots of thin moulded pieces from air dry clay - and filed them in the notebook. One day I will have to make an ATC or card in a hurry and I know I will find the perfect embellishment ready and waiting in my folder.

Such a simple idea - but potentially life changing for me!!!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

'Surfacing' with Jane Wynn

'Surfacing' with Jane Wynn - this was a metalwork/ jewellry class, where we learnt how to patinate and etch metal, and also how to solder bezels onto metal using a blowtorch, and drill holes in metal. Jane's necklaces & pendants are inspirational, she was a good teacher and we all enjoyed a great class. I even enjoyed the blowtorch, but wonder if i will ever be able to drill a hole in metal with a Dremel without skeetering off the edge of the metal or spinning the piece around on the drill bit! Here is the half finished necklace I made in class:

Jane has a new book out: http://www.wynnstudio.com/index2.html which details the techniques she taught in class. I would recommend it highly!

Portland Art & Soul Retreat

I attended an Art & Soul retreat for the first time. These well organised events run in different venues at different times of the year (see http://www.artandsoulretreat.com/ for more info).

I chose to go to the event in Portland as that meant I would also be able to meet Zeborah - an online friend. We had a fantastic time staying up late, talking non-stop, playing in her studio, and even got out of the house once or twice when it stopped raining!!!! Zeborah's husband was also lovely, and very patient with the disruption of their normal routine.

The A & S event ran from Tuesday 2nd October - Monday 8th October, and I attended the opening 'gala evening', 6 all day classes and 4 evening classes. It was a lot to pack into the week, but I had travelled a long way, and wanted to make the most of the event. I shared a room with Jean van Brederode (charmdimsur.etsy.com) who was a great room-mate to have - considerate and friendly!

I will post entires on each class separately....

My Poor Neglected Blog & 'The Suitcase'

I have been away from home for almost 4 weeks, and my poor blog looks very neglected! I ahve had such an exciting and fabulous trip - to Portland, Oregon, USA & also to Wisconsin, USA.

I shall make some 'catch up' entries soon.

My 'altered suitcase' obviously stood out from the crowd as far as the US TSA department was concerned - they opened it and searched it on each and every part of my journey and left me a nice slip of paper explaining things, but thankfully didn't remove any of my tools or art supplies. I do wonder what they thought when they searched the case - it must have looked odd on the x-rays as it was full of tools and paints and odd items, with just a few clothes used as padding to stop the other stuff from bumping together with resultant damage!!!


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