Working on the gourd

I am working on a new gourd and trying to finish it by Sunday so I can enter it in the up-coming Mother Lode Show (entries due next Monday). It’s a concept I’ve had in mind for several months, and I found the perfect gourd for it on e-bay a few months ago, but only finally started it last week.

It’s a somewhat elaborate construction. The gourd sits on a base made up of parts from other gourds. The base is a ring cut from the center of a gourd, then I cut several large petal shapes from yet other gourds and attached them around the top of the ring. They will be the lower rows of petals on a lotus flower. The inner row will be painted on the base of the main gourd. I’ll have to upload a picture which will make the whole thing clearer.

Anyway, the problem was attaching the “petals” to the “ring.” After much fretting and fussing, I finally decided to make supports of polymer clay for each petal and glue the petal to the support then the support to the ring with 2-part epoxy. It was a cumbersome and lengthy process which was not completely satisfactory. But Friday I found what looks to be a great product on Bonnie Gibson’s arizonagourds site – a two part, air dry epoxy clay. It arrived in the mail today and I’m going to give it a try tomorrow. I’ll fill the cracks and crannies left by the first process and hopefully it will work well. So, expect an update!

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a good day for clay

Today was one of those days when I liked my project, then didn’t like it at all, but then in the (nearly) end, I liked it again.

I wanted to make another “slugs” necklace like the one I made with the beads inspired by Kim Cavender’s class back at Donna Kato’s clay get-together in Las Vegas in 2008. But I wanted to use brighter colors, specifically turquoise and navy blue. I was very happy with the raw beads. But then when I put the alcohol inks on things took a turn for the worse. For one thing, the colors were so intense that they effectively covered up the colors of the clay that I had liked so much. Then the embossing powder I put on was just too much It looked way to much like glitter which I could have anticipated if I had actually paid more attention when I put it on. But I cured them anyway. Then, once cool, I decided to try to remove some of the damage with sandpaper and they came out looking pretty cool. The ink colors stayed in the texture from the plastic scrubby and all the surface effects stayed in place where dimples in the shapes kept the sandpaper action at bay. It’ll be fun to do the beading and I will probably like the necklace even though it won’t be anything like what I envisioned.

I need to experiment with thinning the alcohol inks for more dilute colors. And I’d like to try translucent clay. That’s what I love about this medium – one thing inevitably leads to another!

I finished #24 this afternoon, so the end of the project is now definitelhy within sight – yeah!!!! I have to write an artist’s statement and also need to mull over what I’ve learned from the process. As of a few days ago, I thought I would never do this again. But now I’m softening on the idea – so much so that I’ve begun to think of ideas for the theme for another series. One thought is “postcards from Paradise” – the small wonders that are around me every day.

Anyway, as far as what I’ve learned, I have some things confirmed, as well as learning some new ones.

I really like employing symbolism in my art and intent to do a lot more of it.

Also, I like incorporating text. The Welsh I’ve used in these is purely decorative since I assume that most people won’t be able to read it. I wonder what it would be like if the words were intelligible. Would it add or detract?

I am enamored of the iridescent and interference watercolors and acrylis that I’m using for the first time. The Daniel Smith acrylics are so smooth and creamy.

It’s nice to get back to drawing – like re-connecting with an old friend.

The Stonehedge drawing paper on the Crescent Perfect-Mount self-adhesive mounting board is a nice surface to work on. But the masking fluid is a pain. Not only does it mung up the brush (although Goo Gone does a nice job of removing it), but I have a hard time judging whether or not I have good coverage, and, no matter how careful I try to be, I seem to always peel away parts of the paper when I remove it. The colored pencil covers the imperfections pretty well, but the water color seems to emphasize them.

Sample Complete!

Today I “finished” my sample for the 20/20 show at the 20th Street Gallery. It was an adventure in mixed media, some of which I am comfortable and familiar with (colored pencil), some of which I should be comfortable with considering the amount of money I’ve spent on learning (watercolor) and some of which are pretty new (ink pen).

I was reminded of a lesson which I should have learned long ago – which is to test first. After laboriously applying lots of ink, I decided I needed a wash of watercolor. As I washed with Burnt Umber I watched the area turn red!!!!! Turns out that the dark brown ink pen had water soluble ink which revealed a high red content. Yikes! I tried to scrub it out with water, brush, and paper towel, but was in danger of destroying the paper. So I just went over it with ink pen. Turned out to be OK because that area needed to be darker anyway, But it was a major mistake – hopefully one that will not be repeated.

In the end, I’m about 90% happy with the result. I’ll put it aside for a while, then re-evaluate a few days for the due date.