Saturday, March 29, 2014

Original porcelain Doll

 I recently discovered in a cupboard,  an original porcelain doll that I made many years ago when I used to have a studio and teach. She's totally original,one of a kind, generally has a little gnome standing on her hand looking up at her.
To make something like this, I first sculpted the head and shoulder plate in clay, then from that made a plaster mold. (I used to teach all this)
Next the mold is poured in porcelain slip, then cleaned takes ages as all the rough seams and marks have to be cleaned off, this is a very delicate procedure as the head could break at any time, (called greenware). After cleaning the head is fired in a kiln, to approx. 1200 degrees. Porcelain is the highest firing and most unreliable medium as it has a memory.
 From there the fired head is more stable as it is now considered to be china, After sanding to make it nice and smooth, several coats of china paint  are painted on the doll, each one being fired in the kiln to set, until I'm satisfied. The body has to be made and doll dressed. My doll is dressed in hand dyed  parachute silk, which is showing lots of wear, she also has a hand made mohair wig. This doll is over 30 years old now so wont be long before she is considered antique, one only world wide, basically priceless. Poor baby is showing her age now but still serene and beautiful.
I had my own studio taught Doll making from the late 70's early 80's, one of the original "porcelain doll crowd" here in Queensland. Such an exciting thing to be involved with, shows just about every weekend, from here, North, Gold Coast ,Sydney, Melbourne, travelled everywhere including NZ.

Because it was so "new" it was also tremendously exciting, stall holders and fellow show people were friendly we really did have a lot of fun. Sadly, there's very few of the "old crowd " left and the atmosphere at shows has changed people aren't so friendly now.
My area of expertise, apart from teaching was designing crochet patterns specifically for doll makers. This came about quite by accident, I would dress a doll in crochet for someone, then someone else would ask me for the same outfit that you made for so and so's doll "well I made so many I couldn't remember who got what, so I started writing my patterns down. One thing led to another and I self published 6 books of patterns. Apart from teaching in my own studio I did travelling classes, teaching weekly at Warwick, Gatton, Stanthorpe, Millmeran. For awhile I worked full time too and looked after a household, must have been crazy. Every weekend from February to November there would be a doll show, some 2 days, some 3 or 4 days, most of them I went too. Life was hectic but exciting too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Reviews

I belong to the local library so I'm always borrowing books. Frequently they don't have anything of interest in them. Authors I like are Lee Child, Tony Park, Di Morrisey, I have been known to stay up all night to get a book read as I never read the ending until the end.
As well as selecting my own books I also belong to the U3A book club, we meet the first Monday of each Month, this months book is Nelson Mandelas story, "Long walk home" big, big book but I'm enjoying it.
I usually select my books on the web site, so often I collect, look through and take them back, however recently I selected 3 books, various authors on "making handmade books". Wow, all 3 were great books, very informative.
Book 1: Alisa Golden, Titled  "Unique Handmade Books" 159 pages. Lots of different types of books including one called....... wait for it, "The Exquisite Corpse Book" doesn't that sound fun for Halloween. What I like about this book is the easy to follow patterns and the diagrams showing you how to assemble each  book. 10 chapters packed with lots of information suitable for the "newby"book maker.
Book 2. Author Gwen Diehn, "The Complete Decorated Journal, This is the book I would like to purchase it really is complete" 240 pages. Well illustrated with step out instructions on how to decorate paper, what things to select, paper to choose, instructions on assemblage for the different types of books you are creating. Nothing is wasted, how to alter old worn out books. I love it, may have to check Fishpond out they have free postage.
 Book 3. Erin Zamrzla. "Handmade Books for Everyday Adventures " 196 pages in a hard cover.
At the back of this Erin has shown all the different methods of binding and stitching your books. Simple instructions, lots of diagrams for the novice to follow. Set out well. Lots of fun books to make with this one, including titles such as, "grocery list, lunch box notes, The necklace book, Fishing book" just to name a few. A book for every occasion. Lots of illustrations for binding the pages together good clear instructions for the Japanese stab binding method.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pet Hates

Do any of you have things that you see or read that absolutely drive you crazy? One of mine, now that sounds like I have a lot, doesn't it.
Well, anyway one thing that drives me crazy is English, writing sentences, bad grammar, newspapers are forever writing sentences that make no sense at all.
This is what I have just read on a blog,  "an quarterly magazine", does that make sense??????????
I don't profess to being an expert on English, I left school when I was 14 but I have done a few years at uni and I love to write but I don't get that sentence, do you suppose they meant " a quarterly magazine". I think that reads so much better. Someone has set me a challenge to complete before the end of this month, March. To write 5 blogposts so this is my second, I'm doing well as 5 days left.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stitches and Craft Show

Did any of you get to the Brisbane Craft Show recently?
My daughter, Sharon, friend Julie and myself caught the train on Thursday for what we thought would be a lovely day. Turned out we were way of the mark as the day was a disaster. Those poor stall holders, they had to cope with the unbelievable conditions all day, luckily we didn't.
What happened, the air conditioners weren't working, that we discovered after we paid the $14.00 admission charge.
We arrived just after 10am, by 1pm I was feeling decidedly unwell, so unfortunately could not continue browsing or walking around in the stifling conditions, we may as well have sat in an enclosed box it was so bad.
I'm disgusted with the organisers that they did not provide water, although they did announce "free water down the back",  we couldn't get there or find it. As a large percentage of customers were in the "senior"age group  there appeared to be a total disregard for our welfare by the organisers. We only heard one public announcement regarding the problem. Neither was there any offer made with free ticket to come back another day, the show ran until Sunday.
My daughters friend was working on a stall there, she tells us that it was after 3pm before the air cons were working again. This was at the Convention Centre. Will we go again? There's another show in April, but I'm not sure if its worth the stress.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Using Pellon or Interfacing

I recently read an article about Lutradur and mixed media. I'm not sure if this product is available here in Queensland as I have never seen it anywhere. When describing it, the article said, "non-porous, not unlike pellon or interfacing used in sewing".
 MMMMMMMMMMM, so if its "not unlike pellon"maybe I can use pellon in place of Lutradur.
Well, as there is only one way to find out, I am now experimenting to see what I can or cannot do with Pellon.
First thing, find the pellon or as we generally call it interfacing", for those of you who have never used it before. Interfacing is sold by the metre or in packets, it comes in several thicknesses or weights. Light weight is tissue paper thin, iron or sew on. Then medium weight, its about the thickness of water colour paper. The heavy weight one is like cardboard.
I tried the medium weight interfacing first, just a scrap, I sprinkled and sprayed it with inks, then stamped it, one thing I noticed the ink was almost instantly dry. I used a stamp pad for the stamp rather than paint.
When it appeared dry, I spread gel medium on my journal page placed the interfacing on the gel, then applied gel over the top, As you can probably see from the picture the stamping ink bled a bit. Maybe it require longer drying time. However what is exciting is that the interfacing and it was iron-on, is almost invisible
The second experiment was using the light weight interfacing, its very thin like tissue paper and will, unlike the medium weight, tear into pieces. This piece I attached to my journal page with mod podge applying it over the page, sticking the interfacing down then I used mod podge over the top. I let this dry for some considerable time. Then I used the same butterfly stamp and stamp pad, stamping over the mod podge. Let it dry, Its more invisible than the medium weight is. Feels a bit rough but I think that's because its iron-on interfacing. The stamp is secure.
This is the light weight interfacing, its hardly visible.

I'm now using actual thinned paints to see how that will look. So far its a great outcome, exciting to see it can be used in Mixed media, it's readily available and inexpensive too.
I first mixed a fairly runny paint mix, blue, tied a couple of sections in the interfacing a bit like tie dying, Soaked the interfacing in the paint, squeezed it out on a paper towel, then dried it on the line.
When it was dry I glued it on to my page with the mod podge and let it dry.
I painted the flower with Inktense blocks, added a couple of stencils with acrylic paint.
The friend stamp was already on my page so I have placed the interfacing over the top.  Then I did squiggles in white acrylic.
What I love about this is the translucency, keep in mind that I have used the iron-on interfacing the sew-in may act differently.

This is the medium weight pellon stamped before I applied gel medium
This is glued with mod podge I prefer it to the gel medium.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Finishing steps for Altered Canvas

Hi Everyone, My altered canvas is finished, well, I think it is. This is what I did next.

I mixed texture paste with yellow ochre paint, then using a palette knife, I applied it to a couple of the papers and also to the section next to the papers at the right. I tried to create a stucco/brick effect.
let that dry a bit, then added a few shadows, created an archway on the pinky paper section with the paste mixture.
Painted in more greenery, plus a creeper over the top, painted what are supposed to be steps, added a few shadowy bits.
More napkin flowers. Its now drying .Can you remember what it looked like when I started the canvas had a tree painted on it, scroll down.
with the paste on

finished Altered Canvas "Doors