at one with nature

I was asked to take part in a project for an online mixed media magazine called Mixed up (check it out its fab!!). But sadly the supplier who was sponsoring the project, closed down very suddenly & left poor Katy the editor with no choice other than to pull the project!! I had already finished my piece which was a nature theme, so I am now able to show you it.

I was sent a selection of nature themed mdf supplies, which to be quite honest stumped me at first as I’m a bit more weird & whacky in my designs!! but I’m never one to not try a challenge. So first of all after much thinking & playing I decided I wanted to make fragments of the pieces, & what better than in circles (love them if you hadn’t guessed!!!). I cut some of the pieces into section & began arranging them in the circles until I was happy with the layout! I did some lovely textures with various decoart pastes in the background & decorated the circles with various methods.  Some of the pieces seemed rather flat to me as I prefer a more defined dimension to work, so I applied some relief liner to the crow & other pieces. I totally transformed the toadstool by sculpting air dry clay on top to give it a more realistic effect!

Finally I mounted it within a very heavy old pine frame that I had repainted & distressed , & added some final touches, like the bee, strung twigs & some beads that resemble eggs. Rather happy with how it came out, especially as I thought I would really struggle with this project! x

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playing with ideas
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gesso  & textures applied
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trying the unpainted frame
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all finished
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close up of toadstool
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closer look
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laid fllat so you can see how the circles have been mounted at different heights
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I used pages from an old biology book, to cover some of the circles, I particularly think it worked well with the branches
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close up of tree

 

Safe in my cocoon

I love this piece, mainly because it symbolises how I feel when I am beavering away in my home studio.

I had acquired a tall jewellery cabinet with a glass door a couple of weeks before from a jumble for £1,  & as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to remove the door & make it into some kind of shrine. I had just attempted sculpting some faces which I think had turned out well! one of which was a polystyrene heart that I had sculpted the face onto & I knew I wanted it to be housed in some kind of cocoon.  I popped into hobbycraft to see what they had & they had their easter products in, which is where I found a paper mache hollowed egg!! perfect!!! once I added to it!!

so first of all I removed the door & all the internals from the cabinet, filled in where the hinges had been & gave it a light sanding, which was actually a waste of times as I then covered it in plaster bandage!! but hey ho!! once everything was dry I applied all the paint effects until I was happy with the colours & added a little bit of gold leafing also to the cocoon & finished it off with some fake wire stitching. I wanted the cocoon to be hanging inside the shrine & I was thinking with a chain, but once again I changed the plans as I thought strong thread would be far more effective. I had just the thread so I attached it to the cocoon in various places & then aligned hooks inside the shrine to wrap the threads through. It was a really fiddly job & I must admit the air was a little bit blue at times, but perseverance prevailed & I think the effect was perfect!!

I thought I had finished , but I kept looking & thinking it needed more. Once I had rummaged through my drawers I found what was in my opinion the perfect thing, an ornate leaf candle holder & a large iridescent marble, a few old broken studs & some ring beads. worked my magic on them until they suited the piece & then I attached them & was finally happy, in fact extremely happy. hope you like it? I think it is quite magical x

Mannequin challenge!!

Managed to get my hands on a fab chicken wire mannequin last year at a jumble, think I paid £1 & it has been sitting around in my storage unit since, to be honest getting in the way every time I wanted to reach something, so I finally decided to do something with it!

First thing was to get rid of the wire spiral feet as they were way to flimsy & made it topple over with the slightest touch! I had rescued 4 lovely solid round wood feet from a friends sofa that she had thrown out for the dustman! & after widening the centre hole of one I was able to squeeze the 3 wires into the hole firmly, I did add a bit of no more nails just to make sure! Now it was nice & sturdy so I applied layers of plaster bandage round the mannequin, being sure to leave random areas exposed still as I had plans to add cogs to that area. Once dried out I added a little more depth & smoothness with some white decoart media modelling paste, in places as I did not like too much of the bandage texture showing. Then it was time to decide on embellishments, I knew I wanted it to have wings & decided to make a pair from a wire frame covered in plasterboard mesh tape, which I the sculpted some Das white air drying clay over to give a feathered effect. I attached the wings with wire which I then covered with extra clay. then I decided I wanted a heart feature so I covered a small polystyrene heart with crumpled tissue paper. once dried I painted with black gesso & dry brushed a lovely deep red over the top & finally applied a layer of decoart media crackle glaze. when the heart was ready I decided it wasn’t enough so I embellished it with a fleur de le plaster moulding I had spare, & then added some decorative scrolls randomly which I made with tonic studios memory clay moulded in some lovely silicone moulds I had purchased. I adhered these still moist straight from the moulds onto the mannequin as I wanted them to mould around the shape. I added an old pine kitchen cabinet handle to the top (rescued from my kitchen refit) & placed some mdf bolts around the base of it to add extra effect.

Now it was time to paint, I gave it all (except heart) a layer of black gesso & then dry brushed over with various shades of acrylics until I was happy with the colour. I painted the wings in folkart finishes rust effect paints, as I wanted them to have a rich rusty effect, & the all other pieces I used decoart metallic lustre to achieve a fab antique gold effect.  I glued & were possible wired on the cogs to add the finishing touches & spray sealed the whole piece. very happy with it!x

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“Love you with all my hearts”

As previously stated hearts play a big part in my artwork & I also get very inspired by polymer clay artists especially Laurie Mika, so what better than combining the 2 things!!

I had been given a double doored, single drawer chest  from a friend some time ago, I knew it had potential , but I kind of pushed it to one side until some inspiration came, & it finally did in the shape of this piece!! I rarely have set ideas in my head as I usually kind of know what route I’m taking but then go with the flow! this piece however was different & I knew right from the start how I wanted it to look & it came out exactly the way I had imagined it would.

I started off by removing the doors (which later I cut & used to level the feet) & as it was a vintage piece, there was damage to the mouldings & some movement in the wood, so I corrected all of this prior to lightly sanding & applying my base coat of gesso. I knew that I would be covering the case in polymer tiles but I also wanted to pre paint it in case any areas were visible, & because I am perfectionist, which I hope shows in my work!!!!  so that being said I dry brushed a metallic gold effect all over. Next I made plenty of polymer clay tiles in various patterns & finished in various Decoart metallic lustres & mica powders (mainly perfect pearls) & also made 2 hearts using a couple of large heart pendant blanks I had been hanging on too until the right idea came!  I embossed some sheets of card that I had coated in metal tape & coloured them with Tim Holtz alcohol inks, I then lined the inside of the case with these & set to work covering the fronts & both sides of the case with the tiles. Once all this was done I arranged all the hearts I wanted to use on chains attached to tiny hoops, inside both sections. And finally I added some feet which were old cast handles, & an ornate handle & sealed it all with craft sealer, & popped 2 little glass hearts in the drawer!

I must add that this is probably one of my most favourite pieces to date, I just love everything about it,  from the  metallic shimmers, textures & mostly the movement of the hearts!!

“pain & sacrifice”

hearts play a big part in my work & I really love using them to make statements, so what better than a shrine!!

I have used a lot of mdf items from things to alter in this piece & all the paints used were Decoart. I used a polystyrene heart & covered with air drying clay & created a stitched effect in the clay which I later finished with a fine black wire. Inside I embossed some metal tape & aged it, and I used polymer clay tiles which I had previously made to add detail to the front & for the words inside. The wings I cast from polymer clay & then I finished off the piece with chains & metal embellishments from my supplies & an old candle stick which I painted was used for the stand! love the way this turned out. x

“Hang from the chandeliers”

Occasionally I like to swap products with fellow artists/crafters & I wanted some kawaii style items for my daughter, so I found a lovely lady who made polymer items & arranged a swap with her (sadly she is no longer making them). she decided she would love a canvas for her mother in law & wanted something that incorporated purple & dragonflies & she liked a previous canvas I had made & wanted something very similar. The result was a mixed media canvas in beautiful rich purple shades, with feminine touches of florals & dragonflies. here is the finished Piece which I’m sure you will agree is beautifully rich & the good news was she adored it!img_6747img_6749img_6750img_6751

Let there be light

I have been rather inspired by dolls head art & I loved the result I achieved with my previous piece “head to the future”. This time I wanted to create something that would light up & so decided this rather cute little face was just the doll for the job! As you may have guessed I also love steampunk & decided to incorporate this into the piece too. I knew that I wanted to conceal the battery case & I also liked the effect achieved with the mdf cube that I used previously, so the perfect solution was to put a hinge on one side of the cube so that it could be opened to house the wires & battery case.

I started by constructing the cube that I had acquired from things to alter, & then stencilled a cog design all over with Decoart media modelling paste, whilst this was drying I moved on to the head.  First I removed the eyes & painted it with several layers of white gesso, then layered various coats of gold, black & ivory acrylics, so that I could then apply a crackle glaze, which I applied thinly as I wanted a very fine crackle. whilst everything was drying I moved on to making all the embellishments, this is where the pain begins!! I had some metal mesh from an old sieve & thought that it would make fab screens on the side, but oh boy is it painful stuff to work with, as the very fine strands constantly stab you whilst you work. I wanted to let out more light so I had pierced lots of holes in the sides of the cube which I then could cover with the mesh panels. the fine wire I wrapped around the mesh panels, served 2 purposes , firstly to hold it in place & secondly a finishing decorative touch. I also used some of the wire to achieve the stitched mouth effect.

It was just a case now of painting the cube, which I did with a dry brushed metallic effect over black gesso, & then playing around with cogs & coils until I achieved the look I required. Once I was happy with all my choices I proceeded to add the fine Led lights around & inside the head, which I then mounted amongst some mdf circles which I had added some bolts effect pieces too also. The finishing touches were achieved with a dome from an old snow globe & some small cotton reels for feet. All the remainder led lights were housed inside the cube so that the light protruded through the sides.  I hope you’ll agree he is rather splendid x

 

 

is there a doctor in the house??

I wanted to make a biology themed shadow assemblage box! so can you imagine my joy when I walked up to a charity shop window & spotted a little suitcase with what seemed to be a bandage hanging out, went straight in opened it up & there it was, my prayers answered!! it was filled with vintage unopened packages of everything from bandages to eye baths!! what a find & couldn’t have been more perfect for my planned piece! trying not to squeal too loudly I made my purchase (£4) & headed home to plan my piece out!!

I had several pieces of an old Halloween skeleton lying around which were perfect once painted with some special effects. I had obtained an anatomy mannequin from my daughter & the pieces I took from that were perfect for repainting,  a lovely little vial of vintage aspirins & a couple other containers, a vintage glass tall jar (used for bones), a fabulous vintage biology book with fab images (used to decoupage inside box), some speckled beads which I used for eggs, some raffia & twigs (which I turned into a nest), a birds claw from an old ornament, a brass birds skull, a feather from my vase (lol) an already moulded skull, jaw bone & rib cage cabochon,  a dolls eye & a couple of dolls arms, some mdf ornate corners from things to alter, a spoon charm, a pair of scissors charm & now a selection of boxed items to add to the top & bandage to drape round edges! I really was a happy bunny as I had everything I needed to complete the piece! I forgot to mention the box was a childs stamp & ink pad container I found at another charity shop!

I used all different paint techniques & products & I think you’ll agree it came out super!!

 

going round in circles!!

pretty sure that anyone who knows me well, knows I have a bit of an obsession with circles!! so thought it best to use a few!! fancied a change & decided to make up a canvas

I used lots of lovely Decoart texture pastes & crackles in random areas to base this piece, as I wanted to go for an abstract look! I also added some precious gems down the left bottom side & used some pebeo fantasy paint to make a lovely oil on water effect in a few small areas & finally sprinkled a few micro beads in random places whilst pastes were still wet. once I achieved the desired effect I then went on to colour wash with various shades of acrylic paint, again until I achieved the effect I was happy with. Time for some circles (yay!!) I decorated several different sized mdf circles & circle frames from things to alter with with acrylic paints, stamped images, embossed copper tape & some gold leafing, which I also added in a few random areas on the canvas! I arranged the circles in different heights around the canvas to complete the piece! I was really pleased with how this came out & only sorry that I did not use colours that would of suited my home!!!

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oops did I really buy all those!!!
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the finished canvas

 

keep it close to your chest!!

A project I got rather excited about was a lovely stationery chest that I picked up from a local charity shop!! as soon as I saw it I just knew it had so much potential, & as I suspected it turned out fab!!

Decided it needed to be a skull theme as it just leaned itself to that well. I prepared all the surfaces & added some mdf embellishments that I purchased from things to alter  (I always add  glass liner to give more detail & depth) & I also moulded the skulls & spines I needed to undertake the job ahead. I prepared all the surfaces by sanding, filling where needed & then gesso. Inside I decoupaged with some lovely vintage book & magazine pages & added a few 12 x 12 paper sentiments from a paper I purchased from Thompson craft supplies. I used Decoart modelling paste to stencil some skull & diamond detailing on the back  I dry brushed all areas with Decoart gold metallic acrylic to get the antique gold effect, & then coated with decoart crackle glaze which I then aged with Decoart antiquing fluid. Attached it all back together & then added some feet! I think you’ll agree it came out fab!!

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how it all began

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decoupaged inside sections

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& inside draw too
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skull, spine & bat mouldings. added some studding effect too

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rib cage candle
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the whole thing
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back showing 3 dimensional stencilling
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inside door details