28 February 2010

A Review of February 2010

This month seems to have been and gone very quickly - and so to my passion for paper mosaics.

After my disappointing trial with the MagicGlos on paper mosaics, I have decided to try polymer clay (see next post) as an alternative to Friendly Plastic.There are so many more things you can do with it, compared to the Friendly Plastic I have been using – and some of the effects are much more subtle. I have been inspired by some fabulous things/ideas I have seen on the internet and so I have ordered three different books on making polymer clay mosaic tiles (partly paid for by the ‘gift card’ I received from work for Christmas). It will take about a month for the books to arrive, so in the meantime, I am reading as much as I can on the internet – there is a lot of information out there (mostly American) but sadly no workshops in or near Auckland that I can find.

Some of the tools, cutters and other things I have bought to use with Friendly Plastic can also be used with polymer clay, so they will not be wasted. I thought I had better try and use up my remaining pieces of FP, so spent the other evening making brooches out of my off-cuts and thoroughly enjoyed myself, see picture below. I was on a creative roll, they turned out really well and maybe were better for less planning and just ‘going with the flow'.

I have also made a few pre-planned Art-Brooch designs this month and have tried setting them in small artist's block canvases. I am really pleased with how the ‘yacht’ ones turned out and intend to try making the same designs with polymer clay, as a comparison exercise.

Art-Brooch Designs CF032 - CF035





My last Art-Brooch made from Friendly Plastic (CF036), I have called 'Anything Goes', as it is made from off-cuts but I think will be quite an eye-catcher for the NZ Art Guild 'Anything Goes' Exhibition in May.


As for the idea of being able to take something creative into work to do, before I start in the mornings – well that just hasn’t worked. Paper mosaics seemed suitable but it didn’t actually work in practice. If I am moving on to using polymer clay, it just is not going to be practical, I shall just have to use the time for reading and researching. This is OK at the moment, because I have so much to learn about polymer clay - there is so much information out there on the internet and my books to read when they arrive.

Quite by accident, I may have hit on a different way to display my Art-Brooches. When I was on my creative roll the other night and running out of space to lay out the brooches I had made, I put a couple on some mini canvases, which were lying around (waiting for me to do some paper mosaic pictures, that never happened). It suddenly struck me, what a perfect and appropriate way for me to display my Art-Brooches. I had been planning to make a mould and cast my own frames, in which to insert the jewellers foam I have bought, to hold the brooch in place. With a small canvas, I can stick the foam in the recess at the back, cut a small slit the canvas through which the brooch pin can be inserted and paint the canvas however I want – and sign it! I will try this out with my most recent brooch designs.

26 February 2010

Have joined Clay-Polymer Yahoo Group

Have joined this on-line group, as I have had no luck in finding any polymer clay classes/workshops in or around Auckland. When I was starting out using Friendly Plastic, I joined their Yahoo Group, and members were really helpful with advice. I hope it will be the same with the polymer clay group, as I have a number of questions that I have not found answers to in the books and on-line information that I have read.

14 February 2010

'Creative Meltdown'

Sunday afternoon, I finally had a few hours to be creative. Yesterday, a creative friend gave me some off-cuts of her paste paper to play with, until I get a chance to make some myself. I am keen to try this technique for my paper mosaic work, after being inspired by the work of Lorrie Abdo Grainger.

I sat and looked at the paper strips but could not get in a creative mood. It may have been that it felt wrong to use someone else’s work in pieces I intended to make for sale, or, it may be that after my initial experiments at coating paper mosaic pieces with resin, my heart was not really in it. Or was it just the humid Summer heat here?

I had what I can only describe as a ‘creative meltdown’ - I could not concentrate on anything, my head was just spinning. One minute I was going back to Friendly Plastic. Then it was resin. Should I try polymer clay? Or go back to doing paintings? Then a rethink about paper mosaics. Just round and round in circles! I think this was just the culmination of what had been a growing feeling of depression at having to start from scratch again, building a creative reputation. Since emigrating to New Zealand, I have been trying to find suitable sales venues and attracting a client following (this had taken many, many years to do in the UK) – and now I did not even know what medium I wanted to work with!

In the end, I decided it was just not meant to be a creative day, so I went for a long walk on the beach and tried to clear my head. When I thought everything through, I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to continue with my Art-Brooches. As for what to make them out of - well, maybe I should not get that hung up about it. I always seem to be trying different media, so why not make the brooches out of different media – they don’t all have to be the same, I can just use whatever inspires me. Problem sorted!

07 February 2010

First and last trial with MagicGlos on paper mosiacs

For my first experiment with MagicGlos, I decided to try and replicate my early brooch design CF002 using paper mosaics.

I painted some thin card in the same colours, cut them into the shapes and stuck the pieces onto some thick solid black card for the brooch base, with matt acrylic medium. I trimmed the brooch base to shape and coated the whole piece again with matt acrylic medium, to ensure that the stuck on pieces sealed well onto the base.

When dry, I used the MagicGlos to coat each of the stuck on pieces. It was easy to apply straight from the bottle, using a cocktail stick to get the resin into very tight areas. It created a great domed effect on each piece (just as I hoped), no problem with air bubbles and it cured quickly (10-15 minutes) in the sun. It looked really good but, sadly I found, as stated somewhere in the directions, the resin did not adhere to the acrylic medium because it is water-based. The cured resin pieces just slipped off, when you touched them, leaving a sticky patch underneath.

I tried spraying the piece with some spray varnish I had (which I guessed was not water-based by the smell of it) and redid the MagicGlos. This time the cured resin did stick to the surface, however, I only flexed the card base slightly and the resin pieces peeled off. This was really disappointing, as I did not feel confident that it would be durable enough.

MagicGlos was designed for use on polymer clay – perhaps I should try that?

In the end, I used Envirotex Lite resin on this trial piece. Although it stuck to the surface fine, giving a hard, glossy surface, it is not as viscous as the MagicGlos. I tried very hard to keep the resin just on the coloured pieces but it still spread and the distinction between ‘mosaic piece’ and ‘grout’ has been lost.

03 February 2010

MagicGlos has arrived

Finally the sample of MagicGlos arrived from America. This is an epoxy resin which cures on exposure to ultra-violet light. I was excited when I discovered this product, as I thought it could be so much better than using Envirotex Lite
(a two part expoxy resin) to give a raised glossy finish to my paper mosaic pieces. It has a much longer work time (until exposed to UV light) and cures in 5-15 minutes. However, I am now hesitant after reading the instruction leaflet enclosed which recommends not using it over water-based glues/sealers. I do not remember this being mentioned on the website information, but maybe I missed it, and I was intending to use it over my pieces which would be glued/sealed with matt acrylic medium. I will have to try it and see what happens.

01 February 2010

Auckland Anniversary Art & Craft Market at Mission Bay

Despite the strong winds and rain (so uable to set up my table as I normally would, with side drapes and tiered display), this event did go ahead and was surprisingly well attended considering the weather. I must give a big thank you to my husband Colin, picutred here behind my table, who spent most of the day holding down the gazebo to stop it blowing away! I sold off some of my existing Art-Brooches (made from Friendly Plastic), as I want to make room for some new stock, using the paper mosaic technique.