Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Macclesfield Alphabet Book

I haven't seen this one before. The link says "newly discovered" but not how new. I wish I could see pics of every page! It looks like the nicest modelbook I have seen. Here is the link:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brick Stitch Scissors Case Completed

Whew! Here it is, finished at last and just in time. This is a small case for scissors I made as a donation for the Estrella gift basket. The inspiration for the pattern can be found in the color picture from this post. Look at the outfit on the angel on the right. I used two strands of the 2-ply silk from Aurorasilk that my friend dyed; the ground is once again my favorite 24 count linen congress cloth. I couldn't figure out how I wanted it to close so I just made a loop that goes around the bottom of the case as shown to hold it closed. I kind of like it.

Now that I have this finished I have only one more project in progress and I am a bit stumped about what to do next. I want to do something in brick stitch but I'm not sure what. Not another purse, I have three now. Not another needle book either, I have too many of those!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cleaning out my stuff

Once upon a time, I had a bad problem with shopping and delusions of free time. I bought lots and lots of stuff, I wanted to take home everything pretty. All that stuff sat around my house unused because a girl can focus on only so many interests at once. Since then I have done quite a bit of purging but there is still more left. I still probably have too many hobbies but I have let several go.

If you have an interest in Asian knotwork or lace I have some stuff for you. I will post pictures tomorrow or Wednesday and if you want it then it's yours for the price of postage. I am offering it because I couldn't bear to put it in the Goodwill bag with my unwanted clothes and household items.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Crafty Challenge from Racaire

Racaire just posted this, I think it will be fun!

A Crafty Challenge
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
- What I create will be just for you.
- It'll be done this year.
- You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry. I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well. We all can make stuff!

So far.....
1) Racaire
2) wortschmiedin
4) Eleanor-deyeson (for whom I do not have contact info)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My first gesso wooden panel

In pursuit of making as many things for painting myself, here is my first effort at a wooden panel. It is baltic birch plywood coated with rabbit skin glue, then with a piece of linen applied with rabbit skin glue, followed by six coats of gesso which are sanded with sandpaper up to 1000 grit.

I was very intimidated by the idea of making and applying my own gesso.  As a shortcut I used the "Easy Gesso" from Natural Pigments which is mixture of chalk, marble dust and rabbit skin glue; add water and allow to set for a few hours, then use.  It really was easy, and now that I feel less intimidated I feel up to the task of making my own gesso from scratch.

A really good wooden panel will have up to 20 coats of gesso, but fewer coats can be OK.  I would have used more coats but I made five boards at the same time and did not mix up enough of the gesso.  Next time I'll make more gesso and apply more coats.  The linen I used was handkerchief weight leftovers from making a chemise, nothing special.  I couldn't find any information about what type of linen to use but I figured lighter weight was better.

The orange in the picture is the first one picked off the tree outside my bedroom.  I've been watching them grow and ripen for months now and they are finally ripe! 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Icon painting, step two

This is what the icon looks like after the second time I worked on it. The first layer of paint was applied to most of the image. The dark color will be the shadows of the finished painting. Each successive layer of paint will be lighter. Some grittiness in this layer is normal and visible in the photo. All the paint I am using is tempera, which is egg yolk, wine, water, and ground pigments.

The bole that made up the halo has now been gilded with two layers of gold leaf. Glass gold (gold leaf stacked between sheets of rouge paper) is used rather than patent gold (gold leaf adhered to a sheet of paper). I learned an easy way to transfer the gold leaf, which is generally unruly to work with. Simply place a piece of ordinary wax paper over the leaf, rub it, and the leaf will adhere to the paper. Then cut the paper into more manageable small pieces, making sure that every piece includes a section of the wax paper without gold (this makes the small pieces easy to handle). Voila! Now the gold leaf is easy to transfer!

I also applied another coat of bole to the sides of the piece. In order for the gold to look smooth and shiny the bole must be as smooth as possible. The bole is sanded with successively fine grit sandpaper, finishing at 1000 grit, then burnished. When I started sanding the bole on the sides I discovered I had applied it too thinly and I was sanding down to the gesso. Next time I will have the bole ready for gilding.