Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almost ready for Halloween

A picture of most of the front:

A detail picture with skeletons in the window in the background:

As shown in these pictures, much of the Halloween decor is in place. I still have the front porch to decorate a bit and lights to put up, but that's it. I think the paper mache is really attractive but doesn't make as much of an impact as I would like considering how much work it was. Oh well, making the crosses last year was also some work. Next year I'll have the fruit of three years of work. It will also look more cool with the lights and fog, with spooky sound for atmosphere. I hope you like it and I'll be back to medieval topics again next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oak bench at rough cut stage

In my last session at the woodworking shop I made this progress. All the pieces for the bench are now roughly cut except for the stabilizing brace not started yet. I love the bandsaw!!

Next up will be making the brace, making the mortise and tenon joints to hold the brace, routing the top, and fine-tuning the fit and shaping the edges of the apron and legs. But most of that will have to wait until woodworking class resumes next month.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cartoneria crown of lillies

In the previous post you can see this crown in the wet newspaper stage. I made it to perch on my head but after I finished it I realized that since it doesn't sit around my head I need a way to hold it in place on my head so it doesn't fall off. It is very firm, not flexible at all, although I could drill into it if needed. Ideas, anyone?

P.S. The pumpkin is approximately head sized so that's how it looks sitting on my head. Cool, as long as I don't move much.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cartoneria factory

OK, Aelia, here you go - pictures of cartoneria! The complete process is not documented (maybe later) but here is enough to get an idea of the process. It's a pretty cheap project: old newspaper, grocery bags, bailing wire, flour and water cost practically nothing. The only supplies that cost any money were the acrylic paints and gesso.

First, make desired shapes out of crumpled newspaper and masking tape. If items will be strung together or have wire in them for support put them in at this stage. Trying to do it later is very difficult.

Next, make the paste. Here I put 3 tablespoons of flour into 2 cups water and stirred thoroughly, getting out all the lumps. Then I put the pot on high heat and cooked, stirring constantly, until the mixture began to bubble gently. I then poured it into a bowl and waited for it to cool off enough to handle with my fingers. The glue is most pleasant to work with when it is still warm, so it's best to make it right before use.

Wet torn newspaper, glued in four layers, is torn into smaller bits and applied to the newspaper and tape base. Here is a crown of lilies in progress:

and a pile of bones and a dragonfly:

After the newspaper dries, apply a layer of brown paper (grocery bags or cement bags work well). These are two stylized skulls and a rose:

After the brown paper dries a layer of gesso is applied. Then the items are painted. The gesso and acrylic paint I used was cheap stuff because I am making a lot of items. The low quality paint really makes a difference but that much good quality paint would be very expensive! I used an off-white color for the bones because plain white just didn't look right. The items in this picture are skeleton parts mostly and they're not all quite finished with painting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New woodworking project

In my last post I showed the lumber I bought for a couple of projects. Here is the first project started. It will be a little bench, similar to the one I made before. It was always my plan, if the first bench turned out well, to make a second one out of better (and more expensive) lumber.

This wood is 5/4 (five quarter, meaning that it is 1 1/4 inches thick) flat sawn white oak about 10 inches wide. I purchased 11 board feet milled S2S 1E (surfaced on two sides, with one edge) for about $50. (length x thickness x width = board feet) This is definitely more expensive than the 3/4 inch poplar I used for the first bench.

The board had a knot in it which I did not want to use but I knew I could get the lengths I needed while working around the knot. As is generally the case, I cut a few inches off the end of the board where it was split a bit. Always take this sort of thing into account when planning how much lumber to buy for a project or you'll buy too little and have to get more. I wanted the entire project to be made from one board. The color of the wood will match exactly, the grain is the same, and it seems like a more period approach.

I chose flat sawn oak instead of quarter sawn because I wanted the finished width of the wood to be 9 inches without piecing, which it just isn't possible to get from modern lumber yards (if someone knows of such a place please tell me!). White oak is less easy to find where I live than red oak, but I like the color better and it is closer to the European oak used in period. It is still not the exact same species but it is as close as I can get.

The photo above shows the apron of the bench roughly cut out with a band saw. I'll further shape and refine with hand tools. I am basing my design on several medieval era examples as shown below ( was the starting off point for my research). I drew a template for the apron on brown craft paper, then taped that to my wood and traced around it on both apron pieces. Then I cut them out.

Next I will repeat the process for the sides of the bench but that will have to wait until next week. I won't be back in woodshop class until then.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

mmmmm.... lumber

At some point, perhaps before Christmas or maybe not until next year, I'll post a picture of some of this beautiful white oak marvelously changed into a piece of furniture. One piece of it will be a medieval seat, most of it will be part of an Arts and Crafts bookcase. It is filling my car with a wonderful sweet smell, I love it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crafty Challenge #1 received

This is my first finished Crafty Challenge project. I was just waiting for Eleanor Deyeson to let me know she received her gift before I posted pictures (didn't want to ruin the surprise!). Here it is, a needlebook embroidered with naturally dyed silk and wool pages and lining, plus a little pocket on the inside. The pattern is my Brick Stitch Pattern #13, which I charted months ago but have been waiting to post until I actually used it to make something. It is one of my favorites! I'd love to see this in orange and green as well, maybe another time.

The ground fabric is 32 count linen embroidered with a single strand of silk.

On a side note, I think I will post some pictures of the non-medieval crafting I've been doing lately. That's where my efforts have been lately, and I feel badly about letting so much time go by in between posts.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crafty Challenge gift on the way

My first Crafty Challenge gift is in the mail. I will post pictures as soon as I hear that the recipient received it.