Sunday, 24 April 2016

Maimeri Mosaic Book Cover

If you saw the last Hochanda Mixed Media Medium Show on 14th April you may remember that someone asked if you could mix the Stampbord inks with the Maimeri Mediums. So I ended up experimenting live on air with the last demonstration on a book cover. Clare, one of the lovely Hochanda staff, fell in love with it so I left it with her, but decided that I should have another go back in the studio...

Materials needed:
A5 Hard Backed Notebook
Maimeri Iridescent Medium (Premium Art Brands)
Dutch Doobadoo Mosaic Mask
Stampbord Inks
Masking Tape

Step 1. Take your notebook and make sure the cover is clean.

Step 2. Position the mask on the front of the notebook and secure in place with some masking tape.

Step 3. Cover the mask with Maimeri Iridescent Medium. 

Step 4. Add drops of Stampbord Inks over the top of the medium.

Step 5. Use your spatula to spread the inks around and scrape off the excess medium.

Top Tip: The more medium you have on the mask the more you will have to work the inks into it before scraping off the excess. This will generally mean that the colours are lighter and blended more.

Step 6. Add more ink for a stronger coloured finish if desired. (Alternatively, scrape off the worst of the excess medium before applying the inks.)

For more contrast between the colours don't overwork the medium with the spatula to stop them mixing too much. 

Step 7. Carefully remove the mask and leave to dry. If any of the medium has leaked under the mask you can clean it up with a damp cottonbud.

It doesn't take long to become touch dry as it is only a thin layer of medium, but all acrylic paints and mediums need to be left of approximately a week to thoroughly dry and allow the paint/medium to cure.

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Blurring of Art and Craft

Hi Everyone

After last week's Hochanda Mixed Media Maimeri Mediums Shows I was sent the link to a very interesting article by Ben Fitzpatrick in Australia. The article was published on the Wentworth Galleries website and is entitled The Blurring of Art and Craft. I found it fascinating reading and although I agreed to a certain extent with some of the points made, I found myself feeling the need to qualify others or in fact disagreeing with them. I'd be interested to hear what others think on the subject... What do you think is the definition of a crafter as opposed to an artist? Can you make a defined distinction between the two? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?  and ultimately does it really matter?

After reading the article two or three times this was my response...

I agree with the definitions of both art and craft although these days I would say that craft as defined in the article applies more to traditional crafts/craftsmen i.e. carpenters, weavers, clockmakers etc. I feel that many of the modern day ‘crafters’ are unknowingly more from the blurred area between the two (much like the Native Americans) as, although they may employ certain techniques, they invariably have no idea what the end result will be (and it can quite often not have any practical function either). Who’s to say that using a stencil or stamp in the process of creating is that different to the master painters of old using their paint brushes and spatulas in the execution of their works of art. Are they not all techniques of one sort or another? In any case these days art can be functional too as can be seen in the photos at the end of the article.

Having said that even with traditional crafts I believe the lines are blurred as what is the difference between a leatherworker and an artist…both have to understand the nature of their mediums and to know how to use the tools at their disposal and both have to create their finished artwork. Although one may have more of an idea of their goal at the beginning both works evolve during the creative process. Yet one is called a crafter and the other an artist. I disagree about the point of originality though, as craftwork can be original and quite often is. I personally have taught glass painting to 12 students in a class and although they all started with the same design they ended up with 12 unique pieces of artwork at the end. Modern craft is more than mere mechanical technique as often there is no clear idea of how the finished product will look. I think it is impossible to be creative whether it be producing a painting, a craft project or even a garden without putting yourself, heart and soul, into it. It is not the exclusive domain of the artist by any means. That is why so many get such joy and satisfaction from creating in whatever form it may take. 

I do understand where the idea that craft is functional and art is purely aesthetic comes from though, as many automatically assume that something is not art unless it has no practical use, is viewed in a gallery and is therefore a luxury (often expensive) item. It feeds into the class divide of whether you are wealthy enough to afford to spend money on something purely decorative or you need it to be functional too. Art is a luxury whereas craft is affordable. But beauty is uplifting in whatever form it takes, whether that be in the form of an artwork, craftwork, music or nature.

I think it’s a very interesting subject as it is still steeped in prejudice and preconceived ideas. I believe if you asked the average person they would say that art is more highbrow, more expensive, with craft being the poor relation and not as worthy. I feel there is still a stigma attached to the label of ‘craft’ or ‘crafter' which for many conjures up an image of some bored housewife with time on her hands and artistic aspirations but not having the education or ability of a true artist to produce great works she dabbles in homemade cards etc. So maybe there are yet more distinctions to be made within the world of craft i.e. the craftsman vs the crafter. However, I’m amazed at the number of ‘artists’ I have living in my own street (who I only discovered a few years back during the Open Studios season), many of whom I believe are not classically trained and yet are happy to call themselves artists as they generally produce paintings to hang on the wall.

I feel that the film example though to be a little contentious in itself as I believe that so called ‘Arthouse’ films are such because the big money machines behind the film industry won’t invest in them as they can’t see the potential of large profit margins as they are unlikely to appeal to the masses but does this really make them art? I’ve certainly never thought a definition of art as being only appealing to the few rather than the many. Some modern art (at least to me) appears self-indulgent as there is no desire to create something to appeal to anyone other than the artist themselves and that may also be true of some arthouse films. So maybe that is a better distinction between art and craft in as far as most crafters like to make something of beauty that will appeal to others whereas artists are satisfying a more self-indulgent desire to create for themselves? So it would appear that the intention behind the work is still key to the definition. Although having said that the creative process in general is self-indulgent whether it be as an artist or a crafter, so maybe not. 

I wonder whether a better distinction is that most artists tend to stick to one discipline whereas many modern crafters (although admittedly not all) do tend to enjoy mixing it up a little and either employ more than one discipline in their work or jump from one to another. Ultimately I suppose I’m just so pleased that there are thousands of people of all ages and creeds who are enjoying being creative in one way or another (whether that be in art or craft) as I firmly believe it to be good for the soul, especially with the pressures and pace of our modern society. 

It saddens me that there is still so much snobbery within the creative world and so I personally am proud to call myself a crafter (after all there is ‘art' in ‘craft').

Further to my original thoughts I did wonder if there was another distinction that could be made in that the life of an artist is inclined to be more solitary than that of a crafter. Crafters tend to be a more friendly bunch as we enjoy getting together to create our works of art whereas the term artist generally conjures up the image of a poor starving creature locked away in his garret with no choice but to create.

But ultimately, I don't think it matters whether you call yourself an artist or crafter as the creative process and satisfaction we get from that is what matters to me. The joy of giving something unique you've created to someone else and seeing the pleasure it brings them is the 'icing on top of the cake' as it were. I firmly believe most of us are both in whatever form our creativity takes us. And if you want to take it to it's limit you can even see artistry in the way someone parks a car, or makes a bed and craftsmanship in the way someone mows a lawn or packs a lunchbox. 

It is an interesting debate though don't you think?!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Maimeri Magic!

Hi Everyone,

I've decided to post a day early this week as I'm sitting in the green room at the Hochanda Studios waiting to do my last Maimeri Mediums show of the day and so thought it might be a good idea to post one of today's projects as a Step-by-Step for anyone interested.

Imagine Stampbord Fridge Magnet

Materials needed:
ATC Stampbord piece
Ocean PanPastel Set
Sofft Tool
Maimeri Glassy Gel
Butterfly Caught Stencil
Ultrafine Iridescent Glitter
Imagine Rub-on (Kaisercraft) or Permanent Black Marker
Rubber Stamps (I used some Penny Black stamps)
Memento Black Ink Pad
Stampbord Scraper Tools
Stampbord Inks
Cotton buds or Small Paint Brushes
Magnet and PVA Glue

Step 1. Apply the PanPastels to the Stampbord using the Sofft Tool. Start with the Turquoise along one long edge, blending down to the Yellow Green. 

Step 2. Apply a little Pthalo Green along the bottom edge, blending it into the Yellow Green.

 Step 3. Add the rub-on word across the top. (Alternatively you can use a permanent marker to write your word or message here.)

Step 4. Stamp your flowers along the bottom beneath the word using a Memento ink pad.

Step 5. Use the scraper tools to scratch back details in the stamped images on the Stampbord.

Step 6. Use the inks to colour up the scratched areas of the Stampbord.

Step 7. Lay the edge of the large Butterfly Caught Stencil over the top of the Stampbord and use a spatula to apply some Glassy Gel Medium over the top, through the mask.

Step 8. Carefully peel the stencil off the Stampbord.

Step 9. Use the spatula to remove the excess Glassy Gel from the edges with downward motions.

Step 10. Sprinkle some iridescent ultra fine glitter over the top. Tip off the excess and leave to dry before brushing off any loose glitter.

Step 11. To finish use some PVA glue to stick a magnet on the back of the Stampbord.

Et voila! This is such a quick project to do - the only lengthy part is waiting for the Glassy Gel to dry at the end and you can speed that up using a hair dryer!

You could write any message you like on the Stampbord instead of using the imagine rub-on and then use this magnet as a card topper which the recipient could then remove and stick on their fridge. 

You could also attach a small calendar underneath the Stampbord or a little paper pad for notes or shopping lists. 

Happy crafting!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Embossed Feather Efcolor Pendant

Hi Everyone

For those of you who have asked about the feather pendant I posted on the Facebook page here are the step-by-steps...

Materials needed:

Round Copper Blank with hole
Mallow Efcolor Powder
Dark Green Efcolor Powder
Feather Rubber Stamp
Efcolor Tealight Stove
VersaMark Ink Pad
Gold Mica Powder
Brush & Baby Wipe

Step 1. Cover the blank with a mix of dark green and mallow Efcolor powders and heat on the tea light stove until the powder has melted. (Repeat if necessary to achieve a smooth glossy finish.)

Step 2. Whilst the blank is still on the stove ink up your rubber stamp with a VersaMark Ink Pad. (If you don't have one you could use a clear emboss ink pad.)

Step 3. Take the blank off the stove and immediately stamp into the hot enamel, pressing down firmly. Carefully remove the blank from the rubber stamp.

Step 4. Mix a little gold mica powder with a drop of water.

Step 5. 'Splodge' the paint into all the recesses without worrying about going over the raised surface.

Step 6. Leave it for a few moments before using a baby wipe to clean the raised surface.

To protect your finished piece you can either spray it with some gloss varnish and so protect the embossed impression or cover it with a thin layer of transparent powder and re-heat it briefly to melt the powder. The latter may result in a little of the recessed image being lost but you shouldn't lose much. (Of course you can also use acrylic paint to colour the stamped areas.)

The finish will vary depending on the stamp you use - the deeper the recesses in your stamp the greater the impression...

Happy Crafting everyone!