Autumn’s in the air . . . and in the studio

The first cool front in South Texas is always welcome, and it slowly filtered in yesterday evening. This morning when I went out for an early walk, there were stars, clear skies, and a temperature of 61F instead of the summertime low 80’s. Fall is definitely in the air, and i realized that I had been subconsciously picking up on that in the collage covers I finished yesterday – the palette is definitely autumnal.

Artists have probably always been influenced by the changing seasons – it’s nice to share that communal creative instinct!
I’m posting more photos of the new work this morning on my Etsy gallery site.

Reminder to self to mark this technique a keeper

Mulberry paper with glazing medium over a picture and metallic PearlEx pigment powder rubbed into glaze with fingers – nice depth and texture.

I have no idea where the pigment powder set with lots of little jars came from – probably from my the old art teacher days, but I never knew what to do with it before. This is nice! – and the acrylic glaze on the paper strengthens it and gives it transparency at the same time. I may cover up the picture!

Studio organizing

I don’t think a studio, at least not my space, is ever really organized like an office, but it’s good to know where to find things – last night it rained (hooray) and so I spent the evening in, re-ordering stuff and getting ideas for future projects. Here are the results of the re-ordering, mostly for me to see what the place looks like when it’s not covered in paper and glue. I should put up photos of those times, too, because that’s what it loooks like normally.

Nique o’ the Day – Surface and texture redux

I went back to some old techiques for surface decoration on paper yesterday – one technique is to apply metallic liquid acrylic onto paper through a squirt bottle, then spray it with gold paint while it is still wet and let it dry.

I also ran a sheet of joss paper through a crimper – we used to use real paint tube crimpers, but since this technique was discovered, manufacturers are making “corrugators” on purpose. The effect is nice, though. I’ll use these both on the new covers I’m starting tonight.

Help! My creativity is stuck in neutral . . .

I’ve thought that too often, and this morning happened to run across a COPYBLOGGER post that helps unstick – Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?
The first one is something I am always nagging my students about when we talk about design:
“One of the worst aspects of formal education is the focus on the correct answer to a particular question or problem. While this approach helps us function in society, it hurts creative thinking because real-life issues are ambiguous. There’s often more than one “correct” answer, and the second one you come up with might be better than the first.”
I think I’m going to make the whole article required reading – for me, especially.

New clay beads – following the directions

I am learning more than I wanted to (almost) about polymer clay. I thought you just rolled it out and baked it, which may be why, after my first attempt, my beads were pretty but not very strong. The clay needs to be “conditioned” first, which means rolling it through a flattening machine a bunch of times. I got one of those, and that part was pretty easy. It’s a lot easier than wedging “real” clay for the potter’s wheel. In the photo, it looks strangely like bacon, and it IS pretty thin. You can stick it back together, though, to make it thicker.

Then you need a dedicated oven to bake the stuff in. I got one of those, too. Actually, neither was expensive, especially with a Jo-Ann’s coupon! This was Sculpy day in the studio, and the beads came out well, if a little bizarre looking with the squashed faces on some. They seem a lot stronger. More work than I thought, but the results are promising.

Nique o’ the Day – Binder clips

This tip is probably known by most everyone, but I had need of it today for holding just the corners and one edge of a cover while the glue was drying. These binder clips come in different sizes and really hold tight, tighter than a clamp for small jobs. I like the way the look, too – simple and efficient. Too bad other little day-to-day things in life aren’t that way!

Also, I discovered a new material (see pic) that improved even on the diagonal stretch cord (in my last post) for holding iPads – am still trying it out but it looks good so far. More soon.