Back to work…

Although that title implies that I’ve not been doing any, which would be inaccurate. More precisely, we now return you to your regularly scheduled life, sans major holidays for a while.

Over the hols I spent a wee bit of time playing with highly messy techniques involving glue, dyes, cheesecloth and tissue paper. It was one of those projects that I’d been wanting to do, but couldn’t really work on without John around to run Katherine interference. There’s no sane parent who would use permenant chemical dyes (which aren’t particularly healthy) with a toddler on standby. Not only is there the risk of being “helped”, but if a crisis strikes the kid, you really don’t want to explain to the nice emergency room people that it’s not blood, it’s red dye that you threw over the child as you wrenched them away from the heater/knife/poison/venomous snake/lava floe.

So I finally got a chance to play while John was on break. The process was pretty simple. You take a piece of flexible plastic (vapour barrier or a garbage bag will do), smear it with a mixture of glue (40%) and water (%60) and then lay two layers of cheesecloth over it. You then add more of the gloop (carefully) with a foam brush. The next layer is a piece of plain tissue paper that has been crumpled and somewhat flattened. Then more glue solution. Repeat until you have three layers of tissue paper interspersed with glue goo. Lightly spread gloo over the last layer of paper. Then taking dyes (I used Procion MX fibre reactive) and a syringe or eyedropper, splatter paint all over everything.

I tried fabric paints, but they don’t seem to work as well as dyes. They rest on top of the worksurface as opposed to dyes, which set right in. The paints also are less intense.

Anyway, after playing with blues and purples for a bit, I mixed some green and glooped around with it. During this process, I discovered that I could control the movement of the dye fairly well  and was able to make outlines of coasts and shorelines. Working with some topographic maps of the coastline along which the East Coast Trail runs, I generally outlined the sections of shore surrounding the spout.

The pieces took about two days to dry.

Because the paper is reenforced with cheescloth, it doesn’t crack or tear. It can be sewn and embellished, as well as overpainted and cut without fraying.

I did a couple of test coastlines of nowhere in particular to use as trial runs while I experiment with the efficacity of various techniques for achieving desired effects. After that, my intention is to add details, landmarks, and relief to the spout pieces. I’m hoping to add borders of some sort as well, possibly containing landscapes seen along the trail as well as  flora and fauna.

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