Monday, January 11, 2016

Create art for your wall using jewellery and metal techniques

I love multimedia works. Combining materials like felt, metal, wood, leather and beads into something wearable is a great challenge to set yourself and gets you thinking outside the creative box. You can create great wearable art or you can adorn corners of your home by customizing art work to complement your decor. Here are a couple of projects I've completed over the last while to add a personal touch to some small walls in my home. 

Show off your needlework

I embroidered around this huge vintage button I had in the stash I inherited from my Grandma. It felt too big for a pendant so I decided to make wall art with it instead. I purchased a 6" x 6" birch panel from Currys and painted it with black gesso. As I painted it I swirled the thick paint in a spiral to subtly frame the button. When it was dry I took a white cloth and smoothed it around the spiral where the paint subtly picked up a bit of lint from it, giving it some depth. This hangs just inside my front door on a tiny wall that would have no adornment otherwise. 

Show off your love of metal and torching

This one is fun if you love fire the way I do. I read a blog a couple of years ago with instruction on how to stamp solder on copper. I decided to add some colour then mount the pieces to show them off. Here's a short step by step on my process. 

You will need:
4" x 4" sheet 24 gauge copper
MAP gas or propane torch
Heat proof surface
Pliers or interlocking tweezers
Quenching bowl
Steel wool
Plumbers solder (available at any hardware store)
Flush cutters
Rawhide hammer, bench block
Alcohol inks or gilders paste in 4 colours
6" x 6" canvas or birch panel
Acrylic paints
Renaissance wax

1. Cut out four 2" x 2" pieces of copper. File the edges and scrub the side you'll be working on with steel wool so it's clean. Hammer flat if the shapes need it.
2. Prepare your work surface and have all your tools at hand. This process happens pretty quickly. I set out all four squares. Cut chunks of solder and arrange them on each square. I hold my torch in my non dominant hand to melt the solder. When it becomes a shimmering puddle I quickly stamp my rubber stamp into the solder and watch it squish out the sides. Pull the stamp away from the solder as quickly as possible. Repeat for the other three squares. Pick them up and quench them. Dry them off. 
3. Scrub off firescale to your taste with steel wool. 
4. Apply colour to each square. I try to make each square unique. Finish with a quick coat of Renaissance Wax when the colour is dry.
5. Prepare your canvas or board with a coat of white gesso. You can apply several coats. If I want background texture I'll apply the gesso thicker in some spots and use my brush to create patterns. I painted my canvas a golden colour then after it dried I diluted brown paint and lightly brushed it over the gold paint. I used a paper towel to dab more paint off. 
6. Once the whole canvas is dry, mount your squares using E6000. 

Play with this basic idea. Cut different shapes and sizes from the copper. Texture the copper before applying the solder. Try colouring the solder with pencil crayons and markers. Cover each piece or even the whole canvas with resin. Rivet them to brass backgrounds or pieces of leather. If you do this project or choose to riff on it, post your results in the comments. Have fun!

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