Hayloft studio

Three years since my studio was finished and it’s been a wonderful space, even more so since I had water installed. It’s also very cluttered however, the more I do, the more canvasses are stacked everywhere, done or half done, various supplies getting crammed into to few shelves. What I really need is a dry and dust free storage space and/or weaving room separate from the painting! (my dream is 100m2 heated studio with straight walls including my office/library, but that is a completely different budget, especially the heating cost)

So I’ve been contemplating using the rest of the hayloft as a cold studio/summer messy space, eventually with inner walls to minimize moisture and cat damage. Only it’s taken me this long (20 months since I lost the ponies) to get rid of the 200 strawbales  dusting everything up as well as using the space obviously. I couldn’t even be bothered tidying up there, it was just so hopeless. Basically when I do have the energy to go make something, it needs to be easy access, not 2 days of tidying for half a day of painting.

But I finally got that part done AND I was gifted a window for my birthday, so next week the mason will fix the hole to proper size and I’ll at least have a bit of light without the wind, airflow when it’s too hot and a place to spray paint stuff so that I don’t have to leave the studio until the fumes are gone (as well as accidentally spraying my laptop and other sundries). I hope to build one tall wall to hang stuff to dry (or else cats) at least until it gets too humid in autumn.

Alebrijes

I’ve been asked to begin blogging again, but all the fiber stuff has been dormant (I put up some old handspun for sale and then forgot to tell anybody…) as I’ve focused on painting, which isn’t our usual focus here, so I’ve been reluctant to share. Today however I’ll tell you about another rabbit hole I fell into.

I joined an online school/community here in DK that feature a lot of different classes, and this month is something I never thought I’d be interested in: sculpture. More specifically the technique for making Mexican mythical beasts “alebrijes“. But the course was so well presented that I found myself rearing to go and full of ideas. Too many ideas in fact, that after just a couple of days into the project I’m beginning to wonder what to do with them when they’re done – I can’t imagine dusting off 20-30 figurines around the house, not to mention picking them off the floor constantly when the rowdy bunch have been through. (aka cats) Seems a shame to just fill up the hay loft with boxes, don’t you think?

The process is very simple, like something you might do in elementary school, except you begin with a wire frame/skeleton instead of using pulp. This adds stability, and I hope durability too. It’s a bit like going back to 3D computer graphics as well, where you also coat a mesh like these with a virtual surface.

I ran into a migraine weekend the second day, so instead of making one sculpture from start to finish I’ve decided to make a bunch of frames, then begin adding the paper-maché, since the glue is made from flour and goes bad after a few days. I’m also experimenting wildly with balance, because a challenge only makes it more fun, right?

The theme of the course is A: begin with a sphere, and B: “does it fly?” I’ve been taking the title quite seriously but focus on the “?”, such as a bull with tiny little wings and goats with propellers…. There’s also a turtle with balloons on the drawing board – they just keep lining up for my attention.

I’ve been wanting to get figures into my paintings, so I’n curious whether these sculptures will be a way in for more stories rather than just abstract or empty landscapes, as it often happens for me with cross polination between different crafts.

Hopefully by next week I can show you the coated figures, then I will paint them all together. Possibly there will be art yarn tails included, or is that a bit twee, what do you think?

Sculptures by Else Frøsig, teacher of the class

 

Lake pigments continued

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Now that I have a small first collection of pigments to play with before new plants can be tested next summer (I do have some old dried things I can try too), there are multiple ways to use them. They need some kind of binder, although I suppose you could just soak them in water. Alcohol? But even watercolours have binders added to add intensity to the colour as well as make it stick to your paper.

You can use oil, egg, honey*, gum, shellac, wax, milk, spit! or buy readymade binders for a variety of mediums. Even an acrylic binder which I may just have to test, although I’m leaning towards wax and shellac since I plan on working with that anyway.

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Plant pigment

Five years ago I did a brief test of concentrated plant dye baths to see what they were like as watercolours. I didn’t add anything to it as I recall and I’m not sure where my sample is now!

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Paraphernalia

Didn’t get ready today to show you a full version of my pigment experiment as planned, as I’ve had other things to attend to. So I thought I’d show you my latest finding, a book press which I thought could help me get water out of new paper sheets, rather than stacking cinderblocks on the floor. One way of tackling multiple projects could be doing so as efficiently as possible!

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