Thursday, 17 February 2011

Works in progress

Autumn - After much googling and debate with myself I went out and lifted my gladioli corms. I'd never done this before so didn't expect them to look to much different to when I planted them in the spring. As I carefully loosened the dirt and started to lift them out I was very excited to see hundreds of little "pearls" growing around the bottoms (apparently they are called cormels). I took some pics for reference before storing them.
Then I got to thinking about how to recreate them and with what materials and how to get the textures I want........I can spend a lot of time musing over this stuff - when I should be trying to sleep, as soon as I wake up, when I should be listening to important things being related to me by my patient boyfriend.....
  so now I have 4 different bulb type forms with black polished plaster applied in slightly different ways on each of them.

I built up some texture and the one on the right erupted. Then I oil gilded them with moon gold, my favourite leaf, which is a 22ct mix of gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Next I set about building up the adornment using baroque pearls using larger white flared shape, smaller balls were gilded on the surface, glass dribbles with apearlized finish and some weeny seed pearls in lovely gunmetal and oil colours.

Now I'm searching to find the right gauge of wire for the tendrils.

This is the most abstract one of the bunch (for the moment).........

Monday, 14 February 2011

How I found my mojo

From an early age all I wanted to do was draw, paint, bake with my nana and create stuff. Dolls and cuddly toys stayed on the shelves collecting dust - although I do recall a brief friendship with a Pippa doll and having at least one tea party using a zingy plastic tea set to serve a bunch of inanimate toys for whome the cups were vastly disproportionate to their appetites.
No - it was Spirograph which jolted my imagination into gear.....until it ended up too close to a radiator and all of the parts warped. I had a cupboard full of paints, pencils, felt tips, Playdough (which I found very tasty) and a wondrous machine called a paint spinner.
It was no surprise that by the end of secondary school I had chosen a creative path, but exactly what form that would take was still beyond me. I found A'level Art, Design, Ceramics and Fashion very interesting and accumulated a wealth of technical information, but was also left with the over-whelming feeling that I didn't have anything new to say and certainly wasn't going to be the next shining star of any art scene. Lacking the self-confidence needed to create original art I went off to study restoration and conservation which lead into a career as a specialist decorator working around the world on some amazing jobs ranging from architectural restoration to high end fashion flagship stores like Donna Karan and Louis Vuitton on Bond St in London.
The Donna Karan job was a major turning point for me. Armourcoat, the worlds leading suppliers of Italian polished plaster were working with architect Peter Marino to supply huge walls in black and white super-glossy plaster, but they also wanted huge feature walls in antique textured gold metal leaf and I was the lucky person to receive their call.  As someone who had serious canvas fear those big walls were quite daunting, but there really wasn't time for brooding and with the designers words filling me with confidence...... "just think of these walls as your canvas and go for it".....I did.
However, it wasn't until about 6 years ago that I finally started to think I want to do this to hang on walls - not just as a backdrop or created on the surface of a wall to be painted over or left behind when the owner moves house.
  My inspiration comes from textures found in the natural world- in rock formations,  chemical patinations, crystal growth..... the beautiful jewellery designed by scandinavian artists such as Bjorn Weckstrom, Matti Hyvarinen , Juhls Tundra jewellery......I have a love for the mid-century modern.
My chosen materials are metal leaf - gold, white gold, silver, palladium, brass, alluminium
which are applied using traditonal oil and water-gilding techniques over bole, gypsum plaster, venetian plaster.
The finishing touches come from chemical patination, baroque pearls, antique glazes, metal flakes and crystaline forms
I also work on the reverse of glass sheets - my take on contemporary vere eglomise.