Monday 26 March 2012

Camper Vans, Caravans and a Street Party

I had a special request this week for a birthday card featuring a camper van: not something I had considered doing before, but I remembered a small piece of driftwood in my stash with orange peeling paint on it....sometimes when I find odd bits on the beach I know immediately what they will become: others may hang around for years waiting to be used. The orange piece fell into the latter category - and now I had the perfect chance to use it!

I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out - and my friend, who liked it too, proceeded to order a dozen more for her gallery! Couldn't help but think I had been tricked!

After sharing the images on my Facebook page, I was then asked to make a vintage caravan card...

....and following that one, several more orders ensued!

Trade mark washers and a bit of bunting mean that they compliment my other driftwood cards nicely, so I am selling them on my website!

And finally, here is my latest piece I made today: a rather jolly work called "Street Party"

All the above make me think of summer....or is it the abnormally gorgeous weather we are experiencing at the moment?
I hope you are enjoying the sunshine - wherever you are!

Monday 19 March 2012

James and the Giant Peach

Did you ever start a project you wish you hadn't? Hmmm, me too!
It seemed like a good idea at the time: my youngest son was off school with asthma, we had just finished Roald Dahl's magnificent "James and the Giant Peach" and Herbie had done this rather fabulous drawing to illustrate it...

(I love the way kids draw, don't you? Like the wiggly line that is the sea)

Anyway, I got to thinking how it would be really cool to make a model from paper mache - a mobile perhaps that could hang in their bedroom - of the peach being carried along by some seagulls. Ambitious,perhaps, but the boys were very eager!

We started on the gulls first - and following a happy accident (I wanted cardboard, and toilet rolls were the first thing to very Blue Peter!) realised a very simple seagull shape could be made using two pieces sellotaped together (the larger piece is simply folded under the bird's body)

..or folded above it in this example.

Then, using PVA glue as an adhesive, we covered the cardboard shapes in newspaper to make them sturdier.

And painted them with acrylic paint. I like the way the newsprint shows through!

Now for the peach itself!
Unfortunately the photos I took were too dark to document this part properly, but we covered the most part of a balloon with PVA and several layers of paper (letting it dry before applying the next layer) We left a hole at the top, simply because a peach isn't balloon-shaped, it needed to be more rounded than that. So we left a section at the top of the balloon uncovered, and when the paper mache was dry, and the balloon had deflated, I used long strips of newspaper to cover the hole. Another happy accident ensued: the soggy strips sagged in the middle - which turned out to be a more realistic shape than I was aiming for!
The sunken part would be where the stem would go!

Here's what it looked like painted!

I used a stick for the stem, there was a nobbly bit (technical term) protruding from the bottom of it, so I pushed it right into the paper mache and the branch bit (pointing upwards) prevented the stick from falling out.

Next problem, how to fix it all together! If you are familiar with the story, you will know that the birds carry the giant peach along with spider silk, but I needed something a bit sturdier than that, so I used wire. I stuck one end of a piece of wire into the cardboard gull, and wrapped the other around the stem of the peach. I could then move the birds into position quite easily.

Finally (I'm exhausted just writing this up!) the whole thing was suspended using lightweight jewellery wire.

The peach is complete!

Saturday 17 March 2012

New driftwood work: a week in pictures

The wood here comes from the washed-up boat we discovered last week. I utilised the original copper nails to create a "functional" piece of art!

"Farmhouse with washing line"

The vibrant colours of "Cottages On The Beach" would look great hanging in someone's bathroom

I love the roof on this one: all those layers of peeling paint in gorgeous colours!

"Village On The Green"

The blue piece is a little bit special: one of those finds that have been waiting in my woodpile for the "right moment"!

Our House, in the middle of our street....

Quite a prolific week! I am enjoying myself thoroughly at the moment!

Friday 9 March 2012

Breathing new life into an old boat

Steve had a couple of days holiday to take this week, so after we had dropped the boys at school, we headed for the beach to do some serious "wrecking". Don't get me wrong, I love going to the coast as a family, but there is only so far you can walk with a reluctant 4 year old!
At first, it appeared as though our trip was unfruitful....not much driftwood about. Then we started to find loads of pieces which were obviously all from the same boat. And then we stumbled across this....

Such a shame, really, when you see the workmanship that has gone into such a vessel.
But my mind was already planning what I could make with some of these finds...

See here, this large section of the boat? Well that diagonal stripe spoke "slipway" to me!

And from the ashes, something new was born!

You can see the lovely crackle-glazed effect still. I wanted to keep the piece almost as I had found it, so I only trimmed off the rough edges. I am chuffed with the result: I will be looking for other bits like this from now on!

We also found this long piece of quadrant painted in brilliant blue, which made a vibrant roof for this terrace of cottages!
And much more besides, but I had to put the driftwood side on hold as another collage commission was calling me!

Anyone recognise it? Clue: its on the North Cornwall coast

with a tidal pool?

Its is Bude. Only a small piece, it measures 30cm x 24cm.
Well, I feel as though I have been quite prolific this week!
Have a fab weekend folks!

Sunday 4 March 2012

Tenby collage

Well done to Melanie Wickham for guessing Tenby!

I love the colours of the buildings here, they remind me of Neopolitan ice-cream!

We have had a few lovely days of sunshine here in Cornwall this week, and with the days drawing out and daffodils blooming, it really feels as though spring is well and truly on its way!
This makes me very happy!

We headed down to the beach looking for "treasure" yesterday....

....and we were not disappointed! (Poor Steve, you cant really see from the picture, but he has 2 industrial sized buckets filled with little bits of driftwood over his shoulders, as well as the longer planks he is carrying - what a star!)

We found this big chunk of hardwood (maybe oak?) which is really heavy and quite an irregular shape. Steve wanted to keep it as a bookend....but then I had other ideas!