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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Mixed Media Canvas For My Gran's 90th Birthday

This is a post I've been promising to get finished for an age now.

Way back in May I think it was, I suggested to the members of a cardmaking group that I go to that maybe we would all like to have a go at making a mixed media canvas. I was prompted to do this as I was unable to attend the monthly Bristol Playday and this was their planned project and I had really been looking forward to having a go. Purely selfish reasons!! I was aware that not only was it an ambitious project for us all, but also that it wouldn't get finished in just one evening so we agreed to set aside about 3 weeks to get it done.

Inspiration for my canvas was taken from this Youtube video by Gabrielle Pollacco.

The first week consisted of die cutting a load of shapes from chipboard and mountboard in readiness for the next week when we would begin in earnest.

That was when my project hit a snag. My printer started to play up and I figured it needed a new ink cartridge. So I went to the next group meeting with a very purply tinged photograph of myself and my brother and sister so that I could use it for placement in the hope that I could get another one printed in time for the next week.

The canvas was started and I added a few different pieces of patterned paper from the Basic Grey Sugared paper pad.

Some additional items were then also adhered to the canvas, including skeleton leaves, some crêpe bandage, a heart doily, some crochet lace, some jute and some of the builders' scrim cut into irregular shapes.

The crêpe bandage was adhered down, along with all the other layers, using Mod Podge. I felt like the bandage needed more glue in order for it to stay attached, but it took forever to dry!!!!

Once the Mod Podge had finally dried, I was then able to proceed by applying some homemade texture paste through a Plaid polka dot stencil and a mask diecut using the Sizzix Brick Wall decorative strip die onto the canvas, overlapping some of the elements. I also used a strip of builders' scrim as a stencil with the texture paste.

Whilst waiting for the texture paste to dry on the canvas, I then decided to prepare some silk flowers and some bottle tops ready to be used the following week. These were covered in a layer of gesso.

When the texture paste had dried, I could then add some crochet lace, a Sizzix flourish diecut and a couple of the silk flowers.  The whole thing was then covered in a layer of gesso. In retrospect, I think this should have been watered-down gesso, but you learn from your mistakes, right??

On returning to the project the next week, I was pretty pleased with the way it was looking. However, despite new ink cartridges, I was still unable to print off the photograph so I was having to try and plan it all without the photograph being attached to the canvas.

So, the first thing I did on starting on the canvas was to adhere the flowers and bottle tops to the canvas using silicon glue. I then took a selection of buttons that have been in my stash for a very long time and coated them all in gesso. I then cut small squares of the jute fabric and adhered these inside the bottle tops, mainly because some of the buttons looked a bit lost just sitting in the bottle tops, and this helped to fill them out a little. Once the jute was well stuck into the bottle tops, I could then add the buttons.

I then die cut some circle frames from cardboard using circle and scalloped circle Nestabilities dies and added these around both buttons and flowers on the canvas.

Once the glue had set on all of the embellishments, a layer of gesso was added over all of the embellishments and diecuts that had been added.

When the gesso was dry, then I could start on the fun part........adding some colour.

I started by mixing some of the pink acrylic paint that I had (Artiste Tea Pink) with some water in a misting bottle with a small amount of the Artiste Pearl Medium paint. However, when I sprayed this onto the canvas, it hardly showed up as it was so pale. So, I added some of the Artiste Dusky Pink acrylic paint to the bottle and this gave a much better effect.

Once I was happy with the coverage of the pink paint, I then added some of the Burnt Umber paint from the same range into the mister bottle and oversprayed the canvas with that.

I was pretty pleased with the effect, but, that, unfortunately is how my canvas remained until the start of August. The printer was still out of action, despite my varied efforts to try and get it to work. After I gave up on that as a bad job, we then had to wait until after my in-laws had been for their annual visit to go and purchase a new one. On top of that, it was now only four days until we were due to go to the Midlands to celebrate my gran's 90th birthday with the whole family who were travelling from all corners of the globe and the country to help her celebrate.

So, with a new printer to try and learn how to use, after a couple of aborted attempts to print the photograph out, I succeeded and proceeded to attempt to finish my gran's canvas.

The first thing I did was to add the photograph. However, that was not as straightforward as it should have been. The photograph would have to lay over one of the diecut shapes and silk flowers that I had already affixed to the canvas, so I had to find a way to add the photograph but raise it up. I decided to cut a piece of mount board to the size of the photograph, but just a shade smaller so it wouldn't be seen, and then trim off the corners so that it would fit around the embellishments. The photograph was adhered to the mount board and was finally added to the canvas.

To draw attention to the photograph, I also added some die cut photo corners and a decorative border. To do this with the dies I have, I cut several layers of the same die and glued them together to create a sort of faux chipboard.

Whilst that was drying, I then decided I needed a few more diecuts to add around both the photograph and the edges of the canvas. I used some Sizzix Sizzlits dies and some XCut dies, creating the faux chipboard shapes. Once the shapes had been created, they were each coated in gesso and then sprayed with the Burnt Umber, Tea Pink and Pearl Medium paint mixture.

Cream pearl brads by Papermania were then added to the larger Sizzix latch die cuts and all the shapes added to the canvas, including a second Sizzix Flourish diecut. Some pink paper flowers from my stash were also added.

The next stage was to add some definition around all of the embellishments, so some of the watered-down Burnt Umber and Tea Pink acrylic was painted around the embellishments. Then another coat of the gesso was added to the embellishments so they would stand out a bit more. Some of the pink acrylic was added to some of the elements, and some metallic rub-ons were added to some of the chipboard shapes.

The next stage was to paint some of the small cotton spools by Bare Basics that I had in my stash from an earlier project with gesso and then to wrap them with some pink embroidery threads. These were then adhered to the canvas, as were a selection of pearls from Kort & Godt and Say It In Crystals. Also added was a key charm from an old HOTP kit I had. I added it using a jump ring and some of the pink embroidery thread.

The final step was to decide on a sentiment. As I hoped that this would be displayed permanently, I didn't want anything too 'birthday related' to be on it, and originally I was going to add a banner die with the words ;With Love' on it. But, once I had made it, the words weren't particularly clear, so I had to have a rethink. That's when I remembered all the word tiles that I had in an old K&Co embellishment kit that I've never used!! And I managed to find two that were perfect. Us and You.

To complete the sentiment, I used my mft small lower case alphabet die set to die cut 'from' and 'to' from medium weight card. The letters were painted with gesso and the Burnt Umber acrylic paint. The chipboard word embellishments were originally just slightly the wrong colours for the project, so I added a thin coat of gesso to them and then sprayed them with the brown acrylic paint mix used on the rest of the diecut embellishments. This helped to tie them in with the rest of the project. The letter die cuts and the edges of the chipboard word embellishments were then embellished using the metallic rub-ons.

And so here is the completed canvas in all its glory.

Thankfully, my gran really seemed to really like it, which was a big relief. My brother also seemed to like it, as I had told him earlier that I had signed the card on the gift from all three of us, but not told him what the gift actually was. (Unfortunately, my sister was unable to fly over from Spain as this is the busiest time of year for her in her shop).

And, everyone else there seemed to like it as well, and my aunt insisted on taking down one of my gran's pictures on the wall and putting it up for all to see. I've just got to pray now that bits don't start dropping off!!!!


Julie Selby said...

Stunning Kathleen, love the detailed account too! x

sandra flynn said...

wow that is amazing Kathleen ... just love it and I am sure it will remain a family treasure ... well done ... you have inspired me ... would like to do something similar with bits from my dear Mum (rip) will let you know if I ever manage it lol ... have a great bank holiday weekend ... happy crafting and love sandy xx

Wendy L said...

Well worth the effort Kathleen, so beautiful, xxxx

Sandra H said...

Simply gorgeous! x

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