Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holidays! Vintage! More Glue talk!

I’m wishing you all a most lovely holiday time – Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Saturnalia and we can all join in together for Happy New Year. We’ve just come through a blizzard here and today we are finally dug out but not yet on the road. Snow and/or icy rain is predicted for Christmas Eve and Day, so perhaps our celebration get-together will find another day besides the 25th to come into being. I wasn’t going to make gifts this year but got inspired to make one and – not too surprisingly – found myself making several. Now, of course, I can’t reveal any of these treasures today, but they might show up next time.

I did, though, complete the last two pieces of my vintage mood pieces. The Woolworth box is a kind of companion to the diner box. The box is decoupaged with images of vintage Woolworths. The image inside the lid is a Woolworth lunch counter. A old-time Woolworth lunch menu adorns one side. The luncheonette sign on the other. I was very pleased when I found the 7” Coke bottle. It went so well with the ‘Irvin’ doll, who I found on ebay and was actually listed as an Irvin doll, which pleased me immensely. By the way, if you are drawn to vintage 5&10 toys and dolls, check out The Old Curiosity Shop on ebay They are a husband and wife e-store that caters to the lovers of unusual and fun items that tend to bring back memories of days gone by. They have items such as old novelty toys, toys comics, books to who knows what and I’ve bought several batches of dolls from them.

Mz Kodak is an altered doll with a wonderful porcelain miniature camera teapot as her head. The photos embellishing her skirt are vintage photos, including those of my family and friends, printed onto fabric. I used the Vintage Workshop printable linen fabric sheets for inject printers. Their website offers supplies, images and how-to’s.

I especially liked the roll of film on the base. I’ve been digital for years now, I wasn’t sure you could just go and buy film at the drug store anymore. But you can and Kodak still uses the wonderful bright yellow can. Film strips also adorn the skirt and pops out of the head with flowers.

I got some nice feedback on my glue hints. Thanks especially to Deborah. Here’s another specialty glue that is an essential in my studio. It’s Judikin’s Diamond Glaze glue. This is a dimensional adhesive that dries to a clear glass-like finish. It securely holds embossed plastic, glass, beads, glitter, Vellum and many other mediums. It can be used directly over artwork for a raised finish or thinned with water for a lacquer-like finish. Unlike other clear adhesive it is mixable with dye-base inks, watercolors and pearlescent pigments to create custom colors. I find the best deal on this glue online at Create For Less, a trove of all sorts of supplies.

I use Diamond Glaze primarily in two ways. The applicator has a nice narrow tip. I drawn ‘lines’ of glue and then sprinkle micro-beads or glitter to make details. The beaded detail on Mz Kodak’s left shoulder uses this technique. This gives you a lot of control with your beading and the glue really grips the beads. Keep the piece flat until it begins to dry or the glue will continue to flow. Of course, these ‘mistakes’ may give you an effect you like. If you really don’t like it, you can wipe it off and repaint the area.

The second way is to use it as a high-glaze decoupage finish. I typically pour the Diamond Glaze over the area I want to glaze, using enough glue and tilting the piece so the glue flows. I am doing this to avoid brush strokes in the ‘glaze’. Sometimes air bubbles appear, which I simply piece with a toothpick or straight pin. You can lightly brush an area to help the flow, but I find it works best with the pour and flow technique. The Crystalline torso here is a great example of this technique. Here I also used the Diamond Glaze to hold the ‘crystals’ on the crown of the image, which are actually pieces of windshield glass. Windshield glass, by the way, makes wonderful crystal-like embellishments. I have a cache I found in the street [fortunately, not my accident]. But you could check out places who replace windshields to get a supply. I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of helping an artist.

And one last gluing technique. When using Liquid Nails, to apply pressure to insure a solid adhesion, I use medium weight removable painters masking tape. This works on flat and vertical surfaces, such as gluing on a teapot for a head. If the item is heavy, like the teapot, I usually will brace it from behind with a taller object or against the wall etc. When I glue something on an unusual surface, I often place a one pound bag of rice over the object. Yes, rice! The rice conforms to the shape and the weight ads pressure. You can also use the bag of rice to brace things.

Merry Merry. Happy Happy. Bye now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Recently I had some emails in my in-box. One was a wonderful shout-out from Heart Woman who not only shared that she liked the work on Altered E but connected with how the sensibility of the work that I feel. My little city in the Shenandoah Valley is not a very congruent place for my altered art, so I’ve made my home on the web and it’s always special when someone ‘out there’ finds and appreciates and takes the time to share.

Another email came from an assemblage artist asking my recommendation for glue.
As you can imagine GLUE is a big factor in bringing together and keeping together all the odds and ends of an assemblage. I’ve tried a slew of glues over time.

My essential and singular glue now and for the past 5 years is Liquid Nails Small Project glue. There are many other Liquid Nails, includi
ng construction grade glues but verifying that it’s ‘small project’ is important because it dries clear. Oddly, I have yet to find this glue at craft stores. I buy it at Home Depot, Lowes or WalMart. I not only use this for all the assemblage pieces but have used it to add embellishments to fabric, canvas board and more.

Small dabs will hold well. This is not a fast drying glue. Position and leave it alone. It will do a first ‘set’ in an hour or so but be sure to let the piece ‘cure’ over-night for the fullest adhesion. Typically, I glue all the pieces I can [those which can easily fit next to and with each other] in one sitting. Then I either work on another piece or go away. Yep, I often have to just get myself out of the studio so I don’t touch the work.

If you get the glue on your fingers
or on the piece where you don’t want it, regular petroleum jelly will remove it. On a piece, I usually apply a bit with a q-tip and then use the other side of the q-tip to remove the glue or a piece of paper towel. On your hands, rub it on and wipe off with a paper towel.

For paper collage, decoupage and paper embellishments, my other essential glue is actually not designated as a glue. I use artist-quality acrylic Super Heavy Gel Medium. This product is meant to be used with acrylic paints to add body. I use it for that at times, but I primarily use this as my main paper glue. It’s great on flat paper as in collage but equally great in adding paper to a curved box, such as the diner box. I apply with a brush.

On flat surfaces, you can ‘burnish’ the applied piece by placing a sheet of paper over it and rubbing with a popsicle stick. You can buy paper burnishing tools. I use a wooden clay tool to burnish and I use the waxed paper from used label sheets to put over the image. Wax paper also works well, Clean up with water like other acrylic paints.

Thanks for the inspiration to talk on glue.
I haven’t shared techniques much in the blog but am most happy to reply to your emails and share in a post.