Friday, 26 June 2015

Studio eye candy...

...abounds, so even when I'm tight for play time in the studio, I can always find colour and pattern that gives me joy.

Alcohol ink-painted wallpaper

Signature in process

Tag background

Background for journal page

Painting in progress - textured edge
Dried leaf mandala from my stash

Another background for a journal page

Fun foam stamp being created for a YouTube tutorial
 I've often been accused of channeling a bumblebee, because  I get up close and personal with my photos.  What do you find in your studio when you cast your eyes around?  Are you a big picture type, or a close-up fanatic?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lucky, lucky, lucky...

. . . should be my middle name.

I'd been patiently (and if you believe that....) waiting for a tag exchange envelope from my good on-line friend Sherie.  We were matched up for May's tag exchange where the theme was 'Growing'; Sherie mailed it to me on May 15, but when June 8 rolled around and Canada Post still hadn't come through, she kindly sent me another.

I arrived home from a short trip to Alberta to find TWO parcels from Sherie - how could they be mailed three weeks apart and arrive on the same day?  Lucky, lucky, lucky!

The contents were amazing, from one tag

to another (back)


to another (closed)


 (full back).

There were lovely papers,

including commercial, deli,

 stamped and painted (and even some tape)

 along with napkins and another tag (look at the gorgeous stitching and wonderful colour on this one),

 another napkin

 and even some wallpaper.

And here's what knocked my socks off - some real ones that Sherie had personalized for me with her fabulous script and embellishment!  How did she know I have a reputation for wild and wonderful socks to uphold?

This glue gun stencil had me smiling, especially next to the wacky lady stamped on the deli paper.  I think she kind of looks like me, don't you?

Check out this fabulous digital piece that she created especially for the trade...I just love the contrast between the sedate ladies in the top left 'audience' and the flamboyant gals on stage!

So thank you Sherie, for such wonderful know they'll all be put to good use!

And as if that weren't enough 'lucky' in my life, I came home from Alberta with several boxes of mixed media goodies from Alice Saltiel and her husband Bill. That's a post for another day, though, since I inadvertently put most of them in my stash, forgetting to photograph them.  I couldn't possibly show them all, of course, since they pretty much filled up our vehicle, but I repeat - lucky, lucky, lucky to have such amazing friends.

Friday, 19 June 2015

It's done...

...and set in stone.  Well, it's set in concrete, really.  The table top is not only finished and polished to a lovely gloss, it's installed in the Puffin Design studio where I can use it to the max.  The best part? It's near twice the size of the table in my home studio, so I'm seriously thinking of moving in permanently.  Is it illegal to live in a gallery?


Here's some fun facts for you about creating a concrete table top:

A finished top this size weighs about 150 pounds and will ultimately carry more than that, I suspect.  You can see I've already got a good start on loading it up.

Before it could be used, Bart peeled the plastic off - it was there to assist the chemical process which hardens the concrete.  Here you can see the water condensation as it evaporates from the concrete.

Bart removed the forms from the edges of the drying table top and

we flipped it over (well, I felt like I was helping) to find this stormy scene.

It takes many polishes, starting (in this case) with 100 grip sandpaper, then 200, etc.

It takes 28 days for the concrete to cure before it can be sealed.  I suspect that I'll have it sealed with gel medium long before that time is up.

The sanded top is a study in texture and pattern.

I wonder how I will learn to tear my eyes away from the top and actually get to work!  If you're in town, please stop in and have a look - 137 15 Ave. N, Creston, BC.  I promise I'll stop ogling it long enough to say hello.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Summer studio time...

in a heat wave certainly gets me working in cooler colour.  I've finished some pieces this week and I'm smiling at the distinct lack of heat in them.  That's very unusual for me, as you know.

I created a textured canvas background for a 7" x 5" piece that I'd made on a wood panel, and now I'll call this done.

'We Stand Together' 14 x 11" mixed media on gallery wrap canvas © Win Dinn
I've  also finished a commission for a local business here.  Photographing a work that is so metallic in composition is beyond challenging (never mind getting it square!), so I hope you can get a sense of the muted colour scheme - soft lilac, rust, brass, gold, and burnt orange. The business is Gold N Treasures, and they specialize in all sorts of wonderful things for gold panning, rock hounding and even beading.  It's no surprise the piece incorporates polished stones, gold nuggets and nuts and bolts.

'Gold N Treasures'  11 x 14" mixed media on cradled wood panel  © Win Dinn
This glass does have a touch of heat, with the red bouncing off the dark pewter background.

'A Toast in Red' 9.5" x 2" altered glass © Win Dinn

This piece is the first in The Summer of Colour challenge, with the palette of two blues and one green as the criteria this week.  Incorporating a host of Gelli prints on a background of paper-making texture netting, it's not done yet, but I'm enjoying the cooler tones already.

The other thing accomplished this week was a metallic board and a host of wine and beer bottle cap magnets.  Have you worked with epoxy?  This was my first  experience, and it has permanently glued all my fingers together.  You've no idea how difficult it was to key this post.

Add to all this the two visits to Legend Rock for concrete play (see previous post), and starting a new job it's been a busy one.  This means, naturally, that I deserve some time off, so we're heading to Alberta for a few days on Sunday.  When you look for my Tuesday post and can't find it, think of me visiting Alice Saltiel Marshall and wish me well.  I hope you're happy summering too!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

This picture...

is purely for colour enticement, since this is more of a 'crazy-what-the-heck-went-on-there?' post:

Keep these stones in mind, as they played a significant part in my morning.  I was up practically before dawn cracked to join Alison and Bart Bjorkman at Legend Rock Designer Concrete to watch and 'help' them pour a concrete table top for my new work station at Puffin Design Gallery.  We're in the midst of a heat wave here, and since concrete sets way too fast in 35° weather, we got an early morning head start.

The first order of business was for me to choose colours for the table top, and I decided on a red oxide and carbon black pigments on white concrete, so most of these pigments got relegated again to the back room.

From the three trays of stone (and several large jars of them stacked away on a window ledge) I chose some glass stones to complement my colour scheme.  I'd also brought a jar of crushed garnet from home that I thought might work with what I had in mind.

Meanwhile, Bart was setting up the pails needed to mix the concrete - three for the dry ingredients, and three for the wet.  

While Bart headed outside to mix the concrete (you can hardly tell he loves this job!),

Alison got me working inside, splashing raw pigment in to the form.  Since I'm so spatially challenged, it took a while for me to get that the bottom of the form was going to be the top of the table, so pigments, stones and other things one wants to see must go in first.  Of course, there's not only the issue of bottom and top, but side to side complicates things as well.  My eyes were crossing (and perhaps rolling a bit) as Bart tried to get it through to me, with little success.  I may have seen his eyes rolling there too.  

The surface, covered with pigments, crushed garnet, and three different colours of stone was a picture on its own, and soon to be completely hidden with the concrete.

Alison and I got so thoroughly occupied with glopping the concrete on top of the surface we'd created that we had no time to take photos.  We tell ourselves it was all in the interest of working while the concrete was still moist, and not that we got brain-bleeped.

After considerable glopping, patting, squishing, thumping and leveling, Alison spent some time smoothing over what I'd done (she insisted this was not the case, but I have my doubts).

Bart then did some additional leveling and smoothing with what he called butter, which is a liquid finish.  I pretended to help him for this photo.

I was thoroughly fascinated by the whole process, and when I got to play with the leftover concrete, even more so.  I made this totally stunning bowl and platter.  Can you hear me laughing uproariously?

Bart and Alison assure me that it will be very interesting which I suspect is a euphemism for 'My God, what have you done?'.   I've no doubt they're right about that.

I'm pumped that I get to go back tomorrow to see the unveiling of these pieces and watch Bart start the long process of smoothing and sanding (some 8+ separate goes at it are required to ensure a beautifully polished surface). 

I love learning how makers create things, and the whole process was fascinating in the extreme (did you know that concrete has fibre embedded in it?). What worries me is that I may have another addiction.  What if concrete bridges, buildings, and dams loom in my future, all highly pigmented and filled with precious stone?

Friday, 5 June 2015

That's it - I'm folding...

 ...books that is.  I'm on another tear, pun intended, as I ready more work for Puffin Design. This shop just recently (as in yesterday recently) opened here in Creston, and it's totally fabulous.  Because all my folded books are out at other galleries, I was in a fine folding frenzy to get one finished this week.
This book, created from a gently abused novel called 'Any Place I Hang My Hat' by Susan Isaacs (a delightful read if you've not been there yet), is truly organic,
 with nooks and crannies,

 and an asymmetrical feel.

I love how it turned out.  Usually when I do a book folding, the most frequent question is 'How long does it take you?'  Until now, I've never timed the process to be able to answer with any accuracy, but this time I can.  From start to finish, including folding and curling, this piece took five and one half hours.  Now you know!
'Any Place' folded book  © Win Dinn
It's been a week of happy things, including this wonderful hand-crafted postcard from a Google+ friend, Pam Wildeboer, who is a wonderful mixed media artist.

Not only was there a postcard, but a stamped piece of deli paper, a fun envelope in one of my fave colours, and an extra sheet of deli paper on which to play.  How did you know I'd run out, Pam?

In a week of goodies, I have to tell you that the icing on the cake is getting settled as the gallery associate at Puffin Design.  Not only do I have a wonderful new place to share my work, I get to connect with interior designers, artists, tourists and townspeople on a regular basis.  Can you see my happy dance from where you are now?

Puffin Design - open three days a week, Thursday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm at 137 - 15 Ave. N, Creston, BC.  If I'm not there, you'll find the owners, Alison and Bart, so make sure to say hi and block some significant amount of time for viewing - you're going to love it.
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