Luscious Lace and a Spot of Ooozing with Friendly Plastic
I know, I know, it is a whole week since the last JM show and I have only now got around to sharing the images and doing a post about it, sorry, sorry, sorry. As it is for most people, this time of year is supremely busy, not just on the creative front, but also at home, and business-wise too. I think you have to be superhuman to stay on top of everything all the time, and I am certainly not that. Organisation and saying “No” to things does not come easily to me, but hey, it’s good that we are all different, and there is a bit of chaos in this world!
Without further ado, here are the images of the pieces I made for the JM show on 17th November starting with my wrestles with Memory Wire. This stuff has a mind of its own, and you need to be forceful to bend it to your will. However it does make great shapes when you do. this necklace was made from one continuous piece of Memory wire curled into loops which got filled with Friendly Plastic.
Memory wire comes as coils in a Slinky-like affair in three sizes – one for rings, one for bracelets and one for necklaces. The pendant below was made using the bracelet size coil pulled out and kinked into submission and then curled in on itself to form a flower shape vaguely reminiscent of a Charles Renee Mackintosh rose. It is essential to loop the ends of the wire and hook them into place to stabilise the design, it is in tension and will spring apart if you don’t do this. I chose to fill in only some of the shapes with Friendly Plastic – roll it into a bead and squish it out to fill in the space, trying to make it grip the wire evenly so that equal amounts of Friendly Plastic are above it and below it.
I almost forgot to say that I coloured the memory wire with Alcohol inks, and the smaller circles you can see are made from the ring sized memory wire cut into, effectively split rings.
There was an awful lot of lace panels in the kits that were sent to me, and my eyes nearly popped out when I saw the colours – vivid, scorching, almost neon pink along with some very full on gold in one kit, and then slightly more subdued and manageable silver and navy blue in the second kit. After putting on my sunglasses and taking a paracetamol I tackled the pink lace first: all I can say is thank goodness for Alcohol Inks!
First thing to do was to cut up some of the lace into more manageable pieces, smaller bits of neon pink were not quite so hard on the eyes. Next I put the little flowers onto a piece of aluminium foil and dropped some alcohol inks onto them. A quick squirt of Blending Solution and then they were wrapped tightly in the foil and finger pressed together. I let mine dry in the foil, but it does not really matter, just as long as they are totally dry before you do anything else to them.
Small circles of soft Friendly Plastic were forced through the centre of the flowers using my Oooze technique, and I used a little teaspoon measuring spoon to help shape them into little cups. Each one is attached to the wire coils using another piece of soft Friendly Plastic from behind. A soldering iron or the little “flame thrower” of a barbecue lighter work well for heating just the bits that need to be joined.These earrings were made in a similar way except I did not shape them in the measuring spoon, but stitched two back to back around a bead.
Having tackled and prevailed with the small bits of neon pink, I felt brave enough to try something bigger. Donning my very darkest pair of sunglasses and with a gin and tonic close by (for medicinal purposes only of course!), I doused one of the larger collar pieces of lace in Alcohol inks just as before. If you want to be a bit more precise, then don’t use the blending solution, and just place the inks exactly where you want them and they will bleed gently into each other.
Anyone who has tried my Oooze technique will know that Ooozing over a large area is tricky. I chose to Oooze in sections. This meant that I could place colour where I wanted it to be – Orange Copper Friendly Plastic behind the some of the flower shapes, and Stripe in other places. The trick is to use the lace as a template and scratch shape into the surface of the Friendly Plastic, cut it out and then Oooze just the right shape to fit into the space. Good strong aluminium foil is necessary for this technique, wimpy cheapo stuff will not cut the mustard and your fingers will forever be going through it.
Phew! The sunglasses came off and I tackled the Gold Lace motifs. The colour was still just a bit too brassy for me, so Alcohol Inks came to the rescue again for the demi cuff bracelet below. A kebab stick is really handy to help you press the lace into the warm Friendly Plastic from above before pushing from below to force as much Friendly Plastic through the holes in the lace as possible. The cabochon was added by surrounding it with Friendly Plastic and then deploying my soldering iron to spot weld the cabochon to the cuff.
This was the mask that I demonstrated in outline how to make live on air. It involves a little bit of Ooozing and a little bit of my Lacework technique. It is pretty quick to make, and took me only about 1 hour from start to finish, but it might take you a moment or two longer if you are not used to working with Friendly Plastic. But it is simple to do, so if you want to see how, then check out the video for the 17th November 2015 on the right hand side.
After all that lace, I did a quick demonstration of how to make the bag below using my Lacework technique and some chiffon organza. The handles are twists of Friendly Plastic.
Back to the lace again, and this mask is a little more complex. It was made from the second kit of the day and I did not use any Alcohol Inks on the lace, but I did stiffen it with Paverpol. You can see where I used the technique described earlier of Ooozing selected colours through parts of the lace panels to give distinct areas of colour. This is not a mask for first timers, but you could simplify it if you want to have a go.
This is a detail of the right hand side of the mask and yo can see a small stone set as a cabochon within Friendly Plastic, and also you can very clearly see where the Stormy Blue Friendly Plastic has Ooozed through the holes in the lace. This adds structure to the lace and will hold a mask shape very well. You can check out the video to see how I shape the mask around a polystyrene head to create the right shape. The video shows how to begin and how to mark out the eyes etc, so it should help you get going on your own masks.
The pearls and stones have been stitched on and I added a few dangly bits on the right hand side to add interest.
I hope you like the masks and the lace, and even if you didn’t manage to get any of the lace from JM, you will find a lot of motifs and panels out there on the web and in the shops. Just remember that if you want something with plenty of colour, go for a lace that is much brighter than you actually want, and tone it down with inks, paints or dyes. You will end up with something more vibrant and interesting that way, and no one else will have lace the same colour as you.
Next show is 3rd December on JM 1 – 5pm – No idea what I will be doing yet, but see you there!