Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Officer, I Swear, The Cards Have Been Drinking, Not Me

The weather's getting colder--and then warmer, colder, and back to 70 degrees again, apparently--and my delight for hot apple cider has been replaced with the challenge of making my way through a surplus of wine donations left over from the Fiesta.

While I was perusing my various craft haunts a while back, I stumbled upon a tutorial on kitchen colourants, and fell in love with the idea of painting with wine or tea (because I'm English, and coffee is "Icky"). As I had no project in mind, and no watercolour paper, it got pushed aside, but I kept it in the back of my mind for weeks. Then, while brainstorming unconventional cards for a few holiday orders last night, something (a pigeon in the dark, perhaps) brought shadow puppets into my mind, and with them, the idea of painting a shadow with wine.

With the prospect of a fierce, dark red stain, I immediately wanted to explore the logistics of painting a wolf. I spent some time researching how to make the shadow with your hands, and what the hands looks like, and from there decided how I wanted to place the two aspects in regard to each other. When I was happy with the size and shape of image I was going to use, I made it into a template--to be traced--so that each of the prints/cards would follow the same proportions.

One of the many things I aspire to have in my pipe dream of a studio space is a light box. As you can see, this stylishly improvised contraption is yes, usable, but not exactly what I would consider a replacement for the real thing: a flashlight and a clear acrylic display box that I--rescued? Salvaged?-- hoarded from a local Bath & Body Works remodeling a few years ago. It is decently effective with all the lights off, though, so I'll continue to save that spend for the future. You might also note that I did indeed upgrade from a mirror to a mat for cutting, so I am slowly moving up in the world.

With a "One for you, one for me; one for you, two for me . . ." kind of enthusiasm, I poured myself an extra glass of (classy) Charles Shaw Shiraz, and got to painting.

I also created a rough template for the shadow using the images I had found while researching, and some thicker card and played around with several weights and textures of paper before really starting. The smooth card-stock had all kinds of issues absorbing the liquid and came out worse-for-ware, so I'd definitely recommend using a textured (white) stock, no lighter than the weight of a greeting card.

Retrospectively, a template made out of something waterproof, like plastic, may have worked better, but I didn't find that I was using a wet enough brush to cause any excess wine to seep from the card onto the surface of the card-stock. Just something to keep an eye on.

Overall, this project was amazing. Everything went as smoothly as I could have imagined, it was delicious, and in one evening I created some of the best work I've done, from start to finish. Try it out, really. Or, better yet, shoot me an email and buy some! I'm going to do them in small runs, I think; each featuring it's series number (i.e. 1 of  8) and specific wine on the back.

When I stop jumping for joy, I'll take and upload a better product shot, but you certainly get the idea of how the experiment went.

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