A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Part 6 - It's Hot Hot Hot

And yes.....I COULD be referring to the weather.  Hot...humid...yucky...

BUT...I'm still talking about metal!

Here is the last part.  And then I set it on fire!  Seems sooooo appropriate for this blog anyway!  HAD to do it ya know.

Now....this is NOT a total tutorial or even a full demo.  You really need to see it in motion and I couldn't do that.  However, I will show you some things I've been playing with.  There are videos out there that give you detailed instructions if it looks like something you would like to try out.  Hopefully these photos will inspire you to give it a go!

On this one I have NO claim to totally know what I'm doing. Some of my stuff does NOT turn out like on the video. For one thing I don't have ALL the tools but I do have enough to enjoy playing.

Here is a photo of the supplies I used for this short intro.

The propane tank* with the attachable nozzle (aka...the FIRE)
Tin snips (for the heavier gauge wire and metal sheets)
Metal sheets
Metal wire
Steel dapping block (the cube with the cup shapes in it)
Other assorted metal bits to play with
Needle Nose pliers
Bucket of water

Now for the caveat - CAUTION!! You are playing with fire! These pieces get HOT so be sure you hold them with the pliers while heating them and dip them in the bucket of water before you touch them!

* - This propane tank is tall and I would have preferred the shorter and fatter one because it is more stable.  However, this one came with the nozzle as a kit so it will do for now.

First, I found a pair of metal earrings at the thrift store.  Well...I HAD to burn them ya know!

Here is the results after dipping them in the water.  They are beside the other earring which is still in its original form.  The heated one is on the left. Don't you just LOVE the colors that come through?

Setting these metals on fire is like an instant patina.  Here is a circle I cut from a copper sheet and then roughly formed in the steel dapping block.  The other thing in this photo is a square of solid formica I use for an anvil.

Next I tried out some patterned copper sheets I found online. 

Tried to give you a photo without the glare so you could better see the coloration.

I also heated some wire and with a hammer on the "anvil" hammered the tip of it after dipping it in the water.  I turned the end with my needle nose pliers. I folded a sheet of metal mesh "fabric" and I'm thinking along the lines of a fern-ish thingie.

 My almost 6-year old granddaughter was in the studio with me when I was doing this part. She was watching me "fire" tons of stuff.  And...like the budding artist she is...asked the question I taught her was one of the most important to any artist - "I wonder what would happen if..."   She wanted to know what the metal mesh would look like if I put that in the fire.  So....absolutely!  Let's find out!

TOTALLY love it!!!  She's going to be an amazing artist as she gets older!

Here are just a few other bits I tried out with varying degrees of success.

Some wire mesh from the plumbing department. Not beautiful but could find a place...depending on what you are going for. 

Some medium gauge copper sheet.

On the left in this photo is a bit of the patterned aluminium peel off cover of my baby granddaughter's formula can.  You have to go REALLY slow with this one as it can burn out of existence in a second!

On the right is a piece of copper door insulation thingie. Sorry for the "technical" description but I got a box of the stuff on FreeCycle so I'm not sure exactly what to call it.  I set it on fire and then bent it after dipping it in the water.  It has potential and I will DEFINITELY be using this stuff further in this technique.

So, as you can see...there are a gazillion ways to go with this burned metal technique!  I've only just begun!

I hope you have all enjoyed this journey playing with metal and ways to manipulate it and transform it to use in your art work.  I had a blast putting it together for you.

Hopefully you will do some metal work yourself and be sure to let me see it when you do!!!  Here is my e-mail:  kelly@kellylhendrickson.com

I've had so much fun...hope you have as well.  Hope you are inspired to become "metal workers"!

Monday, August 26, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Pt 5 cont.

Now you have your as-flat-as-possible rectangle of aluminium can.

While there are many directions to go from here, for this demo we are going to use alcohol inks.  I'm sure most of you have used these before but just for the sake of the demo I'll be giving the basic instructions.  Now....I was having so much fun I did forget to make a process photo but I think the written instructions will be clear enough when you see the results photo anyway.

can rectangle
alcohol inks
compressed air
ink applicator tool and felt

Step 1 - Dropping In

Again - you probably have your own technique for applying alcohol inks but here's what I did.  

I applied drops and sometimes short lines of the alcohol inks in the colors I chose onto the aluminium can rectangle.  After each drop (or at least before they dry) I sprayed them with the compressed air which feathers them beautifully. Do this until you get the look you want.

Step 2 - Stamping On It

I put the felt pad onto the applicator tool (the one that looks like a rubber stamp but with the velcro-like surface that holds the felt).  In just one corner I put several drops of one of the colors I am working with.  I then "stamp" this in various spots on the rectangle and let the magic happen.  Then I do the same with the other color(s). Just enough to make an interesting textured look.

And here is what it looks like

Now...you remember the copper sheet that we cut into strips to weave into the textured copper sheet?  Well since we didn't use them all....and they were still on my work island begging not to be forgotten...I grabbed some "brown" colors of alcohol ink and played with them for a bit.  I just dropped some on and then dabbed it with the applicator to mix them up and blend them.  And so I have:

And here is a close-up so you can tell a little bit more how they look.  I used the same felt pad so I had some of the blue-green ink still on there.  I love the way it added a bit of a verdigris effect!

OK so now what.  While I have not decided on a FINAL design, I did audition several of my fabrics with each of these bits and have now set aside these pieces for future creations.  

I have a piece of sun print which I did years ago (can you see the little fish shapes in the "water"?  And a piece of hand-dyed purple (of course).  Right now in my head is floating around something about a reef.....  We'll see.

And for the copper strips...I had a piece of  hand-dyed turquoise (and some other color which I have no idea what it was) along with bits of African bark cloth.  I think it has great potential!!  Keep hearing "Rift Valley" in my head......

Now one little bonus bit.....

You can also paint this can rectangle with acrylics.  One other prep step though is to lightly sand the aluminium to create a "tooth" to the surface.  I did this experiment a while ago and it will end up in something someday.  I painted the aluminium can and then cut out the shape I wanted.  ALSO...as you can see...you can stitch through it on your sewing machine with ease!!  I just suggest going a bit slower than usual as you are rubbing the thread against bare metal.  But it really was quite easy!! After sewing it on, I also painted the fabric with the same acrylics.

I hope you enjoyed your trip down "Tin Can Alley" and at least gleaned an inspiration or an idea along the way.

I'll let you play for a day or so with your cans. Then we will hit the last installment of this series.  Things are going to heat up!  

See you in a couple of days!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Part 5 - Tin Can Alley

Ok...so it's not REALLY tin...but aluminium.  However, Aluminium Can Alley just didn't have the "ring" to it.

Just in time for the weekend!!  Want a project for the next few days?  How about gathering up a few (or a bunch) of those aluminium beverage cans???

I'll get you started and then we will make 'em all beautiful the first of next week!

Metal part 5 - Tin Can Alley

Aluminium beverage cans
Heavy duty scissors ("not for fabric" ones)
Cutting Mat
Non-Fabric Rotary Cutter (the one with the duller blade you use for paper, etc.)
Cutting Ruler

After you have gathered up several aluminium beverage cans, wash them thoroughly and let them drain dry. Or...if you are like me and have absolutely NO patience.  You can begin working with them a bit wet. Here's the one I'm working with for this demo. (We don't drink canned beverages but thankfully, I have a neighbor whose kids have their share. They kindly donated theirs to this project.)

Main instruction for this project...

BE  VERY  CAREFUL!!!  These cans are thin metal and can be quite sharp. You probably should work with leather gloves on. (I can't work like that but then...I have the cuts to prove it.)

Now with that said...on to the fun part.

Step 1 - Off The Top (and bottom)

You need to cut off the ends of the cans. I use an old but very sturdy pair of scissors. I don't think they will cut paper even any more but they are great for cans and other metal!

First poke the end of the scissors into the can just under the curve of the top.

The cut all the way around to remove the top of the can.  Or you can use your scissors as a "saw" to go around the can.  Until the last bit which is easier to remove by cutting it off with the scissors used the way they were meant to be used.  ;-)

Now do the same to remove the bottom of the can. You will end up with three pieces.  Two ends and a metal "tube"

Step 2 - Open Wide

For now we will just be dealing with the body of the can (the "tube" part).
Next, cut down the length of the "tube" to open it up. Lay it out as flat as you can on a cutting mat.  Again - BE CAREFUL!!! There are burrs on the edges and they can really poke you!

Now to make it a bit safer to work with, cut off the burred edges. I want a straight line for this piece so I use my non-fabric rotary cutter to remove the rough edges. I suggest you throw them in the garbage right away. It is NOT fun to find them in a pile of various bit later on.  It can be a painful surprise!

Step 3 - Flat as a Pancake

The final step in this preparation is to try to flatten it out more but without creasing it.  I use a "fat" glue stick and wrap it around the opposite way from it's now natural bend.  Then secure it with a rubber band.  Leave it wrapped like this until it flattens out as much as it can without curling in the opposite direction too much.

For the work we are going to do with this the beginning of next week, we need it as flat as possible.

So, go off an gather your aluminium can while you may.  You might want to prep several for next week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Yep...under the heading of Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.....

(although it DOES make me wonder just what plans mice do make......)

Anyway, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to change the post date for the next part of (not so) Heavy Metal.  I am hoping to get it up tomorrow.  After that, I won't be around until Monday.

Just didn't want you guys to think I went missing or something....abducted by aliens or the like.

Thanks!  Later then....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Pt 4 cont.

Now that we have the bases done, it is time to add all kinds of embellishments to them.  We'll take them in the order posted yesterday.

First is the candy wrapper one. I took the bits I had adhered yesterday, then added some textile, and an antique button hook. I hand stitched the couching to hold the button hook on. I chose a metallic reddish-pink to bring out the same color in the candy wrapper.

Next is the candy box foil lining. I took the blue fabric (a piece of silk organza I had done some clamp shibori on during a symposium) and stitched it on to make it more like two squared.  Then I hand couched on some of those capiz shells to make the piece look like a domino.

Now for the accordion folded piece. I had some sage that has been in my studio for several years.  I wanted to have the juxtaposition of the organic with the metallic. The sage is hand couched to the foil accordion.

And last but not least...The woven piece.  I chose some of my fabric and wove that in with the metal foil strips.  It needed something else.  So I got out some of the belly button rings (something else that has been in the studio for some time). I had three red ones so I put them into the metal foil. Three of them are down the middle of the piece. Difficult to see too well because of the reflection with the camera flash.  Then I attached the piece to some African bark cloth with adhesive spray and secured the whole thing by twisting the fabric strips on each end with metallic eyelets.

The three pieces mounted on the bark cloth will eventually be parts of one work. Perhaps I'll even have it done by the end of the month so I can show you.

So it just took a bit of auditioning different bits and figuring out the best way to adhere them.

Oh and here is a woven bit I did previously. It also has copper wire and metallic paper woven into it.  It will be in a piece all its own later.  And the blue one,  "The Domino Effect' will be a major part of its own piece as well.

So, that is what it is like to be Foiling Around with metallic foils.  The weekend is coming up so I'll give you that time to play around with these inspirations to get your creative juices flowing. I will be checking in on the blog so please leave comments or questions.  I'll answer them as soon as I possible can.

Next week we'll be looking at another fun way to be creative with metal in your art work.  It's really HOT so don't miss it!

Hope you are having fun!

Friday, August 16, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Part 4 - Foiling Around

YEAH! Here we go on Part 4 and it's halfway through the month. Still lots of time for fun ahead!

Metal part 4 - Foiling Around

Did you save some candy wrappers?  Some foil liners on candy boxes? Or you can use the foils that are available for purchase at craft stores.  I'm using both just so you can see that you don't HAVE to spend money to get some metal!

Today I'm going to show you the beginning of some small pieces that I will later decide how to use.  One I did a while ago, kept it in a safe box so it wouldn't get messed up....but you will see that one when I show the completed steps on all of these pieces.

So let's get started.

First, pull together the foil bits you want to play with. I have some aluminium foil, come candy wrapper and some foil candy box lining, some copper foil sheets from the craft store.

Now let's see what we can do with them.

I'll take a couple of the candy wrappers first.  The background one I left whole but I did hit it with a heat gun just to scrunch it a bit. The others I tore by hand because I didn't want straight edges. Then I just put them down where I thought looked cool.  For these very light weight foils, glue sticks seem to hold quite well.

Now for a larger piece from the lining of a candy box. It was a more-or-less  rectangle with two bits that looked like little wings. I crinkled up the "wings" and here is what it is so far.

The next two pieces I used the metallic foils available at craft stores. These are just a smidge heavier than the other foils used above. They are easier to manipulate without tearing.  But you still have to be gentle because they also will tear if you want (or don't want) them to.

First, I just took a rectangle of the heavier metallic foil and folded it in an accordion style. (Hope you can tell that from this photo)

The next piece will be woven so we will prepare for that today.  This is just like weaving fabric or about anything else I suppose.  The difference I made in this one is that I didn't cut it all the way through to the bottom. I left solid borders on both ends and I will weave stuff into the middle slit.

Because I want a difference in texture between the base and the strips, I took my small hammer and with the rounded end, tapped dents into the back side of the base piece. The strips I left smooth. For this photo, I left some of the base piece un-dimpled so you can see the effect.

Now you have some ideas and I KNOW you can come up with some more of your own.  Tomorrow I will show you what I did for the next step on all these pieces.  So don't forget to drop in tomorrow!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Pt 3 cont.

OK...so I'm not going to post a photo of the stitched "Block Busted" because it looks exactly like the last photo from yesterday!!

But...I will post the photo of the other piece I did with this technique.

I'm currently working on a series of pieces which are textile versions of several of my own macro photos.  This one is entitled "Peeling Birch".  I've also posted a photo of this one alongside the photo that inspired it.

"Peeling Birch"
The "bendable" bark is in two places on this one

The Inspiritation

So I hope you all enjoyed this excursion into the world of various metals.  I'm going to give you a few days to play.  I'll be back for more fun on Tuesday!! I'll be checking the blog for comments and/or questions so comment/ask away!!

Just a word for the future (well at least in the future of this month)...you might want to be gathering foil candy wrappers.....  OK..I KNOW that will be a HUGE sacrifice for so many of you.  But I have faith in you.  I KNOW you can eat those chocolates and other candies for the sake of your art!  

Till Tuesday then.....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Pt 3

Hope you are all playing hard with all your metal bits!  Post here when you are even in process. We all love to see a plan come together!  (showing my age with an "A Team" reference!)

Metal part 3 - Bend Me, Shape Me

(sheesh - again with an oldie goldie reference...must be feeling young today. Drifting back to my youth!)

This is a really fun and useful technique a friend told me about. I used it first on another project that I'll show you tomorrow.  Was going to use the process photos from that but....they were no where to be found!  ARGH!!

So I just started from scratch. Which works out well for me anyway because I have a piece to do for another group with the challenge title of "Breaking Through".  You'll soon see why that is appropriate and VERY workable for this technique demo.  Now...there seem to be a LOT of steps to this one but that is because I really broke them down and have photos with them.  All in all...including the photography time...this process only took me about 45 minutes to get to the end of the part I'll finish with today.  Don't be scared!! It is so much fun!!!

Step 1 - Gather your stuff

Aluminium Foil
Spray Adhesive
Chosen Fabrics
Cutting tools for both fabric and "paper"
Fusible web (I used WonderUnder)


Step 2 - Prep the Foil

Whether you want to use regular foil or heavy duty foil will depend on what you want it to do.  A friend used this method to make leaves for a piece to make them stand out more.  That didn't need the thickness I'm wanting for this project so I used TWO layers of heavy duty foil.

I tore off twice the size I need (and then some).  Then fold it in half.  I sprayed adhesive on half of it and folded it to form one thicker piece.

Now using your "paper" scissors or rotary cutter, cut out the size you will need. This will make sense as we go along and you will be able to determine the size better when you see where we are going with this particular project. But if you are doing leaves that will be 5" long and 3" wide, I would cut a piece 6" X 4"

Now onward and upward.

Step 3 - A Metal Sandwich

Since this is going to be the "stiffener" for a double sided concept, you will need a fabric for each side. Whether it is the same or contrasting fabric is totally up to you and what your desired look is.

First iron the fusible web to ONE side of  the foil you have cut out. Then peel off the paper.

Now iron this sticky foil to THE WRONG SIDE of one of your fabrics.

Cut another piece of fusible web and adhere to the OTHER side of the FOIL. 

Now you are ready to iron that to the WRONG SIDE of your other fabric.

Sandwich complete. So you will end up with Fabric/Foil/Fabric!

Step 4 - Making the Cut

This is where (if you were doing leaves for instance) you will cut out your shape. This project is a bit different but it is still time to cut the sandwich to accomplish the desired effect.

The "back" side

The "front" side

Now I want to show you how it stands up...so now for a side shot

Step 5 - Bringing it Home

Since for this project I need something behind the cut out portion...and something to fit the chosen theme...I placed a piece fabric I did with screen printing a couple of years ago. (So can you tell I don't throw ANYTHING away?? LOL!!)

I am using a fusible batting for this project because it helps keep everything in place as I build the quilt part.  I iron the background to the batting.

And now I iron on the front part with the foil sandwich we just made. And VOILA!!  "Block Busted" is born.  It is about anything that sometimes blocks your creativity. A wall keeping you from doing what your heart really craves to do. Breaking through that wall to the creative reward on the other side.

See.....it was easy right?  

Tonight I'll stitch this piece and show it to you tomorrow along with the other piece on which I used this technique.

Happy sandwich making!!