Progress Pictures: Broken Ties

64 Arts, Projects

Now that I’ve told the story of what inspired the change from trivet to mixed media art, I thought it’d be a good idea to share some in-progress pictures for those that are interested in processes.

prepping the canvas board

Prepping the Canvas Board

First I went a little Jackson Pollock-esque on a spare piece of canvas board–always helps to have extra art supplies around. Don’t agree and hate the extras that come in packs? Email me for my address–I’ll take ’em off your hands.

Actually, even better would be to donate them to your local school system, Ronald McDonald House, nearest Children’s Hospital or Boys and Girls Clubs.

Messing it all Around

Smearing the paint splatter

Next I took a large paintbrush and spread all the splatters around. Since I didn’t need a particular look for the background–most of it ended up covered, anyway–it didn’t need to really look like anything. I added a few more drops of the red, which mostly disappeared, and swirled it with a skewer (leftover from mixing the plaster to make the heart-shaped base.

Mapping out item Placement

Mapping Out Ephemera Placement

While the canvas dried (took overnight since some of the paint was more piled on than others) I worked on the placement of some key items for the mosaic. Some things, like the earring I bought with her while on Sr Trip and the half of the friendship charm from middle school, were directly related to she and I and others were items that I found while digging out the other bits from my old jewelry box or found around the craft room.

These things I wanted in a specific spot so arranged them and then drew a rough outline in pencil to know where not to put the stones and beads and stuff. The glue that gets brushed over the entire surface is clear so you can still see your road map.

Before the Grout

Before the Grout

Again, I’m still astonished at how the grout really pulls all the disparate items together. I mean, yeah, this looks like a total hodge-podge in a what-was-I-thinking sort of way, but it gets better. Never give up, never question, just dive on in.

Great Grey Gobs of Gritty Grout

Great Grey Gobs of Gritty Grout

This is a mid-grout picture. Gorgeous, huh? This was not what I meant when I said it gets better.

Some things were too delicate to glue directly to the plaster, so after I put on the grout and worked it into all the nooks and crannies and leveled certain parts of it I then added the smaller elements to the wet grout. The idea was that they would stick in and save me extra gluing. This mostly worked, some things needed a bit of help.

All Cleaned Up and Nowhere to Go

All Cleaned Up and Nowhere to Go

After 10 minutes I could start removing the extra grout and excavating beads and glass and all. It really did feel like an archaeological dig–hey, great idea for summer projects (outside projects) for bored kids–carefully washing away the extra grout and grit. I managed to uncover almost everything that was supposed to show.

Important lesson: it helps to have things all the same depth. Not only does this lend to a smooth surface, it makes it easier to wipe away excess grout instead of having to dig for it. Tiny stuff can get glued on.

Broken Ties by "Scraps"

the Finished Piece: Broken Ties

After the grout dried I sorta stopped with the picture taking. Basically I was so caught up in the collage part of things that I was just zooming through and not thinking about the blog. But here’s what I did to finish up:

  • pulled out some pictures of her and I, tore one of the two of us at my wedding in half
  • flipped through a nearby Glamour for words and images that worked for the theme or that reminded me of us way back when
  • collaged the painted background with PVA glue (neutral pH adhesive, aka book glue) and a foam brush, diluted the remaining glue and brushed over the whole thing
  • sprinkled on some seed beads to see what would stick
  • adhered the mosaic pieces to the background with a 2-part epoxy–incredibly strong hold, incredibly strong smell; a well ventilated area is key
  • surrounded the mosaic with pearl beads attached with hot glue, added extras to corners and added a few more bits of ephemera
  • took the whole thing outside and sprayed with pink spray paint to make it all blend a little more
  • added captions and notes with silver permanent marker

I still have yet to clean off my work table 😉

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So, do you like seeing things like this–process pictures and descriptions–for a project like this or do you just want to see the finished product?