Sunday, March 16, 2008

Moonscape

This is kind of another happy accident, regarding the texture. I used box (corrugated) cardboard for the base, because I figured that would be sturdier than the frozen pizza cardboard I usually use for these smaller pieces. This piece is a 5x5. Then I spread on some wallboard joint compound and textured it the way I wanted with a butter knife. I wanted it to look more like plaster. And when it was dry, it did look like plaster. However, the moisture from the JC had seeped down into the cardboard, and even though the JC was dry, the cardboard was still damp, and therefore not stiff but somewhat flexible. At that point my muse Bonita jumped in and whispered in my ear....what if you bend the cardboard a little here and there, what will that do to the JC and the texture? So I bent it, before I could even second guess myself (or her), and discovered the "what if" of doing that.

Since JC isn't flexible, it flaked off in the bent areas, adding more interesting texture. It didnt change the look a lot, but enough to give it a different kind of texture. I need to backtrack here though, and say I painted it before I bent the cardboard. And I didn't use paints, I used - get this - beet juice from a can of beets I ate that day. I also dyed some cheesecloth and some yarn in the beet juice. After I painted on the beet juice, I sprinkled on some wallnut ink crystals, misted with water, and then turned the piece in different directions so the brown color would run down the page.

I punched the circles out of entree cardboard and frosted and textured them with the JC also. And sprinkled the ink crystals on them too. On the left side, I used some tea dyed cheesecloth, and on top of that the beet dyed cheesecloth. After I glued down the circles, I looked at it and thought, gee, this kind of looks like a moonscape. So then I wrote the word on some tea dyed muslin and frayed it and glued it on.

I like the look of using two colors of cheesecloth, which was a new idea too. Now, I'm trying to think of other ways to dye cheesecloth. I'm wondering if food coloring would work. I know I could use store bought dyes, but I'm trying to think of other ways to dye it. Any suggestions would be welcome.

12 comments:

Nathalie Thompson said...

I would have never guessed beet juice, but it gave you a lovely shade of pink!

thealteredpage said...

Great texture here. It really does look like a moonscape. Thanks too for sharing the process behind the piece. I find that really interesting. I've never worked with cheesecloth but what about using diluted coffee or tea?

Anonymous said...

I would think you could use the same natural colors that are used for Easter Eggs. Lots of into on the net. One is at:
http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa042003a.htm

I love your work and stop by every day. jeaninholland

dejavucreations said...

I've used onion skins to color eggs. It's been a few years, but if I remember correctly ... yellow skins dye a beautiful light rusty-brown shades while red skins dye yellow. Strange, huh? - it seems backwards. Blueberries should also be good for a natural dye but are a bit pricey. I bet grapejuice would also work. I've also used food coloring to dye paper and expected it to fade rather quickly. But I've been pleasantly surprised that it has actually held very well. Good luck with your experimenting. And Have Fun!

jan

darlene aKa HugGeR said...

Really like this piece, very moonerly feeling :>(
Other things you can dye cheese cloth with koolaid, rit dyes, fabric paint, fabric markers. I could go on but you get the idea.

akatrix said...

Val, you just crack me up! Aside from eating the most pizza in the world for cardboard, I see you in my mind eating beets and adjusting the cheesecloth on your collage at the same time! Even though your descriptions make me chuckle, you do come up with fabulous technicques and wonderful art!
Pat

Kim said...

Stupid Yahoo. One more time - the food coloring gave me very pale results - if you do try it , you might want to make up a very strong mix. There are a lot of natural dyes to try , beet juice being one of them - yellow/red onion skins would work too. I don't remember all of them right now , it's not something I've tried. Diluted inks should stain it pretty well too.

Anne, Bulles dorées said...

thank you for sharing !! ^^

Into the Blystic said...

great idea to use beet juice... now thats a potent natural dye! and of course I love the intermixing of the textures!

Jo Anne O. said...

Hey Val! Love your experiments and looking at all the wonderful art here!

Thanks for adding my blog to your links!

Smiles!

Micki said...

Wonderful piece. Beet juice, yuck! Thanks for sharing your process.

Robin said...

Something I experimented with last year was pounding flowers onto matboard. Pansies create the greatest range of colors, although unexpected, especially when you're hoping for purples. The yellows seldom disappoint, though. If you're careful, you can preserve the color AND the outline of your flower. Maybe some early crocuses?