Sunday, June 12, 2011


I love it when a whole bunch of ideas collide into one project. There are so many challenges/prompts/ideas floating around in my head it's hard to pick one and go with it. Last night, without quite meaning to, I merged about 4 of these ideas.

First, the challenges:

  • Rebecca, over at Adventures in Art Journaling issued a challenge to use something from your kitchen in your artwork. Well THAT sounded like fun since my kitchen is my other huge outlet for creativity.
  • I’d also been thinking about Daisy Yellow’sno-frills-prompt: translucent
  • And I’m still looking for/trying out summer camp ideas.
  • AND, this incredible series of posts over at comfortableshoes studio about the “cult of stuff” really got me thinking. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this, but it’s really got me focused on basics, rejecting the pre-fab, and trying out some of those art materials I bought but never used in new and different ways. (and seriously, go read the rants about the cult of stuff)

So I think the Kitchen challenge is what got the project going. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to respond to the prompt by using actual food product or by just using kitchen tools. Ultimately I did both. Musing about using using food products in art reminded of a camp project I’d been meaning to try. It involves leaf rubbing, water color resist and vegetable oil to make a stained glass effect.

OK – out to yard to yank some leaves from the tree, dig through the crayon box for a white crayon, and down to the basement to find that dusty box of liquid watercolors I took from my child-care center when it closed a few years ago, thinking I’d use them “someday”.

Since this was a test project for camp, I didn’t put a lot of thought or effort. I wanted to see the results with a quick and sloppy technique. Could your average 6 year old pull it off? The results surpassed my expectations.

I put white copy paper over the leaves, rubbed with my white crayon, slapped 2 different colors of liquid watercolor over it and let it dry. It made a nice resist, but nothing earth-shattering. But then, when it was dry, I rubbed vegetable oil all over the back, and the copy paper turned into something like vellum. It was completely translucent (hey wait...translucent...that's that other prompt...).

It looked supercool taped to the window with light shining through it, but the paper is so greasy I couldn’t get any tape to stick for longer than a few seconds. I’m going to have to ask Jean at Artful Parent how she did hers (and to thank for the inspiration). Here's my front door moments before the tape let go!

I also cut some pieces and wrapped them around votive candles for a pretty cool effect. The paper held well with tacky glue.

And then I started laying it on top of other paper to see what showed through. I put it over some handwriting and it looked like this:

I decided bold black and white graphics worked best, so I set out to make some prints. NOW would be a good time to pull out the kitchen tools for print making. I grabbed the potato masher, a few different sized cups, a wine cork, a bottle cap and the wrinkly half-lemon from the produce drawer.

And let me just pause here to say OMG I love the lemon prints. Love them.

After the prints dried, I ripped them up and collaged some together, and started laying my translucent sheets over them. I decided the leaf rubbing wasn’t what I was going for, so I made a few more rubbings over punchinella to get a nice circle effect. More paint, more oil, more impatient drying time. Finally I glued it all together and love how it looks. I added a few lemon and dot stamps on top of the whole thing just to add another dimension. The scan does not do justice to the transparency of the top sheet, but it’s very cool in person.

I cut the sheet into postcards and started adding collage elements on top. Glue stick did't work on the oily paper, but Mod podge seems to be working out just fine. Post cards will go out to some mail art folks later this week.

Here's another completed postcard. This one has a tape transfer since I had transparency on the brain. (and I cut out a lemon print and glued it on top. I'm obsessed.)

So there you have it, transparent kitchen art, using old products in new ways, another great camp project and new postcards for friends, all in one terrific evening of experimentation.

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