Late last year Ranger contacted me to ask if I would submit a piece for their designer wall at the CHA show in Anaheim, LA. (it's on right now as we speak in) Oh I don't know...let me think about it.... well duh... of course I would do something.
What an honour to follow in the footsteps of so many great names who have appeared on that wall in recent years!! And "UTEE: the hottest ticket" as a theme was right up my street, so I was buzzing, excited, flattered and totally itching to get going with all Suze's Melt Art goodies.
What to do...... hmmmmm.......... hmmmmm.... well its more like what NOT to do in a case like this, I mean we have beeswax (I love), Coloured & Metallic UTEE (I adore), Clear UTEE with to Dye for inks (I can't live without).....then of course what about all of Ranger's other cool stuff that it's impossible to keep my hands off like Perfect Pearls, Claudine's Paints, Paint Dabbers, Archival Ink, Distress Ink, Memory Frames & glass.......matte medium, glossy accents.....you know what a Ranger addict I have been for like my whole life.....so it soon became apparant that I needed to be mega restrictive with what I used. I didn't want to overcook the whole thing with too much Ranger....is there such a thing??? LOL But I also wanted some of those Leandra Beads on there too....and I a bird cage.....hmmmmmm
So I started by sketching out some ideas in my book. The background was easy. We had a large square piece of wood, and a ticket shaped item, also wood. I started with the ticket, did Claudines peeled paper, then proceeded to cover it all up with paint, about 20 layers until I had it the right shade. Lots of black, pool, espresso, sandal, pebble, white, mushroom, pool....over and over... and over
I also was clear about what I wanted the square wooden background to look like. Embossed metal at the edges, blue and red paints in the dips of the texture, and then blacken it all up to look quite dark to enable the 'glass' birdcage to 'pop' as the feature. It's just a background right?... so it didn't need it to be too busy or dominant....I laid out the bits I had done so far to get an idea of where to put the metal. And then got started on that.
Stuck the metal down - it was embossed on a Ten Seconds grid...not embossing the whole pattern just some of them...then stamped into some texture (to disguise the metal joins) And let that dry. Next step paint.
Starting with pool and red pepper in the dips, and then adding white over the top...hmmm...liking it pale like this with the white-mushroom dabbers on the top layers...but I knew it needed to be blacker...so hard as it was to do I kept adding more and more black until it got it darker. You can see here how it ended here below with the addition of a few stamped PaperArtsy flowers and ideaology bellies. I like how the pool and red pepper paints just peek through.
OK now my Big challenge. UTEE on the cage. I still wasn't sure how to do it. I mean UTEE on a wire frame..had it been done before? If so how? I wanted to UTEE a wire bird cage....where did that come from...I don't know.... but how the heck to UTEE it????
More Hmmmmmmmm's..... for days.........wire...Runny UTEE.....??? Dip??? Mold and Pour??? ....hmmmmmm...heat gun??? Heat proof gloves????
Several more days of trying to figure it out......Xmas looming....mother coming from New Zealand ...still ......hmmmmmm....... so I spoke to Lin about it Lin Brown from LB Crafts...and of course she said you want to do WHAT??? and how the heck will you do that???? And how will it get there without breaking???? And do you know what day it is already????
You are bonkers....mad.....stuff like that.....and then she suggested 'Maybe you'd better make a spare for me to take with me just in case' ...and proceeded to churn her item out in less than 24 hrs and sent me quicksie kind of blurry pics........hmmmmmmmmm......and of course hers was to die for even though I couldn't see too much detail in her late night pics. But yesterday people at CHA saw it and started raving about it so this is the best pic I found thanks to Dy who blogged it at CHA. Fabulous isn't it!
It includes loads of really great ideas...spoons filled with UTEE, embossed metal, painted texture and of course in her signature colour scheme. She also used beeswax, and 2 of her superb UTEE techniques she developed this year...UTEE poured on Ten Seconds molds, (that was a "ka-ching" moment after Suze and Lin had a play day in Lin's shop last year) and she has demoed it around the UK at shows this last year. Fab idea. She also figured out a twist on Suze's cookie cutter technique. Lin pours clear UTEE over a piece of stamped and puffed metal..see the diamond bellie top left...(BTW we taught both these fun ideas at our October 2009 ArtsyCrafts weekend event last year) Lin is amazing. Everything she does is beautiful, well thought out and executed.......so while her piece was winging its way in a timely manner over to the USA.... no pressure ..... I still hadn't figured out...... how to UTEE over wire....
Let's just start with the Leandra beads and see what happens. So a couple of years back I figured out how to make beads by dipping wire into UTEE, fondue styley. You can read the original post here with step outs. Sometimes I use paper as a base, other times existing beads or sequins. For this project I picked up the blue from the background, painted wooden beads and dipped them into clear, wrapped with wire and dipped again. The beads are attached to the bottom of the cage in the holes created around the cage base. They also look great with perfect pearls trapped in the layers too.
That just left the cage and it's birdie to go on the perch. I started with some mold and pour pressed on the inside.
And then started with the UTEE on the outside. I found that perfect pearls can change the effect too, so some sections are totally clear (no perfect pearls) and others have a dusting of PP to make it more opaque and shimmer. You prolly need to see it IRL to get that bit.
After all the hmmmmm's , it wasn't that hard after all! LOL I was sweating it though....as I had no plan B if it failed! LOL
In the back of the cage the little metal embossed tweeter is very happy on his perch. And I hope he has been well behaved while all those CHA people are peeking at him throughout the show.
So here it is the whole piece finished.
Glad to be able to share this with you all, and don't forget the PaperArtsy January sale finished soon. Check it out. We added a Bargain Bin this weekend with lots of end of line goodies in it and more are being added daily.
I'll catch you later in the week with some fabulous 'Clock themed' items from our design team.