Monday, February 1, 2010

gouge out their stones and rust their bones

Several days on, and I am still obssessed. I'm combing over every picture, trying to think of how I can adapt the look of these pieces to fit with my work. I'm in the middle of trying to obtain some, but meanwhile I think about ageing techniques- grungeing, rusting, crusting, staining, sanding, waxing, to get 300 years of Thames mud and movement into something.

These lead seals make me think about experiments in clay- polymer, paper, stone, precious metal...which would work best? Paper clay seems too feather-light, stone clay seems to difficult to fire -could I fashion a tiny raku pit? I only have about 30cm square of dirt to dig in. Precious seems the best idea, it has the weight (I assume) and I can fire it with a hand-held torch. Polymer never quite looks rustic enough. I wondered if there were easy ways to get a rusted surface on poly clay and found this great post where the author uses antique solution to obtain great results.

Pins, thimbles and buttons are easy to obtain, they could be treated with the same liquid set as the poly clay or put in a rusting solution.

These two pieces especially make me excited. I usually don't bother with costume rhinestone pieces because they're too shiny for my work. Having said that I do have a few of them, and I've been meaning to add them to my supply shop. But there really are SO many of them on Etsy already- would I not be better to just keep them? Subject them to all manner of tortures.

there are things that spring to mind when I focus on the images above- incense ash, chimneysoot, boot polish, soy sauce, mud, salt water, vinegar...

All this is slightly strange in my books. I've never really put alot of effort into antiqueing things before, it's always seemed kind of...dishonest.I certainly don't mind when others do it, but for me...I don't know, it just never sat well. What I like about using genuinely old materials in my work is that it imbues the pieces with a real sense of honesty. It looks like a pile of Victorian rubbish because it is a pile of Victorian rubbish.

I was talking with fancifuldevices about this (who is the queen of faking it in my opinion- if my fake comes out like hers I'll be a happy bunny). She rightly pointed out that most of the fabrics I use are antiqued because I've dyed them. I'd never thought of it that way, but she's right. The reason why I've never though of it like that was because I wasn't trying to get a fake look, I just couldn't find the kind of things I needed. It's impossible to find a good really dark brown Victorian lace, so I dyed the white stuff. It's impossible to buy black cotton with a slight pattern to it, so I just dye the pastel 70s stuff. I had a big piece of pink and white brocade pattern cotton- I gave it a brown then a black bath, and it ended up this decrepit, soot-black colour where you could juuuust see the pattern- like something that has lined the walls of some old London house for 200 years.

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