Gnomeo Gnomeo…

Found this wee guy at the markets
Found this wee guy at the markets

I love making concrete art. The problem is, that in order to make my own moulds, I need to use liquid latex, which doesn’t smell to good ; )

I start with my original, and apply a layer of liquid latex using a paint brush. The latex takes approx. an hour to dry on a warm day. I keep repeating this painting of latex layers, until the colour has changed from a white colour to a yellow/brown colour – about 20 layers.

Mould latex Mould latex

I lie the latexed gnome so he’s level, on a rolled towel and press a thick line of clay around the edge of the gnome, dividing him in half. I oil the layex so that the plaster of paris mother mould comes away from the latex once dry.

Latex mouldLatex mould

I sieve the plaster of paris with water, enough the make a slurry. I use a spatula to spread the plaster all over the first half of the gnome. I find it easier to use my hands, to pat it down, making sure it is in every nook.

Mould latex

Once the first side has dried, I flip the gnome, and remove the clay guide. I rub Vaseline along the plaster edge, so the next side of the mother mould will not join the first.

Repeat the application of plaster to form the second side to the mother mould.

Mould latex Mould latex Mould latexMould latex

When the two sides are dry they can be separated from the latex mould. I use a blunt knife to wedge between the two halves. If the mother mould happens to break don’t worry, because the pieces can be held together using a bandage ; )

Mould latex Mould latex

I use towels to help stabilise the mould in a bucket, ready for the concrete pour.

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I use a mixture of 1:2 Portland cement : Washed Builders Sand and enough water to make a nice slurry. I glove up and use my hands to mix the concrete, getting rid of any lumps. After pouring, I shake and jiggle the bucket, trying to get rid of the bubbles within the casting. Spraying the mould with oil prior to casting can help reduce bubbles, and aid in removing the cast from the mould once set.

Concrete gnome

I get my liquid latex from http://www.triginstruments.co.nz

Therapeutic Colouring In

It is becoming common knowledge that colouring-in is therapeutic.

Colouring-in requires a quiet, calm, and creative atmosphere, which invites the child and adult to chat. Who knows where that conversation can digress. It can be a beautiful bonding time, and a nice winding down for the day.

Its so easy to find colouring-in pages online. Each child can pick their own image. My kids like to pick pages with characters which they can later cut out and use as paper dolls.

When our close friend unexpectedly died, leaving behind his very special little 5 year old daughter, I wanted to help her deal with her loss.

I created a colouring-in book, which I gave to her.

I wanted the book to offer a situation where she could discuss her feelings, be counselled, and hopefully help her understand what had just happened. By colouring in the book I hoped it would become personal. Something for her to read and look back on, as she continued on her life, without her Dad.

Loss of a parent

My Dad

Throwing a Clay Bowl

I am inspired by creative people. I love finding one of these gems. The best ones go about their day, working their completely unrelated job, itching to get home so that they can dabble. If you are a creative person, you will know, it’s just so important to find time to unleash this need. Whether it makes you money, or costs you money, it’s benefits are rewarding.

My mother is one of those gems. She has recently reignited her passion for the wheel.

These creative tendencies are often very private and quiet, almost meditative for the artist. However, with their cover blown, they are often very animated and expressive when sharing their passion with a fellow dabbler of art. These people are often extremely humble and modest, and are wonderful people to know and to be around.

My mother shared with me her talent. Making a bowl on a potters wheel from clay.

Throwing a clay bowl
The clay is placed in the centre of the bat
Throwing a clay bowl
The wheel spins slowly while she gets the clay into position, and creates a cone like shape. She presses down in the centre with her thumbs to form a well.
Throwing a clay bowl
She slowly brings the clay out and up to form desired bowl size and thickness
Throwing a clay bowl
Water is keep nearby to keep her hands and the bowl damp.

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Throwing a clay bowl
Using a wire she trims and evens the edge of the bowl, which is removed.

Throwing a clay bowl

Throwing a clay bowl
She gently pinched the bowls edge to form a tidy rounded lip

Throwing a clay bowl

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Throwing a clay bowl
She runs a damp sponge along the inside and the outside of the spinning bowl to get a smooth finish
Throwing a clay bowl
With the wheel stopped, she runs a wire underneath the bowl to remove it from the bat

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She leaves the bowl over night to dry a little.

Then she places it upside down on the wheel to trim the and shape the outside of the  bowl and its base.

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The clay is put into a kiln twice. It is first biscuit fired at 800 C, then a glaze is applied and it is baked again, at over 1000 C.

My mum is a member of the local pottery club where she has access to a kiln, glazing and most importantly, other amazing creative potters!

http://www.ceramics.co.nz/

Fairy Doors

I love encouraging my children to ‘wonder’. I don’t think children dream enough. We pop them in front of an iPad, where their imaginations are controlled and try to prepare them for the real world, of adulthood.

My kids and I have spent many hours in the garden creating fairy houses, using whatever things we can find; coins, flowers, string, bolts, shells, pebbles… Occasionally, over night, the fairies leave small gifts to say ‘Thanks’. This only happens when the four children build the garden together. They all have to be there to create the magic.

I have always wanted to create a Fairy Door, plaster ones for indoors, and concrete ones for outdoors, so they can be glued to a playroom wall or an old tree.

And not just in my own home and garden, but dotted all over the place!

I have created a tiny door, and will produce them, for sale on Trade Me, at a reasonable price of $5. They will be blank tho, for the ‘Fairy’ to design themselves ; )

Fairy Door
Blank Plaster Fairy Door 6.5cm tall x 6.5cm wide
Fairy Door
Painted Fairy Door Glued to an interior wall

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=965900257&ed=true

Revamping old LP records

Feeling pretty creative lately and been meaning to make some Vinyl Bowls.

Such a quick and easy way to create a talking piece for the table, or a unique party bowl, where it doesn’t matter if it accidentally gets left behind ; )

Old Lp Record
Find yourself a scratched, out of service LP record at any good Op shop. I got mine for $1
Lp Record
You’ll need some oven mitts, an oven tray and a bowl whose base is approx. the same as the centre circle of the record

Place the tray, with the bowl and record set up on it, into the oven which has been preheated to 180 C

Lp record melting Lp record meltiing

I don’t close the oven door, as within seconds the record begins to soften. I use the oven mitts to help get the curves I want, then remove the tray and all from the oven, placing it on a nearby chopping board. You still have a few seconds to firmly hold the record in place before it hardens again!

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Getting Creative with Scrabble

I picked up an old Scrabble Board game at the local market for $4! I was stoked! I had heard that people use the wooded tiles for art, so couldn’t wait to have a go.

Using my Rotary Tool (that I brought myself for Fathers Day) I drilled holes in each tile, to turn them into necklaces, key rings and even those little things people put around their wine glasses so that they know which glass is theirs ; )

I purchased 100m of black wax cord for $10 off Trade Me

Scrabble art
Wooden Scrabble tiles, cord and my Rotary tool
Wooden Scrabble tiles
Drilling holes
Wooden Scrabbles tiles
Engraving

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Ready for the kids to sell at the next market ; )