Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October update

September was a hectic month, with two shows. Gary took his big dragon gourd to the Raleigh NC show, and I worked hard on my gourd and got it finished for the Ohio show.

Gary's won first in his division and Best of Show at NC as well as the Steven's Family award at the Ohio show. This is the equivalent of the Best of Show award in the crafted gourds division for Ohio.

My piece won first place in it's division as well as an award for special recognition....whatever that means. Anyway, I'm pleased since this was my "Murphy's Law" gourd. (As in, if anything can go wrong, it will.)

It started with my carving lesson. I was working away, concentrating hard, when I noticed that the drill bit was getting shorter. As I watched, the bit pulled back into the handle and was about to fall out onto my leg. In a panic, I reached over with my other hand to shut off the drill, and sent my gourd flying across the room. Of course it cracked!
After gluing it back together, and getting hubby to put the handle back on the drill I finished carving.

The painting and leafing went well, but when I went to insert the tapestry it wouldn't fit into the hole I had carved. Apparently the curve wasn't deep enough for the inside of the gourd, although it had fit nicely on the outside when I shaped it.
Using two part Sculpy epoxy, I thickened and shaped the inside of the opening to hold the insert. I had to cut a couple of rows off the bottom of the insert, and the edges of the design were too close but I got it in. Then using the epoxy I filled in the back edges to hold the insert in place.
As I was decoupaging the inside, the weight of all that epoxy overbalanced the gourd and it fell onto the floor again. Luckily this time it hit the open side and bounced. (must have been the epoxy)
Now the gourd was too heavy on one side for the base, so I had to fill in the bottom of the base to give it more weight. This thing could work as an exercise weight if nothing else!
After all these delays for repairs, I was down to one day to coil the 9 rows of design on the top rim.
Well I finished it at 3am on Friday morning and by the time I got all my packing done it was 5am. We left for Ohio at 8am, so I was one tired puppy.
However, I'm pleased with it as it is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project update - done for now.

Good news, and bad news. The good news is that my carving lesson went well and I am happy with the results. The bad news is that the one section took me 6 hours, and there is no way I can have this gourd ready for the North Carolina show, because we leave tomorrow morning, and I have half a dozen errands to run today. I still have to paint, gold leaf and coil the rim before putting it together.

Gary is done, however. He just needs to seal the exterior and line the inside. His carving is exquisite, and yes I know I'm biased, but I've never seen anything as delicate and fine as his work.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tapestry done

I'm done the tapestry section, FINALLY. My fingers are tender and the skin is peeling off the tips. There are 29 rows. Now I just have to figure out how to insert it into the side of the gourd. It was flat, and the gourd is round. It's curved now, because I heat molded it to the side of the gourd with a hair dryer. I'll need to adjust the shape of the cutout I planned.
Up close, it looks pretty confusing, but from a distance it looks somewhat like a flower. Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and men...

NC project update

I finished the base for my gourd. It's gold leafing with 8 rows of coiling. The design is supposed to be a leaf motif.
I have dowelled the top to fit into the top portion. I'll have to do this last so that I can carve and coil the bigger section without interference. If I get this thing ready for the show, it will be because I put it together at my son's house on Friday night. LOL

Today is my carving lesson. Not so easy being left-handed since I have to push the bit away from me instead of towards me. Hope I don't ruin my project.
The tapestry is nearly done. I've got 20 rows done and need to do about 4 more. I've learned a couple of things that I sort of knew, but ignored. One, a beige background doesn't stay beige. Even though I wash my hands after every row, and keep wipes ready to clean the wax off my fingers, the thread still picks up the dye from the coloured threads. I tried washing it (on the back) but that made it damp, and then the colour bled through even more. SIGH.
Also, trying to angle the edges is difficult. Oh well, if it wasn't a challenge, I'd probably lose interest.

Gary has finished the carving. This is a large gourd, and created a ton of sawdust, which of course is all over the house. It also smells very unpleasantly, which makes my house smell like a dirty wet dog.
The things I do for my art!
He has started painting it. The top will be a grey sponged technique. And the bottom will be painted as water and sky etc.

Friday, September 4, 2009

NC Project update

Gary has finished one section of the waves for his swimming dragons. The theme of the NC show is "by the seaside".
He had to add a few more waves than he planned because there was too much empty space.

I've painted the Bird of Paradise flower using a small brush and stroking on multiple layers of colours. I used eight different colours on the leaf and flower. I may still touch it up a bit.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

NC Project update

Photo 1: I have base-coated the flower painted side of my gourd and sealed it so that when I'm painting and make a boo-boo, I can wash it off without ruining the background.
Photo 2: Using a reference photo of large tropical leaves (actually a philodendron leaf, rather than a B of P leaf) I've drawn on two leaves that I plan to carve out.
Stick around to see if I have any luck with that!

Photo 3:Gary has started the waves by outlining the edges first.
Photo 4: He has finished one dragon.

To see a much closer view, you click on a photo to bring up a much larger picture. To reduce it to screen size, hit 'control' and the minus sign at the same time. Hitting 'control' and the plus sign makes it larger.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Project update - September show

I started working on one piece of my project. It's a coiled tapestry insert that goes into a section of the gourd that will be cut out once I find out what size this tapestry ends up being. In theory, it's a rectangle on a slant, measuring 5"X5". Right now, the slant isn't angling as much as I planned. So much for plans!
The theme of the gourd is Bird of Paradise flower. I will paint a Bird of Paradise flower on one side, and attempt to coil another flower to inset on the opposite side.
On the other two sections, I'm going to get hubby to teach me to carve (that should be interesting!) and make tropical leaves, which I'll paint.
So far, I've completed 15 rows of pattern on my tapestry, and have about another 12 to go. I'm finding it tedious, taking almost an hour each row, because I'm working with 8 coloured threads which have to be untangled every time I take a stitch.
In the photo you can see the B. of P. flower and then the chart that I created on Excel to do the design. You can see how my tapestry matches the chart, and hopefully will look like a flower from a distance.
Right now, up close, it looks like a bunch of coloured threads wrapped around paper.
I'm obviously NOT going to get this done for our upcoming trip to North Carolina festival next week.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

August update

OK, so it's closer to September than August. Somehow the weeks are flying by. We've been planning our gourds for the North Carolina gourd show and Gary is well on his way to completion. He has the top carvings done on 4 sides, and is going to start the bottom carving of dragons and water that will wrap the entire gourd. The design, when laid out on paper measures 51 inches long.
That's a lot of carving.
Mine is a tad behind in development. I have the main shape, the basic design ideas but not a lot of effort so far. I've been procrastinating; reading and doing Santa gourds for our Canadian Gourd Society show in late October.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August update

Good grief, what happened to July?
We are getting ready for the Celtic festival in Goderich next weekend. 3 days of Celtic music, dancing, singing and parades.
If you love Celtic music (remember River Dance?) then take a day to drive up to lovely Goderich and enjoy the events going on at each of the 4 stages. Check the website to see the list of entertainers from across the ocean as well as North America. Plan for a full day and evening, since the event is open from 11am to 11pm. Bring your swimsuit for a quick dip in the lake, weather permitting.

If you come, stop by our booth and say hello..........Catherine

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gourds at the Coast to Coast painting convention

Hubby and I spend all day Friday April 17 at the Coast to Coast decorative painting convention in Mississauga.
We saw some amazing painting and met so many enthusiastic painters who were keen to try their hand at painting on gourds.
Who knows? Maybe we'll get some new members. Many of the painters were interested in coming to our CGS fall gourd festival. It's being held at the Toronto Black Creek Pioneer Village in October.