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I have always been partial to gold as an accent, even when silver tone is what’s preferred for a certain stone or color scheme. For one thing, gold tone accents age and fade better than silver-tone ones that tend to rust or oxidize into black. I also love antique brass, but while it lends a rustic look to your creation, it doesn’t quite exude the same kind of elegance gold-tone accents give. Thankfully, I’m getting comfortable mixing my metals — but I am still careful in pulling combinations. There are times when you can get away with it, but there are also times when it just won’t work.
Last year, I discovered Gilders Paste and I have a few shades handy to work into my metal accents. I’ve experimented with using one shade and combining two different colors. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, the applications of gilders paste to recolor your findings is endless!
This is most specially helpful when there are so many gorgeous filigree findings in antique brass and which aren’t readily available in gold. I also like the different quality the gilders paste gives the metal it adheres to which makes the piece look personalized with the artist’s own patina.
Working with Gilders Paste
One thing you have to remember is that like polymer clay, the consistency of the paste differs from container to container. It is important to keep the tin container sealed tight when you are not working with it. The following are some tips to help you work better with the medium.
- Choose an airy workspace because gilders paste gives off fumes which are chemical in nature. It isn’t something you would choose or want to inhale directly.
- Try to avoid touching the paste as much as possible. I use gloves when handling “wet” or “just painted” pieces to make sure I don’t get any on my hands, or that I don’t smudge my pieces with unsightly fingerprints.
- Work on a disposable surface like a paper plate, a paper towel, or some cardboard you are looking to throw away like an old cereal box laid flat on the table, with the cardboard inside surface as your workboard.
- Experiment on pieces similar if not the same metal as the one you are working on for your project. Different surfaces react in varied ways — and the color of your gilders paste will come off differently depending again on what it is applied to. Antique brass is very “receptive” to paste but it’s darker color tends to mute or darken the shade of gilders paste you are using. Silver tone metals tend to be more difficult to apply on and doesn’t always “take” the gilders paste well.
- Clean your piece with a dry piece of cloth or paper towel to make sure that you are applying the gilders paste to a clean surface. If it has a coating of even just skin oil, it will affect the way your gilders paste adheres.
- Use a disposable brush as cleaning the gilders paste off the bristles is a bit of a challenge and generally not worth the time. I purchase these hard bristle brushes from the dollar store. Make sure you choose the harder bristles because this will help you “push” bits of the gilders paste into the crevices of the smaller pieces you are applying the paste on, or on the finer details of the bigger items you are recoloring.
- Dab the paste on, do not brush it. Stipple the paste with the brush into rugged or recessed portions of the piece such as in smaller charms. One thing I try to do is use the inside of the cover of the tin as a work surface for pieces that will fit in it, so that the bits of gilders paste that form into smaller balls or pebble-like granules can go back to the tin for future use. (You will know what I’m talking about when you work with it.) I would only do this, though, if you are only applying one shade. In instances when you are trying to achieve a different tonal quality by combining two or more shades, I’d use a specific work surface for each color so they don’t mix.
- Depending on the effect you are trying to achieve, you may need to do two or three coatings. Remember to let the first coating dry before applying the next coating. In some instances, once is good enough if you are just staining or tinting the piece and not fully recoloring it from one tone to the other, like antique brass to gold.
These are my own methods for working with gilders paste. There are other crafters with more experience in it who use sealants or thinners depending on the application. Try it with one tub and see if you like the way it comes off of your project. Some crafters like the antique greenish shade to show a faux antique effect on the metal. It has a million potential uses to enhance your projects once you get the hang of it.
I’d be the first to admit that I have learned much of what I do as a crafter online. From researching on Flickr to Pinterest to just feeling lucky and hitting Google, I’ve managed to learn how to work headpins and wire, knit the right way (after learning from our encyclopedia decades ago using plastic chopsticks!) and discovered free-form crochet.
Nowadays, we’re lucky to come across crafting classes that run the gamut of crafts you may already know as an expert, or a new interest you’re looking to learn more about. Below are some of the latest class offerings from Craftsy. Check them out by clicking on the pics below. Please note that GothamChick is a paid affiliate of Craftsy and will earn a commission should your click result in a purchase (Yay!)
No matter how simple a task may be, there are many things we can learn from others who may be as good if not better than us. When you are in the business of creating, whether it be for yourself or for sale to the public, you can never have enough new ideas to toy with or incorporate into your own work. How may times have you had an “Aha!” moment where you suddenly realized there IS a better way than the one you’ve been accustomed to?
I have discovered this from the craft fairs and classes I’ve attended personally and the videos and websites I’ve visited for guidance. You never know! As I always say, I learn something new everyday.
I may not have had the chance to post anything here all of June, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Sometimes crafting and blogging don’t go at the same pace and I end up doing more of one than the other.
I have been busy collecting crochet hooks, mostly from the dollar store, of all places! It’s the same ones being sold in the craft stores, and I’ve been lucky that my store has a stock. I had decided to stick with the G but I’ve lost two so far, and the store is all out. I will probably have to just swallow the full cost and get it from one of the stores in the city, if not my always reliable Michael’s. I don’t know why but hearing the metallic hooks jingling in my pencil case cum crochet hook case is just music to my ears.
My yarn stash has also been growing, mostly in shades of pink. (And then some..). One of these days, I will show you where I get my yarn here in Manhattan and you’ll see the varied offerings. I have also gone up to my attic to dig through my yarn box which I had pulled together mostly to knit into scarves.
I continue to experiment with new stitches and the more complicated ones are proving to be a challenge. But I am enjoying learning them and trying to get better at doing them. With everything that I’ve managed to stitch up so far, I haven’t quite decided yet what I am making first — a scarf, a pull over or a hat. Decisions, decisions!
I’m thinking there’s still plenty of time before fall when I expect I would get to use all these things eventually. And then there’s the trip to Manila where threads the threads are a whole lot cheaper than here. While the variety in yarns is lacking (the ones we have here are more colorful and artsy), the cotton threads available there are hard to find here at the same price. I grew up with the cotton threads that became those fancy adornments in houses of old. Now if only they didn’t weigh so much!
I like the way the hook pulls the thread and weaves each stitch and gets you into a certain rhythm that can be hypnotic sometimes. It can be very relaxing once you know what it is you want to create.
I’ve started a Pinterest board for Crochet inspirations, and another for Crochet by me. It helps me to be able to see others who have created these fabulous pieces, be they just bits of freeform crochet or swathes of intricate stitches that make an elegant stole or shrug. There is inspiration aplenty. Dreamy!
I had started drafting this post more than a month ago and it has remained unposted due to difficulties uploading the graphics. Well, I’m determined to do this today.
I learned how to crochet in fifth grade with the nuns. Even back then, I already loved crafts and was drawn to the lure of wanting to create. I have written about how I had once upon a time taught myself how to knit, using the how-to in our encyclopedia — way before the advent of the Internet.
While I can only knit and purl the regular way, I have been fortunate to be able to “read” crochet patterns and actual word instructions.
A former high school friend of mine whose Pinterest board I follow had started pinning crochet patterns and pieces which spurred a new interest. I found myself hooked! (Pardon the pun!). I stumbled into other like boards, and I was immediately curious about free form crochet. It was, literally, an abstract creation of shapes, patterns and textures. You just went and pulled together a patchwork of color, stitches and different yarns.
I went to YouTube and found various instructional videos and I was learning again! One of the things I like about crafting is that it is a continuing journey of learning. There are always new techniques to learn no matter how good you have become at a certain pursuit. There were new stitches and techniques to begin the whole piece and bits and pieces to improve on tightening a look, or producing a certain shape and form.
I knew what I wanted to create and what colors I needed, so I hied off to grab some yarn.
Sine I started on this project, I have had a couple of trips to different stores, just eyeballing the various offerings and deciding right there and then when a color appealed to me. I am still in search of the elusive right shade of fuschia pink, but I am not giving up.
In the meantime, I’ve created and experimented with bits and pieces, until I can get comfortable enough to piece them together. Still trying..
I had taught myself to knit using chopsticks and the illustrations in our encyclopedia back in my early teens. I am not even sure I am doing it right right but I do manage to knit and purl through a piece as I go along with even stitches now.
To make up for my lack of skills in doing stitches, I’ve taken to working with fancy yarns and a variety of larger needles.
It takes a little imagination to “see” how a piece will come out after I finish knitting it, but I try to focus on the colors and texture.
Mostly, I get lucky. This winter has been very productive — two scarves done! I’m also working on “fixing” two other previous pieces, and I’m looking forward to that.
I like knitting because it’s very relaxing for me, and I like receiving compliments from people who notice the unique colors and texture of the pieces I wear when I do. My fallback piece is a native woven scarf from Baguio care of “Narda’s”, a famous native weaver in the Mountain province, and it’ll come in handy as it starts to get warmer. Still need to bundle up, though.
I’ve been trying to finish some pieces for the shop but I think I’ve been distracted by a new found interest in metal smithing — particularly working with hammered wire. It’s been very interesting. While I had been experimenting with working with my tiny hammer and seeing how the metal wires react given the different gauges, I’ve since progressed to filing open edges which should make it safe to wear. (You don’t want the sharp edges of the wires scratching your skin.
Hammering wire has a different design effect from just looping the wire or handling it to take this or that shape. Flat wires can also provide a good base finding for necklaces and maybe bracelets, although I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m learning that I have to count the times I hammer a particular area and the direction my hammering moves also affects the shape of the flattened wire. While I had thought that hammering wire would thin it, it does so in a way but the expansion of the wire in a different direction actually makes it harder and sturdier.
I’m hoping to finish and post a piece or two over the weekend as I am starting to get back into polymer clay.
This time, I’m going beyond simple hand conditioning and actually rolling out the clay in the pasta machine’s thickest setting. I’m going to “punch out” beads from these. I’m also trying to create some bead molds. (One of two – not bad. The second that didn’t quite work out will become a bead pin cushion when I bake headpins.)
I’ve also been busy doing postcard backgrounds and flower embellishments for a postcard project in the works. It’s something that is taking shape very slowly but requires quite a volume of pieces to take off. I have over a hundred postcard backgrounds and maybe almost a hundred flower embellishments for starters, but this projects involves more than just my favorite pieced paper flowers.
I’m gathering my stash of background papers, bought from the store and made from prints and watercolor and other inks. I am thinking of different ways and means to create, using up gorgeous paper napkins as backgrounds, and gathering other graphics I had created during my short stint with other art for swaps. I’ll write more about that later.
Meanwhile, time to get back to the wire and the hammer and hopefully get a post or two up at the shop later.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
The previous week(s) have been rather busy but I’ve been trying to get things done on the creative front. The will is there, but there are days when I am too exhausted or just need to skip the creative time altogether. I know I must find the time, even just a few minutes each day, but not everything I want to do can be done with the snap of a finger.
But the point is, I’m trying. It has given me a sense of accomplishment somehow. It’s a concrete sign of being able to move forward, no matter how slow it may be.
The good news is that I have been successful in keeping my art journal up to date, and as I’m writing this and trying to make some chicken salad of some leftover KFC, I am also working on some backgrounds that need “gesso”-ing. But more importantly, I’ve managed to scribble something rather regularly even if not literally every day.
My gesso is a little old so I’m thinning it with water. The idea is to cover the back of the layouts below because the black ink of the text and the color shadings had seeped into the back of the next page. I was initially thinking of covering it with chalkboard black paint, but I nixed that for gesso first. I still might do the background in all black — but I’m having second thoughts right now.
My first attempts at using gesso were rather a disappointment, and I realize now that it’s probably because I used too much of the gesso. I like it when it’s applied a little thinner btu still enough to be opaque.
I’ve also been trying to create accessories again, this time trying my hand at wire-wrapping. I’ve found a lot of inspiration online and am trying to learn from the various tutorials available on YouTube, while trying to create my own way of getting things done. My first attempt after several yards of wasted wire is below. It’s a work in progress literally but I like the way this came about. I need to watch more videos.
The shop is beginning to get populated again little by little. Slow traffic but I know I have to keep posting to bring the people in. Even this little corner of mine isn’t exactly bustling with reader traffic but I’m telling myself it’ll come if I finally come around to devoting enough time to it. Then I quickly remind myself that I have to accept that there is only so much that I can do. A day at a time…