Tags: art


I think I have a lot to learn about silk-painting.

This evening I discovered that you can make a plausible silk-painting frame out of bits of dowel you picked up on the street thinking they'd come in handy sometime, and a plastic laundry basket, and some sticky tape. Except that really nails would work better than tape for keeping the thing taut. Maybe a cardboard box of exactly the right size would be better?

I also learned that if you make a frame mid-painting, your first colour of paint dries and looks funny when you try and merge it with the next colour.

Filling big areas is possible if you work fast, but filling big areas, in a circle, around twiddly text, is overly ambitious for a first try.

Knocking over the paint doesn't help.

If you don't have the fabric really taut, the paint flows over the gutta and fills shapes you didn't want it to fill. Also, making solid lines with the gutta is like when you use Fill in a paint program--if you missed even one pixel it messes up.

Squirting the whole lot with water from the Bad Dogs Bottle makes it all look rather interesting. I didn't fancy trying salt this evening, I was already making enough mess, but maybe next time.

Tomorrow I'm going to try judicious application of bleach to the bits where the paint bled through the gutta.

Then I'm going to iron it to fix the colour, and stitch it to a backing. Then you can see a photograph. Then I'm going to modify the design a bit so that there are fewer big areas to fill, and try another one. Come to think of it, some manuscript-illumination influences wouldn't look bad. Hmm...

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shiny jen

Little fat kings

The story behind this image, and lots of adorable pictures of little kings, are all over at http://www.hasoferet.com/blog/?p=883.

I didn't cross-post, because the formatting went all whack, and I didn't feel like reformatting the whole thing for DW/LJ. You'll just have to click over, my loves. It's well worth it, I think.

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shiny jen

la vie soferet

11-hour day working on the Non-Ketubah of Yumminess (it's for a wedding, but it isn't a ketubah). Not for deadline reasons either, just because working on it is utter joy. Had breakfast at lunchtime - bread and cheese and fruit, very bohemian - and lunch? or is it supper? just now, macaroni cheese left over from last Friday. Art Triumphs over Cooking And Food Preparation, apparently.

To finish the piece most beautifully, I want a .3mm felt pen; I will get one at the art shop tomorrow. It's a good thing I don't have one here, because if I did, I would probably be working on this until midnight or beyond, and it's good to e.g. go outside now and again.

Yes, there will be pictures. Later. In the meantime, I have a moral tale for you, thus: my green paint was drying up in the tube, so I poked at it with the end of my paintbrush until it was loose enough to come out. Then I forgot to wipe the end of the brush. The green paint sat there until I was engrossed in painting twiddly gold bits, when my ear started itching, so I scratched the itch with the end of my brush, and lo! now my ear is full of green paint.
shiny jen

How to Make Your Very Own Omer Counter

But it's not the usual kind of Omer counter. No, with this counter you'll never forget to count the Omer again, because this one's got chocolate.

Reposting from last year, but this time, before Pesach!!! and with this year's omer-counting chart.

You will need: kosher-for-Pesach choccies, tissue paper, yarn, scissors, pen.*

Cut squares of tissue paper. I'm using purple over white here. Of course you could also use wrapping paper, fabric, foil, whatever takes your fancy.

Scrunch the paper up around the choccy and tie it with yarn. You can't really see the colours so well in the photo - sorry; I've got a nice layered purple-and-white look going, by having the inside square, the purple one, be slightly bigger than the white outside one.

Write the numbers 1-49 on the bottoms of the choccy packages, and use the yarn ties to attach them to one long piece of yarn. You could make it more fun (for kids, naturally - right?) by doing them out of order, and/or by having different sorts of choccies in the packages. Or little toys.

Then hang it on the wall. It ends up being pretty long, so you might have to loop it festively over something.

Starting at the second seder, after dark each night, count the Omer (helpful chart) and eat your choccy.

And remember to brush your teeth before going to bed.

* Strictly speaking, I suppose only the first seven choccies need to be kosher for Pesach, as long as the rest don't contain actual chametz. But if you've bought a whole package of Pesach candies, what are you going to do with the rest of them?
shiny jen

what to do with ex-yahrzeit candles

yahrzeit candle in glass jarI mentioned glass paint a while back, you may recall, and I've finally got around to taking the pictures that will make a blog post a bit more satisfying than "I made this stuff, you can't see it, but it's quite cute."

yahrzeit candle jarIn keeping with my habit of posting seasonal topics at wildly inappopriate times of year, this is a post about what to do with yahrzeit candles when you're done burning them. They have a certain ritual-logistical function on two-day festivals, so around festival time you can build up quite a collection, if you're that way inclined. You see? Not seasonally appropriate in the slightest. Go me.

painted glass jarSo you get your candles; the ones in glass jars, because the ones that come in tin pots Are Not As Cool. You burn the candles. Then you wash the jar inside and out until it's nice and shiny.

These are the kind of spiffy glass paints that you slosh on and then bake in the oven. The paint is very very very runny, and everything looks an awful lot better if you outline it first so that the paint doesn't dribble all over the place. The outlining stuff comes in a tube like toothpaste, and you squirt it on decoratively. More about how you do all this stuff here.

painted glass jarWhen it's dry, you colour in the shapes. I took a tip from the iPod Nano; something that of itself is not especially attractive looks exponentially better when part of a rainbow. One jar - not especially noteworthy. Different colours all lined up - look rather nice, even more so when the yellow one isn't leaning over drunkenly.

I thought about doing them with Jewish images, stars or something, but flowers are easy to draw, and anyway I have a Jewish home, I don't especially need Jewy-themed jars to remind me of it.

Which begs the interesting question: do these count as Judaica? I only have them because I'm Jewish, because no-one else accumulates yahrzeit candle jars - on the other hand, the decoration doesn't scream JEW JEW JEW, and they don't any longer have any ritual function, so perhaps they don't count. Discuss.

painted glass jar

shiny jen


What a nice day.

Did a little final-tweaking on a piece of art, right; click for bigger. Illustrated Torah portion for a bat mitzvah gift.

Then second-breakfast at the Corner Cafe in Riverdale, fulfilling the ritual requirement of doughnuts, it being the last day of Hanukah. The Corner Cafe features, in my mental map, largely as a provider of truly atrocious parve cookies, so it was with a certain degree of resignation I bit into my doughnut, but my unflagging commitment to ritual duty was rewarded; it was a very nice doughnut. Sweet but not nauseating, crisp on the outside but nice and springy in the middle. Three cheers for the Corner Cafe, say I, and we'll say no more about those unfortunate cookies.

This with CH, doing the sort of admin tasks which loom intimidatingly and are better tackled in company. There's only so long you can spin out a doughnut, so then we adjourned to her place for more work on said admin, which turned into lengthy conversation on all kinds of things with intermittent tea and cholent. Decided that she and LSB and I should disagree concisely and pithily every so often, since we disagree interestingly and creatively; more on this as and when.

Haven't had a day in quite some time where I didn't have a quota to fill or some other guilt hanging over me, where I could just noodle about doing stuff, not doing stuff, at will. Coming home, it was quite odd to realise I don't have to spend the next four hours working late to compensate for having wasted the day - really very cheering, once I got used to the idea.
shiny jen

advice for artists

When doing border designs:

Draw the design onto tracing paper. This is good because it means you can sketch and change your mind without messing about with the actual art paper.

Transfer the design from the tracing paper onto the artwork however you please - there are various ways of going about it; I generally tape the tracing paper to the window and tape the art paper over that, and trace it. I like this because you can just turn the tracing paper over to do the other side and you get the mirror image. Obviously it only works during daylight :)



Then next time you want a similar design, you're already far ahead of the game. Even if you don't want to do exactly the same thing, modifying something you already have tracings for is very much easier than doing the whole thing from scratch, by a factor of about twenty.

The sense of relief generated upon realising this is tremendous. I do advise trying it.