Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Floorcloth :: Tiny Papercut

After planning, researching, measuring, cutting, applying gesso, designing & painting, hunting down the right (zero VOC) polyurethane, applying said polyurethane, then applying more polyurethane, then still more...the floorcloth is finally finished!!

The process was really fun and it's very rewarding to now have a floor covering in our dining room that is beautiful & durable, and that I made myself. It's also pretty sweet that unlike a regular rug I can simply wipe off the gunk that Bird spills on it throughout the day.

I wish I had had a larger piece of canvas to start with. I used my largest remnant but it still only got me 7' diameter. Sounds big, but now that it's under the table it seems smallish. No biggie. Someday we plan to make a larger top for the table (and I'd love to paint the whole table white...yes, really, Jared would be quite unhappy with me...) but till then I think it works just fine. Maybe in the future I'll find another spot for's always fun to move things around.

Thanks for coming along the floorcloth making journey with me! It feels so great to accomplish these kinds of projects. I have to remind myself that even if I don't have tons of time, if I just apply myself in short spurts and chip away eventually things will get finished. And that's a real boost for the next thing in mind.

On that note...

I made my first papercut! I love Elsa Mora's work and she is such an inspiration. She is amazing at whatever she touches it seems, and one of the things I appreciate is how many mediums she works in & types of artwork she creates with. It's always apparent that it's Elsita's work...whether drawing, painting, jewelry, collage, or papercutting! She even created a separate blog from her original blog devoted just to the art of papercutting. And we have a print of one of her papercuts in our office. They're can find them in her shop.

My mom's birthday is today (happy birthday!!!) and I wanted to make her a special piece of art she could have on her desk at school (my mom is a teacher) or on the wall at home. I really wanted to try papercutting so I created this piece with a bird in a honeysuckle vine. The process was totally different than working on a floorcloth and it was refreshing to go from something very large to something small and precise. It was a little unnerving to make the tiniest of cuts and I did have one oops! but it's very difficult to find (please don't look too closely, haha).

After cutting it out with a curved x-acto blade, I used a tiny awl point to make the round holes in the flower blossom and the bird's eye. Then I applied adhesive to the back (I used a ballpoint-tip glue pen) and mounted it to a bright spring blue paper (an intense robin's egg blue almost) and put it into a thrifted frame (I'm always on the hunt for frames). The papercut is cut from a heavy & beautifully textured watercolor paper. It's yummy.

Now to send it off to my mom in Germany where Spring and the birds are starting to make their way out and saying goodbye to Winter. Hope she likes it :o)

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Floorcloth update: polyurethane found!!

I've been kind of stumped with my floorcloth...(not just because we currently have company staying in my studio this week) because I haven't wanted to toss on 5+ coats of regular old polyurethane or polycrylic after painting it with zero VOC paints. I mean how silly would that be?

So I started hunting down zero or low VOC polyurethanes and I tell ya, there aren't a lot of them. First I found this one by Safecoat whose paints I've used and really like, but at $88/gallon I couldn't pull the trigger.

Then I found a product by Ecoprocote called Poly-Soy...$45/gallon (still pricey, but with 400-500 sf of coverage we should be able to use it for many things around here). I like what I read about it - ultra-low VOC, self-leveling, protects and adheres to practically everything, and is virtually odorless. Oh, and it comes in a satin finish. Sold! It's on its way.

The back of the floorcloth is another story...traditional rug pads are gross (just sayin'). I had thought of piecing together bits of non-skid shelf liner but that's kind of cheesy (plus it would take a LOT of it to cover a 7' diameter area), and so that's leading me toward the idea of adhering a fabric to the back. Just gluing it on. I need to think more on that one, but at least I can visualize it, and I definitely have enough fabric for it. And non-skid isn't really an issue since it will be anchored by our heavy wood table.

And then I'll have to address the edges at some point. To be honest I keep trying to wave off the critique that a round canvas floor cloth isn't a good idea because it will fray so it's better to stick to an octagon. Phooey! I really want a true circle. I may end up either hand-applying glue to the edge (like fray-stop for quilting fabrics but more durable glue in this case...or maybe I really will use fray-stop, hmm). Or I'm going to adhere bias tape. Seriously. I just might do that. Why the heck not.

Allright...enough rambling with no photos to show for it :o) That just makes me feel weird.

Time to figure out the rest of this wet, soggy, and hail-filled (yes, hail!) day. My inner Panama girl is threatening to jump on a plane about now.