I spent the start of my week reconfiguring the artwork below, that I exhibited at Surface and Materials Show at UKCW in 2016, into a smooth pattern to be used for an exciting new project. I thought it would be good to show the product process behind creating the design, because it is always amazing to see how a design is made.
The design above is a Verre Églomisé artwork creating using textural paint layers hand painted and stencilled onto the glass, working from highlight to the darkest tone. On top of this I water-gilded copper leaf using small segments of the leaf to add interest to the gilding through the manipulation of the traditional metal leaf shape into an organic and crumpled appearance.
Before I started working on the repeat I wanted to check that my design was mathematically accurate because I knew that later once in a repeat it would become glaring obvious and hard to match up if any of the shapes were skew and not properly aligned. Thankfully after creating the above overlay I discovered that everything was in the right place so I was ready to start matching up the repeat.
The next part – matching up is magic and unfortunately I am not going to include that on here. I wouldn’t want to ruin the illusion!
Once the magic had taken place I had the design in a repeat and ready to work into and edit the colour work. An essential part for me is to ensure that the dark and the light of the design work harmoniously together and are well balanced. For me if I can get a satisfactory image at this stage then the rest should hopefully be plain sailing. Although I am sure that is famous last words!
This is one of the outtakes from the colour adjusting process and I just had to share it because I love the added texture that the wrong shade of grey has given the artwork. I find it very complementary to overall design and works harmoniously helping your eye to traverse the whole image.
For now that is all I am going to share of this design, however in the near future I will be posting the outcome of this in all its glory!
Check out my latest portfolio showing a small selection of the projects I have been working on as a freelance textiles and surface designer.
Currently a freelance textile and surface designer, I have created multimedia artworks for projects with established and emerging brands. During this time I have gained experience implementing my artworks into repeat designs; following the whole design process including; research trips, design and creation, composing repeats, colouring collections, colour chipping for test prints and factory proofing.
This Verre Églomisé collection explores decorative surfaces trying to incorporate a design onto the softly reflective surface, the resulting collection are artworks in their own right and functional pieces that work with the traditional skills, highlighting the contemporary use of the specialistic skill of gilding. Using water-gilding process to apply the metal leaf to the glass, these surfaces explore a distressed aesthetic, through the layering of textural reverse paint finishes, scratching through the metal and hand painted to create a refined and highly decorative surface.
Through the layering of precise triangular shapes I created an unusual geometric design, using a thin line I reverse painted these onto the glass and then I applied a speckled layer to give the design an ombre appearance and manipulate the reflective quality of the gilding.
This speckled design has been created through layers of sponge work in a variety of grey tones, this has altered the reflective verre églomisé surface and gives a distressed appearance to the mirror. Once water gilded the leaf has been lightly worn away to reveal the cracks and overlaps of the leaves and backed in a pale grey.
I have recently started experimenting with using natural landscapes as the stimulus for my designs, when doing so I start off with these quick and very simples sketches to capture the scene before me. I thought I would share them because there is a certain naiïve beauty to the sketches, using very simple and basic shapes or childlike impersonations to get the scene down on paper.
The following three mirrors are all verre Églomisé designs.
Created using a Verse Églomisé process, by applying silver leaf by hand onto the glass using water gilding techniques, to create a softly reflective surface. Which I then etched into, selectively removing the metal from the glass surface before reverse painting on the artwork. Starting with the highlights first and working in layers till you reach your final darkest colour. Verre Églomisé is the art of applying metal leaf to glass, traditionally used in sign-writing, specialist lettering and speciality mirrors; giving the process a rich background in the decorative arts.
The above design is inspired by a gate ironwork detailing, I manipulated the motif and reconfigured the detailing to a solution that I found to be more pleasing. This was applied to the glass first in gold and then I backed this with silver leaf and then rubbed it back to give a distressed appearance. I really like how this has highlighted the edges of the leaves and triggers the viewer to realise that it is gilded. Backed with a flat port colour so as not to draw the attention away from the beauty of the motif and worn silver leaf.
The above design is inspired by the art deco style, featuring a minimalistic colour palette using only black and gold, I created the design by masking the areas I wanted to be gilded so that I could apply the black pattern. The paint is applied very lightly and with a textured finish allowing the gold gilding to be seen through it. I think this is very effective because it prevents the black pattern being overly rigid, softening the overall appearance.
The Chevron design above uses layers of brushed paint colour in analogous colours, green and blue; I used analogous colours because they sit serenely next to each other, and are very harmonious which is pleasing to the eye. Using different tones of these colours for better visual effect. The silver gilding behind is finished to a well worn metal layer and backed with a soft grey to complement.
This week has ended very successfully with two completed artworks. Well there are not quite fully complete but with all that is left is a protective seal and framing, the hardest part of the work is over.
They are both Verre Eglomisé pieces using silver leaf that has been selectively removed to create the design and then back painted in a reverse painting fashion. This is where you work backwards – starting with the highlights applied first and the final layer being your darkest colour.
The first is a design a started along time ago and have featured the previous stages on this blog in the past; however I was unsure of how to complete the artwork so I left it untouched in the corner of my studio until inspiration hit. Luckily it did in due course and I now have the final artwork to show off on here as well; I have not decided on the name yet but the landscape is of ‘the Rivals’ and thats dramatic in itself. It is a group of mountains on the Llŷn peninsula, that are beautifully scarred from their quarry past. It was the beauty of the rugged mountain with the strong sea waves and the unusual cloud formation in the sky that inspired to create this piece, whilst on the Traeth Nefyn beach. Hopefully I have done the amazing view a bit of justice with this piece.
The second artwork is of a very familar landscape to myself, that I see everytime I take the dogs out for a walk along the river Orwell; There is a row of Poplar trees along a field boundary that give the area a French aesthetic. I think I visited at the perfect time, it was high tide and the water was almost still, the clouds were dramatic but not stormy and the landscape was beautifully framed in between the two. Currently this artwork stands unnamed but I have a few ideas floating around, this is just off a local road called ‘Strattonhall Drift’ which almost sounds poetic. Please excuse the reflections on the glass, due to the reflective nature of the silver leaf and the Verre Eglomisé technique it is a tricky thing to photograph.
Monday is my favourite day of the week
Correction: Monday is my favourite day of the working week. There are so many possibilities for where the rest of the week will take me, it is such an exciting time with no predestined outcome just purely where my mind takes me! After spending the weekend away from the studio, I often find I am longing to get back to in there, keen to try out new ideas and create the pieces I have spent my weekend daydreaming about!
The fact that New Years Day was on a Monday only adds to my love of Mondays! As tradition dictates, of course I set myself a New Years Resolution to help me progress and remain focussed this New Year. I’ve decided that I will become better at self-promotion this year and dedicate more of my time to this less interesting side of the creative process which is the necessary housekeeping of my blog, website and instagram page.
With that in mind, I will start this week as I mean to go on. My sister suggested that if I can make it to a blog post every week then this time next year I would have 52 blog posts created! This for me is scary amount, however broken down into one a week seems much more feasible and definitely more realistic. She also thought a Monday would be a great day to do this… at which I point blank refused; I cant be spending my favourite day of the week doing the creative housekeeping. Instead I will continue to write and edit and document my week on a Friday, using this to reflect on my progress and success of each week. Easy Right?!