|An example of Kuba cloth |
from the Democratic Republic
of the Congo.
The first image is a detail of the center portion of the piece. The stages prior to this were: adding gesso and tissue paper to the surface of the MDF (medium density fiberboard; a recycled wood product), to create a fabric-like texture. Once that was dry, I painted the left and right sides in a vertical gradation from deep maroon to bright yellow.
I knew I wanted to continue the textile-like feel, and looked to my usual source of inspiration: Africa. For the center section, I drew in shapes inspired by Kuba cloth from the Congo, then tinted them with acrylic ink. Next, I filled in the background of the center section with acrylic paint. For the two bands on either side of the center section, I drew another African-inspired black ink design over acrylic paint.
The Ornamentation and Coloration
Meanwhile, I created polymer tiles which I would place onto the two side panels. This process involved conditioning the clay (with a new to me technique of using a small food processor to make formerly unusable, hard clay workable--thanks, Pinterest!), cutting shapes, and texturing them. I used a variety of stamps and tools to accomplish this, including my own hand cut stamps, clay tools, and unmounted rubber stamps. Once the shapes were cured, I covered them all with micaceous iron oxide, to give a rough, yet sparkly finish, and lightly sanded each. The next step is one I always enjoy: adding color to the tiles, using PearlEx powders, oil pastels, acrylic paints, inks and glazes.
After all tiles were colored, assembly came next; the challenge was to have both sides come out evenly at the bottom without having exactly the same elements in the progression (to me, that's boring!). After a good deal of adjusting and readjusting, I was able to make it work. The completed piece now hangs in my studio (above a papier mache mask I did for a class I teach, and a recycled wood sculpture I did on a Play Day with my Mixed Media Art Guild), and I'm so pleased with the way it turned out!
|Painting in the central panel shapes. You can see the|
texture created by the tissue paper + gesso mixture.
|Filling in the background with acrylic paint.|
|Close up of the band between the sections|
with black ink over acrylic paint.
|Textured polymer tiles just before curing. I ended up |
not using the copper rings seen here.
|Cured tiles with a coating of micaceous iron oxide. |
Note: the color inside the two tiles with holes
is from the paper below them.