Thursday, 2 September 2010

Making Lapland Jewelry

I started making these bracelets a few years ago. Although I love painting sometimes I need a break to refresh - artists need a hobby too.  These days the hobby has taken over and there is not so much time left over for painting projects.

The craft of pewter embroidery was developed by the Sami people who live in mostly in Northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Penninsula in Russia.  Traditionaly the Sami people live by reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.
Hundreds of years ago the Sami people travelled to Norway to trade at the markets there.  Here they bought pewter which came from Cornwall and Ireland.  The Sami developed a method of spinning the pewter into a thread which could be used to decorate clothes, jewelry and other objects such as knife sheathes.

The problem with pewter is that when the temperature reaches under 15C, the pewter crystalises forming a grey powder.  Nowadays 4% silver is added to the pewter which prevents this process.  When the wire is new the metal is a wonderful frosty white color.  With use and wearing the wire takes on a lovely silvery patina.

The pewter tread is a fine material to work with.  It lends itself to plaiting or braiding and amazing designs can be made by combining different braid patterns.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Upcylcled Chair, Decoupage Project

I bought an old school chair from a flea market on a trip to Norway. I was actually looking for a chair to paint folk art style but I also found some vintage Donald Duck and Micky Mouse comics at the same time and it seemed a good idea to make this a decoupage project instead.

The hard work was preparing the chair for decoupage, sanding by hand and filling dents with wood filler. When the surface was clean and smooth I applied 2 coats of gesso.The gesso acts as a primer and surface to glue to.  Then I set about cutting out sections from the comics. I glued the comic pieces to the chair with acrylic gloss medium (it was what I had at home at the time). Then sealed the decoupage with 3 coats of the same medium.

I left the underside undecorated to preserve the chair´s history - I love the pencil scribble mark made by some child.  This was a fun, easy and low cost project.  It´s a great way to add color and life to drab and worn furniture.