Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nanoscapes' magnets: for learning, for fun or for money?

In my third year of image-a-day painting, I use these daily exercises to explore new patterns and designs, new materials, and new techniques.

Gels and TerraSkin since June 2013

Since June 2013, I've been gleefully exploring Golden Brand Gel Mediums (glass bead gel, tar gel, self-leveling clear gel, mica gel, black mica gel, fiber paste, and molding paste). Combined with TerraSkin, the tree-free paper that opened the door to Hummingbirds (and Friends) in Hyperspace, I've been on a three-month wild art ride.
Hummingbird in Hyperspace
on TerraSkin

Next up: magnets

Armed with 2x2-inch primed aluminum squares (thank you Jason Najarak), round magnets from Michael's (thank you, Layl McDill), a glue stick, some leftover Mod Podge and Golden gels, I expected to whip up some magnets to sell at the Saint Paul Art Crawl.

Not so fast.

Every good thing has a learning curve.

Making the cuts

What I'd imagined to be a great use for leftover watercolors or cut-up greeting cards, turns out to be an exercise in painstakingly careful cutting to match the aluminum squares. Not just snip-snip-snip and done, but not-unpleasant-but-not-very-fast cutting and matching, reminiscent of quilting.

Finding the right glue.

As much as I love a good glue stick, even my favorite archival stick was not a good match for this project. Call in the acrylic team (Mod Podge and gels), spread the glue, match the corners, press the paper to remove the glue ooze. Wait for the glue to dry.

Glaze the top and sides

Luckily for me, one of my prime artist directives is Painstaking Exuberance, loosely defined as relishing work in tiny spaces with tiny tools. Even Self-Leveling Clear Gel can't be troweled onto a tiny square so I used wooden skewers as applicators. I had also hoped to put glass bead gel inside some of the tiny shapes, but that will add an extra step. Maybe someday.

Glue the magnet to the back

Separating the round magnets from one another isn't as easy as I thought it would be. That, of course, is the reason that they are called "Magnets." Use a skewer to spread the glue on the tiny magnet. Carefully remove the glue that oozes out. Wait. Wait some more.

For learning, for fun or for money?

I've only made three of these, and I can't put a "price-per-hour" on them at the moment. I've learned a lot, so perhaps I will charge myself my hourly art-teacher rate and imagine that I've taken a class.