Monday, December 08, 2014

Tagging more keys

 (Above:  More tagged keys.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Quite a few tagged keys sold at the Sustainable Midlands Holiday Sale on December 1st.  So, I decided to make another grouping and photograph the step-by-step process for making them.

 (Above:  Piece of heavy watercolor/printmaking paper.)

First, I prepare a piece of heavy watercolor paper for the tags.  To do this, I sponge paint both sides with watered down acrylic paint and then use an old toothbrush to fling fine, black ink spots to emulate aging.

 (Above:  The other side of the watercolor paper.)

For this piece, I used a more intensely rusty looking paint.  Why?  Well, I didn't use a brand new piece of paper.  It was originally a very light toned silkscreen of geometric shapes.  I bought an entire pile of old silkscreens at auction for around six dollars.  The darker tones completely covered any trace of the former artwork.  Why buy new acid free paper when used is available for so much less money! LOL!

 (Above:  Scoring the paper with my mat cutter.)

After the paper was dry, I ran it through my dry mount press.  This isn't necessary but it does render the paper totally flat.  The dry mount press operates as if a "giant iron".  I'm fortunate to have all my framing equipment at my disposal ... including my mat cutter.  I scored the paper into 7/8" strips ...

 (Above:  Tearing the paper along the scored line.)

... and then hand tore each strip.  Obviously, a mat cutter isn't necessary.  Any straight edge (ruler) and an Exact-o knife (razor blade) will do quite nicely.

 (Above:  Strips of watercolor paper.)

These are all the strips I tore.  Please notice the white, torn edges.  These resemble the deckled edges of handmade paper.

 (Above: Painting the deckle.)

I prefer the deckled edge to blend with the painted paper.  I like the color to be a bit softer, more like the less intense side.  Thus, I paint them with more, watered down acrylic paint ... and uncurl them in the process. 
 (Above:  Completed strips of watercolor paper.)

Unfortunately, I forgot to snap photos while I made this latest round of tags.

Fortunately, I've taken photos from other times when I've made the tags.  The photo above was taken about two years or more ago.  It pictures the work table in my studio with other strips of paper.

It does, however, show the little cabinet I keep of clipped vintage letters.  I have compartments for A through Z plus one for "little words" like "the, and, with, from, and of", one for punctuation, and one for numbers.

This photo was taken two or so years ago too ... when Olivia was my studio assistant and we made a large pile of tags!  This is how I work!
 (Above:  Tags laid out with selected old keys and a roll of my zigzagged cording.)

Yesterday, I carefully selected an old key for each of the tags I made.  This is undoubtedly my favorite part of the process.  Some keys just look perfect for "the key to happiness" and others seem to be heavier and appropriate for "the key to courage", etc.  I also have a roll of cording.  I make the cording the same way as I start a fiber vessel .... except I only use two strands of yarn ... making a very thin cord.  (Click here for the tutorial for making a fiber vessel.)

I use a big nail and a hammer to put a hole on one end of each tag.  Then, the cord is slipped through the hole.  The open-toed free-motion foot seems to be the perfect one for the task.  I zigzag over the end of the cord ... a lot ... and then cut the threads.

 The same is done for the other end ... attaching the selected key.

Because I snip the threads, they will unravel ... until I roll a dab of matte medium around the threads.  Others might use fray-check but I buy matte medium by the gallon.  Thus, it is used ... totally clear ... acid free ... and without a gloss finish.

I do the same to both sides of the stitching.  So ... there you have it!  Tagged keys.  These will be going to Crafty Feast next Sunday, December 14th at the Columbia Convention Center.  I'm looking forward to it.

 (Above:  Wall of Ancestors, Committed Suicide.)

Recently I made over fifty new pieces for The Wall of Ancestors.  I blogged them HERE.
Yet, I forgot one.  Here it is! 

 (Above:  The Key to Travel.)

I also made The Key to Travel last week ... and forgot to blog it!  

Plus ... last week I received two photos from The Perfect Fit in Santa Barbara, California.  This upscale clothing and tailoring location bought twenty-five of my vintage wooden spool Christmas ornaments for their display window!  This is how it looks!  I'm impressed!


Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your process Susan. Your wooden spools look fabulous on that display. I've started making a few myself but have only got as far as the wrapping. Not sure I'm going to have time now to finish them for Christmas this year. Maybe I should treat it as an early start for next :)

Wanda said...

Really wonderful tutorial. You make it sound easy and yet, I know it really isn't. Of course, just coming up with the process is art in itself! Your spools look wonderful so far away in CA! It must be a really cool feeling seeing how others display your small pieces of art.

mumbird3 said...

Loved the keys - thanks for showing the process!