Monday, February 18, 2008

Cruelty Free Gesso , Art Dolls and a Call for Artists

Spend the day working on a variety of projects. I added some background to a canvas and worked on two art dolls.

This is the really ugly guy who needs lots of cosmetic surgery at this point. Don't worry. He won't look like this later on, but he does need A LOT of work! Right now, I am trying to use a two part epoxy modeling compound. Having a lot of trouble carving in the fine detail, but I will continue to work until I get a face that will work.

This is the other art doll I worked on today. I added the color, some embossing powders, the metal shoes...wooden beads. I'm beginning to like him a lot!

Call for Artists!

The May Day Show

The gallery, NoneSuch Space is looking for original works inspired by or commenting on the traditions and meanings of May Day (May 1st), either in its modern celebration of Labor and the struggles of the working class and/or its historic celebration of the ancient Celtic and Saxon Sun god Beltane and later manifestations of goddesses and gods of hunting and agriculture. They are accepting works in all mediums, 2-D and 3-D, made by traditional and experimental styles; including painting and drawing, sculpture, photography, clay, jewelry, mixed media, video, and small installations. All interested artists 18 years and older and residents of the USA are encouraged to apply.
NoneSuch Space
2865 Broadway, Suite #2,
Oakland, CA. 94611-5708


With art supplies being as expensive as they are, more and more artists are trying home made supplies. One of the great things about doing this is that you get to control what ingredients go in. If you have a stance toward selecting cruelty-free products, this recipe might be what you're looking for:

Today, I am going to tell you how to use an alternative method to make your own gesso the cruelty free way. Traditional gesso recipes call for rabbit skin glue, an ingredient so vile in the making that I don't even like to talk about it. I have experimented with ways in which to make a very nice cruelty-free gesso that uses agar-agar, a vegetarian alternative to gelatin that is made with seaweed. The process is a little on the messy side and is perishable so should be kept in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

This gesso is a mixture of some form of whiting (chalk, gypsum, marble dust or titanium oxide), agar-agar, water and an animal-free product from Liquitex called, "Flow Aid".

Heres how you make it:

* 16 fluid ounces water
* 1 ounce of agar-agar dissolved in hot water, then slightly cooled
* 24 ounces (by volume) of whiting
* Liquitex Flow Aid

By volume?........measure the whiting in a fluid measuring cup.

Agar-agar can be purchased at most natural food stores such as Whole Foods.

* Dissolve agar-agar according to package directions. Allow to cool slightly.

* Sift the whiting into the warm agar-agar mixture. Stir very carefully so as not
to introduce air bubbles into the mixture. Let the mixture rest for up to an
* Strain the mixture through a nylon paint strainer or an old pair of tights.

During the process, add 1 tablespoon of Liquitex Flow-Aid to reduce pin holes in the gesso. You may also float a thin layer of denatured alcohol on the surface of the mixture to prevent the gesso from skimming over.

When gesso cools to room temperature it turns into a gel. To keep it 'workable' it should be reheated on the double boiler taking care not to overheat.

When you apply gesso to your canvas, remember that the first layer is very important.
Apply the first coat thinly and with a scrubbing action. Successive coats should be brushed on, alternating the direction of the brush strokes between each layer. Allow each layer to be touch dry between each coat.

Once all the gesso has been applied, lay the canvas flat and allow to dry for at least 24 hours. Once fully dry you can then set about scrapping and sanding the surface to a smooth glass-like finish. After sanding, brush the surface with a bristle brush and hold the canvas at an angle to the light to check for any imperfections.

This gesso should be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. While a little bit of trouble and quite a bit of messy....the bunnies will thank you for going this route.


Susan Tuttle said...

Cool dolls - I can't wait to see how the top one looks when it is complete.

Wow - you lived in Maine once! What a small world. We'll have to chat about that sometime.

Thank you for sharing about cruelty-free gesso.

I just added your link - thanks for adding mine.

So great to meet you in blogland!


smellyrhinostudio said...

Stacy, Love your blog! I posted your cruelty free gesso link on twitter this morning! :)

The Vegetarian said...

Awesome recipe for veggie-gesso, I never did understand why people rely so much on animal products. Can't wait to try it out, keep rocking the art:D

Anonymous said...

what is whiting and where can i get it???? thanks

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