testing the making of a blue moon

Posted: June 26, 2017 by Mo Crow in Braille for the Soul, It's Crow Time
Tags: , ,

a small stitched blue suede leather moon, synthetic interface and papier maché mold formed over the old Starry Container, one of my first glass engravings on slumped glass from back in 1987
glued down & drying under the weight of the lid of the Starry Container, the acrylic interface was invisibly basted to prevent the paste from damaging the surface of the suede
there was some leakage…  next time I will use a 50:50 mix of starch paste and PVA more sparingly, this was straight acid free PVA brushed on with enthusiasm at 3am, worth a try
the big papier maché moon needs trimming, a few more layers of paper & then sanding before pasting down Once in a Blue Moon
I learned a lot, this is going to work but need to get some more starch paste, it extends the working time of the PVA and is kinder to the materials and my hands
going to Birdsall Leathercraft in Botany on Wednesday to buy a 50m roll of 1.5mm black round leather cord for the dark side of the moon & will have a chat to them about what is the best glue to use for pasting suede

  1. Good to know Mo . . . I’ll file it away in my book labelled Sources, Resources and Recipes for when I need it which could be sooner rather than later as I want to shape some paper.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Wendy))) I hadn’t made anything in papier maché since second class in primary school, it’s a wonderfully relaxing thing to do and that black Japanese tissue paper makes a beautiful surface, it was tempting to just keep it as a little bowl with no leather but will be making more for sure!

  2. dinahmow says:

    Some people swear by corn starch, others wheat.I think I used diluted PVA and corn starch when we made pinatas with kids.

    • Mo Crow says:

      I used up all my starch paste making the big moon mold and it gave a much better working time than the undiluted PVA, when I cover bookboard with leather I use the 50:50 mix of starch paste and acid free PVA, one of the helpful people at the NSW Guild of Bookbinders recommended a Japanese starch paste in a bright green tube from Eckersleys but I am hoping Rosemarie of Amazing Paper will have some to sell already mixed up on Wednesday

  3. deemallon says:

    I used to make papier-mâché bowls a lot. It was hard to keep them from warping. Nesting bowls was a great idea. Now and then I would put a skim coat of plaster on the outside. Especially if I wanted some heft. It’s so cool to see this coming along.

    • Mo Crow says:

      love how the technique is so quick and easy, my brother made a lot of wonderfully wild furniture with papier maché to relax after gigs (he’s a classical guitarist) must be in the Orkiszewski genes! am also intrigued by paper clay after seeing the Woven in Winter exhibition a few weeks ago

  4. Can’t keep a fine artist down on the farm once she’s seen the milky way :–>

  5. Margaret Johnson says:

    G’day Mo, I have made lots of very large pieces using leather. Definately the best way to avoid the leakage and staining is to use the glue very sparingly. Also use a straight firm ruler to apply the glue. onto the leather first. This helps to the leather to cover smoothly. Try it out on a sample first see how you go. Marg…ox

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Margaret))) thanks for this, will make at least one more of these small moons before tackling the big one having a longer working time with the starch paste in the mix should help with managing the edge of the moon to avoid distortion. Once the glue has fully hardened early tomorrow morning will add more stitch over the leaked glue areas & refine the edge

  6. fiberels says:

    Some ingenious work, Mo !
    (how many nights were you awake thinking this through ?????)
    Wonderful how your blue moon and that “old” glass bowl came together !
    (meant to be) 😉

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Els))) have always loved that little starry container but it didn’t really work, the top is heavy 3mm window glass the base was a French antique flashed glass but I loved the shape made by watching the glass slump in the kiln… half a lifetime ago! and re how many nights thinking & dreaming about making these moons? all the time awake or asleep, I’m on a roll with this one but my friends are finding it hard to get much sense out of me in social settings!

  7. Hazel says:

    Fascinating process, mostly a language I don’t know. If I’m seeing it rightly, the leakage looks like moon-shadows. My last venture w/ papier mache was several years ago w/a 6ft polar bear & kindergarteners… Love your Starry Container, I would spend nights gazing into it.

    • Mo Crow says:

      the leakage hardened the beautiful softness of the fine suede which gave me a good excuse to play and mess around with more glue on the surface as stitching through dry PVA is a nasty business! will do more tests using much less PVA and testing mixes with paste but will most probably end up stretching the big one by stitching the edge, it will give me more control working slowly round the circumference on the diagonal like stretching a canvas for painting. I love the Starry Container although it never quite worked, back in ’87 I had a fellow student blow a base for me with thick swirly blue furnace glass then I carved the edge to receive a hand forged & soldered silver setting but on it’s last day just as I set the silver in place perfectly the temperature outside was 105 degrees and the glass cracked from the shock of leaving the cool of the studio, that’s one thing about working with glass… it breaks, quite often irretrievably, this one taught me not to get too attached to the work!

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