Cheri: I find it really interesting that every project we do, I always think that it is the best one yet, but this project was one of the best. I like working with paper. It has endless possibilities and can be made into practically anything. I knew I wanted to make a tree with a nest and a bird, as this is a theme that I have been exploring lately.
To begin, I made a base for the tree with paper covered wire. To make the base, I cut about nine lengths of wire around 9 inches long. I took a longer piece of wire and wrapped it around the base and slowly coiled my way up the tree. I left some of the wire sticking out of the bottom to make the roots and some sticking out of the top to make the limbs.
I then took some pages from an old book, (Gone with the Wind), and ripped them into strips. I paper-mached the strips onto the tree, the bird and the branches.
For the nest, I cut very thin slices of paper and formed them with glue using the bottom of a small bowl as a form. I let it dry and when I took it out it looked amazingly like a real nest. At this point I was not really sure if I wanted to paint it or not, but after talking it over with my son, Justin, we felt that it would look nice if I did a light watercolor wash on it. This really made the text pop and was just the right touch.
I was very pleased with how it looked when it was completed and it really came out how I wanted it to look. And somehow it seems fitting to turn paper back into a tree.
It must be said; better late than never. I am really (and I mean really) late getting my photos for this challenge posted. I have been really busy doing some painting (don’t worry, you’ll get to hear about and see it at a later date) and have just not had a whole lot of time to really do much else but sleep and work.
I had a hard time with this project for several reasons. First, I try to keep my hoarding down to a minimum and don’t have a whole lot of storage space right now, so my collection of incidentals was rather small. Second, for these challenges, I have been really trying to step out of my comfort zones craft wise and this has made for some uncertain outcomes. The project was to use the packaging or incidentals that come with a purchase. It must be the stuff that you would usually throw away or re-use for another packing job, not the purchase itself, in other words, free.
After all the plaster and paper-mache (or papier-mâché) work we did for our Halloween costumes, I thought this might be a good medium for this challenge. It wasn’t a bad idea, just an unknown path for me. I definitely learned a lot from this project.
I wanted to make a bowl for the little stuff that seems to get thrown on the counter. As it would be in the kitchen, I figured what better paper to use than the Kroger coupons I get every week (I do most of my grocery shopping there). This proved to be a good idea as the paper Kroger uses for its ads tears beautifully into strips. I then draped the paper-mache strips over some wooden bowls I had. I like their shape but not the material. I had covered the bowls with Vaseline to keep the strips from sticking to the bowls. Notice I am using the plural here for bowls. I managed to turn out one good bowl from the two starts. I then let this dry.
I am glad I used small bowls, as larger ones would not have worked at all. The Vaseline seemed to prevent the paper-mache from drying completely (this process works just fine with plaster, but not so much with paper-mache). I managed to pry the shapes off the wooden bowls, but pretty much destroyed one of the shapes in the process. I used some of the paper strips from the destroyed shape (which were not sticking together) to fix the salvageable one and this time I used some wood glue to keep the strips down. I let this dry overnight and started shellacking the bowl the next day. I did multiple coats all over the bowl. I really liked the effect of the shellac as it gave the newspaper a lovely aged look.
At this point, it was time to present our projects and mine was really not dry. I kept it on some wax paper to present to my Crafty Sisters and it worked out fairly well. It is now a week and a half later and I have just finished taking the photos you see here and the bowl is completely set and hard. It has turned out just like I wanted it to, I just needed to be a LOT more patient. I whined a lot about this project and I apologize profusely to my Crafty Sisters who had to listen to me. I am really happy with my final project although it took over a week to get there.
Lessons learned: 1. be patient; 2. do not use Vaseline with paper-mache or at least put plaster on top of the Vaseline and then do the paper-mache; and 3. shellac takes a long time to dry.