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Monday, October 7, 2013

Learning New Surface Design Techniques at Study Group

Fifteen Study Group members had a great time on Saturday, October 5, at the Corryville Branch Library learning surface design techniques from Lou Kroner, longtime teacher and current CBAS chair.

Lou started the session by talking about the many possibilities for using black walnut ink and showing us some examples of his work, the majority of which were on his own handmade papers. Since this is walnut season, be on the lookout for Study Group members around town picking up fallen walnuts to make their own ink. Seeing Lou's work was perfect inspiration for an entire session on using walnut ink being planned by a group of eager members for March of 2014.
A few of Lou's walnut ink papers
Two work stations were set up. The first surface design technique was one Lou learned studying at Arrowmont with legendary book artist Dolph Smith, master of the architectural book form. Beginning with book board, we glued on a selection of shapes with PVA glue.
The beginnings of a design
After allowing the glue to dry, we then painted the entire surface with a mix of half shellac half graphite. Gloves are definitely in order when using graphite, as several of us discovered! When the surface was dry, we buffed it with very fine (000) steel wool.
Buffing the surface with steel wool
The result is a beautiful piece that looks like pewter, but is as lightweight as book board. Endless possibilities for unique book covers!
Lou's graphite samples using Dolph Smith's technique
Our second adventure was with foam stamping using three different weights and sizes of foam, and a number of techniques to emboss designs in the foam. Participants experimented with using a heat gun to warm foam sheets to better accept an impression from one of the many great objects Lou brought: everything from a vintage aluminum tray to a piece of vinyl siding to a fly swatter!
Foam embossing work station
We also experimented with creating designs using a small wood burning tool to carefully carve patterns into thick foam blocks, a very different look from the impressions made in the thinner foam sheets.
Using the wood burning tool
Using our newly minted stamps, participants created some wonderful designs, again with endless possibilities. Almost as inspiring as the designs was Lou's unique method of filing samples of each of the stamped prints he's made. Who would have known that sheets designed for displaying collectible baseball cards would be a perfect way to organize decorative paper?
A brilliant way to save samples
Many thanks to Lou Kroner for presenting a truly inspiring Study Group session. The next weeks are definitely going to find lucky Study Group members busy experimenting with all they learned.
And thanks to Janice K. for sending in the news and photos.

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