Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are You Gellin'??? (Uuuuuuuggghhhh!!!!)

Oh, Goldens! Oh, glass beads! Oh, JOY!!!

Ouch! Late in the studio humor, which stinks actually, as I don't like that ad! Yep, that was ripe. (channeling the Grinch here...)
Moving right along, we're off with the beginning of the gel mediums tutorial. First things first; I am only using soft gloss gel medium in these demos unless I should mention otherwise. The first I had heard of this was for transfers from inkjet transparencies a long time ago. It wasn't until I began mixed media work that I really discovered all the possibilities it offered.
You will need stencils to shape the gel, and I cut mine from the bottom parts of foam fruit/veggie/meat trays. All are not of the same foam, and some cut smoother than others. As long as you are using a metal cookie cutter for the shape, it will be a lot easier.

I am doing hearts, no surprise if you've been to this blog much, but mostly because I have a lot of heart cookie cutters and I knew where they were!

I use an embossing tool to heat the cookie cutter, and hold it with a pair of pliers or something to keep your fingers away from the heat of the gun. When warm enough, lay it immediately on the piece of foam and press down with the pliers, NOT YOUR FINGERS! 

Press hard!
Unless you have welding gloves (and I do somewhere, but they are lost for the moment) don't let you fingers get on the hot metal. The cutter will only go so far into the foam. 

Fingers away from the heat please! ♥
Remove the cutter, and using the embossing tool again, heat the tip of a small exacto knife, and finish slicing easily through the stencil. The heat will make the edges smoother, and give a nicer finished shape.
Now you're ready to take some gel medium and mix in glass beads. Don't add so many that you have a hard time mixing them together, just a bit at a time.

I use a glass palette--actually an old glass tray from a microwave--and then the gel stays workable longer than mixing on something absorbent. As soon as you have the two parts mixed, place your foam stencil on whatever substrate you choose to use and fill with the gel/bead mix. 

Smooth gel as much as possible--it will not be perfect and some texture is nice.
Hold the stencil firmly with your free hand so it doesn't slip and also so the gel doesn't seep under the edges. The next part is a finesse move. You want to lift the stencil off straight up---that way the sides of the gel shape are nice and clean and the gel doesn't get askew.

A well removed stencil--clean, clear edges! YES!!!
As soon as you have the stencil off, go wash it gently in cool water to remove all traces of gel so it can be used again. (and again....and again....) Save the stencils you make because with care, you can get a lot of use out of them.
This is going to take quite a while to dry thoroughly, as I found out. Mine was about a week until it was solid. While I was waiting and dabbling with other things, I took the little paperclay hearts I had and gave them a first wash of color....

Wow Anne....nothing subtle about this color.....
 ....then gave them some antiquing with a soft black to make all the little features pop out......

Oh much better; I don't need sunglasses now.....
And finally, a week later, I had a dry gel heart.

Very pretty!
The curious thing was the pink that had been on the glass beads? It came off and the color sunk to the bottom of the piece. Which is not bad~~I told you we'd be experimenting together. Obviously the acrylic affects the coloring on the beads, at least these. Had I laid them on top of the gel, it might have been different.
Soft gel in the drying process can be helped along a bit with a hairdryer, but only so much. I frequently will dry it just long enough to stabilize the top layer a bit, then set it aside somewhere safe for the remainder of the drying. A hard bonnet hair dryer works too; I have one that various art goes under besides using it for my hair......multitasking at it's best!
At this point I will close and the next post will deal with something similar to a basic mica gel. I am also doing a very bare bones sample card so there will be a photo of one commercial gel medium and then the possibilities of all the junk I save. It even surprised me.
I'm not usually that organized or far sighted!
Okay kiddies, go sling some gel!!!



yoborobo said...

Hi Anne! I am making hearts, too. Yours are much nicer - lol!! Yesterday I had gel medium on everything: my clothes (especially my jeans) my hair, my nose. You get the picture. I am Gel Woman, hear me roar! I heart you, my fellow Gel Woman! xoxo Pam

Silke said...

Wow, Anne, these are so cool! You know, will all the gel media and pastes I have in my studio (and I have almost all of them...), I've never worked with a stencil to make anything raised... You might just inspire me to do that one of these days... Hope you are doing well! We are having a soggy, soggy day!! Love, Silke

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

OMG Pam!!!
Yes, I hear you ROAR!!! And I'm watching it snow again, and I am just groaning......
All this wet is NOT going to help things dry, and I am behind on so much art anyway, I'm ready to hide in the cellar! (with the wine....)


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Silke, it's soggy here too. I have steps to get gelled and dried....I think I need a commercial heat lamp in here to get things to dry!LOL!!!
I need to get busy..I know that!


chickory said...

there's no way. i made some heart shaped cookies the other night and nearly had a nervous breakdown. the recipe said there would be 24. i got 6. yours turned out great. youre a creative genius.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

TRUST ME! There is no genius involved. Just being careful to lift straight UP!
You could always try it on waxed paper first, then scrape the gel off and use it on the real deal.....


audrey said...

I once threatened to go hide in Pam's cellar with a bottle of wine. Remember? So, I could just as easily come hide in your cellar with you and several bottles of wine? That actually sounds pretty good right about now.
Thanks for the great post! I often wondered how you made those dimensional pieces on your art. I must try this - you make it look so easy.
More snow? Still none here. ):
♥ audrey

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Come on over Audrey!!!!
Actually, this is a different technique than I use on my pieces---I had been wanting to try this and then wanted to do the posts on mixing in items, sooooo, it's a hybrid.
I'll try and address how I do the other things at the end of this series.
Or remind me if I forget. ;-D


martinealison said...

Valentin n'aura plus d'excuse à cause ou grâce à vous pour déclarer sa flamme à sa Valentine prochainement...

Terra said...

I am in awe of your creativity and your unique hearts.

freebird said...

I'm really wondering now, why I gave away my paperclay, lol. Your hearts look terrific. I certainly don't mind eye-popping color but the antiqueing sure made them so much better.

The gel usage as a 3-D form is an intriguing idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I just bought a sample box of Golden gels and WOW this looks like so much FUN! I never would have thought to make the foam can be used in so many different processes! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thanks Teach! We have ice ice ice here today!

Emma said...

I love meat trays for printing, great idea for a stencil & now I know what to do with all those silly tiny beads that I can't see the needle to thread for! As for these v expensive gels I admit to only 2 - I'm a sucker for good ol PVA glue but I'm loving these tuts. Thanks for your kind comments!

Jan said...

Great start to your tutorial. I haven't started like I said I would, been busy, picked up the new llama today. I should go down to the studio right now and follow your first steps as outlined here.

One question for you, does your heat embossing tool blow hot air or just radiate it? I have a heat gun that I have used to heat embossing powder but it blows so hard that it blows the powder away. I was thinking that real heat guns for embossing probably don't blow like a hair dryer.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Jan, my embossing tool does blow hot air, and I have to watch when using powders that are not stuck on really tight. It is not overly powerful, I would rather have the next level up of heat tool, but it works.
Actually, the more heat and air something puts out, the easier the metal will heat all at once.


Bella Sinclair said...

Oh so cool! I am fascinated. I've never worked with gels, so this is a great tutorial. And the heat gun on the stencil is a great idea! Great posts!

Marie S said...

This is awesome Anne, thank you!

Ces said...

Never! I will end up with second degree burn! Anne! I decided not to join OWOH, the mob and crowd will send me into a panic mode but I still have a giveaway. Try joining, maybe your nuts will find some leaves. Take care and happy gellin, because the snow keeps coming. We had no snow just cold. Tsup!

Ces said...

Hahahahahha! Aaaahhhh!!! You do not want my brain or any other brain I know. Several of us have been up most of the night for work conference calls. Mushy brain!!!

Eeeew! I remember, do you know that they actually sell brain in the butcher shop? I see them when I go to the authentic of different cultures. It seems many people over the world like to eat brain!!! And pancreas (sweetbread in France), liver, kidney, heart! There's a whole organ market right there. Eeeeewwwww. I am having coffee and raisin bread. Much lighter. Good morning!

Ces said...

Authentic stores!

OMG, I just read your come on:
"Talk to me Dahling!
I'm waiting, breathless...... ;-D"

I am breathless too but from being too cold. Hahahaha!

studio lolo said...

I love watching the process. I've only used gel medium once in a set of paintings. I loved the result. I must do more!

Looking forward to seeing what this gel heart becomes:)


Christine's Beadworks said...

Lol, I'm behind as normal. Guess what Heidi and I'll be doing during the Superbowl!? Oh and Chickory, I can so relate, I've never made a shaped cookie that looked like anything except a blob. Thanks Anne for a better use of my cookie cutters, I'll let you know what happens.

Robbie said...

Wahoo! I just made my heart and it's on the windowsill drying (we're in Fl., remember!). let's hope it dries quickly! I'm such a good student! I'll post pics on Monday of my progress! I only had semi-gloss soft gel..gotta go with what you have, right!

Gayle Pritchard said...

Great tutorial. Haven't tried this technique before. I am sad, however, that the tube medium has been discontinued. I loved that stuff!

Deborah said...

HA! You knew where the heart cookie cutters were! I like that. I love love love the red hearts completed...the mystery of the writing on the back. I think I need one that says I carry your heart in my heart. **kisskiss** Deb

*Ulrike* said...

Totally cool. Love the hearts, and what a neat way to reuse something too.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

And EASY too!
Plus you could use them to spray color into.....lots of possibilities. I'm trying to figure what to do with the foam that came out of the centers. Heaven forbid I throw it away...LOL!!!


Gloria said...

I teeenk I meesed dis 1 2. :) What a creative person you are Anne! I love this process and it's inspiring me to do some hearts. Well they wouldn't be in time for V/Day but I am geeting the feeeeel of wot u are duing. I'm being silly, I don't write like.Why I have my degree in English, can you tell? :D Take care and thx for this inspiring and learning post.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Gloria, just write however it makes you happy! It's no worse that my post title! LOL!!!
Hope you get a chance to try this down the road---I think you'll enjoy the process.


Debs said...

Will I watch my fingers? will I use pliers?!!!

I love these hearts.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

TRUST ME! Use the pliers!
I accidentally picked up the wrong cutter the other evening and got a honking burn!
Use pliers! please! LOL!!


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Talk to me Dahling!
I'm waiting, breathless...... ;-D