Monday, May 16, 2011

Evolution of a Mermaid

Greetings Everyone!

I had an absolute blast teaching Saturday's class: Mermaids under Glass. I am presenting this project in two class sessions.  Some I'm sure consider this unnecessary and will make the class too expensive.  However I assure you that two classes are definately needed.  Most of the first class was spent visualizing, drilling, sanding and otherwise prepping the piece. Still don't believe it? Well following I have included a couple of photos and steps taken to create Lisa's amazing assemblage.

Here you see the basic structure that Lisa has decided on.  Two base pieces: One is a vintage crumb sweeper pan and the lower piece is a small candy dish. Lisa has done a great job matching two totally seperate base pieces. They both have wonderful open work like filigree around the edges.
We began by sanding each piece thoroughly to create the needed "tooth".  This is the most tedious step but also one of the most important ones. Don't skip this step guys or your paint will not stay on the metal.
When you begin any assemblage you need to decide the basic structure of the piece and how it will  be displayed.  In this project all the pieces will be hung on the wall instead of free standing,  Since it is to be hung holes have been drilled and picture hanging wire inserted into the holes. Lisa decided to connect the two base pieces together. To do this we drilled a hole in both pieces and screwed them  together. Another option would have been to suspend one from the other in some fashion.
Next we prepped each piece with clear Gesso (Thank you Michael DeMeng!) and let it thoroughly cure.
Lisa then chose her Mermaid image.  She altered the image to suit her, attached it to a mat board base and covered it with a glass lens. It was then glued onto the round metal dish.
Lisa then chose a base paint color and applied it. That base coat of paint was in turn covered with a protectant.   You can see the result in the photo above.  As you can see this is the start of a great assemblage.

In this photo Lisa has started the Victorian type shell work in a flower type design around the Mermaid,  By this time the class was over but it was the perfect place to stop. This will allow the glue around the shell work to dry thoroughly and without the benefit of a heat gun. Warning-do not apply heat to the lens or you risk it cracking. Cracking-Bad.  Also please remember that metal conducts heat.   When Lisa resumes next month she can create the shell work she planned at the top of the piece and because its not as close to the lens she can risk a little heat gun time to speed up the drying.  

Interested in seeing a finished product?  Well come back next month and I will post the last steps and the incredible piece of art that I know this will be.

If you are interested in this class I will be teaching it again this Saturday the 21st at C.Andrews Studio.  Here are the details:

Saturday May 21st/Saturday June 25th

Instructor: Connie Andrews
Class: Assemblage: Mermaids under glass
Description: In my first assemblage class we will combine decorative metal trays, glass pocket watch lenses, collage images, sea shells and acrylic paint to create a representational “mermaid”. This class will focus on the materials and logistics of “assembling” this unique creation. Please note that this class will run for two sessions a month apart.
Items to bring: Paintbrushes,scissors, and apron and any decorative items that you think you might want to add to your assemblage. All other materials will be supplied.
Time: 10:30 to 3:30 Lunch break at 12:30
Fee: $ 120.00 for both classes
Class Limit: 6
To sign up for this class please email Connie at

C. Andrews studio is located at 103-1 Harvard st. in Princeton-by-the-Sea.

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