Monday, November 2, 2009

Holiday Placemats

Good morning, class, who can tell me what this is? No takers? Okay, it's a placemat in the making....
As some of you may have read in the past my tutorial on making hand-painted floorcloths, you know the basics of priming heavy-weight canvas on both sides, in order to prepare it for painting, ending up with a floorcloth..(if you are lucky).
Last Christmas, I did a holiday show, that turned out to be more like a Fellini film than a Holiday Market (the manager was insane, grabbed my beautiful, glass ball wreath and hurled it across the lobby of the Austin Club, shattering it into a million pieces)..someday, I'll be able to talk about it...(I ended up making him pay for it...)..but, I digress...I did make these holiday placemats for that show, but put them away, and am now bringing them out for our Market Day on the Square show..hopefully, noone will accost me this time.

So, in order to make the placemats, one makes a template (use the dimensions of a regular placemat). I like to use angled corners, so you can take up a bit less space on the table...then, paint both sides with good old latex wall paint..

I decided I wanted to gold-and-silver leaf my placemats, and for those of you who read my tutorial on gold-and-silver leafing, you know that one needs to paint a color (called a bole) under whatever you are gold-or-silver leafing...You have seen picture frames, where there is a bit of red or green (that's the tradional bole) showing through...I chose to paint the bole dark blue...
Then, I had to mask off the areas that I didn't want to be gold where I was silver leafing and visa versa...put on my adhesive sizing...waited until it was tacky (about forty minutes, sometimes, sooner)..I check it by touching it with my knuckle, and if it is sticky, it's time to add the leaf.
You can refer back into the archives for the whole process.
Then, because I am totally insane, I decided to do the center in a combination of gold and silver - actually, if you save your little scraps of both in a plastic bag, you can do this, and it's a good way to use it all up...I am one of those "use everything up" people.
I painted all the "ornaments" and added more gold leaf, and after applying my non-yellowing, water-based varnish (three coats), I pressed teeny-tiny gold stars into the ornaments...Being obsessive-compulsive makes for great detailing...
The placemat above is actually midnight bule, but photographs nearly black...oh yes, I also turned them over, and after spraying them with adhesive, added white felt backing, so as not to mar the tabletop.

These photos don't really do them justice, but I just threw them down on top of a black piece of foamcore in my back yard and shot them...I'm in a bit of a rush today!

These are actually a deep, deep russet..and my favorite.
It took me about six hours to do each one of these, by the time I cut them, primed them, gold-and-silver leafed them, painted the ornaments, and varnished them..oh, and then put the felt on the backing...Will I ever get enough money to justify that...of course not, but I can't do anything half, I will not charge what I think they are worth..heck, maybe I'll just keep them!