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1st June – Jean Turner – “Enrichment vs bedizen”

3 June, 2015

Firstly my sympathy goes to Jean for having to contend with gremlins in the sound system. It couldn’t have been easy for her or some of the audience. Nevertheless, she managed to get her point across in an entertaining manner.

Jean believes that unless you are one of the very few acknowledged masters of your craft, the perceived value of things made from wood is not high. This is partly because wood is considered impermanent unlike stone or metal and partly because, like certain other activities, there are too many amateurs spoiling the game with cheap, often poor offerings. One way to achieve a higher price for your work is to add some sort of decoration to enrich it, to catch the eye and raise it above the common offerings. Whilst this is unlikely to elevate the value of your work to the levels of the elite, a small amount of thought and effort can add a disproportionate perceived value.

Of course this should be done carefully. Too much could be seen as bedizenment rather than enrichment. (Bedizen (archaic), to dress up or decorate gaudily or tastelessly.)

Jean went on to give some examples, starting with stain and metal applied to a hollow form. She had already turned her hollow form from ash. The lid had a small hole and was to be stuck on to the base. It was merely a device to make hollowing easier and quicker. The join was to be disguised later.

Jean T 1

The outside was first decorated with adjacent beads using a beading tool and sanded. Coloured spirit stain was applied with a brush trying to avoid spreading to the adjacent bead. The choice of colours is to your taste but beware of beziden.

Part of the surface had been left plain for a different treatment. Firstly it was treated with a Henry Taylor burr tool before applying indian ink. When dry a gold paste was rubbed in and the surplus wiped off. This was a product called “Goldfinger”, quite appropriately as Jean wasn’t wearing gloves. The whole thing was sprayed with acrylic gloss lacquer.

Jeans coloured pot

Jean continued by demonstrating the use of thin metal sheets. In this case copper was embossed and applied in a band to cover the lid joint. The embossing technique, known as repousse, involves hammering the reverse side to raise a pattern on the face side. This is done with the sheet on a soft surface, like foam. It is then turned over and the edges of the raised pattern are sharpened up with a nylon tool. Tools consist of scribes, metal ball end and nylon tipped tools and can be obtained in sets from Walnut Hollow.

The edges of the band are scribed and turned under for a better appearance than a thin cut edge. The band is stuck on with double sided adhesive tape. Whilst the embossed band looked impressive there was some concern about the appearance where the ends overlapped.

Another adornment Jean often uses is Swarovski crystals. These look like small sparkling jewels available in a variety of colours. They have either hot glue backing which can be melted with a soldering iron or they may be attached with E6000 1 pot resin. All new to me but I must say that a discrete use of these crystals can produce a nice eye catching feature.

Jeans decorated items

Finally, don’t overlook the value of packaging. A proper box lined with coloured tissue costs very little and makes your article look much more valuable than bubble wrap and a plastic bag.

Food for thought indeed and maybe we will see some results on the gallery table.

Speaking of which Ian Woodford gave us his thoughts on the disappointingly few items brought in by members. You can see gallery pictures on the website.

Dave Gibbard

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