April 27, 2008


Filed under: Wood Work — sarah @ 10:01 pm


My dad made me this lucky mascot hedgehog during one set of my exams. This is his write up on how he made it:

Some years ago I made a hedgehog for my daughter. Not a very interesting one in my view but she seems to like it.

I started with a thin flat piece of apple wood, left over from another job. It was about two inches (50mm) long, one inch (25mm) wide and one quarter of an inch (6mm) thick.

First I drew a sort of cartoon hedgehog shape on the surface. Then I took it to my bandsaw where I very carefully cut off all the bits which were not part of the hedgehog shape. I said “very carefully” because the thing I was cutting was very small and the blade on a bandsaw is very hard on fingers that get in the way. Don’t try and rush the job with any power saws.

If you do not have a bandsaw or jigsaw then a hand-held fretsaw works just as well.

I sanded the little rascal first with medium and then fine sandpaper before giving it a wipe over with white spirit to remove any dust. Then it received two or maybe three coats of yacht varnish to help keep it clean.

The realists among you may be tempted to add eyes, mouths and little black shiny noses with some black paint and an artist brush before the yacht varnish.

I say “go for it matey”.

(He forgot to paint the face on it before yacht vanishing and is therefore in crisis about it!)

April 20, 2008

Church Paintings in the Cloisters

Filed under: Art and Drawings — sarah @ 1:32 pm

Last weekend I went to an art exhibition in the cloisters at Gloucester cathedral. The paintings were of parish churches in the area and were lovely clear watercolours with some well-defined outlines in what looked to me like fineliner pen.

Some of the paintings were on sale to raise money for the parish the church in each picture belonged to. The exhibit unfortunately only ran from April 05 2008 to April 12 2008. The artist himself died last year at 89, his name was Alec Brown and he lived in my home village.

The paintings were part of a monumental task he had set himself of painting every church in the Gloucestershire diocese. He got about over halfway with something like 240 paintings out of over 400 subjects/churches. Apart from this project he painted over 2000 pictures – mostly of churches!

To me the pictures held a sort of enchantment, linked with the fact they seemed somehow reminiscent of my field sketches for my undergraduate course, which was in geology. There seemed to be something so crisp and defined in them, bringing out the detail which probably was not all that evident in real life. They looked like the paintings of an engineer or scientist to me. Most of them also had a very flat view as if you were looking at them straight on rather than from a slanted angle. This is something my friend Ella (who is a fantastic photographer) is always telling me makes a good photograph – it appears to also make for good paintings of picturesque churches in the darkest reaches of the British countryside.

I did discover that the artist had indeed been a surveyor and that he did not start painting watercolours until he retired which, considering the accuracy and beauty of the pictures, is absolutely amazing!

I have to confess though that the subject matter was not one that I would feel inclined to hang on my walls, but I would send them on postcards and greetings cards to people. Alec seems to have had the same thing in mind and sold these sorts of things to raise money for various charities. In fact, he had sold over a million prints of his pictures to raise money for various causes and as a result was awarded an MBE.

April 13, 2008

Flower and Maths 21st Birthday Card

Filed under: Paper Craft — sarah @ 3:11 pm

21 and two little flowers

I made this card for my cousin’s 21st birthday. I used a sheet of blue card with pink textured smudges on it that I got in a pack from Costco. The sheet was slightly larger than A4. Additionally I used yellow, green and iridescent glitter 3D paint pens, also from Costco.

First of all I folded the card in four to make it a suitable size, then using the yellow pen I wrote the equals sign and 21 to show that she was now 21. The paint pens work a bit like icing a cake, so I had to hold the nib of the pen just above the surface of the paper rather than having it touching. The 2 came out a bit too gloopy and the danger with this is that I found the surface tension of the paint makes it sort of suck paint back into itself so that the paint in thin lines gets sucked into big blobs at the end of a line.

equals 21

I then added two yellow spots nearer the bottom of the card as the centres of two flowers. I then took the iridescent glitter pen and added the flowers petals, trying to make sure they didn’t touch each other, nor the yellow flower centres.


Then I used the green pen to add on the stems of the flowers. I did the leaf separately to avoid it sucking in all the paint from the stems, and I think this worked quite well.

21 and two little flowers

April 6, 2008

Trojan Helmet

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Paper Craft — sarah @ 1:06 pm

Trojan side Trojan Helmet Inside the helmet

My brother made this trojan helmet out of a cardboard box for a fancy dress party he was going to. He used one cardboard box that was left over from our house move and some gaffer tape, masking tape, wood glue, newspaper, black acrylic paint and a silver paint pen.

First of all he measured how far apart his eyes were and where his nose was in relation to them and his mouth. Then he drew them on to the cardboard box, making sure there was plenty of space for the rest of the helmet around the ‘face’ he had drawn on. Because of the shape of the helmet, he drew a line coming down from an imaginary triangular shape around the rectangular eyes – roughly at a 45 degree angle – so that when he was cutting it out he could cut through this bit and slide the cardboard over itself in a sort of pleat to allow a more 3D shape. Similar pleats had to be put in at the back of the helmet.

He cut out the facial area first and made sure it fit properly by putting it over his face and folding the cardboard appropriately. The mouth area isn’t a hole like in a normal mask; instead it finished in a sort of lip just above the mouth and has two panels descending down each side.

He cut out a rectangle for the nose with the long side of the rectangle coming down the face, but he only cut three sides of the rectangle, leaving it hinged at the top. He then formed the cardboard into a nice helmet shape. The thickness of the cardboard helped a lot with this as it was double-walled and folded in a nice, smooth way. He taped it all together and then made the sides for the nose so that it stuck out from the helmet.

The fan on top was two identical pieces of card cut into a sweeping point with a triangular insert at the front to give it a flared look. He again taped this together and taped it onto the helmet. He re-enforced the inside with a t-section of cardboard from a cereal packet, which he again taped in place.

Checking everything was securely in place he then glued newspaper over some of it to smooth out some of the joins, and painted it with the black paint.

Once the paint had dried he used the silver paint pen to add detailed adornments like android-esque lines on the face and swirls on the fan bit.

This was amazingly effective and it is actually really sturdy.