Patience — the great studio teacher

Every now and then I find time to experiment with new method and materials. For this Christmas season, I found a flat of cork and thought it would make a great printmaking surface.

LINDA COTE-Snowman OrnamentThis simple idea turned into a lesson about patience. Apparently, oil-based printmaking ink does not dry very well on cork. Looks great, but a month went by, and it was still wet!

Sometimes this happens. A great idea moves sideways because something in the process doesn’t act the way you think. Your plan means nothing, and it’s time to shift tactics.

I’m lucky I have a studio partner (Barb Fyvie) who I can runminate with when this happens. Usually between the two of us, a solution emerges.

LINDA COTE-Cork BlockBarb, being an oil painter, is familiar with oil paints taking a long time to dry. She heard that if you put an oil painting in a low oven for an hour or two, it will dry the paint quicker. My little cork ornaments would fit in an oven, no problem!

Linda Cote-baking corkSo, I took a sheet of printed ornaments and baked them. Two hours later, they were much better, but still the ink was coming off slightly on my hands. One Christmas sale came and went with no new ornaments — luckily I had several other ornaments of a different design available for the sale!

Next, I tested putting a light coat of varnish over the printed surface. Now, that worked! A little fussy, painting each one with varnish, but here’s the thing: once you are hours into something new you might as well play it out!

LINDA COTE-Cork Snowmen

Once they were sufficiently dry, and permanently sealed, it was time to assemble the ornaments. I choose a lovely jute string I had and cut foam core backs for each one. The foam core had to be custom-cut because the cork was also cut by hand, and each one varies a little in size. That’s how you know it’s handmade!

LINDA COTE-Cork Snowmen assembly

A little glue, a little clamping, and…

LINDA COTE-Cork Snowmen clamps

Voila! Cork Snowman ornaments!

LINDA COTE-Ornament-Tree

Great for the tree, to hang on a door knob or give away on a wine bottle this Christmas! Best of the season, everyone!




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