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.
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.
Barb, 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!
So, 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!
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!
A little glue, a little clamping, and…
Voila! Cork Snowman ornaments!
Great for the tree, to hang on a door knob or give away on a wine bottle this Christmas! Best of the season, everyone!