Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hands Project

Finished right hand
Several years ago I traded small artwork regularly with a small group of artists. With life and career changes, we have not been in regular touch, but recently my friend Karen suggested an art trade based on our own hands.

The concept was to make a left hand that would be a shared project, and mailed around, with each person adding something to it, then mailing to the next person, then back to the original artist. For the right side, we would make three finished hands and mail them to each participant.
The hard part was deciding how to decorate my hands…bright and wild and graphic? Soft and subtle and girly? Earth tones? What kind of base? Textured or smooth?
I decided to go with some of my favorite colors and techniques, so I traced my hand on some hot press watercolor paper and got to work. I was thinking of two things: the henna hands that are painted on women from India for special occasions, and my favorite color (well, one of my favorite colors) turquoise.  For the shared project, I started with a stencil that was similar to the Indian henna designs and used molding paste through it to get texture and dimension. I painted it about ¾ with a light turquoise acrylic paint.
three finished hands
The idea for making the right hands did not come as easily. First, I set about covering the hot press watercolor paper with tea bags that I had dyed a delicious yellow, using skins from fresh turmeric, and then printed with assorted stamps using white printmaking paint. I experimented in my journal first, and it is a good thing I did: the UHU glue stick changed the color of the yellow to an orangey shade….whoops! I tried using gel medium, and that worked fine, with no color shift. The tea bags were smaller than the hand, so I had to piece them together and overlap, which left lines where I didn’t really want them.

Rather than try to disguise the join marks, I opted to enhance them. With the Japanese pottery technique called kintsugi/kintsukuroi, where broken items are mended by using gold to fill the cracks, thus enhancing the item’s beauty, I tried a twist on the method. Using painter’s tape, I carefully taped above and below the join mark, leaving it exposed. Then I painted the line turquoise, let it dry, and removed the tape. The blue line was a little too stark, so I used a white pen and added dots on the blue line.
Using the same stencil that I used on the left hand, along with part of an Artistcellar lace doily stencil, I applied copper InkaGold paint with a cosmetic sponge, then carefully removed the stencil. Voila, faux henna!
Each artist will add something to the left hand
The next addition was words, small words from Dina Wakely stamps, and my own words applied using tiny wooden alphabet stamps and a henna colored ink pad. The large, inspirational words are from Artistcellar’s pocketstencils. I outlined the word with a black ink pen, then carefully sponged chalk ink through the stencil. For the fingernails, a cheery sun spiral mini stamp, and just for fun and texture, a few copper-colored square metal brads. The finishing touch was edging the whole hand with a sepia ink.



1 comment:

sonja said...

i love the henna hands you made and the concept.
i think my hands often surprise me with what they can do!