Shadow puppets

These shadow puppets where made from hand dyed and glued papers and cut out from a template during a workshop at Brunswick Neighbourhood House in 2019 for the Sea is Sinking Installation. The handles are meat skewers glued with tag paper.

Home screens can be made from sheets hung in a light filled window or put the puppet in front of a lamp pointing to a wall or intense midday sun outside. Play and experiment.

Vegetable Dye Paint

Ingredients: Vegetable dye, homemade glue, salt, eucalyptus oil 

Mix ingredients to desired consistency – it can be very runny to quite stiff it will be dependent on the materials you will be using.

If you add calcium carbonate turns the paint from translucent to flat (non see through).

This paint is very accessible, affordable for children and is non toxic.

If you want to get into it more further reading / good reference material is Green Guide for artists by Karen Michel  Quarry press 2009 and Artists hand book a complete professional guide to materials and techniques by Pip Seymour Arcturus Press 2003 or go to my blog page on types of paint you can make. https://fernartz.com/make-your-own-paint/

What is a preservative?  Helps stop the growth of mould and bacteria. Some other preservatives other than essential oils is sugar and salt have been used throughout the ages as a preservative for foods often used in bottling of vegetables.

What is mould? Is a fungi such as a mushroom. Mould can be a health hazard causing you to sneeze or irritate the eyes. What is bacteria? Some of the first forms of life and can divide and grow very quickly however some bacteria can be harmful to humans.

Homemade Archival Glue

Ingredients and utensils: 1. Wheat flour ( rice or corn flour can be used) I prefer wheat as the gluten gives stronger adhesion. 2. 1 1/2 litres of water 3. Eucalyptus oil (you can use any essential oil if it has anti-bacterial properties) 4. 1 medium sized pot 5. wooden spoon 6. a stove

Method: Mix all ingredients together when cold – it goes a milky colour no lumps. Turn on heat and stir continously it will thicken. When it thickens keep stirring – stir for as long as you can 3 -10minutes while boiling this strengthens the glue. Done pour into a container let cool. Can keep for up to a week in a cool dark spot.

The consistency of the glue will be dependent on the task. If binding paper, making paint you want a runny consistency. If making 3D objects its better if its stiffer – and dependent on what you are using it for – as the range of glue can be runny like drinking custard to tacky when you put your two fingers together there is a bit of resistance. The more you stir and cook the stronger the binding is.

You can play with adding:   Adding sugar the glue adds a gloss however it can become brittle. Gelatin ( from either kelp or animal hooves) – brings strength to the glue however it will yellow and can shrink the paper. Honey gives elasticity to the glue.

Traditional uses: Japanese scrolls – binding paper and silk together.  Persian/ Mongolian miniature art used a binder for watercolours to assist the non-bleeding of colours. Glue is used throughout South east Asia and is archivally sound. For contemporary works can be used in 3D art construction of puppets, Crankies, and all paper art, and installations.

What is the binding element in wheat, corn or rice? Starch is a carbohydrate – made up of Carbon Hydrogen and Oxygen

Flash Story: Holding Bay: Fern Smith:

Flash Story: Holding Bay: Fern Smith:

Flunking down on the soft day-couch butted up to the large sunroom window my eyes cast to big sky, realising I am in holding bay.

Batting away suggestions of doing words, a complete compunction about verbs. Always been a little that way inclined all my life finding ways to wriggle out of the ‘around the house’ jobs, jobs in general and never rounding myself out as a full “I am a…” person.

Slithering away at parties when discussing ‘what do you do?’  People say I am an artist. Yeah right not so good as selling ‘work’. I tried once knocking door to door with my leather briefcase full of A4 of vivid ink washes of grotesque people, didn’t go down too well. Many a door in face.

Tried car boot sales. Laying out a dusty smelly picnic rug that had be scrunched up in the back of an unkempt car while carefully placing my grotesque scantily clothed figures down, all laid out into a story, of sorts. Mothers yanking arms of their transfixed children goggling at ‘contemporary art”. As the day waned, bored, I pack up with the other sad sack sellers. No extra cents.

My mind wonders into constant long sentences of doubt. What am I holding onto where do I think I am going why am I so adverse, cryptic, who am I anyway, some upstart with no ambition, who wants ambition, do I want to live in a house where eyes stare and haunt, truant, never staying anywhere that long, people asking questions.

Ah that was all so long ago now.

The couch is my sea. Finessed in the art of scuttling sideways. An artist of non-doing. An artist of note. The sky draws me in, soaring with the pelicans riding a draft in a unison v, synchronised flying, so way up high. The storm clouds approach. Where do they go to when it rains?

The operation is in a few weeks.