Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


So many projects, so many new ideas all begging for my attention. Just as many broken or 'went terribly wrong' projects too. As a rule damaged, out right broken or too badly 'to want to fix' projects thanks to my wreckless family normally just get scrapped. Every now & then how ever there is one or two that if i put my mind & a little effort to it could just possibly be saved.

So with this in mind i have decided as long as i can keep the self  inspiring thoughts going i might dedicate weekends once again (tried before failed sooo misserably lol) to salvaging some of these projects i have not yet scrapped forever. One such project is a series of vases i want to incorperate dragons onto. Now some of these vases will be simple standard run of the mill vase shapes with either dragons painted or embossed onto them. Others will have 'actual dragons' wrapped around them. Whilst others yet still will be of more unusual shapes with the same forms of dragons on them or wrapped around them.

For my first set of  vases, i was thinking of doing three per set. The first three were to be a (all large) standard 'balloon like shape, a sphere shape & a... Well thats one's a secret lol. Anyway the first one was part of a set of balloon forms i was drying mid winter just gone. For those who do not know it most of my sculptures begin life as a balloon. Which i then alter both the shape of directly or by adding cardstock shapes too or both. I use a fast & very efficient (tried & tested) drying technique for my basic balloon forms shown below.

Depending on baloon size, the two shown here are extremely large balloons. I suspend them at different heights above the kitchen radiator. Now as many of us know the winter gone was a particularly nasty one. So we had the central heating on every night & often day too. I had just suspended a collection of balloons before going to bed (not the ones shown above) thinking they'd be ready for final layering in the morning. This particular night it actually got quite warm & a family member (unknown no one addmitted doing it!) turned off the central heating. Result ALL the balloons shrank from the sudden heat change in the small kitchen.

I managed to salvage one out of five which i had made extra thick for an experiment. It had badly deformed but was salvageable with some effort. Many many weeks later (yesterday) I finally got around to finishing off the salvage opperation. This meant having to fill in the sunken areas of the balloon form with paper strips weeks before hand. When dry a LOT of sanding down followed (yesterday). Mercifully a 350watt electric hand held sander comes in handy here. This still took me a good 50 minutes to complete & another 15 minutes to get the feeling back in my hand from the vibration. I know i proffess a LOT as to how strong my PM is but this was riddiculess lol. The vase is not quite perfect but it takes close up scrutiny to spot the faults.

The salvaged vase below.

I will be making a set of three vases in this shape & approximate size. Each with a different dragon embossed on it & the Chinese word dragon emobossed on the reverse.  If popular i want to be able to re-create the same dragons over & over. So to do this rather than create the dragons 'directly' on the vase i did the following.

First of all i painted the dragon in a raised 3D form (embossed) as shown using some black dragon skin. A well as being great for coating projects to give a smooth tough finish dragon skin makes a great 3D paint. If i remember correctly this one is around six layers of dragon skin thick about 1cm deep in all.

After a coating of basic floor wax as a releasing agent i then copied the dragon in common (dry wall) plaster as shown above. I then inlaid two layers of paper into the plaster copy after again layering the inside of the plaster copy with floor wax. The first paper layer was of telephone directory strips then a layer of standard news print. The resut below.

I trimmed this off. The final result is an extremely strong for a two paper layer molded copy that is also still very flexable owing to it's long thin design. This i can then simply hot glued onto the vase side. Instant embossed dragon that can be copied to this almost identical shape everytime. I will be making the word dragon in the same way shortly.

I know how i want to finish the surface of the vases, with a tightly even cracked 'aged' look. My dragon skin 'bone' mix dried in a certain way (yes i WILL tell you HOW later in another part of this feature lol) dries to a nice even 'cracked' finish just like you would often expect to see on ancient vases & the like. The problem i have NOW is do i paint on a background theme around/behind the dragon & the word or not!. More on that & the next stages in the next post on this project soon lol.

You can see a picture of the dragon fixed to the vase in WIP WATCH down the right hand column.


  1. aaaargh i just wrote a long message then erased all!
    now calmly -this is to be super cool Jonty!!!i can't wait for the 'finale'!you know vases are my fav!
    thanks(if i can say it lol) to its problem and your electric sander the salvaged balloon has a stunning texture!it looks v organic similar to one of my dried gourds!of course not matching the oriental finish you want to give lol
    i tried something similar on my beads and loved the result!seeing this on a larger shape makes it more interesting and inspirational!!! huh,
    a go now it's the kitchen calling lol

  2. if i would you for sure i would try the texture on (one) of your ornamental dishes!that said now i go

  3. Ildiko: Sadly for this vase the current texture is to be dragon skinned over as i want to create a ancient 'cracked' look to the finish. Thats a good idea though for some of the others for sure. Thankyou for making me see that. I WILL experiment with this kind of finish on others for sure.

  4. Ildiko; I wanted to make a marble finish on my large oriental inspired dishes, but i can't see that happenning anytime soon. Hmm, this woody like finish would work well on those wouldn't it?

    Art supply run day tomorrow. I might just buy some coloured craft paper & do the large dishes in a similar finish. One black & white then the others white & '?' colours.

    Thankyou hun you have given me what i need to finish them at last. Huge hugs & kisses for the idea lol.

  5. hehe i'm happy if you find my ideas worth to try !!! you can as well paint the whole dish in several layers of paint and allow to dry each layer as you go.lets say about 3-4-5 layers then run over with your machine or hand.colored paper is a great idea for large projects!!!then the varnish will pop up and give brightness to the colors!it will be splendid!
    hugs :)

  6. I know the feeling when a PM project goes wrong! I spent ages making a bowl for my mum for christmas and had been using the oven to dry it. Unfortunately on the last drying session I neglected to check the temperature of the oven and was greeted by the smell of burning PM - not good! I still hope to salvage this one too...

  7. Ildiko: As it happens i was thninking of painting the 'exsisting' dishes as they are ready made & are already 2mm thick. As well as trying to make a mark with large 'hollow' sculptures. I also want to make things like dishes (large) & vases that are also as thin as possible.

    Like my hollow sculptures i want the vases & dishes to be ground breaking, well not so much ground breaking but, breaking the normal rules that being - PM HAS to be thick, heavy, with great chunks of wood filled or solid to be strong. What utter nonsense in my thinking & having proved already.

    I think i proved that diffrent with my 2mm thick bowl technique. So i don't want to add more paper to the exsisting dishes. They are quick to make & strong so i will do the coloured paper trick on the next batch. Lol yes i will show you all how i made them so fast so thin too later lol. I just want to get these 4 Troll screamers out the way first. Another 7/10 days should get them finished lol.

  8. flirtymyrtle: I use a fast strong PVA (white glue) that dries extremely fast & hard. Still i tried the oven thing one day. Even though i had the oven on a low setting the test piece just warpped & blistered before i had it in there very long. I think i will stick to my air drying (fan) or standing over night. Or my drying next to/over a hot radiator lol.

    If i can get a large fan soon i can dry things even faster with my drying chamber idea. Again i WILL be showing how to make it too lol. NO technical skills required to make it i promise you lol.

  9. hi Jonty !
    'ground breaking proof' is my aim too no metter how thick i make my bowls lol, they can resist at quite agressiv shocks but still can suffer damages at the paint part.sadly...expecially if they were painted in several layers of paint (and i usually paint them many times due to my lack of skills lol).not mentioning the crisp ended cups for example.they already have a few '
    theeths' missing...and quality does require some studying.i'm just remaking another cup wich should have been finished a week ago for the same quality reason.i found some joint problems and broke it with my hands though i already painted i still don't have a glue gun and it is v much husband sais we might have an old one in the attic as he renunced using them years ago because of their bad glue the glue issue strikes again.

  10. Ildiko: Here is a little trick i was trying to keep secret for a while but i can not let such an artist suffer such problems.

    1: Make your cups with 'teeth' (spikes) as you normaly would.

    2: Do NOT start to paint yet, but let FULLY dry.

    3: coat the outside & inside with a coating of SUPER GLUE. Yes super glue A thin coating - enough to soak into the paper etc.

    4: When fully dry paint or varnish as normal.

    Super glue makes cardstock or layered paper strips/pulp etc - super hard. This is how i make the joints for my mechanical works stronger before buiding a moving area on a mech sculpture lol.

  11. Hey Jonty..Cool stuff man...I have been so busy with work so haven't gotten a chance to touch any paper mache in over two months...It's always so nice to come here to your site and learn from the master of teach...Kent

  12. Kent: I know i drop by your site every day to see whats cooking - Nothing lol. I was going to email you & tell you to just open the paint tins & throw the paint at the walls & just tell the boss( your wife) you slipped openning the tins lol.

    Ah!, now when a master artist tells someone 'they' are a master then you know you did something right - Thankyou my friend lol.

  13. thank you JOnty !!! always v generous.i learnt that accidentaly but did not gave it much importance.i will from now on :)