Fizzing with flower power

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This week saw the return of our group painting night, which is always full of colour, fun and laughter. It was also great to see some of our associate members joining in.

Members split into two groups and played a few rounds of ‘Pictionary’ to begin, using chalk, charcoal and then paint. This quickly got very competitive.

Everyone also got the chance to use implements to make marks on the paper. This included a choice of items from the art department, including leaves, string, toy cars and a Dr Marten. Member Viv also brought some cardboard tubes that got cut up to make flower shapes. These were really effective as you can see from the pictures in the slideshow.

Finally, as is now tradition, the paintings got names: Flower Power and Fields of Fizz. You can see the fantastic results in the slideshow. Thanks to everyone who took part.

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Scratch ‘n’ print

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Wednesday night was a lively one – with non-stop scratching, inking, scraping and printing.

Angus demonstrated his simple etching lesson, where we used metal nails to scratch lines into plastic. The process created trenches on the surface of the plate that caught the ink. And as a bonus, we could effectively trace the flower pictures through the plastic.

He was the messy one and inked up and cleaned off the plates before we got to put them through the roller. The bonus was using the school’s large new printing press, funded by Berry Burn Windfarm’s Community Benefit Fund.

Angus also showed us how to add a bit of colour to the paper before printing. We splashed watercolour, dabbed bleeding tissue paper and smudged acrylic paint onto the damp paper, creating some lovely effects to accompany our flowery outlines.


Dec 14: Flowers

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We’d love to bring you pictures of last week’s class but we don’t want to spoil anyone’s Christmas surprise. Just take our word for it that everything looked great and Santa has been very kind to you.

This week it’s a flashback to more colourful times with mixed media flower painting. Angus will demonstrate a range of techniques to allow the class to create beautiful and expressive pictures of flowers.

There will be materials available and, thankfully given the season, some source imagery, but feel free to bring your own.

A bit more clay and plaster

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Another evening of plaster and clay on Wednesday. There were a few more castings done and one of our new members, Jim, gave a demo of how to make wee roses, while others painted their plaster plaques from the last week or made wee clay pots. In the end there was quite a collection for the kiln.

Flowers, buttons and a wee bit of dog shampoo

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As the title suggests, our class on Wednesday had just about everything.

It was a packed art room for the much-anticipated plaster-casting night.

Clutching an assortment of items – pine cones, leaves, buttons, shells and a bunch of nuts and bolts – members rolled up their sleeves to get a bit messy.

After making the clay into a flat square, objects were pressed in to make an impression. Then, with the wooden frame firmly in place (and a trace of dog shampoo on the inside edge to help it come off later), Angus poured plaster, covering up the makeshift mould. You had to be quick and shoogle the mould a bit to make all the plaster spread and go smooth on top.

A tense wait ensued as we all waited for it to set but health and safety warnings about not putting body parts into the plaster helped. When it sets, plaster gives off a tremendous heat – enough to cause serious burns to any skin that is in contact.

But eventually, we got some wonderful results, as you will see from our bumper collection of photos below.

Apologies to those who did not get a chance to do the activity – Angus plans to offer it again on Wednesday (September 15). Those were at this week’s class but missed out will take priority.

The good news is that the group now owns the frames and plaster so anyone who wants to have a second go will be able to in the future.

Meanwhile, in the store cupboard, a few members took to the potter’s wheel to throw some clay shapes. The sound of laughter was great to hear – though this reporter was too late to reach the scene to accurately convey what exactly was the cause of the hilarity. We’ll have to leave it to your imagination.

Plaster casting

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This week’s class is brought to you with inspiration from a recent episode of the BBC’s Countryfile.

For those who missed it, we’re going to try a bit of plaster casting. The programme showed artist Rachel Dein demonstrating how to make a cast of flowers and plants by pressing them into clay to leave an impression. Then plaster is poured in and when it sets, it leaves a delicate piece of 3D art.

We will be trying to make our own wee tableaus – using flowers (if they’re sturdy enough) or other household items. Screws, nails or keys would probably work well, for example.

Don’t think Countryfile is available to watch again but you can see Rachel Dein’s work here.