This wasn’t going to be a Halloween piece. This was originally going to be an autumnal scene. My starting point for this was a challenge to use half a bag of multicoloured sequins from the September Craft Box subscription. They’re not on here. They’ve been hand sewn onto a foam heart on a completely different project that I had to come up with when I realised the brightly coloured sequins weren’t going to end up anywhere near this panel.
Although it no longer fit the brief of the challenge that inspired it, the fact that it took a somewhat darker turn than planned means that it is perfect for That’s Crafty’s “Get your spook on!” challenge.
My original thought had been to “create a tree” (method as yet undefined) and sprinkle the sequins through the branches as autumn leaves. In the continuing spirit of making things hard for myself, I also envisaged a swing hanging from the branch which would swing through a hole in the panel. (I did actually make that and it did work, it just didn’t look as nice as I wanted it to so I reworked it.
Various ideas for creating the tree were considered: build it with scrunched up paper, find an appropriate stick, unravel a piece of rope. Then I remembered a pack of air-dry clay sitting in a drawer and decided that was the way to go.
I’m sure there are loads of useful hints for creating with air-dry clay out there. I didn’t read any of them. So, a day and a half later (24 hours it says on the pack), I had a dry tree that had separated into several pieces. I was unbelievably relaxed about this, no panicking or cursing about how rubbish I am at this stuff, I just looked at it and accepted that it was going to be stuck down with copious quantities of glue and then covered with layers of paint anyway so no-one would ever know.
While that was drying, I created the main panel. After searching through my stash I came up with a piece of card that I think came off the back of a drawing pad; quite stiff, but not too heavyweight to cut through. I trimmed it down to fit the tree and cut out the aperture, following the line of the lower branch.
I gessoed the board and then added layers of acrylic paint, crackle medium, texture gel and inks and, quite frankly anything else that came to hand!
Once it was securely glued in place, I painted the tree with acrylic paints and then added highlights with gilding paste and metallic gold paint.
Then it was time to raid my trinket boxes. Most of them ended up with a touch of gilding paste over their edges. Some were given a coat of black acrylic paint which was then wiped off leaving paint just in the cracks. All were carefully glued in place and then visually supported by the addition of stacks of black “rocks”.
The original sequin idea did not get discarded – though they did get replaced with black and grey ones.
The swing that was there got removed. The aperture got a covering of orange mesh fabric and some card bats instead. And the girl who was on the swing is now standing in the corner over some black lace.
The panel now has a supporting box behind it, which houses a flickering light. Ready for it to look suitably spooky on Halloween.