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All Things Ampersand

Happy Holidays from Ampersand

It has been a busy and full year for Ampersand, and hopefully for you to as the economy is beginning to pick up.  We’ve enjoyed seeing your work online and hope you’ll continue to join us and post on our Facebook page and here on our blog, and don’t forget to find us on Twitter, too.
As the New Year opens, we’ll be spending more time writing to you here in our blog and starting up a monthly newsletter.  So, if you haven’t already signed up, please do so!
We’ll be highlighting artists who use Ampersand panels and sharing their techniques and projects with you.  If you have questions about panels, thoughts and comments, please don’t hesitate to write to us.


We are also always on the lookout for your work and blogs, so let us know who you are and what creative things you’re doing on panel!
However you spend the holiday season, whether it be with family celebrating or at home in your studio working, Ampersand wishes you and yours the very best.

Claybord™ Box for Trinkets: How-to by Vickie Kammerer

 

This project was originally created by designer Vickie Kammerer for our Stampbord™ line of products. We are republishing it here since these techniques can also be applied to our Claybord™ Box Kit. This trinket box idea was inspired by techniques included in Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch’s book Encaustic Workshop: Artistic Techniques for Working with Wax. Be sure to check it out too.

 

Materials:
• Hot Plate
• Teflon Pan – small, to melt beeswax
• 2-3 Foam Brushes (hardware store)
• Phillips head screwdriver for box hinges
• Electric or cordless drill with small drill bit for hinge screws
1. Using the blue painter’s tape, mask the edges of the Claybord™ Box lid surface and the top of the box base. Using a foam brush, paint the sides of the lid and the base sides with the Iron Surfacer from the Rust Kit. Let dry completely. Then paint a second coat and let dry over night. 
 
2. Using a clean foam brush, paint a coat of the Rust Antiquing Solution over all of the Iron Surfacer painted surfaces. Let this dry and cure and then paint another coat. If you want a uniform shade of rust, paint subsequent coats with the foam brush. If you want a more random rust finish, use a sea sponge and sponge some areas lighter and some areas heavier. Let each coat cure in between. Repeat layers until you are pleased with the finish. Do not seal. Let the box and box lid dry completely over night after before moving onto next step. 
 
3. Remove all of the masking tape from Claybord™ surface. Plug in the hot plate and heat the Teflon pan. Place several pieces of natural beeswax in pan to melt. While the wax is melting, cover the wooden sides of the box lid with painter’s tape. Pre-heat the lid’s Claybord surface by running the heat tool over the surface until it is warm. Using the hake brush, paint a single layer of beeswax over the entire box lid surface then fuse (reheating with the heat tool until surface just appears shiny). Allow to cool. 

4. Paint a thick layer of shellacover box lid with a new foam brush. Let dry.
 
5. Using the butane torch, burn “spots” into the shellac on the box lid. Do this by first placing the flame directly onto the shellac and when it begins to burn the shellac, pull the flame away when the spot is the size and shape you wish. Repeat this over the box lid, moving the torch to where you want a new spot to be, until you are pleased with the pattern. Let the lid set overnight.
 
6. Spell out the word “trinkets” with copper letters and glue into place on the front of the box lid. Attach the enclosed hinges to complete the box–be sure to pre-drill the holes for best results. 

Caution:  Please use extreme care when using heat and open flames in the studio and always keep a fire extinguisher on hand.

Step 1:  Mask the top and inside edges of the box

 

Step 2:  Paint on Rust Antiquing Solution

 

Step 3:  Apply beeswax

 

Step 4:  Apply shellac

 

Step 5: Burn spots onto the shellac with butane torch”

 

Step 6:  Apply copper letters to the front of the box

 

Be Generous, Buy Art, Meet Gensler Fundraiser Sept 29

 

Ampersand is proud to support GenerousArt.org in their efforts by supplying free panels to select Generous Artists on which to create works for sale in order to raise funds for local Austin non-profits. The Generous Art online gallery is dedicated to donating 40% of sales to local nonprofits, and gives 40% to local artists, seamlessly supporting the Austin community. Please join us for this grand opening affair – everyone is welcome:  Generous Art Opening Show and Fundraiser:  “Be Generous, Buy Art, Meet Gensler”

Listen to live music by the Robert Kraft Jazz Trio, while browsing and buying one-of-a-kind works of art. Come meet global design firm Gensler and tour their new offices in the W Hotel. Refreshments will be served.

WHEN:  Thursday, September 29, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:
W Hotel, 3rd Floor
212 Lavaca Street, Suite 390
Austin, TX 78701

ENTRY:  The event is free and open to the public.

 

ABOUT GENSLER:  Gensler is an international group of architects, designers, planners and consultants dedicated to the transformational power of design in improving the quality of life in the communities it serves.

Aquabord™ 2.0

 

Aquabord™ has undergone a number of important changes over the past few months due to a change in one of the raw materials we use to produce this unique surface for watercolors. We saw this challenge as an opportunity to make Aquabord even better than before. While the new Aquabord is in essence, the very same, it does have a few differences: 

 

Left: Previous version
Right: New flatter version

1. The new Aquabord™ surface has a flatter, more even texture. It’s less pebbly and feels more like a cold press watercolor paper.

2.  The new surface is slightly softer. You need to use less pressure when wet-lifting paint just like you would on paper.
3.  The new surface is more absorbent and emphatically more like watercolor paper (see helpful tips below).
4.  The new surface requires less water for washes and blends. It behaves more like a cold press watercolor paper now, so you don’t need as much water for wicking the paint across the surface – the paint moves more freely and blends beautifully.
5.  The vibrant color you’re accustomed to still applies.
6.  The lovely eggshell color of the natural clay you’re accustomed to is still around.
7.  You can still seal your watercolors and frame them without glass.

Top: New version
Bottom: Old version

 

Some helpful tips: The new Aquabord surface is very porous. You may see some air bubbles come up when you apply very wet washes of color. To prevent this, flush the surface first before you start painting. Take a flat brush and apply big washes of water across the surface. Allow all the air bubbles to release. When the surface reaches a damp stage, then you can start applying watercolor to the surface. By allowing the air to escape first, you are basically opening up your surface to accept the pigment. This process will prevent those tiny air bubbles from affecting the consistency of the smooth transitions in your washes. 

Top: Washes on Aquabord
Bottom: Washes on Watercolor Paper

 

More than a dozen professional watercolor painters and avid Aquabord users repeatedly tested our trial runs until we had the surface they felt worked best. As a result, we think you will love this new version of Aquabord. Either way, you are welcome share your feedback with us. We make Aquabord for you and it matters to us that you have a successful experience with our products.

We greatly appreciate your patience over the last few months during this reformulation. We think the new Aquabord is well worth the wait and we hope you do too. Now it’s time to do what you love and get back to painting watercolors on Aquabord!

Get Ready for Back to School with Ampersand

Ampersand Booth at Namta in Phoenix, 2011

 

We are back from a successful trip to Phoenix where we attended the annual NAMTA (National Art Materials Trade Association) trade show. We showcased a number of new display items for retailers for the Fall Back to School Season. If you missed us at the show, be sure to contact us for pricing and details on these great new displays for your store. And artists, be on the look out for these displays this Fall!

First, we have a new Artist Panel™ Pallet Stacker. Easily unload it right from the truck into your store. Available in both mixed 3/4″ and 1.5″ profiles or in just the 1.5″ profile. It comes with the bright green skid! 

New Artist Panel Pallet Stacker for Fall

 

Next, we have a new product. It’s a smooth version of the Artist Panel™ that can be used with oils, acrylics and mixed media. It’s perfect for the artist who prefers a smoother surface in contrast to the canvas texture of the standard Artist Panel. Portraits, landscapes, this is your surface. The 1/8″ profile fits nicely into pochade boxes as well. Prices to artists start as low as .59 each! This little counter top display was very popular at the show. Contact us if you’d like to get one for BTS.

New Smooth Artist Panel in a compact counter top display for Fall

 

And, we have these fun Gessobord™ blow-out multi-pack boxes. Each box comes filled with Gessobord and priced to sell. We have four varieties available each packed with top selling skus. Contact us for pricing.
 

Gessobord Blow-Out Sale Multi-Pack boxes for Fall

 

And last, but not least! Scratchbord™ artist Linda Sheets designed six new scratchbord kits and showcased them at the show. The new kits feature the most adorable characters. She created over 100 monkeys and dogs in scratchboard for our dealers over the course of the show. The new kits will be available in stores for Fall. Contact us for pricing and availability.
 

Linda Sheets monkeying around

 

“Crowned Monkey”, one of Linda Sheets’ new kit designs

 


All of these new store displays will be available for shipping mid-late June. 
 

In other news, we’d like to congratulate our newest Encaustic Painting Center, Sarnoff Artist Materials. They picked up our show display and loaded it right into their store that weekend. Tucson artists can now buy all the Encausticbord™ and R&F handmade paints and accessories they could possibly desire. See the store for details.
 


We did manage to explore some of the sites in Phoenix, there was plenty of wonderful art in public places and museums just waiting for us to find.

 

Ampersand’s own Dana Brown and friend

 

500 Hopi Katsina dolls at the Heard Museum

 

And, of course we got to see some good friends.

Patti Brady from Golden® modeling our swag.

 


Our friends at R&F were right across from us.