Wild Hearts

So, my husband came home after a long day at the office.  He couldn't believe his eyes.  I was in the kitchen and there was something in the oven!  Silly man, it's Art For Dinner!

But yes, I was in the kitchen cooking...cooking corks.  I do enjoy the occasional (wink) glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, big and bold Italian Red Blends...what were we talking about again?  Oh yes I remember, corks!  Yes, I guess you could say I have a modest collection of corks (I do not wish to discuss an actual number).  So why not use some in my Mixed Media?

As you know, I like to deconstruct stuff, so I decided to break down some corks to add to modeling paste for some serious texture.  What did I learn?  I learned I have taken corks for granted apparently, defining them as 'that annoying thing that comes between me and my wine'.  I respect them more now.  They are tough little devils who aren't interested in putting up with any if my s#*t, pardon my French.  Speaking of French, I also love a rich and lovely Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge.  Whoopsie, I digressed again...

So anyway, back to those wily corks.  I was going to use my mother's circa 1978 Ginsu knife (remember the ads, they cut through a can for goodness sake!); the knife did cut through the cork, but it was a laborious process.  When in doubt, Google it!  This led me to a pin on Pinterest that stated steaming the corks in a mesh basket over boiling water was the key.  The article continued to boast that the corks would cut like butter.  Okay...what the heck kind of 'butter' are these people cutting?  I paused...and then....a lightbulb moment!  Food Processor!  I unearthed this appliance from the pantry and loaded it up with the rubbery (not buttery) cork slices.  The first few blade rotations made me hopeful, but then the machine emitted a howl like a feral cat at the groomers!  Shut Down!  Shut Down!  Drats! I refused to be defeated.  Ok you dastardly corks, I didn't want to have to do this but you forced me:  into the oven you go!  I began at a low temp of 250 degrees.  Are you kidding me!  No change.  I had had IT!  450 degrees.  Some of them started to brown and the house smelled like a wood engraving shop...kind of nice actually...(with a fruit forward aroma from the wine on the corks.  My husband actually thought I was baking a pie).  After slightly cooling, I dumped my freshly baked cork pieces back into the Cork Processor (formerly known as the Food Processor).  Finally!  I achieved smaller pieces and decided to reward my efforts with a small glass of wine.  I selected a bottle from our wine cellar (kidding, just a wine rack) and prepared to remove the cork.  It broke and crumbled...of course it did...karma I guess. 

Ok, now that the Never-Ending-Story of The Cork is over I will proceed with Step 2: Preparing the Canvas.  I covered a 7 x 14 canvas with black gesso followed by modeling-paste-stenciling and random crackle paste.  I then mixed the cork pieces into additional modeling paste and applied this mixture around the canvas.  Another layer of black gesso was applied.

While my base was drying I cut 3 ATC-size pieces of chipboard. I applied texture in the form of foil, modeling paste and glue. I colored the background with Paper Artsy Infusions and the hearts with DecoArt Media. I highlighted the edges and texture with DecoArt Lustre. A Stabilo pencil provided the look of shadows around the hearts.

Back to my canvas, I painted tones of light green, yellow, copper and brown and  highlighted with white gesso and lustres. I attached three cork slices to the center of the canvas to lift my heart cards.  Excelsior was added under the middle card.  The finishing touch was the cork slice that had the year 2013 printed on it.  How perfect, as this is a bridal shower gift to my daughter, who began dating her wonderful husband-to-be in 2013! 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Do try using cork pieces in your texture, its lightweight and provides inexpensive texture interest to your projects.  If you find an easy way to reduce the cork to bits, be sure and let me know!  

Product List

DecoArt Media:  Gesso, Modeling Paste, 1 Step Clear Crackle Glaze, Fluid Acrylics in 'Quinacridone Gold' and 'Red Iron Oxide', Antiquing Cream in 'Titanium White' and 'Raw Umber'

DecoArt Americana:  'Celery Green', 'Black' and 'Worn Penny' acrylic paint

Paper Artsy:  Infusions in 'Golden Sands'

Lindy's Stamp Gang:  Starburst Sprays in 'Clam Bake Beige' and "Ponderosa Pines Olive'

Prima Art Basics:  3D Gloss Gel

Inka Gold:  'Turquoise' and 'Yellow Gold'

Ranger:  Glossy Accents

TCW:  'Mini Tile Mania' stencil by Gabrielle Pollacco

7 x 14 canvas, corks, excelsior, chipboard, black gesso, foil