Arts and Crafts

The other day I shared my hobby of painting.

I am sort of an Arts and Crafts kind of girl. Sometimes. πŸ˜‰

In my early twenties, a girl friend who shares my love for creating stuff, gifted me an afternoon craft class. It was a voucher for both of us to attend, and we got wine and snacks! πŸ˜‰ I remember it as being loads of fun – but somewhat frustrating too – and it wasn’t the wine πŸ˜›

It was a class in ‘serviette glass decoupage’.

Now back in those days, I was nowhere near as patient as I am now. And it showed in that class (hence the frustrating part of it).

We arrived twenty minutes early, and were greeted with a variety of wines to choose from. The studio the class was being held at had a beautiful garden, and I remember sitting on the grass with our wine, next to a small rock fountain, just sunning ourselves. No words passed between us, we just were. It was bliss.

We were ushered inside a while later by the hostess – an elderly woman with long gray hair, dressed in a brightly coloured kaftan, sporting a glass of wine twice the size of ours! (A couple of months ago, I watched the series Grace and Frankie.When I saw Frankie, I was instantly reminded of the teacher we had that day πŸ˜‰ Frankie is the lady on the right, pictured below)

gf

Photo credit : tvline.com
gf2
Photo credit : deadline.com

I’m struggling to remember what our hostesses name was, so for the purposes of my story, I shall refer to her as Frankie πŸ˜‰

My friend, Tish, and I took our seats, and I was excited to see the box of supplies in front of me. Frankie took her place at the front of the room and rather dramatically announced,
”Ladies, today we are going to test our patience!”
I wasn’t the only one who wore a horrified expression, promise.
She laughed, and added, ”We’re going to create something beautiful that you can be proud of.”
We all relaxed – but we should have known that she was an honest woman (she gave us wine, after all) and wasn’t actually kidding about the first part despite her laughing after she said it.

As we unpacked our items, I got more excited, while she talked us through a brief explanation.
”First we will tear the mulberry paper into small pieces, and you will use the normal paintbrush to ‘glue’ the pieces to your jar with the glaze I have provided. (It’s a water based glaze type varnish, thin and colourless, and after this class I preferred working with it to working with the traditional modge podge that is usually used in decoupage.)
When you have finished, while your jar is drying – it will take about fifteen minutes to dry, you may come and select a serviette from the box. Then you will cut out your picture and gently apply it with the softer paintbrush to your bottle, using fine strokes to pretty much paint it on.”

It didn’t sound too difficult.

There was a lot of chatter as we got busy with our jars (we’re women, after all πŸ˜› ), and Frankie made her rounds to check on us and top up our wine. Such a good woman πŸ˜‰

What she had failed to tell us was exactly what our serviette time would entail.

I don’t remember who waited for who, but when Tish and I were both done, we went to the serviette box together. Tish selected a serviette with bright flowers, I went with something softer – pale seashells.

Seeing us returning to our work stations with our serviettes, Frankie came over, with prestik?!?!?! What followed was a true test of patience. And I blame my youth back then for my lack thereof πŸ˜›

The serviettes had three layers, which made them ‘firm’. We were to only work with one very delicate and easy-to-tear layer. The prestik was to assist in separating the layers. Once we had the final thin layer, we could pick up our scissors, andΒ very gently begin to cut out our chosen sections.
Now, I need to tell you, for some reason I struggle a little with ‘gentle’. I am not a bull in a china shop by any means, but I am also not a very soft and gentle worker with my hands. I’ve improved… but back then it was an almost disaster.

I went through three serviettes before I had my few shells! The more intricate the cutting pattern (Tish learnt the hard way with her petals) the easier it is to tear the serviette while cutting. By the time we were done, I am pretty sure our sighs of relief could be heard in other countries. We high-fived each other, because, well, the bad part was over.

And then Frankie reappeared, her sample in hand. She showed us how to very carefully apply the serviette with the soft brush. As with most things when people do them who know what they are doing, she made it look easy.

I can assure you, it’s not. A single delicate layer of serviette that becomes wet tears really easily at the slightest amount of ‘too much pressure’. And so we were back to square one, fetching another serviette and holding scissors.

It took FIVE HOURS to make one jar! Some ladies gave up, and Frankie did theirs for them in the end, showing them how as she went along – for future use. I wonder if they ever tried again?

Tish and I were part of the determined group. And weΒ finally succeeded!

So this was my very first jar, made with serviette decoupage…

Shell Bottle

I have since, after many years of practice, managed to hone my skill so that it’s a lot less frustrating… and I don’t tear as many serviettes anymore either πŸ˜‰ It helps that I am older now, I think – so my ‘patience skill’ has been honed too πŸ˜›

In fact, I actually now enjoy working with the serviettes, and even use them for decoupage on wooden items. πŸ˜‰ I made butterfly coasters for a friend for her birthday, I made a flower fairy tissue box for someone else. And I’ve done a few bottles as gifts, with some form of something in the neck to add to the decor – a fake flower, or greenery etc.

So without further ado, I’ll share more pictures with you πŸ˜‰

Butterfly CoastersCello BottleExamplesFairies tissue box coverSunflower bottle

Here’s hoping you’re all keeping safe, and keeping well.

And if your patience isn’t already being tested, you might want to try some serviette decoupage to get it started πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

 

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