Thursday, 19 May 2011

Finishing the Chaise and Screen

On the Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I managed to complete (with Nicky and Rob) my two allocated pieces of furniture. The chaise unlike most chaise lounge is not going to be pushed up against a wall, infact the back is facing the shot of the camera so areas of older wood had to be covered. To do this and not taint the wood underneath we cut a seperate piece of plywood in the curved shape of the leg side joined to the head rest. A template was made with paper and transferred onto the ply, once the ply was cut out on a bandsaw it was covered in doublesided tape and a strip of the William Morris fabric was stuck to the front, notches cut and then the fabric folded over and stuck to the back. Once this piece was covered we used hot glue to attach it to the chaise. Hot glue was a specific decision as it will be easier to remove without leaving marks or bits on the wood when it is eventually stripped off for return to Nicky's mum. After this was secured some areas on the wood had small patches of fabric stapled on but we completed it by hot gluing the last pieces of green and blue braid around this curved head rest detail.

The screen was at the stage of painting after we had glued the seperate frames together with Evostick (contact adhesive) and clamped the pieces overnight to ensure a firm hold. Instead of creating woodgrain effect (we tried this but stopped because it did not work very well with all the lumps and details of the screen plus there was a lack of paint after other panels and furniture in the two groups rooms.) We wanted the screen to look burnt, dark and a dominant feature of the room. A piece that intimidates and looks engulfed by death and Ivan's fears and nightmares. The base coat was a dark brown (burnt umber). Then using a dry brush and some black paint I picked out areas of definition and shade blending and bleeding the black across, darkening the whole piece, resembling to me the roasted skin of a chestnut, a rich brown, blistered with black burns. Once these layers had dried I used a bronze acrylic applied with my finger to pick out the details and features. Later Rob and I completed the surface effect using French Polish, thickly applied and then Rob splashed droplets of water to the wet polish, this created a water mark with a slight white reaction that immediately aged the surface alluding to mould and stains.

The batwing detail was mounted in the top of the middle panel with araldite adhesive and two screws were then drilled into the back through to the two thicker sections of the hourglass. The next stage was to hinge the panels together. We screwed on the four brass hinges then stood up the screen to see if the weight distribution was equal. Unfortunately we came across many problems. One problem was that the two outer panels of the screen did not bend in enough inward to be able to stand, the wooden routed pieces at the bottom of the panels had to have the corners cut away to allow the screen to bend inward. Using a hack saw Rob took off these corners. Another issue was that the central panel was too top heavy and it leant backwards. We agreed we needed to make the screen rock forward to allow this weight to lean forward on the two outer feet. Using a jigsaw we cut slithers off these two outer feet. Wedges off the bottom now meant the screen could fall forward slightly and lean onto these two outer feet. Now the weight was evenly distributed because the central panel was not leaning backwards. The last thing was to touch up areas of paint that had not covered all the MDF or paper mache. We decided against adding the mirrors for many reasons. Though the mirrors would have been a great feature to the room and another distortion to focus on, real mirror would be very expensive to get cut to the sizes me needed (and breaking it would hae taken longer than we had to convinsingly reassemble) the fake plastic mirror surface that is sold in the store was more like a funhouse mirror it frosted and sratched very easily. Many people in the group said that the fun house effect woud have been good but in the back of my mind was alway the worry that it would just look fake. I figured we have done so well on it so far and I would hate to ruin it with over oing it with mirrors that never look convinsing. Plus the effects of the fabric were loved so much by the group we though it would be a shame to cover it with mirror.

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