Working With Natural Materials

Natural materials appeal to me. Whether it’s hammering leaves to get the green out of them or using tea bags to stain paper, the natural world holds mysteries and wonders for me that make me feel like a magician whenever I use the materials I find in the yard or kitchen.

I love white on white. And I love mosaics. Here’s the beginning of a mosaic made out of egg shells. They take a bit of work to prepare–I use the ones that were broken raw, rather than boiled. I clean them in soapy water and peel off the inner membrane, let them dry and then break them and glue the pieces on a piece of watercolor paper. I love the mosaic look. Eventually, I will paint them, but for now, I love white on white.

Backlit, the egg shells appear as a very different thing. They look thin and fragile, which they are. This is not a project for the impatient.

I love these cabbage roses. Except they aren’t made with cabbage, they are made with celery. Take a bundle of celery, leave the rubber band on, and cut off the root end about two inches from the bottom.

Then put paint on the cut end (not the cut off part, the long stalk part) and print on paper. Presto! Cabbage roses.

I’ll be teaching this technique on December 8 at the Shemer Art Center in Phoenix.

And finally, I am taking an on-line calligraphy class from Val Webb. I’m enjoying it immensely. This week we are learning a cat alphabet. The letters make me laugh. This is my first try at the letter A.

Love a calligrapher with a sense of humor.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and an art experimenter. She is waiting for a big idea with those egg shells.