All on Board
“Texture is trending,” says Jack Dempsey, Crescent Cardboard’s “Creative Disruptor.” “Every year we launch new mat board products, and texture is 2016’s theme for interior and consumer products.”
At the West Coast Art & Frame Expo last January, Crescent was ahead of the curve. The company introduced its Couture Matboard collection, a luxury product line only available in select custom frame shops. It is used to add more richness and dimension to framed pieces with spectacular results, says Jack. Textures range from spun metals to polished stone and crushed leather. Framers also appreciate its 100-percent cotton core and backing.
In January 2016, Crescent will launch its new JUTE matboard collection that features six rustic colors “for a casual and unpretentious look to accent many art pieces and today’s popular home décor,” says Jack.
Another Crescent product, the Create & Show Kit, has been popular with professional artists and students who use it to create and present art easily, quickly and affordably. It features a heavyweight multimedia art board and a gallery-style pre-cut mat that fits standard-size frames. A clear re-sealable display bag protects the artist’s work.
A Future in Fine Art
Three years ago, while brainstorming new uses for their existing core products, the marketing team at Chartpak decided to take a closer look at Clearprint drafting vellum. The translucent, 100-percent cotton paper was developed in 1933 for engineers designing projects like the San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, B-17 planes during World War II and NASA space shuttles.
Armed with paints, inks, dry media and mixed media, Jen Cadran and her team began experimenting to see what Clearprint could do. “Each test was an ‘aha’ moment that gave us exciting ideas on how to use vellum as a fine art substrate,” she says. “From layered to dual-sided vellum, to transferring images, paper-stained glass, and even vellum papier-mâché, artistry took form.”
Today, artists are using Clearprint vellum with oil, acrylic, watercolors and inks; and pastel, charcoal and graphite. They also use it for 3-D sculpture and printmaking. “Artists find that our vellum takes the various media like a champ,” Jen says.
Vellum Field Books, for sketching and rendering fine artwork, were introduced in 2013. For Chartpak’s collaborative art project, Cross-Country Clearprint, hundreds of artists from across the country are sent a Field Book to design and share with the Clearprint community. “They’re excited about Clearprint’s versatility and the buzz is contagious,” Jen says.
To check out the Cross-Country Clearprint artist gallery, visit clearprintpaperco.com.
Don’t Worry, Be Crafty
From beginners to mold masters, artists feel comfortable getting creative with ComposiMold. The reusable heat and pour mold-making material allows them to experiment, worry free, says Michelle Miller, Art and Outreach Director at ComposiMold. “ComposiMold mistakes are an easy fix. Simply re-melt the mold to reuse, and re-create.
“A mold made with this medium picks up great detail and can be reused more than 35 times,” she adds.
ComposiMold projects are as diverse as the artists who create them, Michelle says. Young mold makers use it to clone their favorite action figures. Diane Salyer, a candle maker, uses it to turn everyday objects and trinkets into functional and fun candles. Animal advocate and president of CatCareTNR.org in Colorado uses ComposiMold to make soaps in the shape of carefree kitties to raise money for her organization.
Technically-inclined artists are using a 3D printer and ComposiMold to speed up the production time of their work. They print one perfect shape on a 3D printer and then duplicate it using a mold. “It saves them money and frustration,” says Michelle. “Plus, they can transform the printed plastic shapes into almost any material they choose.”
There is a ComposiMold for every application. ComposiStone – harder than plaster and smoother than cement – is used by landscape designers to make stones and lawn ornaments. Food artists are fans of ComposiMold’s EasyMake It Chocolate for fondant, or to mold sweet confections into any shape. Custom cake decorators use it to re-create plain old plastic toys as edible treats.
A jeweler and recent MFA student at the University of Maine, Heather Perry, used ComposiMold Firm to make concrete castings for her thesis art show. She attributed the success of her project to ComposiMold’s reusability. “It made my body of work not only possible but affordable,” she says. Check out some of the jewelry she created with
ComposiMold at heatherperryfinejewelry.com.
Pen and ink artist Paul Reynolds, an in-house artist for Pentel, has used his signature technique of making “little ink dots” to design intricate sketches of skylines and cityscapes, a facial rendering of the Dalai Lama, and everything in nature, from seashells to sun bursts.
“My artwork is usually very detailed and precise,” he says, “but with Pentel pens I feel the urge to be more expressive; to loosen up and ‘lose control’ a bit.”
For accurate line work, he uses Pentel’s Hybrid Technica. “Its tungsten carbide roller tip never wears down,” he explains, “so my lines will always be the same width. The gel ink never skips and gives me a consistent flow of truly black ink.”
When he’s on the go, Paul uses Pentel’s water-based Color Brush Pens. Ink flows easily to create transparent watercolor effects for a painterly look, he says. The nylon brush tip works for painting and sketching on location.
To get his ideas down quickly, he uses Pentel’s Sign Pen with Brush Tip. “The rubberized tip creates both broad and precise strokes of color,” he says. “The water-soluble ink lets me expand areas rapidly with Pentel’s Aquash Water Brush.”
He’s not the only artist using that product. Paul recently met a chef and food artist who uses it for plate design; filling the brush with food coloring and painting around the dish to enhance plate presentation.
“My pens need to work the moment I pick them up,” says Paul. “Pentel’s pure and reliable colors offer the best of both worlds – inking and painting.”
Jason Cole, Pentel’s digital marketing manager, points out that National Handwriting Day is January 23. To celebrate, Pentel will sponsor handwriting challenges throughout January to inspire creativity and keep the art of handwriting alive. “Few forms of expression remain as powerful as handwriting,” he explains. “It’s a way to translate thoughts, emotion and abstract concepts – not only with the words chosen, but in how they’re written.”
by Jenn Bergin