Sunday, 19 August 2012

Chinese Tea Room part II

Hello everyone,
I hope you all had a wonderfull weekend. First of all, thank you so very much for your great feedback. You are always so kind to me, and I really appreciate it very much. 
Today, I finished the Chinese Tea Room.

This room was inspired by the Chinese Lacquer room in Monplaisir Palace. During my research, I read a lot about exotic corners in wealthy Victorian homes and when my aunt Lorraine brought me back a wonderful book from her visit to the Peterhof, I knew the room would be just perfect for the small attic space.

Last post, I left off having just finished the chinoiserie panels and the main wall sections.

The ceiling was sent to me by a very dear friend. It is very Tudor, but after painting it white and accenting the plasterwork in gold, I think it worked out well. The next step was framing the chinoiserie panels with gold painted molding.

Normally, I start by looking at all the materials I have and design my rooms with that in mind so that I know exactly what I'm doing. This time, I started with a design and just jumped in. I was so happy with the look of the wall section that I completely forgot one little detail...rounded panels! I took my painted molding strips and used my Xacto knife to make cuts 3/4 of the way down, 1/8 of an inch apart. I then used gel super glue to carefully curve them into place. I wasted a lot of molding because it snapped a few times, but in the end it worked.
In the picture above, you can see I carved the edges of the top and bottom molding strips to line up with the design, then I applied 2 coats of Gesso to fill in the cuts. After some sanding, it didn't look too bad. The last preparation step was the corbels on the walls. I ordered brackets from Sue Cook and painted them gold. I used Delta Ceramcoat paints for this room because they dry fast. However, the metallic gold paint tends to be thick, and a skin forms on the top faster than on the other still went on well. After they were glued on the wall, I took a strip of lumber and cut it to create a small shelf over the bracket. Eventually each corbel will have a piece of oriental pottery on it. In the meantime, I used items from my collection to give you an idea of what it will look like.

The next step was the floor. Once again, I used iron-on wood strips from the hardware store, however I tried a new technique I plan on using in the Library. I started by drawing guidelines 1/4 of an inch apart on my illustration board subfloor. Next, I looked online and glued down 1/4 inch strips to create an oriental inspired pattern. I then mixed 2 parts black oil paint to 1 part Liquin. I covered my design using a small brush and wiped it off after 5 minutes. I waited 2 days for it to dry then filled in the rest of the floor.

I was happy with the result because the border was dark, but you could still see the wood grain come through. The only problem was that the paint was still a little wet in corners, so next time, just to be safe, I will wait 1 week before filling in the floor.

And here is the installed floor. Normally I use 2 or 3 coats of shellac, but this time I applied 4 coats to get a more golden color. When the floor and the 3 walls were glued down and had time to dry, I turned the attic section upside down and glued down the ceiling piece. I then cut illustration board to cover the angled sides of the room. I could have painted the mdf, but by covering it with illustration board, I hid the gap created by the thickness of the ceiling and the side walls.

Another idea I had was for the cabinet that will house a collection of teapots. It is the same principle as my butler's pantry.  
It would have been too tight to open hinged doors and reach inside the cabinet, so instead I made the cabinet a seperate unit that just slips into the hole in the wall. This way I can take it out, attach my teapots and tea caddies, then put it back in the wall with no risk of damage...much safer than working doors. The bottom strip you see in the picture is to enable me to eventually slide a piece of plexiglass for the cabinet doors.

The room measure 14 1/2 inches by 9 3/4 inches and is rather busy. For this reason, I decided the only furniture I will use is a table and 4 chairs, a tea trolly or small serving stand, and possibly a birdcage. I had an old walnut table lying around, so I took off the top, painted the base black and added gold detail, then faux marbled the top. At first, I was going to make it and the ledge beneath the fireplace white marble, but decided it would stick out too much in miniature. Therefore, the fireplace bottom is the wedgewood green color I used to make the chinoiserie, and for the tabletop I used black, forest green and white to create green marble. 3 coats of glaze and 1 coat of clear wax to finished the look.
And, as usual, here are pictures of the empty room.

Originally, I planned to hang gold curtains on the sides of the arched doorway. However, that doorway is the only view to the room behind it. For this reason I might just leave it open to get a good view of the large windows I cut out.

And that's it for the Chinese Tea Room. I won't lie, this room was a lot of work and a lot of patience, but I'm very happy with the result. My next step is to prime the rest of the attic section, and then I will work on the Nursery, Office, Bathroom, and the Parlor behind the Tea Room...then, I begin the exterior.

Once again, thank you so much for following my miniature adventures. I hate computers, but I must say it's a real priviledge to get to know all of you and your wonderful artwork. I look forward to reading your posts and I wish you all a wonderful week.

Big hugs,


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Chinese Tea Room part 1: Illustration Board wall panels

Hello everyone,
I hope you're all doing well. I normally create a post when a room is finished, but since it's been a while since my last post I thought I'd just give you guys an update on the Room I'm currently working on.
I'm working on one of the rooms in the attic at the front of the house. Originally this was going to be a walnut panelled office, then library, finally I decided it will be a Chinese tea Room the Dewell's use to entertain prominent guests.

In this post I'll just talk about the construction of the panels which I made using illustration board. I've been asked by friends accross the sea exactly what illustration board is. It's basically thin layers of cardboard stuck together. I took one piece and seperated the corner to better explain.

I get my illustration board from my local art supply store
After I made the plans for the room I cut out each wall section in the illustration board. It warps when you paint it so you have to back it with something sturdy. Many miniaturists use lumber, but since I live in Montreal and order all my miniature lumber from "Manchester Dollhouse and Woodworks" in the States, I use it cautiously so as not to run out of building materials...I found Balsa here in Montreal, but there are no words to say how much I hate working with wood that soft. Since I have many small pieces of mdf leftover from building the Manor structure, I just glued them onto the back of the illustration boards walls.
You can see int he picture above that I made the mdf shorter then the illustration board to accommodate the sloped of the roof. I glued everything using carpenters glue. Next I glued on small rectangular panels which will eventually be finished with chinoiserie like in my first picture. When they were dry, I covered everything in gesso.

The center section will be a mirrored cabinet with doors to showcase teapots and tea caddies

This is the Fireplace wall, the medallion is a jewellery bit I glued on before painting. Illustration board makes it easier to cut odd shapes like the fireplace opening...I know it's crooked, I fixed it later on

And this is the back of the room
Gesso just helps to cover any joints and protects the edges of the board. Once it set I sanded it and painted the background red and the panels black
3 coats of red all over, then 2 coats of black over the panels
I painted the chinoiserie, but you'll have to wait till my next post for the finished pieces. Oh well...maybe just one bad picture...

The narrow vertical rectangles that were left black will have 3 shelves on them which will hold white vases and chinese teacups with blue and orange designs on them...Yes, I will be learning to work with Fimo! Around the mantel, the black panels and the chinoserie panels I will attach a gold molding strip which is in the mail. The shelves will be gold painted brackets from Sue Cook which are also on the way. If the brackets and molding arrive soon I should have this room finished in 2 weeks...and I have a wonderful gold and white plaster ceiling for the top of the room. I'm working on a parquet floor design...

And that's my progress. There would be more, but I was sick at the beginning of the month, then had my mom and my father-in-law's birthdays, then Ozzy's..
Happy Birthday Ozzy!
...and last weekend our friends had a Blessing for their daughter. I had told them I would make the cake since I made the one for their son, but then they asked Jo and I to be her godfathers so naturally I had to make the cake special...
And that, my patient friends, was July 2012 in the wonderful world of Giac!

Before I go, Some of you chose me for a "You Inspire me" blog award. I thank you all very much for the great honor. I tried very hard to choose who to pass it on to, but there are so many of you I just can't pick. So if you don't mind, I thought I'd do it this way. While every single one of you inspires me...yes..EVERY single one of you ...I decided to mention certain blogs that have helped me, or that I wish I had come upon earlier to help prepare me for Dewell it finishing techniques, history or collecting! I hope you explore them and enjoy them as much as I do.
   Faux wood finish, illustration board walls, curtains, "The Ultimate Glue"...Without Ray's techniques I would never have made the Manor what it is
   I wish I had read Andy's posts before I started. His miniatures are wonderful, and his historical period guides are one of the best tools you'll find on the web. I could of saved a lot of time and energy had I read his posts first.
   Martha has dedicated her blog to showcasing the artists that have made our hobby great. Each post introduces me to a new artist and she encourages everyone to comment and add information about the work.
   Many of Debora's posts are wonderful construction how to's and I've learned a lot of great ideas from her
   I just love furniture and look forward to the challenge of making my own someday. In the meantime, Elga's posts show you so many techniques and I will definetely re-read them all before I start.
   John and Simon were amongst my very  first followers. Like me, they started blogging about their scratch built projects and I think our projects are very much the same in so many ways...My sign is Taurus and my ascendant sign is Scorpio, so I still get confused by the Gemini-Effect these two have, but the end results always speak for themeselves. ;)

Well, that's what I had for the moment. thank you all, old friends and new, for your support and encouragement. You all know how big miniature projects really are, and it's great to have the priviledge to get to know all of you and all your wonderful artwork...yes, we are all artists!

I send you all the best and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful posts.

Big hug,