Xothique's Journal

January 22, 2008

Masks for Venice, and other New Year projects..

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 10:57 am

Well, the new year started with a wonderful commission – I was approached to make two masks to be worn at the carnival in Venice. The project – an oriental gentleman and a character from the Beijing opera, posed quite a challenge; one of the masks had to have a mandarin style beard! It took some working out, but I eventually devised a way of attaching the beard and weaving it securely into the papier-mache without getting it covered in glue. This photo (click for a larger view) is of the completed masks before ribbons were attached, and I hope to have costume pictures from Venice very soon.

Oriental Style Masks

I’m really pleased with the finished masks. What a great show of faith in my abilities, and what a great boost to my confidence – to have supplied masks for Venice!

This commission has fired my enthusiasm for papier-mache once again, and I’ve been exploring a few new ideas for decoration and experimenting with crackle-glazes and darker themes, inspired by antique dolls. I have also added quite a few new leather masks to my range – check out my sales page to see what’s available.
This year I also want to do more painting and drawing. I miss my watercolours. That said – I have recently bought Painter X and am happily experimenting with it. The real-bristle brushes are fantastic!
Watch out for updates over the next few weeks.

October 2, 2007

Leather Masks

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 1:27 am

I’ve been making masks out of papier-mache for a few years, now. I have no formal training, but having explored and researched many different techniques on my mask-making journey, I like to think I’ve served my apprenticeship. That is not to say that I am not open to learning new skills; far from it. I have recently discovered the joy of working in leather.

I have always wanted to create leather masks, but shied away from it for several years – I suffer from tendon problems in my arms, and working leather is quite intensive. The thought that I might do myself further injury always put me off. Earlier this year, however, the lovely people at The Identity Store in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, persuaded me to try a small sample of vegetable-tanned leather to see what I could do with it, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s such a gorgeous medium to work with. I love the way it moulds to a form, and the luxurious texture and feel of it. I’ve experimented with different grades of leather and different finishes, and I am confident that I will soon be able to showcase some unique new masks.

The good news is that so far I have been pacing the work quite carefully, and haven’t noticed any worsening of my symptoms. In case anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not giving up papier-maché. I like both media. There are effects that I can achieve in leather that I couldn’t with paper, and vice versa.

I am currently working towards the Hallowe’en and Christmas seasons, so expect to see some new and hopefully interesting designs over the coming months.


February 14, 2007

The Royal Review

Filed under: Events,Royal / V.I.P. — Xothique @ 4:45 am

I’ve  put together a small slideshow of some of the better pictures of Prince Charles’ visit to Newport and Gwent Enterprise‘s “Enterprising Arts” project in November, including some images kindly provided by photographer Ben Wills (via Enterprising Arts) and South Wales Argus Photosales. If you’re interested in learning more about any of the wonderful people who made this event happen, please visit the links you’ll see in the picture captions. If I’ve missed anyone out, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add credits as appropriate.


February 10, 2007

Time For An Update – and New Art Cards

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 6:18 pm

It has been a hectic couple of months, and I haven’t been able to post here as often as I’d like. There’s lots to do, but I hope to make more time to update from now on.
Over the past few days I’ve updated the site with some of my most recent work, check out my ‘what’s new’ section for the latest pictures. In addition, I am also working on a large canvas commission and some new mask designs – more about these at a later date.
I have also started a new series of dragon cards, the first two of which are on eBay with a few days to go in the auction.

Thanks for looking!

November 16, 2006

The Royal Visit.

Filed under: Events,Royal / V.I.P. — Xothique @ 3:32 am

Thanks to everyone who wished me luck. Special thanks to who came to the event and sat and waited for a long time. And very special thanks to His Royal Highness, His staff and the Newport and Gwent Enterprise team, who make such dreams come true.

As many had said, Prince Charles is a very pleasant person to talk to, putting everyone at their ease, and showing a genuine interest in everybody he meets. He seemed relaxed and unhurried, and I think he gave everyone at least five minutes of his time, if not more. Of course, that brief time feels like an eternity as he gradually approaches, meeting with others along the way – and it seems to be over in seconds when he actually speaks to you!

He showed quite a lot of interest in mask-making, and asked about the various techniques for producing the finishes on the masks. My Red Dragon caught his eye, and as he took a closer look, the press saw yet another photo opportunity, as this image on the BBC site shows:

Prince Charles And The Dragon

He is laughing in the photo because I had just suggested that he might like to try the mask on… He didn’t of course, but I think he might have been tempted for a second. Naturally, the press got all the prime camera angles, but I hope to get hold of a few more pictures soon.

All in all, it was a wonderful event that seemed to go without a hitch – a very successful day for everyone involved.

November 15, 2006

Tomorrow I Meet Prince Charles!

Filed under: Events,Royal / V.I.P. — Xothique @ 12:22 am

I’m being presented to HRH the Prince of Wales tomorrow!

This afternoon we spent a considerable amount of time preparing my display, and I am really pleased with the way it looks now. I think I am about ready.

Everything is in place, and it’s too late to panic now, so I’m having a nice quiet evening. Here’s the display:

Royal Visit preparations

The brilliant caricature of Sid James that you can see creeping in on the right is the work of local animator and artist Steve John, whose work is displayed on the next table.

I will update soon, hopefully with photos of the presentation.

Wish me luck!


November 3, 2006

A Royal Engagement!

Filed under: Events,Royal / V.I.P. — Xothique @ 8:43 pm

Official announcements are up, so now I can talk about that rather exclusive presentation that I’ve been invited to take part in:

The Prince of Wales, President, PRIME-Cymru, will visit the Taste of Enterprise Centre at the Victorian Indoor Market, meet Newport and Gwent Enterprise and PRIME-Cymru clients and view displays of their work, Victorian Indoor Market, Newport.

So there it is, straight from the Royal diary. I am one of the invited artists involved in Taste of Enterprise who will be presented to the Prince of Wales, in just under a fortnight’s time…

…and I’m a little bit excited, and a little bit scared now.


September 19, 2006

Ahoy there me hearties!

Filed under: Pirates! — Xothique @ 12:33 pm

I haven’t put any new Art Cards up for sale this week, as I am going away at the end of the week, and would not be here when the auctions close. I do have some really interesting ideas to explore for new pictures, so check back soon! I intend to start work on sketching out those ideas this week.

So I’m off to sunny Cornwall from the 22nd to the 29th! Talk to you when I get back!


p.s. Happy Talk like a Pirate day! Arrrr. Avast behind!

September 3, 2006

I posted another card..

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 11:52 pm

I have put one more card up today.

Click on the link to be taken to the auction.

Red-Haired Fairy.

Thanks for looking!


August 30, 2006

More art cards on Ebay…

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 9:18 pm

Today I joined EBSQ. I’m impressed so far with the facilities offered to artists who sell online, and it will be interested to see if my auctions show an increase in the number of visits as a result.

I also put a couple more ACEO’s up on eBay:

Click on the picture and you will be taken to the auction….
Horned Fairy.

Blue Butterfly Fairy.

Thanks for looking! 😀

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