Monday, 21 October 2013

Going Dutch For DecoArt. . . . . .

Hello Everyone. Thought I should announce some fantastic news formally here, even though some of you are already aware of the wonderful opportunity I've been given.

In the Spring, I was approached and asked to be part of a mixed media Design Team for the amazing company DecoArt. Primarily the approach was made by the hugely talented Andy Skinner, so how pleased was I?!! Bit of an understatement really - I was over the moon, dancing around and generally acting even more mad than usual! I am on an International Design Team and I'm sure you will know my other very talented team mates. You will find the blog here so please do go and look at the wonderful work by the team.

DecoArt manufacture a comprehensive range of fabulous products from paints for different surfaces to mediums for endless uses including wonderful mixed media pastes and finishes. Having used a number of their products on various projects, I can certainly vouch for their quality and ease of use.

I have been working on a project for quite some time now and at long last I can share it with you. As usual, it features one of my many charity shop finds - I'm addicted to rummaging in them I'm afraid!

I found a pair of wooden Dutch clogs and just had to have them. I think they are probably a tourist piece but they conjured up all kinds of ideas for me! One of the best things about having a pair of these clogs is that even though I've used one, I still have one more to play with!

This is how the clog looked before I started: (warning: this post is picture heavy!)

Sadly, I can't quite fit my whole foot into the clogs - otherwise I could have modelled the finished project for you!
Both clogs were a bit rough round the edges but nothing that a little sandpaper couldn't handle.
One half of the pair completed and looking so much better!
Die cuts, ribbon, paint, cork clay, twine, crackle texture paste and rusty wire amongst other things have been used to create the makeover.
The clog was heavily sanded to smooth the surface and remove the pattern transfers.
The front of the clog was then built up using DecoArt Texture Crackle to create a more pointed effect. 
Various die cuts, crispy ribbon, googly eyes, stick on pearls, cork clay and even some curled up painted tyvek was added to create interest and texture. 
Once everything was dry, two coats of gesso were applied. DecoArt gesso is fabulous. Thick, creamy and reasonably priced it can be used straight from the jar or watered down according to the end use.
All the die cuts were  given two coats of gesso before being glued into position.
The colours above were all used to finish the clog in varying degrees of depth. DecoArt Traditions paints have a high concentration of pigment and are fab to work with. 
Blue Green Light and Aquamarine Traditions paints were the two main colours used as the base on the clog. Prussian Blue was then used to add shading to the surface. Warm white was later added to highlight certain areas. If you look carefully, you can see that some twine was added around the edge of the cork clay to tidy up the join. The cork clay was given additional texture by pushing random stamps into it. This gives depth and interest.
Slightly blurred but you can see the imprint of  a swirl stamp pushed into the clay in this image. This clay was coloured with a combination of the colours shown. Lastly a dry brush coat of DecoArt Metallic gold was added followed by some Triple Thick Gloss Glaze.
The crispy ribbon was dry brushed with various colours to highlight the area underneath. Finally, a coat of DecoArt Metallic paint in Venetian Gold was dry brushed over the ribbon and other areas on the project.

This part of the project was made from die cuts, 'googly eyes' and self adhesive pearls. The orange tones were created by adding a wash of Quinacridone Gold Traditions paint. If you buy one colour of Traditions I would buy this one for it's versatility. I used it here to bring definition and to work with the other colours as a complementary colour. It's fabulous for aging projects too.
Both clogs were held together with string through a hole. I wanted to decorate this hole so added a bead to both the inside and out. Like the die cuts, pearls and googly eyes, the beads were given a coat of Triple Thick Gloss Glaze.
This die cut flower was left over from a previous project. I liked the combination of the flower shades and those on the clog so decided to add it. The flower was coloured with DecoArt Americana, stamped with versamark  dusted with gold mica powder then finished with DecoArt Perfect Crackle. Some coiled rusty wire finished the look.

A metal eye was added to the back of the clog. The ends of the twine from the cork edging were secured around it, painted and then bound with more rusty wire.
I just love all these colours together!

The gold edging on the die cuts was achieved using DecoArt Metallic Lustre added with a paint brush and then buffed with a soft cloth. You can see how the Prussian Blue was used as a shadow here.

The shading with the Prussian Blue Traditions shows up well here. I also love how the googly eyes turned out with their multi layers of paint and Triple Thick Gloss Glaze.

I really had fun playing with the products on this project. It has been time consuming but great to go back to in between other projects and the dreaded packing! Thank you Andy Skinner and DecoArt for giving me this wonderful opportunity too!!

My lovely house is now in complete disarray and this time next week I will be living in my new house - really excited now but sad too to leave somewhere that I have enjoyed living for over 10 years. Please don't forget me in the meantime! I know my blogging has been erratic but I'm not quick enough to make lots of projects and line them up for scheduling (combine that with packing and sorting more than 10 years of 'stuff'' remember!!)  - I so admire people who can do this! See you all soon.


  1. Wow, wow, wow Julia this is an incredibly brilliant altered clog. Thanks for sharing all the photos of how you went about the process of change and sharing your thought processes along the way. Also huge congratulations from me on being part of this amazing team, you are perfect for the post and will all complement each other so well. Have fun and enjoy.
    hugs {brenda} x0x

  2. OMG!!!!! what do I say Julia!!!!!!! These are soooo beautiful, intricate and wonderful!!!!! You are so deserving of the design team darling. Andy is proud to have you there! Good luck with your move, HUGS xxxxx

  3. Brilliant, oh soooo brilliant, Julia!

    You really rock these clogs! Can't wait to see what you will do to the other one ;)
    Have to go back now and have some more (and long) closer looks!!!

    Claudia x

  4. Forgot to add: did I already tell you that in my thoughts I call you "Mistress of Crackle"? Well, actually you are. *giggle.

    Claudia x

  5. amazing Julia - this really does look fabulous - so beautiful xx

  6. Wow Julia, these are truly stunning sweetie. Lol lost for words now and just taking in that amazing colour and all the details. I hope the move goes smoothly my lovely.
    Huge huggles x x x x

  7. Huge congrats to you

    Fab clog transformation too

    Sam xxx

  8. A fabulous transformation Julia! Hope you'll bring it to show us at the Craft Barn, next month! xx

  9. Wow Julia, what an amazing transformation and lucky you to have all those fab DecoArt goodies to work with. Good luck with the move, make sure you label your crafty boxes clearly! Xx

  10. What a cool transformation. I could take a bath in your colour combination. Looooove it!! (:o)

  11. WOW Julia, what a stunning makeover - and great step by step pics too.
    Love all the texture and details and such a fabulous colour.
    Avril xx

  12. When you can produce stunning work like Julia (as you always do) it is not surprising at all that they wanted you on their team!! Your transformation of the clog is utterly fabulous and the best use for googly eyes that I have ever seen! You are such a clever and inspiring crafter. Many congratulations again on a well deserved appointment. Hugs, Anne x

  13. Totally stunning Julia, wow what a feast of textures and crackle and colour and absolute yummyness all round! Who would have thought a good old Dutch wooden clog could look that fabulous! Absolutely stunning! You'll need to give it pride of place in your new home, and meanwhile good luck with the whole move!!

  14.'ve just made clogs cool Julia!!! great project, great colours and great your heart out Jimmy Choo ;)) Julia rocks!!

  15. Whaaaaa what an awesome make over Julia ! hope all goes well with the move :)
    Von ♥

  16. Stunning alteration--love the colour choice.

    Chrissie x

  17. Congratulations again, very well deserved. The clog is gorgeous, I love the colours and everything you have done to it. It would look fab with a little flower arrangement in it, or used as a door stop or just hung on the wall. Really easy to follow instructions too. Well done you and good luck with the move x

  18. What an utterly stunning transformation, Julia - brilliant step-by-step photos, and such great detailing and paint effects. I've just got hold of some of the Texture Crackle and can't wait to have a play... This is amazing inspiration, and huge congratulations again on this amazing adventure!

    Good luck with the final push on the move!
    Alison xx

  19. WHOOT, WHOOT, this is BRILLIANT, what a creative project, now that is a shoe I would love to have that in my craft room :O),. just GORGEOUSSSSS, the photos are fabulous, love the close up details, I have a small box full of those googly eyes, now I can use them brilliant idea , thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous creation, I looooove your work. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week..

  20. Wow! what a fabulous project Julia - you are just so talented! And what an amazing transformation - thank you for the wonderful step by step photos, they show all the details off so perfectly too. And many many congratulations on making the international team - very well deserved. I can't wait to see what you create.

    Good luck with the move x

  21. An amazing transformation!! I don't have to say I prefer the after pictures? :)
    Love every little detail of it!!

  22. How cool, great altered shoe. Cannot wait to see what you will do with the second one.

  23. Clogs never looked so good! What a stunning transformation. You are one clever lady. Hope all goes swimmingly with the move. Jenny x

  24. WAUWWWWWWWWWWWW Julia this is amazing .
    love every detail very much.
    Congarts with your place in the design team.

    Greetings Janny

  25. Clog transformed into an art form - fabulous Julia! You will rock the design team - have fun!

  26. nice job!! looks like a pretty vintage!

  27. Hello Julia! How are you doing? Seems like some congrats are in order for your new design team! Hooray for you! :)

    These clogs were neat before you did your fancy stuff on them, but after - holy cow! True art piece, indeed. Your work is seamless, as always. Take care, my faraway friend, and know that I thought of you today!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Juliax