Vinegar Painting Wood Finishes
Stephen Mottram re-purposes practical items into handcrafted works of art using a vinegar painting technique.
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Vinegar painting is the art of creating real and imaginary wood veneers on a variety of furniture pieces and household accessories. It was an art form that reached the height of its popularity in colonial times when high-quality woods were unavailable or unaffordable. Stephen Mottram decided to apply this technique to our modern times to refinish or re-purpose practical items into unique, handcrafted works of art.
Mottram combines household apple cider vinegar with powdered pigments in a variety of earth-tone colors to create a glaze. This glaze is applied over a prepared, primed and painted surface. Working quickly before it begins to dry, Mottram manipulates the glaze in a number of different ways to suggest exotic veneers and inlaid designs. When thoroughly dry, the glaze coated with several layers of oil-based polyurethane to ensure a tough, protective finish. This piece can now stand up to normal use without damaging the finish.
Though this technique is most often used for wooden furniture and accessories, Mottram also uses it for a variety of materials, from metal to glass to plastics and even cardboard. The supplies he will use to create the veneers are also fairly diverse and easy to get; foam brushes, plastic wrap, cheesecloth and modeling clay are among his favorites to use. The look achieved by these techniques and Mottram's skill makes the most ordinary table top look like a museum piece.
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