I am still working on catching up on unfinished projects. I decided it was time to get started on the second piece of my "Fromage series" (see my blog post from 3/13/17). The first piece in the series featured two upright porcelain mice and a round wheel of "cheese" made of wood with a wedge removed. In this second piece I decided to use a rectangular block of "cheese" with several cut slices, accompanied by two crouching mice. I had originally put aside a section of an old maple bookshelf to re-purpose as a cheese board to serve as the base for the sculpture, but I replaced it with an actual old cutting board that I found at a flea market. After reshaping the handle and blade of an old kitchen knife to better resemble a cheese knife, I was ready to tackle the "cheese".
For the cheese block, I cut down a piece of 2x4 into a 6" long 1 1/2" x 2 1/8" rectangular block. After cutting a half dozen 1/8" thick slices off of the block, I rounded their corners, sanded them and then epoxied five of them together in the positions I wanted them to be arranged in on the cheese board. The next step was to add the wooden pegs that I would use to attach the block, slices and knife to the board, and then to drill holes in the board to receive the pegs. Now I was ready to "paint the cheese".
Before I began the painting process, I used my Dremel to create small "nibble marks" on one corner of the cheese block and on two places on the group of five slices. I primed the block, the group of five slices and the single remaining slice to insure that the wood grain pattern wouldn't show through the the light "cheese color" that I was going use to finish them. I then mixed up a batch of acrylic paint that suggested the color of cheddar (?) cheese and painted each of the cheese elements with four coats of that color and sealed them with matt medium. Before assembling the piece I lightly sanded the cutting board and sealed it with wipe-on polyurethane. I used wood glue to attach the cheese elements and the knife to the board. I used wood glue to attach the two wooden pegs for the mice to the board and the cheese block, and then I used epoxy to attach the two mice to their respective pegs. My second "fromage" is now completed...and I suspect the future holds a third!
Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.