Portal at Burn In The Forest

A little late with my final post, but well worth it, what with awesome pics from Frank!

I would like to express some major gratitude to Merry, Angie, and Terri for their assistance with the fiddly painting of the tile pattern…without their help, I would have been spent my entire weekend painting, and missed the event!

Props are also in order to Frank, Ken for wrangling the lights, to Kay for the magic battery that got it lit up when our power plan failed, and to Ashes for letting us steal some juice from the Empress.

And many thanks to all the folks who came by to visit, and cross the threshold!




Portal Build Day 4

With all the marking done, I was able to start the “paint by numbers” stage yesterday.

I had intended to pull an all-nighter & finish it, but I was exhausted after fire practice and crashed out pretty hard.

Here are a a pic from yesterday’s work.  I have a detail of the tile painting, but my uploader is being a jerk.  You’ll see more later in the Day 5 post, forthcoming.

portal 6

Portal Build Day 3

Did I mention that this thing is double-sided?

Right.  So that means my fancy pants tile pattern appears on 4 panels.  The very old-school stencil transfer method took about 90 minutes per panel, adding up to about 6 hours to complete the pattern outline.  Of course, it’s excruciating to sit on the floor for that long, so I had to break up the time.  That’s pretty much all I did today.  It’ll be worth it though, once the colour gets added.  I think it’s going to be spectacular.  Crazy, but spectacular.

I also spent about an hour or so, marking the stripes around the curve.  I probably should have marked it while it was still possible to lay it flat, to make my life easier.  However, I found myself with a problem to solve: how to mark the radial lines while having a gaping hole at the centre of the circle?

Sure, I could have projected an image, but I’m old school, as can be seen by my pin-hole chalk transfer method.  So I got some string, ran it from the horizontal lip on either side of the door, and attached a vertical string from the centre top.  I tied another, long string to the vertical piece, and positioned it so that it was approximately the centre of the circle.  With a ruler, I marked approximately 6″ intervals along the outside of the white edge I’d painted around the opening, and asked Frank for a hand.  I had him hold the knot as steady as he could, while I worked my way around the circle, running the string from the knot, to my pencil marks, until I had done both sides.

Not exact, but it worked well enough, and now all the pencil marking for the Portal is complete.

Next step: Painting!


Portal Build Day 2

Frank was a rockstar today, and started building the supports that will keep this baby upright.  We also grabbed all our old leftover housepaint from storage, and established that a lot of the painting of the Portal can be covered by that supply.

I decided at about 10pm last night that I’d hop myself up on coffee and do as much work on the Portal as possible.  Of course, my plan was rather ambitious, and I’m nowhere near done.  There’s still hours and hours to go, for just laying out the pattern, nevermind doing the painting.  Still pretty certain I can do it, but I would welcome volunteers!

Here’s some progress shots, and the method for applying the pattern.

I printed out the pattern and used a pin to punch tiny holes all along the black lines.  Not enough to punch any of the pieces out, but enough to function as a dust stencil.

Then I pinned the paper pattern onto the surface, and used a piece of conté crayon (I couldn’t find my charcoal) to scribble over the paper and cause conté dust to transfer through the holes.

Removing the paper revealed a delicate dust outline of the pattern on the surface, which I went over with a pencil.  The conté can smear and rub off easily, so the pencil is more reliable, but still editable.

When the entire pattern is marked out, painting (by numbers!) can begin.  After the colours are applied, the pattern outline will be blacked in with a thick sharpie marker.

And, here’s a colour code for painting by numbers.
colour code

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to help out, here are the next steps:
-make a couple more stencils with the pin poke method (they wear out)
-continue transferring & outlining the pattern onto the surface
-add the colour, according to the colour code

The Portal of Rebirth – Build Day #1

We had a fabulously successful build yesterday!

With the first batch of materials purchased, we were ready to measure, mark and cut. Frank’s dad, and little brother came over, and after a slight delay due replacing an expired scroll saw, we got all the panels and frame pieces cut.  While I was out at a performance last night, Frank graciously assembled all the pieces, and I came home to a fully assembled arch.

Next steps: 1) Paint the basecoat, and stencil on the outline for a “paint by numbers” paint treatment.  2) Cut and prepare the base stabilization, to be assembled on-site.

Read about the design here!

assembled 1 framing 1 panel 1

These are reference images I’ve been using for inspiration:



And the stencil pattern to paint by numbers, inspired by Islamic tile work.