Monday 11 February 2019

Venetian Romance - Heart Plaque by Julie Ann

It's great to be back at Calico Craft Parts blog again.This Monday I thought I'd share a Valentine themed project with you, as February 14th is not so far off . I've never been a fan of conventional Valentine cards and gifts, although I do admire vintage style hearts. For me the city that conjures up the best picture of romance is Venice with its history of carnival; its quiet squares and quaint bridges and trysts in gondolas.

Whenever I see a heart, for some reason I want to draw a face on it, so I decided to create a Venetian lady - the spirit of the City also known as Serenissima - from one of the Calico birch ply hearts. The wonderfully detailed new Calico Art Deco embellishments also reminded me of Venetian decoration and one in particular seemed to me to resemble an intricate mask. The idea for a new character, Venetia was born.

I painted one side of my heart plaque with white gesso, while giving my little Art Deco shape a coat of black Gesso. These cupids from an MDF sheet just had to feature somewhere on my project so I gave them the Gesso treatment too, before putting them aside, planning to decide exactly what to do with them later.

Once the Gesso was dry on the first side, I flipped over the heart and gave the reverse side a coat of black Gesso.

Now out came the Crackle Glaze. I wanted my project to evoke the wonderful textures of Venice: the old gold; the cracked paint and the rich colours. I used a turquoise acrylic paint over black and Crackle Glaze on my mask shape.

Here you can see Venetia as her features started to form. I painted with a very light, almost white acrylic craft paint over the Gesso. When this was dry, I pencilled in the features, erasing until I was satisfied with the look. I added water-colour to the lips and eyes. Without hair, I think poor Venetia looks a little like an alien!

With the addition of hair, she began to look a lot more human. I also added touches of water-colour paint to her cheeks and forehead and chin eventually - to reduce some of the pallor. Once the paint had dried, I played with different arrangements of craft parts until I was satisfied.

 I painted with a pale mauve over the crackle on the back of the piece, as this was a colour that reminded me of twilight and Venetian mists. You could either leave this plain, or write a Valentine greeting over the crackle with a fine liner. I punched holes in the plaque myself so that I could thread through Sari ribbon; but you can request for the plaques to come with ready-made holes, if you wish.

Here you can see the tiny cupids are Venetia's hair adornments. I finally painted them gold, crackled over this and then painted them turquoise. For some Venetian 'bling', I added a piece of broken jewellery and tiny, pearl stickers. With the addition of wings to her mask, Venetia's feet can fly across the dance floor at the carnival ball.

I don't know what secrets Venetia holds in her heart; but I'm hoping that this Valentine's Day she will carry a message for me to somebody I love. Have a Valentine's full of fun and love and a creative time until we meet here again at Calico in 2 weeks' time.
Calico Crafts Part used in this Project
Standard Heart Birch Plywood Plague 150 mm x 150 mm
Art Deco & Nouveau Wood Shape Style 40
Art Deco & Nouveau Wood Shape Style 39
Primitive Heart Mini Plaques
MDF Mini Valentine wood shapes Style 2
Sheet of Mini Crown Wood Shapes Style 3
Mini Angel Wings Wood Shapes Style 1


  1. That's beautiful, Julie Ann!

  2. My Sweet friend Julie,
    Your talent of creation is so exquisite and you make me speechless. Awesome . Hugs...xx

  3. Such a beautifully elegant Valentine! I just love the piece you used for her mask Julie Ann! xo

  4. Beautiful! Your faces are always exceptional! Chrisx