Reply by Lee Barker

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Posted on To distress or not to distress....

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2844 days

#1 posted 04-28-2013 03:05 PM

A woodworker nearby me (for a while) did distressing to pieces he built for decorators. One day he let me watch.

There were two distinct techniques.

Paint: Usually white first, slopped on (latex). When it was dry, another coat of light green, light blue, that sort of thing. Pastelly stuff. A little sanding, scritchscritchscritch, thorugh to the white on the areas that were obviously available to friction from the outside world. This additional colorprocess could go on maybe twice more, maybe not.

Abuse: A 6d nail through a small length of 1×2, drawn across the grain, leaves a skittered pattern of indentations. He might pound with other objects a little bit, but mostly it was subtler than that.

Corners (of, say, the top on a breakfront) were definitely rounded with coarse sandpaper and then, skipping grits, smoothed where time would have accomplished a similar look.

The most important takeaway was his mental state as he did this. In a zone. He wasn’t bashing on stuff like a simian, he would take a swipe and step back for a nanosecond, squinting, and then do another act on a different area of the piece. It was a highly kinesthetic process; he was almost always in motion during this.

I was enthralled and tucked the experience back in my memory where it remained for 15 or 18 years, to be exhumed this very day.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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