One question I am always asked is "how do you make the pastels? What make your so special?". To show you this I'm taking you behind the scenes and into my studio to show you the steps I go through to make the Rustytone range for your enjoyment. While I don't wear gloves I do use a barrier cream to stop the pigment being absorbed into my skin.

The process starts here. I pour carefully measured amounts of my various pigment mixes into a glass bowl. To this mix I add a small amount of english whiting for body along with a squirt of my gum binder (this squirt of binder is then diluted down dependant upon the pigments being used so most of the pastels have very minimal binder in them).

Next the work begins! I take my mixing stick and hand mix the ingredients together until the mix firms up and begins to hold together. This is very hard work as I have to ensure the right balance between the wet and dry materials to get the feel I'm looking for.
Here I am continuing to work the mixture through. This is the most time consuming part of the process. Once it is the right consistency I then begin kneading.

The kneading process is the most strenuous part of the process as I'm working the mix with my hands to make sure there are no lumps and all the pigments have mixed through correctly.

Here is the kneaded material ready to become pastels!

Now I move to my glass slab where I slice of chunks and begin to roll the pastels. see how the pigment is staining the glass? That is how I know I have enough pigment in the pastel.
As you can see these are indeed hand made pastels! I personally roll every stick myself.
And here we have the finished pastel, trimmed to size and ready to be moved to my drying bench where it will air dry for about a week before being ready to use.


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