Tag Archives: tool

Review: Princeton Arts Catalyst Wedge Tools

Phew. My semester, the first semester of my grad school adventure is over! Grades aren’t in yet, but in one of my classes I’m pretty sure I snagged an A. As a sort of congratulations to me gift I snagged a lovely Catalyst tool. I went simple and got the basic wedge. IMAG1397(The color of the tool is more of a cool gray than taupe, can't get the colors right on screen.)


Catalyst tools are hefty silicone tools for spreading paint around a page or canvas. the full size tools are chunky and have a nice heft in the hand. The “handle” side of the tool is comfortable and conforms to the hand. The large size is just right for spreading a great deal of paint around a page. It’s about an inch wider than an old gift card on the wide side and half the width on the narrow end.


With that in mind, the tool I purchased (W-06) is easy to manipulate and control. With a short session of use I was able to use it to spread a thin even layer of paint or leave a rough uneven layer. I was able to adhere antique paper to the page with gel medium without damaging the paper and leaving a perfectly even layer of medium.


I’ve used a variety of other tools- from the procaulking tools (pretty good) to rubber potter’s ribs (not so good) and none have come close to being as useful as my beloved old gift and credit cards. The Princeton Catalyst tool is the first to approach the versatility of the old plastic cards. The first that allows for thin and thick layers. The first that gives me a similar look to my spread of paint over a page, and the first that let’s me manipulate mediums in useful ways.


The final great thing? With a bit of water acrylic paint and mediums simple slide right off the tool, leaving it’s surface as clean as the day I bought it.


The tools are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. they have a series of mini tools as well as on handles. The handle tools look like funky spatulas. Some have edges that aren’t smooth but have a series of divots in rounded or triangular shapes so that you can scrape shapes into your paints. While I have less of a use for those, I do think they would be VERY useful in mixed media work.


I’ve seen the tools in a variety of places, and at a variety of prices. It seems they are between $5 and $8 and the MSRP is $10 for the large wedge tools. I paid about $6 for mine at Artist and Craftman. Which I see as a fair price for the tool. I’m probably going to look into getting the other smooth shape in the future, as well as some of the tools on handles.

(get it on Amazon here.)

Here are a couple of cradled boards I’ve picked up and have started to paint. I’ll be adding something else to the middle, probably a face. But you can see how perfectly the tool worked. The way the paint spread is very similar to my usual tools. Very happy. IMAG1398

Continue reading

Some more stuff for the upcoming year- Reviews

Part of what I want to add to this blog is a series of reviews. I’d like to review journals, products, books and other items one might use in journaling; both art and written.

I’m developing a format for reviewing journals and products associated with journaling. Obviously journals will have their paper reviewed in terms of suitability for wet/dry media as well as how that paper holds up to the abuse of mixed media. I think that a good art journal needs to also have pages that can be written on with a variety of tools- sharpies, fountain pens, pencils and other markers. I’ll address such things as strike through, bleed through and warping. Obviously this sort of journal review will be vastly different from how paper reviews are done on blogs that focus solely on one aspect of journaling. I have passed over paper that people adore on other sites and adored paper that some people despise.

So I invite people to contact me if they’d like to have their journals and sketchbooks reviewed. Each review will be linked to the seller’s site with plenty of contact info.

I’ve got a ton of products that I used and, sadly some I don’t use. I’m going to reach into my tool kit and evaluate some of these products. The perspective will be that of a mixed media artist. Can I layer the product? Does it stand up to uses the manufacturer suggests and doesn’t suggest? Is it useful? Is the price acceptable or outrageous? 

I’ve got a deep bookcase and I’m going to pull some of the stuff off the shelf, not just new books but older books and review them. I’ve been doing this in part for the zine, but I’ve focused on new books. I want to help people build up a book shelf of their own with books that are really useful resources for art journalers.

The reviews will start in January/ February and I’ll be hopefully be able to do one each week.

My hope is to make this blog more of a resource than it already is.

Anyone who is interested in having their product reviewed can email me: leslie(dot)herger(at)gmail(dot)com