Friday, September 30, 2011

More Spooky Stuff

I am still gaining inspiration in the Halloween theme in my mixed media art.  It is so fun to embrace the creepy, grungy look of the holiday.  I knew, once I had become comfortable with the creep, that I would have to do an assemblage, so here we are.

I started with one of Tim Holtz's configurations boxes.  These are a staple for the assemblage addict, like me.  I layered all kinds of scrap paper,decorative tape and ephemera before spraying the piece with lots of inks and spray webbing. While you can't see much of what is underneath, I do think it is important to layer your background in order to create interest and texture. 

I used all kinds of goodies scored at the local big box store to add to my piece.  There is so much Halloween stuff out there to gain inspiration from.  Lots of different techniques and inks were used to grunge up my stuff and make it look old.  One solution I used was given to me by someone at work and it is amazing!  I have no idea what it is as it is an old homemade Mexican antiquing solution, but I absolutely love it.  Thanks Monica!

Another element I added, and really love, is all the moss.  I have a large bag I purchased and it has really come in handy.  The texture it adds is divine, and I think it also has a tiny bit of a spooky look about it.  I had planned on putting resin over this piece as I did in the ones I blogged about recently, however, a new product called Goosebumps stopped me.  This simple spray does not achieve the same look as resin, however, it does provide a nicw glossy sheen and another great layer of texture. 


The feet and decorative corners are also from Tim Holtz.  The color was off and they looked too new, so I used alcohol ink in pitch black to age them a bit. It is so fun to alter things to suit your needs.   

You can see a variety of things stuffed into each compartment, sometimes in unique spots. I am always careful to look at my work in progress from several angles in order to be sure that my composition is sound.  


I just love the focal skull.  I added a head piece to jazz it up a bit, and add a feminine touch.  I am really into the Day of the Dead art right now.  Stay tuned for another project I am working on in this theme, I can't wait to reveal that one!

I hope you enjoyed another chapter of creepy art, I know I sure did.  I am posting this on Artists in Blogland, this is a great community of inspiration.  Check it out if you are curious!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project Preview

This fall our local chapter of Michigan Altered Book Artists will be meeting in Kalamazoo.  I will be hosting a small ornament workshop and exchange during this gathering.  I wanted to post on here in order to share some inspiration with my fellow crafty pals.  Hopefully this creates some interest to come and play, all are welcome!

I made these ones last year and I really love how they turned out.  It is so fun to use found objects and bits of junk. I also finally found a use for some grungeboard pieces.  I really want to get the rosette die.  I think those would be great on these ornaments.  These were inspired by a project published in Cloth, Paper, Scissors last year. 

See you there!



Friday, September 23, 2011

I love snail mail

So I recently blogged about getting my completed mail art zine here.  I just received another issue to work in and I was super inspired.  I managed to get it yesterday, and it is is the mail today.  I just love how projects like these help push me into creating. 

The theme for this little book is snail mail.  It would seem that we were all inspired with a literal translation of the theme as there are super cute snails in every entry.  As you will see, I followed suit.


I had cut out a different "shell" all together, my messy craft table helped a new shell to be made, and I am much happier with the outcome.  As many of you know, I love clocks and time imagery.  How fun to incorporate a snail's pace into my contribution.  The transparency clock shows some vintage ephemera below from an old adding machine workbook.  I also used a bunch of rub ons.  Super fun, easy and spontaenous work. 

Here is the front.  Please excuse the found objects keeping all the addresses confidential!  I love the stamps I used on here and how they go with the nature meets mail theme. 

When making this page I tried a new technique that I just adore.  The base color background is color wash and glimmer mists.  I wanted to add some texture, so I busted out a new stencil.  I was so inspired by stencils used at my recent creative retreat.  The one shown here was by Martha Stewart (she has bunches of new stencils at the big box stores).  Now the fun part...I used vintage photo distress stain with the stencil.  Heaven!  So easy to apply and super easy clean up.  Here is a photo before I added all the other layers...


I hope this post inspires you to get out those stencils.  They are so much fun!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

A serving of Bead Soup

I hope you all are hungry for some jewelry inspiration.  I am partaking in a really great art event called the Bead Soup Blog Party.  Recently my partner Kari, over at Pearl and Pebble sent me a lovely mix of beady ingredients.  We were challenged by our hostess, Lori Anderson, to use our ingredients and make a lovely item to post on our blogs today.

The pendant, which is so lovely, is from Muddy Fingers.  This would be a challenge for me, as I have never really utilized ceramic in my beading endeavors before.  I do love the color, the pattern and the exquisite texture this pendant has.  I also received all kinds of wonderful stones and a clasp that is way too pretty to reside on the back of one's neck. For this reason I made two pieces and used both the clasp and the focal as center pieces. 


I picked up the spacers and the larger green faceted beads in a lovely shop called Bead Heaven in Downers Grove.  I splurged on something I probably would have not usually purchased for myself, as I was on vacation and I had the blog party to complete.  I think my investment paid off.  When stringing this piece I used color blocking, which is something I have never done in jewelry.  I love how the blog party has stretched me creatively.

The clasp is one I have been hording for quite some time, many years in fact.  I purchased it at Bead in Button and loved the little moon on it.  Again, I justified the specialness of this project to use a quality item.  I used blog party as opportunity to read up a bit more on photography and display.  I think I may have learned a little as the close ups are more interesting picures. 


For the second piece, I wanted to showcase the clasp.  The focal here is from Bead Heaven and I used a few more of the accent beads from Kari.  I pushed myself again and did not do a symmetrical pattern.  I made lots of mini patterns in a slightly random way.   This necklace had to be strung twice.  The first time I made it, I put the pendant really close to the focal and my clasp would not lay correctly. I took it to an artsy gathering and consulted with my pals.  They were able to advise that the clasp move up a bit.  I am grateful for their input, as it really made a difference.  Can you see why I did not want to hide that clasp?  It is so pretty!

I still have some beads left from this wonderful exchange.  The large white ocean jasper is totally stumping me, due to their scale.  I hope to use the momentum of this experience to stretch myself to use them in something soon. 

Thanks for stopping by!  There is so much more soup to share.  Please stop over to the Bead Soup Blog Party to see the links for all the other players, they would love to have you!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Mail Art Zine: Complete!

Last year I started in a few different mail art projects.  I was quite excited today to see one of them had a positive outcome, as the finished product arrived in my mailbox today.  It was hosted on Swapbot by Mandy, aka, Farrstar.  You can see how to make a zine such as this on Mandy's blog

We made our book from heavy card stock and simple stitching.  The first pages, below, were completed by me.  I set the tone for the book by writing what I love to hopefully inspire my swap buddies around the world.  I am so pleased to see that they did not even cancel my stamps at the post office.  I had a few special ones I used on this piece as I knew they would come back to me!

To mail, you fold the book closed, tape it well, address it on the outside, then the zine becomes traveling art for all to see.  When the next person gets it, they add their art and fold in half and have a new postcard side and image side.  As you will see, many of us used every inch for traveling art!

I have used some hand made Christmas Ornaments to conceal addresses in these photos. 


The next two pictures are now my cover and my back.  This is how the zine naturally lays due to it's most recent postal adventure.

I just love the big red mailbox as well as the carrier.  These pages have all kinds of postal goodness upon them!  I am happy that these have become the outside of my zine. 

More maps, stamps and air mail stickers, yum.  There are some awesome stamps from down under.  This book traveled far and wide:

The tape used here ended up becoming a part of the art.  Love it!

There are a ton of cool stamps on this page.  I love the background script paper.  The pages below are done by our hostess, Mandy.   


Very interesting imagery used here.  I love the tapes used.  I am obsessed with decorative tape! 

The big scalloped edges made to look like a stamp are a really nice element to this set.  I love the stenciled letters too. 

 Another favorite, above.  The stamped image of the pen nibs is to die for.  The palate is something I would totally do and there are quite a few artistamps on here. 

This set has nice colors that are out of my usual range.  The bizarre imagery makes me smile.   

And this concludes this project, at least in my book.  I still have two or three more zines to work in before this adventure is totally complete.  What a great group of people.  This took some serious time and commitment and the results are totally worth it!



Monday, September 5, 2011

Halloween House: Part III and IV and a bonus

I have finally completed my house pages for my first Alpha Stamps exchange.  You can see the first two pages here and here.  I have really embraced the spooky spirit and I have enjoyed making all these pages.  It is neat to think that each of them will be in different and unique books.  Here they are all together.

I used this fence on two of the houses.  I really love the dimension it provides. 

I used papers from Graphic 45, DCWV and lots of Halloween embellishments. 

In several cases I ended up liking the back just as much as the front.  The bats from Coffee Break Studio were lovely.  I still have a few left over to use in another spooky project.

I have an upcoming swap with a door theme hosted by my pal Deb.  I thought I would play with my options a bit to see how things worked.  It is going to be trickier than I had thought.   

I continued to use the Dresden foil and the felt swirls through out the book.  If it was staying in one piece, it would help tie the pages together, but alas this book is destined to be torn apart. 


I hope they are up to snuff for the group.  I am always nervous doing my first swap in a new gathering of artsy people.  Oh well....


I also completed my Halloween pages for the Altered Ancestors swap over at All Things Tim.


There is a bit of variation on the background papers.  I really loved the stack I used.  It was by My Minds Eye and it was Halloween Craft paper.  The poison tags that have the little charm on them are made from left over slats from my blinds.  I love to use things in clever ways!


I love the backs of the pages too.  The house is from the Graphic Fairy and the moon is stamped out of some industrial waste paper intended for pill packs.  The little glittery bats are compliments of Martha as is the tape I used on the front and the back.  I can never get enough decorative tape.  

I hope you enjoyed the culmination of all my Halloween fun.  I will post when the swaps are complete and I have all kinds of other art work to share. 



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos Milagros

I am happy to be participating in my first swap with a lovely little charm group.  The theme for this swap is Day of the Dead.  I found the subject matter intriguing so I decided to join in.  I am excited to see the result when everything is swapped out.  I will certainly post when the exchange is complete. 

I now love Milagros.  In researching these little babies I fell in love with all kids of imagery and subject matter related to this topic.  I love learning through my artistic experiences.


The skull beads were scavenged from a Halloween stretchy bracelet found in a big box craft store.  I thought they were perfect for altering. 

I really lucked out with supplies.  The little sequins were actually in my goody bag from Create.  We got two little samples in our early registration goody bags.  I lucked out and was able to snag a few extras when the promoters were cleaning house.  I think they worked well for the project.  The colors were not my first choice, but I made it work. 

I am tempted to doodle the backs of the skulls.  I think it would add such a nice touch, but it will be time consuming for sure. 

I can see these charm swaps being very addicting. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Resin + Assemblage = Love!

This is another installment on my projects from the Create Retreat sponsored by Cloth, Paper, Scissors.  This class was called Resin Flooding Assemblage and it was taught by Belinda Spiwak.  Belinda was a very generous teacher and she created a calm easy going creative space for us to play in. 


I managed to start two pieces in the class that I have now completed.  The first one was made with a bird theme.  I love how the moss and bark I added provided such rich texture.  It is really hard to see the yummy finish the resin created on these assemblages.  I did photograph with a flash to try and capture the amazing texture and sheen both pieces have.

I fell in love with Tim's crackle paints.  These added a nice old looking crackle where they were added.  I wish that I had "blobbed" it on a bit more as Belinda had advised in her instruction.  

I found this project very freeing.  I was able to be a bit messy and haphazard in my background collage and I loved this aspect of the creation process. 

My second piece tapped into a bunch of vintage junque I had on hand.  I did get the large post office box plate from I said, a very generous instructor!  As many of you know, I love all things postal. 

I used my new rusting trick on Tim's feet and I love it.  Both of the boxes are Configurations from Tim's line of products as well.  I can't get enough of Mr. Holtz and his goodies.  I also discovered the joy of molding paste in this class.  While it is great to discover new products, it gets expensive! I left Create yearning for a bunch of new stuff. 

I often find it difficult sometimes to use my little treasures, but I just have to get over it.  After all, I still get to enjoy them, just in a bit of a different way. 

I finally used a piece of a typewriter I tore apart along the top of the piece.  The whistle has a long chain that I left free.  This was tricky to arrange while curing, but I love how it adds movement to the piece. 

There are so many goodies stuffed in these little compartments.  This piece is super heavy.  One thing I will not worry about is anything moving or falling off, the resin provides a super seal. I used Little Windows resin  in the bird piece and it was lovely, way easier to mix than the Easy Cast I used in the vintage one.   

I had to finish the backs of these pieces because they were a mess.  We had to pour the resin at home due to curing time, I did not think to check the backs, so needless to say I had some issues.  Nothing a bit of pretty paper and tissue tape can't fix.  

This was such a fantastic class.  I look forward to using resin a lot more in my work now that I have been exposed to how easy it really is.  I hope you enjoyed sharing in my Create experience. I have one more project to share with you, coming soon!