Had a very productive afternoon of carving stamps on Mother’s day. I cut these out of one slap of speedball rubber. I’m pretty happy with how these came out, and I’m loving working with the slabs of pink bubble gum. Much easier than lino blocks.
I have, as I’m sure most do, piles and piles of paper scraps. I canNOT throw the bits awa. I have a REAM’s worth of scraps after trimming a book signature to size and a bag of triangles left over from mitering covered book covers? What’s a girl to do?
Found some ideas on how to use those scraps to keep on making, instead of throwing them away [gasp]:
65(!) ways to use all those paper scraps - from Sweetly Scrapped
50 things to do with paper scraps – from Scrap Jazz some have links to instructions
Photojojo’s Pad of Paper project – perfect if you have a paper guilllotine and wind up with a massive amount of 8.5″ x 2″ pieces
Using Scraps tutorial – ideas from Stars & Stamps
And one from me – To help myself keep at least a little organized, I bought this recycling bin from Ikea to put right in front of me under my work space. I sweep the pieces in when I’m finished with a project and paw through when I need a bit of scrap.
Now go make!
So our next ATC exchange at work coincides with Valentine’s Day. We decided this round instead of using the standard 3.5 x 2.5 ATC size, we’ll use 3.5 x 5 – some needed more space to work with.
I just used a piece of cereal box cardboard, sanded it down and swiped with with a Distress Ink pad to give it a streaked look. Then I did the same with an embossing ink pad and heat embossed with clear powder – love the look it gives. Streaky and messy. Then I embellished with crackle paint, embossed a key with gold powder, added some heart beats on the side (Tim Holtz die cut) and tacked it on with eyelets. I finished off the heart with some appropriate words from an old dictionary.
The envelope is a lovely find from my friend Chardell. Instructions after the jump. Finished it off with a strip of washi tape.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
For our group holiday party at work tomorrow I signed up to being brownies, then stumbled upon this little gem on Pinterest.
Here’s my version:
Had a great time at the green craft fair at Watkins Nature Center (Upper Marlboro, MD) today. Our Scrap DC table was awesome and we had tons of kids come buy and make bookmarks from laminate samples. A bunch of craft to-go kits and laminate bookmarks make their way to new homes.
Also at the fair:
Kelly from Jelly Bug was there with amazing recycled bottles
Also Purple Clover EcoHome was there with her upcycled goodness – I always wondered about using canvas for sewing, but that confirms it. So pretty!
Overall, great fair – well organized, parking control, lots of space – plenty of vendors and selection without being too cramped. Also snacks and coffee for vendors – yay! Drawback – I can’t find a comprehensive list of vendors online – hmph.
Trash to Treasure is today at the Watkins Nature Center. Maeline and I will be there at the ScrapDC table doing craft projects with the kids – big and small I suspect. Can’t wait to see who stops by and what other cool crafty ideas for upcycling there’ll be. Will check in later.
My lovely family gave this bottle of love to me for my birthday – from Steidl. It does smell like paper, but it has so many other “hues” to it. It seems to change through the day when I wear it.
In the age of YouTube, I think I’m done paying for classes – there’s tons of stuff free online. Here’s some of my favorites:
Jennifer McGuire’s Thinking Inking Classes (Two Peas in a Bucket)
Julie Balzer Designs – very crafty lady – I have stencil envy every time I visit her site.
Barbara Kirk’s Pinterest board of Paper Art Videos – holy moly – there’s goes Saturday!
Ranger Craft Videos – also project, and Tips & Techniques
Tim Holtz YouTube Library – Amazing techniques – I’m always amazed at what this guy does
Golden Artist Colors YouTube Library – I always learn something on the Golden site
Tattered Angels Videos - I love all this sparkly stuff – also has color guides and charts
Many retailers have videos on line as well:
Dick Blick Video Library – huge range of techniques and mediums
I just did a tag for an exchange at work. I used the Tim Holtz September tag as my inspiration. I love the click pen technique for making rivets in the foil.
I used three shades of brown ink for the shading to make the top look singed; Tattered Angels shimmer paint for the branch and I painted the edges of the leaf with bleach to make it look lighter. Then I spritzed it with shimmer paint. a little gold bead in the center of the rose finishes is off. The stamp saying is from a Wendy Vicchi collection – love her stamps.
I was having a conversation with some ladies from word (we have an ATC group to exchange artwork). One of the pieces was a beautiful embossed foil piece with alcohol ink. It was stunning – but the artist was umcomfortable that the entire piece was just that. No border, nothing other than a single embellishment. She said she liked working on technique but doesn’t know how to put it together with something else.
And it struck me that that’s what I’ve been struggling with. I take classes that focus on technique – how to use this paint, what the tools are good for – but I don’t take classes on how to put it all together. That’s really what my work is lacking.
I look at all the pieces I’ve done and they tend to be either high contrast or monochromatic. I can do backgrounds and patterns forever – textures? You bet. Plaid, stripes, dots – I’m all over it. But to use those as the background to a focal point – I get stuck when I get to the question “what should I put there”.
I asked my good friend Google what to do and here’s some good resources he came up with:
Top 14 Composition Techniques To Enhance Your Photos (yeah, I know, it’s for photography, but the examples are good ones)
I stayed away from any thing that mentioned “rules” and went more for guidelines and principles. I’m already a rule follower – I use my art to stay away from being restricted.
Google also found some good reads specifically for mixed media:
After going through all that, here’s what resonated with me:
Composition is intuitive – that helps a lot…and not at all. I’m glad to hear the composition is something that comes from within, but that also means there’s no one answer – you just have to do it. And that’s probaby the answer for all of it.
Balance and unity seem to be difficult to achieve in mixed media. Probably the nature pulling seemingly random things together. Unity can be in texture or color. I have seen artists store their goodies by color, rather than medium. Maybe I’ll try that (to a certain degree).
Extremes and divergence can be good. I find there’s a lot of power in doing things to extreme. Julie Fei-Fan Balzer advocates “no mistakes” and keep going. If a piece is not going in a direction you want, it’s not wrong. You’re just not finished yet. Keep going. Similarly, if a technique is not going well, do it more. Add more paint, embossing powder, lace, whatever. Add a LOT more.
Walk away. That’s huge. I’ve done that before without knowing I was doing it. It happens at work all the time. A piece isn’t finished but you don’t know what it needs. Set it aside for a day, a week, a year or two. It’s not failure. It’s a work in progress. I might learn a new technique along the way that will eventually complete the piece. It was just waiting for me to learn.