Monday, May 23, 2016

Creating Art with Long Forgotten Supplies

If you're like me, you buy lots of art supplies.  Lots and lots!  And then you play with them once or twice and stash them in a drawer. 
Last week I pulled out one of my 200+ drawers in the studio and when I closed it, something fell.  So each time I opened a lower drawer, it continued to drop, preventing all those subsequent drawers from closing.  What a mess.
Which meant letting it fall all the way to the bottom, and using a screw driver to remove that one to retrieve the contents.  And that meant emptying the drawer that held all the acrylic paint tubes, watercolor tubes, etc.  And there I found these jars of VIVA Paper Soft Colors. 
Since I had to take everything out of the drawer, I decided to play with these before putting them back.  Think water colors in a tub with a sponge on top.
The first application gives you a very soft color as seen in the above photo.  And if you know me at all, you know I don't do pastels.  So that meant a second application.
Much better, right? So I repeated that process for all 4 colors and then decided to add a little interest with my stencils.
First 2 colors were the yellow and lilac.  I could've gone over them multiple times, but this is just a background process, building layers, so it really doesn't matter how pale they look at this stage.
Now I have 2 of these completed.  This one and the very first photo at the top of the blog.  Of course nothing in my art is complete until I add rubber stamp images with black ink, so you know I'll be back to show you the end result.  Mostly I wanted to encourage you to pull out something you've ignored for years and play a little.
I had so much fun with this that last week I invited the ladies in my art group to give it a try.  If I'd been clever, I'd have taken photos of their finished pieces.  But of course, we finished with these colorants and moved on to distress paints on tags and small white pieces of cardstock, and before you knew it, we'd run long on our meeting and everyone had to dash.
One of these days I'll remember to take photos.  Just not last week.  We should all be impressed that I stopped long enough to post photos at all.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Little of This, A Little of That

What happens when you have a lot on your mind that you'd rather not think about, and lots of time?  You start a new project.  A convoluted project that requires lots of time to construct.  Seems like a good idea at the time, but before you know it, you've created a monster!  I can tell you this opens and opens and opens again, and then, just when you think you've seen it all, you discover one more flap to turn and open yet again.

The photo above shows the gate-fold front cover open, exposing lots and lots of pockets.  So yes, you can see 2 pink and one blue pocket, but look again.  There are 2 tags peeking out of the top pocket, on the left, meaning that one pocket is actually two.  And right below it, the blue pocket is built the same way, with not one, but 2 hidden pockets.  And the pink one on the bottom opens to the top, so if you look closely, you'll see a rubber stamped art doll wearing a dunce cap peeking out.  See her?

Mind you, these photos were taken days ago.  I've been working on this for over a week, so pretty much every page has been altered in one way or another, mostly with the addition of more collage sheets and clip art, using up lots of my scraps of papers.  I count 3 of Gaye Medbury's faces with the butterflies; don't you just love those?  They're scattered throughout so yes, you'll see a few more.

Okay, so now I've flipped that page to the right and ta da!, you now see a new page of identical pockets, barely decorated.  Not to worry, they don't look like this anymore.  But I haven't tucked much into these pockets because I wanted you to see something else...that border to the right of the pockets.  That's a full pocket measuring about 11 5/8" tall!  That first page has one too, but this photo shows it off a bit better.  Are you intrigued yet?

This is what the front cover looked like as the project began.  I know, I hate those papers too, but fear not, they're being covered with images almost hourly.  At first I just wanted sturdy covers with a gate fold, and thought I could live with anything.  I was mistaken.  And after I get it all covered, if I still dislike it, there's going to be an entire re-do!  I still need to make a belt or closure of some kind because the more I add inside, the more it wants to stand open.  Hence my little fingers holding it closed at the bottom.

This is after that page of pockets is flipped to the left.  Remember that big pocket I mentioned?  You can see it's a file folder.  I took this photo before I covered up that tab just so you could start imagining the process.  And there's a giveaway in this photo...2 postcards are sticking out of yet another oversized pocket.  Look there, on the right.  See them?  I'm telling you, this pocket journal is something else!!

So now I've flipped that over one more time to the left.  Still see those 2 postcards, now quite visible on the left?  There's an oversized library pocket on the top of this new page with a postcard inside it.  And that yellow pocket with the black & white checks...yes, another pocket. But those things are added onto yet another oversized pocket!

This is the true inside of the journal, so let me point out a few more details.  Down at the bottom is a gate fold of scrapbook paper given to me by my friend Michele.  Just love that paper!!  But look just above it please.  First you'll see one of my motherboard background pieces cut with a scalloped edge...that's to show you a pocket.  Just above the scallop you'll see some of Gaye Medbury's numbers collage sheet.  Yes, that's another pocket behind that tab!  Pay no attention to that postcard on the bottom right because it's already been switched out for another one I got in the mail just this week.  It's true, I'm pretty fickle with my loves.  But remember that attaching postcards with washi tape not allows them to be flipped, revealing something underneath, but also allows them to be changed quite easily.

This is just to show you the cool paper when you open that gate fold.  I'll alter it of course by adding more images on it, but it's wonderful just the way it is right now.

And one final shot, showing you the journal fully opened to it's 32" glory.  Still no where near complete, but isn't it a sight to see?  My local club will get to see this in person next week at our monthly meeting.  And I suspect they'll notice lots and lots of changes to what you're seeing here.

How'd you like my sneak peek?  I suspect this might show up on my teaching circuit next year.  Interested?  For the local gals, I think it might be on the calendar for this year.

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Artiscape 2016 - Concertina Book Class

There's no such thing as too much fun, and I should know.  When I teach classes, I have more fun that anyone in the room!  It's possible these 2 gals gave me a run for my money last Friday; just possible.

Two of these charmers were registered for another class and switched to mine at the last minute.  The only supplies they had to bring were scissors and a glue stick from their stamping suitcases, but I'd packed extras and shared a few of the glue sticks and lots of double-stick tape throughout the morning.

I admit I do a lot of my best work standing and clearly I'm not alone in that preference.  As in all my classes, I really should bring along an assistant just to snap photos, because I'm too busy running around, lending a hand, or digging for a needed item, that I forget to capture all the fun to share here.

I offered both masks and stencils at the beginning of the class, but the only masks used were the tiny ones I set out by each student.  Everyone still loves stencils so those were the most popular.  That doesn't surprise any of us, does it?

I'd packed both Ranger and Clearsnap dye-based inks for this class in bright, cheerful colors because those are my favorites.  But I brought lots of sample books done with walnut ink,  Distress inks in the original palette of Vintage Photo, Antique Linen, Tea Dye & Old Paper, but also one with Broken China, Shabby Shutters, Spiced Marmalade & Worn Lipstick, so they'd realize their options were many.

And I packed more than 800 rubber stamps and a dozen black ink pads so that once their color was applied, they could stamp a few cute saying and images.  They seemed to get my quirky sense of humor, thank goodness!  And instead of giving them just 7 photos for their 7 windows, I gave them close to 100!!  After all, I've been collecting thousands of black & white photos for years now, so I wanted to show them off a bit. 
Again, these girls were taking my class for the first time but insisted they'd be back next year for more.  I sure hope so!
It's taken me a few days to unpack everything from the classes.  But I shopped at antique malls in VA, WV and OH for a full week and really want to examine all my treasures before I start organizing it all into drawers and cubbies.  Wish me luck with that!

Artiscape 2016- A Jumble of Journals

Sure, I see all the stuff on that table.  I put most of it there myself.  But this was close to the beginning of a 4-hour class, so just imagine how it looked at the end!  This was my Jumble of Journals class where I promised to guide them through 4 totally different types of journals.  And they'd have been thrilled with that, but instead we made SIX!!  In just 4 hours!  Can you even imagine?

This photo was taken while everyone worked on their 3rd journal of the day.  I asked them to tidy up after each one was completed so their kits wouldn't get jumbled together.

I think they had as much fun plundering through the kits, choosing ephemera to add to pages, learning about origami folds, deciding the order of their pages and such as I had pulling it all together for them.

I still have extra kits for all of these journals if anyone is interested.  Just ask.  I enjoy moving around the room, checking the progress, noticing the ones who keep everything neat and tidy while others prefer to see all their options at their fingertips.

And of course I love journal classes that allow me to share all the ephemera I continue to collect.

I wish I'd had more time to get to know all these lovely gals since this was their first time taking one of my classes, but there wasn't a minute to spare. 

And I brought so much more than what you see in their kits.  I packed lots of glue sticks and rolls of double-stick tape, just in case anyone forgot to pack something, or ran out. 
If you'll look on that table behind these busy ladies you'll see just a portion of things I brought along for this one class.  Yes there's a Cinch on the left, and not one, but two Zutter Bind-It-Alls.  And of course that required wire cutters and the spiral bindings.  And I wanted everyone to try their corner rounders which punch beautifully through chipboard and mat board.  But you can also stack up sheets of cardstock and punch through the entire stack at once too.

One of our journals used those heavy duty travel Bingo cards with the red sliders to cover the numbers and O-rings as the binding.  That meant punching holes in lots and lots of cardstock, so I brought 3 heavy duty hole punches as well as handheld punches.  And because I like to spoil my students, I'd already punched quite a few of their pages and rounded the corners too.

  I find my students prefer when I pack all the necessities like 5 awls, 8 punches, 3 binding machines, etc., allowing them to bring just a pair of scissors and a glue stick.  I even wrapped washi tape around playing cards to tuck into their kits for that little added detail, though a few brought their own rolls.
The journal made with the spiral binding has coasters as covers, some courtesy of my brother who lived in England for 25 years and brought me a few.  I just love the unusual, don't you?  But I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to try the Cinch or the Bind It All, just in case they hadn't already made a purchase, allowing them to compare the features.
And the 6th journal was really a gift from me, which some completed right there in the room and some only began.  Who doesn't love a freebie, right?
Next post includes photos from my Concertina Book class, so be sure to check back!

Friday, April 1, 2016

I'm Still Here

Yes I realize it's been a year since I posted on my blog.  A busy year.  I might even say a hectic year.  Busy having fun if you really want to know.

Last year this time I was preparing to teach at Artiscape for the first time, and today I'm doing the very same thing.  I'll be teaching 3 classes again this year and during my free time we'll be easy to spot in downtown Columbus antique stores or those incredible book stores we discovered last year.  We left NC with the car filled to the brim and unloaded all those art kits, thinking we'd come home with a fairly empty SUV.  Alas, we came home with more in the car from those shopping excursions than we'd left with, leaving a tiny space in the stacks so I could see out my rearview mirror.

In June we traveled down to FL for Stampfest.  My classes there are always fun filled with lots of chatter and laughter, seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  I was one of 4 instructors for a mega workshop on Saturday night when we were all exhausted, but it didn't stop us from having too much fun.

Journals are still my favorite classes to teach because it gives me an excuse to keep buying paper ephemera in all those antique malls we visit from coast to coast.  For the third year in a row I spent 4 1/2 hours in an antique mall in Monterey CA, with 4 hours in one booth looking through thousands of old b&w photos.  It's a sickness!  But this year I'm teaching several classes using those very photographs, so I feel I've justified that extravagance.

And I'll be back in Cincinnati in August teaching 6 classes at my beloved Stampaway.  This was my first convention more than 20 years ago and every year I'm just as excited to work my way up and down the aisles with the rest of the crowd, searching for those rubber stamps and supplies I simply can't live without.

I'm on a roll now so expect me back with more photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  And news about my travels and classes and such.

Maybe even later today!