Monday, September 29, 2008
I knew everyone was exhausted after all the classes over a 2-day period, so I decided to give them something simple. I gave them tools & inks,doilies & magic mesh, so they could create ATC's with patterns and color before adding their stamped images. Turns out they were so tired that they couldn't decide on patterns, but they sure knew which stamps they wanted to use. I had packed tickets from Invoke Arts and funny quotes from Too Much Fun. The tickets were a huge hit and the quote that got used the most read "Don't take that perky tone with me". Lots of fun. We had used Invoke Arts stamps in my classes, so if you were in Cleveland please visit their website. And even if you weren't, you should check out their newest images. I'll try to post photos of the class project tomorrow.
Invoke's website is: http://www.invokearts.com
I don't know about everyone else who spent 4 days at the Gary Burlin trade show in Cleveland, but I had tons of fun! My hands were covered in ink from the very first class, and I broke yet another fingernail, all in the name of art. All of my classes were taught in what they call the Candy Room. Remember candy cigarettes? He had them, and so much more. But other than a mention as they entered the room and selected a seat, we all concentrated on the creation of art instead of the sweets.
How could you not love a group of store owners who specialize in rubber stamps & inks? They know what their customers already love so they were looking for new ideas as well as new products. Hopefully I was able to show them a few new tricks with all the fabulous Clearsnap inks & tools.
I also tried to give them a few ideas for make & takes, a monthly demo, or for an open house. Those of you who know me well can only imagine that I was talking fast, so even though I saw lots of note-taking, I expect to receive a few emails, asking for reminders of all those tips.
It never ceases to amaze me in a class when everyone is supplied with the same supplies, but the resulting artwork is so unique. And it wasn't just the color selections they made, but the patterns they created as well. I'm just in awe of all the talent I found in my classes which left me continually inspired.
My thanks to Gary, for asking me to teach, and Jenny from Clearsnap who chose me as her instructor. And most importantly, to all the participants who came to play with me over the 4-day event. And a special thank you to Barbara of The Creative Stamper, who let me spend my very late nights into the wee hours of the morning bouncing ideas back and forth. Staying up til 2:30am on Saturday was lots of fun, but when I finally got home late yesterday, I was in bed before 6pm and didn't budge until 7:30am today. Much needed rest for the weary. I hope this trade show will be held next year and that I'm invited back to play again. I'll start resting up now, just in case.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Are these colors not the most amazing things you've ever seen? Can you see the blues and purples in these leaves? It always amazes me when I pull out my leaf stamps and my watercolor crayons that people are surprised by my use of every crayon in the tin. Every color of the rainbow can be found if you just take the time to really look around you.
Be inspired by the colors of the changing seasons. For the next few weeks as you're driving around, pay less attention to the dinner menu you're planning in your head and more attention to the wonders of nature that surround you. This time of change is such a gift as Mother Nature shows us her splendor. I pity the people who don't live in an area where the seasons change as they do here in my little corner of the world.
Can you remember pressing the gorgeous leaves in wax paper when you were little? That was always such a big deal for me in elementary school. I can still remember winning an art contest for a chalk drawing of a tree in all it's autumnal splendor. I just kept making dashes all over the branches of that tree with yellows & oranges & reds. And every year around this time I wonder what my mother did with that work of art. In my mind I can still see it as fabulous, but who know what my adult eyes would see today.
This is my favorite time of year. Possibly because my birthday is in October. Which reminds me: Happy Birthday Mom. Today you should be spending less time making pear preserves and more time outside enjoying your day. Not that she's going to read this. She doesn't own a computer and can hardly manage the TV remote. But when I called earlier with my birthday wishes she was still washing pears to prepare them for cooking. You should visit my mother sometime, particularly at this time of year. She has acres of grape vines, and I do mean acres. White scuppernongs, black scuppernongs, and concord grapes out front. So we get lots of homemade jellies and preserves, to say nothing of the 7 quart bags of ripe-to-perfection grapes she sent me home with last Friday night.
But I digress. Enjoy the coming season and it's cooler temperatures. It's for sure I will! But while you've viewing the world differently, remember to take the palette of colors you're seeing into your studio and let your art reflect that riot of color as well.
Remember my post last week where I'd been playing with stencils and inks? Barbara sent me this photo of her artwork inspired by my blog. Yeah Barb!!!! Send more photos! And that goes for everyone out there reading my posts. I'd love to see what you're working on these days, particularly if something I've said sends you to your art supplies for a bit of play.
I'd like to say that I'm playing this week but alas, I'm tweaking and packing and preparing for my travels. But the good news is that I'll be doing at least one demo over the weekend so I'll have show & tell when I return.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Creative: Most certainly I'm creative! My very favorite art supply would be paper, but I can use it to transform cigar boxes, journals, and more. Throw in a bunch of game pieces and I'll create a shrine or decorate a large mirror. Give me a sheet of foam core and I'll create jewelry. I love all the possibilities that come to mind when I wander the aisles of Home Depot.
Funny: Judging from the laughter in my classes, I think I can be pretty amusing. Of course I can be watching a sitcom on TV, laughing, and my husband will start laughing...not at the TV show, but at me. It seems my laughter brings out his. Now if that's not a perfect match I don't know what is, and I'm tickled pink to have found him.
Messy: Oh good grief, I'm the messiest person I know. Right now I'm decorating new bangles so that our packaging & labels will showcase not only my name but also my artwork. The studio is covered with supplies and this morning I was up there at 5:15am working on ideas that came to me during the night.
But I'm also preparing for my teaching gig this weekend at the Gary Burlin Trade Show, so there are works of art on paper, along with all the inks, stamps, and implements needed for those. And I've designed numerous pieces of jewelry and can't decide which I like the best, so there are bits & pieces of various hardware items scattered across the tables with everything else.
I Love to Laugh: And that's the truth of it. No matter what, you've got to keep your sense of humor and laugh as you muddle through it all. I decorated a wooden bead a week ago and wanted to include that in my jewelry piece this weekend. This morning I was searching through the mounds for that fabulous bead and have yet to find it. Trust me, I'll make another if need be, but wouldn't you think a big wooden bead strung on a pipe cleaner would be easy to find? OMG!! I just remembered where it is! I twisted the pipe cleaner to form a ring, and hung it on one of my desk lamps. Now that's funny; I don't care who you are.
Why don't you make a journal about yourself. Think of 5 words that best describe you and devote a page to each. Whether you're using stamps or scrapbook papers, stickers or rub-ons, grungeboard or chipboard, inks or paints, let this journal express the artist you've become. But never forget that school paste. It started you down this Primrose path, and where would you be today without it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I've always been attracted to all things Oriental, and it doesn't hurt that we've got a 10,000 sq ft Grand Asian Market within minutes of my house. Occasionally I'll wander through the aisles and buy things so as the collection grew, class ideas came to me. This first photo shows the contents of the kit. I should tell you that the kits were packaged in large take-out containers, and included chopsticks and a fortune cookie. My students could eat the cookies and still use the fortunes in their collage.
This is a photo of just one of my finished pieces. I've done several because everytime I taught the class, I'd create another one as part of the class instruction. Mine aren't even the best I've seen. They were intended as a jumping off point for my students, and as always, I'm utterly amazed at the creativity of women when they begin to assemble their art.
These kimono cards were great, but I created accordion pages for the inside and used a clipiola to hold the "book" closed and keep the pages intact. Next time you see a shape that might make a good book, first make a card and then add an accordion inside to create the book. It's very easy.
The pages are decorated on both front and back, giving me the opportunity to use lots of ephemera, as well as stamped images. If you're local, check it out the next time you visit the studio. It's far lovelier in person than in my photography. And if you've got joss paper, lucky money envelopes, fortunes, rice paper, and coins, why not make one of your own? You don't even need the kimono card. Instead why not decorate luggage tags with stamped images, inks, paints, and ephemera. You'll be so glad you did. Tuck them in a library pocket or coin envelope, also decorated. And from now on when you go for Chinese take-away dinners, always ask for the free chopsticks, keep the menu, and start saving those fortunes.
But what would you do with this finished work of art you ask? If you own white ink you can journal right over the top of it. (Think gel pens, pigment pens, paint pens.) If you want to cover the front of a journal or composition book or tablet, this would be work. If you want to make cards or ATC's this would certainly work. Place cards, gift enclosure cards, punched shapes like flowers, all would be great.
I started with plain white cardstock, dye-based inks, and either your stylus tool with white foam tips or sponges. This is simply direct-to-paper, adding color to a background. I specifically used some really dark colors here in spots to show you that it can be done, and how you'll work with those colors in later steps.
If you've ever taken a class with me, you know I've been a HUGE fan of Clearsnap's Magic Stamp, or Penscore as I know it from years ago when it was first introduced. These blue rectangles are moldable high density foam which can be heated and pressed into anything that will create an impression. I used one of my favorite stamps from Just For Fun, but you could use any stamp. Keep in mind it's going to give you a reverse image. So as you can see here, the actual stamp would give you raised circles that would take the ink, whereas the Penscore gives you the background, leaving the circles uninked.
I used Spring Green as one of my background colors and then used it to stamp with the Penscore. You'll notice the circles are quite visible, giving me a wonderful pattern right over the top of all that original background color.
If you don't have a rubber stamp you want to use, consider a pile of paperclips, coins, buttons, rubber bands, dried beans or rice, ...press it against the side of a wicker basket...seriously, anything with a pattern will work. And if you don't like the end result, pull out the heat gun, heat it again and it goes right back to it's original smooth surface. Now how fabulous is that!?
Remember all those dark spots of color on the original background made with Purple and Inky Blue? I used white acrylic paint, a cosmetic wedge sponge, and a length of punchinella to create the white dots right over the top of those intense colors. Tap your sponge into the paint, then off-load on scrap paper. Now that you've removed most of the paint, simply pounce over the Punchinella. You can also use mesh, dry-wall tape, and stencils for this step. I used the Punchinella (also known as sequin waste) for the large white polka dots because I knew I wanted to add another step.
And here's the next step. This is actually a length of dry-wall tape from the home improvement store. But again, any stencil would work just as well. I wanted tiny dots and I wanted to use the Garnet ink I'd already used in the first step of direct-to-paper. So now you can see I've got lots of pattern going on, but I've also created the illusion of depth.
For the last step, I pulled out a stencil I'd bought from my dear friend (and repeat student at Stampaway) Barbara. She's got a great little store just up the road from the Cincinnati airport, both of which are actually located in KY. Don't ask me why an airport in KY is known as the CVG airport; can't answer that one. Anyway, I used the stencil and the very same white acrylic paint, off-loading the majority of the paint on scrap paper, and then pouncing over the stencil.
Now scroll back up to the top of the post and take another look at the end result. Doesn't that make you want to go grab your inks, paper, sponges, stencils, and paint right this second?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I thought these little children were precious and begged for my attention. Give them wings. Give them crowns. Reduce or enlarge them. Use them on ATC's. I taught a class several years ago and we used a photocopies of a little guy, transferring his images to marble tiles. Now that was a lot of fun. I'd already adhered the photocopies face down onto gel medium slathered onto the tiles. It had to dry overnight you see. Next day when everyone arrived in the studio they selected a tile, but had no idea what image they'd gotten. We went to work, spritzing with water and rubbing off the paper to reveal the image transfer. I remember Lyn, an avid golfer, actually got the little guy holding a golf club. Sheer luck, but what luck it was for her! Let's say you've printed out copies of these using a color printer. You're guaranteed to get the sepia tone of the originals. Now take that single copy to Staples or Kinkos and make more color copies. Again, play around with the sizes. Next take the time to "tint" one or two with your pencils and go back for more color copies. I think you'll have a lot of fun with this, and if I'm right, do let me know.
Last night at bedtime I felt like playing, so I raced up to the studio and pulled out just a handful of supplies. You know I'm still playing around with all the goodies Clearsnap sent me, so in the photos you'll see Vivid inks and the Terrific Tips & Tools. These green handles are just like the black ones we've used for years in direct-to-paper techniques. But now they come with foam stamps in lots of clever shapes.
Here's what you'll need:
an assortment of inks (I used dye-based)
sponges (or if you have the Colorbox stylus tool & tips, use those)
I love circles & dots, so if you don't have these particular tools, you can certainly use other things. The tiny Orchid dots are made with a pencil eraser. Use plastic screw on bottle caps: the top makes a dot and the end that screws on the bottle makes a circle. If you've got plastic or paper cups, those make circles. I save mine from Crystal Light drink mix and individual cups of diced peaches. Try the top of your pen or a push pin or thumb tack. How about the end of a straw for a tiny circle?
Just ink the different shapes with different colors and stamp. It's that easy. I wanted to make pages for a new journal, so I'm working on quarter sheets of white cardstock. After I've played around and made lots of pages I'll bind them with my Bind-It-All and create my own journal. But if you don't have one of those, simply punch a hole in the top corner and buy an O-ring at the office supply store. They come in fabulous colors now and in different sizes. You can even find them at AC Moore where they sell the DMC floss.
If you're making a card, you can stamp with any color you choose. When you're ready to add a sentiment, either stamp it on the inside, or stamp it on a separate piece of white cardstock and layer onto the outside of the card. If you like to journal on your pages in straight lines, I'd suggest using light colors of ink. But if you're willing to journal around your shapes, then use your favorite inks. Can't you just imagine the fun of stamping all those circles and dots and then journaling in the round?
If you've got large sheets or rolls of white paper, or even butcher paper, you can make great wrapping paper. If you've got kids, put them to work this weekend and see what they come up with for you. Or if you just want to wrap a small box, even regular copy paper will work. Visit the craft store and you'll find plain white boxes near the cake decorating aisle. They're flat and perfect for stamping. After they're stamped, fold on the scored lines and you've created a unique gift box. If you buy the ones with a waxy finish, you may need to use a permanent ink instead of the water-based dye inks, so plan to experiment. And don't forget about plain white tissue paper! If you're stamping the outer box and paper, be sure to stamp the tissue paper too! And stamp extra sheets to have on hand the next time you're packing a gift in a bag. Ooh, and what about lunch bags! Everyone knows I have 183 Halloween stamps, but if you don't have any, use this technique with black & orange ink to create little treat bags. Fill them with candy, tie with orange & black curling ribbon, and hand them out on Halloween. Stamp your circle in orange and add a face to your jack-o-lantern with a black marker. How cute is that?
I'll tell you now that I've already created more art for tomorrow's posting, so be sure to come back for a visit. (Let's hope I can wait til then to post it.)
Monday, September 15, 2008
And I can remember going to the bowling alley, first with my family, but then as a teenager on a date. Oh my, do kids still go bowling on dates? I'm thinking not. I know my son used to go bowling with his church group in his teen years, but that was quite some time ago. I was never very good at it, but it was just something you did. We'd get those smelly shoes that hundreds of people had worn before us, and would continue to wear after us. Simple times.
And can you remember Putt Putt golf? I loved the short little golf clubs and the colored balls. Pink, blue, green, and my favorite, yellow. I was HORRIBLE at putt putt. I'd try about 5 times and then pull out that little yellow nub of a pencil and scratch through that hole. Hated that game. And yet my family always played on vacation. Argh! The horrible memories that brings back, especially when I started dating. Here again, I can't imagine kids still do that sort of thing on a date. As much as I disliked it, they don't know what they're missing.
Without a doubt my favorite of all time was roller skating. Oh my, I can still remember my first pair of skates that came with their own key! Every year as my feet grew, I could enlarge those skates to fit me. I can still remember going to a roller rink with a girlfriend who gave me her old skates when I was about 13. They were white with wooden wheels and a stopper on the toe. Oh my, it was just the most exciting time in my life to enter that building, lace up those skates, and venture out on the rink with the masses. I can still see that disco ball with the lights flashing in time to the music.
They say you can't go home again, but as long as we have our memories we can go anywhere. Close your eyes and see where your imagination can take you.
Friday, September 12, 2008
As for last night, we did our usual business portion of the meeting, and wow, have we got some fun things planned for the upcoming months! I passed around a 5x7 legal pad that had been faced with a piece of mat board, and then a piece of cardstock wrapped from back to front, overlapping about 3" down from the top, trimmed with a scalloped edge. Simple, pretty, and of course very practical. But you know what I've always said, that myth about "less is more" is just that...a myth. Less is less! So the wheels were spinning in my little head and I could just imagine that piece of mat board inked and stamped. And that overlap of cardstock would have more of the same, along with 3D embellishments, stickers, jewels, etc. So next month's swap item will be one of those legal pads, decorated as much or as little as each player chooses. And we'll put them in a box, draw numbers, and see what we leave with at the end of the night. I liked the idea of these for a swap because (a) everyone has them on the shelves as part of the back-to-school sales, but (b) because I knew they'd be great little gifts. I expect everyone will make at least 2...one to keep and one to swap. Or maybe they'll get a headstart on their holiday gift giving and make several.
Then we started bouncing ideas around about other swaps and we agreed on a project for next month's meeting. Everyone will cover a black & white composition book with decorative paper of their choosing. I proposed that we do a version of a round robin, by bring little tidbits and embellishments and passing the composition books around the tables, letting each club member add their little touch to all the books. When your book returns to you it should be FABULOUS! Of course we discussed the amount of "real estate" available on the covers, so we know to keep it small and simple, yet show a bit of our own personalities at the same time. Which means if you didn't make it to last night's meeting, but you want to come next month and play, you'd better mark your calendar now for October 9th and be sure to pack not only your book but also goodies for decorating all the others. Just think of the possibilities: tiny tags, buttons, fibers & ribbons, beads, stickers, postage stamps, inchies, rub-ons, punched works of art...ooh, I can hardly wait! And again, these composition books are part of those back-to-school sales, so stock up and plan to make several!
And if you're wondering why the tables are pushed together and covered with stencils, ink pads, mesh, sponges, spritzer bottles, Clearsnap's Magic Stamp blue foam, etc. it's because our "project" last night was a guinea pig class for my upcoming teaching gig in Cleveland on the 25-28th. Can't tell too many secrets because I know several of the store owners who will be attending that trade show event also read my blog, and I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's surprise. But I will tell you this: when it came time to punch the finished masterpieces, Joyce said no way. She took hers home to stamp! And I hope stamping is all she has planned, because she and all the other ladies were gracious enough to loan me some of their punches to take with me to Ohio for my classes.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've got great friends and we always have great fun. Wish you were here.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
He loved to look out the window so we'd accomodate him by pulling the footstool over by the bay window in the kitchen, raising the blinds so he could see the world in our backyard. On this particular night we had snow falling and he was so excited we had to let him out on the back deck.
He loved to sit in that swing but we'd taken all the cushions off the chairs and piled them on the swing seat, so he looked at the pile and knew his short little legs would never make the leap. The three of us spent many an hour out on that deck. Whether it was on a Sunday morning reading the paper and drinking our coffee, or cool nights enjoying the stars. If Clayton sat in a chair, Duffy was right up there in his lap. Didn't seem to matter that the swing was big enough for two; he'd always pick his daddy's lap over mine. He was king of the castle and always picked the best seat on the couch. He loved to watch TV, particularly cartoons. And if a dog came on the screen he'd race from the couch to the TV, jumping up to bark at the dog. I don't know who said dogs aren't smart, but they surely weren't talking about our little Scottie.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I like doors. Old ones, new ones, brightly colored ones, and most in between. I've been planning a class for over a year using miniature doors on canvas, creating a collage with a door actually opening into the canvas artwork. I can see it clearly in my mind, but it has yet to find it's way onto the pages of my calendar.
There was an article in the paper showcasing a bungalow with a "new" front door from the Habitat Re-Use Center and I really liked it. Made me want to rip mine out of the wall and replace it, but what I don't need is yet another new project when there are so many incomplete ones in progress.
This looks like a pretty interesting door, doesn't it? I don't want it on my house, or my street, or even in my subdivision, but if I passed it in your neighborhood, I'd smile and probably circle back to see it again. It's sort of cheerful and whimsical, and that appeals to me.
There are some exciting things happening in my life right now. Lots of opportunies are knocking and I'm trying to find the time to squeeze them all in to an already full schedule. I'll be posting more about those as they evolve.
In the meantime the days are growing shorter and it won't be long before it's dark on the drive home. The gorgeous summer flowers that are overflowing their pots will be replaced with the colors of Fall in the form of mums and pansies, and a collection of pumpkins. A landscaper is due at my house tomorrow morning at oh-dark-thirty before we head to Duke for my eye exam, and I'm anxious to see what he's planning to do with my new entry.
My favorite time of the year is right around the corner. I spotted lots of my Halloween decorations in the basement over the weekend. Swinging from a shelf was my 3' hanging skeleton. The life-sized, realistic looking tombstones Jennifer and I made before she moved to DC were over in a corner. And somewhere up in the attic are my artificial jack-o-lanterns including the one that looks like a spider. That fancy new brick entryway is so much larger than the old sidewalk I'm thinking I might need a few more decorations. I see shopping in my future.
And I also see a new color palette for my art. Next week when the ladies come to play I'll be pulling out my colorants in yellow & gold, orange & burnt umber. The winds of change are blowing, and I don't mean Hurricane Hanna.