Friday, May 8, 2009

New and Old - Repurposing Materials

I finished up two swaps for CCSWaps this week, both of which required me to search through my stash and either use up what I already had or something that I had received. The first is a 6X6 canvas titled "Mon Ami." I had all of the materials on hand including a paper napkin which I used for the background. This came from a swap a number of years ago. Scroll down to see the canvas labeled with the various items.

Source of Materials

The second item is a redesigned card front made from a commercial greeting card which I had received some time ago. I cut the back off, then cut the front into two pieces and trimmed down the larger reactangle.

Here's what I did to make the new card.

Guess it pays to save everything!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Metal

I have been enjoying working with metal, especially after taking a class at Artiscape with Cheryl Darrow. While I am still a beginner using the tools, I have been able to use the CuttleBug embossing folders to create a similar effect. I had made a similar item for a swap a week or so ago and wanted to make a present for my sister Juli. I had been frustrated trying to color specific sections of the metal with alcohol inks and was excited to be able to purchase two of the new Tim Holz alcohol ink pens last weekend at a rubber stamp/scrap show here in Waukesha. After coloring the embossed image, I was able to remove some of the ink from the tall grass using a cosmetic sponge and the blending solution. I put Wild Plum in one of the pens and colored the bird. The background is decoupaged paper on a hard canvas and a piece of the original Basic Gray paper which looks like wood. I don't think I'll buy a pen for each of the inks I have (sorry, Tim), but will decide which accent colors I will use the most and buy pens for them. Check out Tim's video for a demo:

"Morning has Broken"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Artiscape 2009

I have been excited since last year to attend Ariscape 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. I found a Yahoo group associated with this venue, and participated in a fat book swap. Here's the cover of the finished book - forty fat pages. I blogged mine previously.


My good friend Barbara and I attended from April 16-20. We left dreary, rainy Milwaukee and arrived to SPRING! Columbus was warm, the flowers were blooming, and we didn't have to wear coats, hats, or mittens. It turned out to be a perfect weekend with lots of fun, wonderful classes, great opportunities to add to our art stashes. The good weather lasted until Monday morning - it was cool and rainy in Columbus, time for us to return to cool and rainy Milwaukee.

At registration we received our packet of materials including our "Dance Card." It held our list of classes, tickets for events, and other information. The theme for the event was "The Age of Innocence," so this fit in perfectly.


I had taken a class last year from this instructor, Mike Meador, so I knew I was in for something fun and just a little "wacky!" Yes, we used recycled soda (or other beverage) cans to make embellishments, charms, or ???? Covering the little wooden cubes was pretty easy, but making the wee frames with inserts was more challenging. I had a lot of trouble with the first one, but by the third time I had figured out how to do this. These are incomplete - they need clip art or something, but they're really practice work. The materials are free and easily found, a bonus. Think I'll try using piece through the CuttleBug.


This is the front of the book we made with office supplies and other found ephemera. The picture below shows a view of the book open. There is even a cloth bag included as well as coin envelopes, tickets, etc.


I have been interested in using beeswax as a medium in collage - it creates a beautiful effect. We were told at the beginning of the class that there is a Zen quality to using beeswax - the warmth, the scent, the soothing, repetitive brushing on the beeswax. We were assured that there are no mistakes as what you put on can be taken off. We had lots of papers, ephemera, botanicals, and doo-dads to use. Everyone seemed to enjoy this class. And I am planning to work more with the beeswax.


This was a short class, only an hour, but it was good, messy fun. The previous class had spent the afternoon mixing up batches of pulp and then making sheets of paper. They used all kinds of things as the base: bananas, dried flowers, bark, and even denim jeans! We were kind of the clean up crew, using the leftovers. I didn't have any cookie cutters with me, the open ones without a handle, so I used a can to create the base for some embellishments. I haven't worked with paper pulp for awhile and, now that the weather is better, I think I'll make some pulp in my blender and have some more messy fun.


I always said that I would NEVER bother with learning to solder. Well, I was wrong! This was an excellent - lots of demonstration of techniques, good instructions to take home, and something that, with some practice, I will be able to do. The charms are double-sided: B/W clip art on one side and the checkerboard paper on the reverse. It was suggested to mix them up the way I did. I added them to a chain I had at home but I can always change my mind and use them in a different way. We left the class with our completed charms and a soldering iron.

I'm ready to go!


This is a portion of what I made in this class. I couldn't get a good picture of the project because it is metal (reflected the flash) and too large for the scanner (cut off 3/4 of the frame.) So, you will have to use your imagination.Or, you can go to Cheryl's website to see another shot of it We used a 12X16 canvas as the base as well as a sheet of metal. We used the back side of the canvas as a frame by painting the edges with household caulk tinted with acrylic paint. While that was drying, we embossed (and debossed) the saying using special metal tools and sanding some of the color off the metal. The darkened words were printed on paper, cut out, and glued down. The metal was then set into the "frame" - ready to hang. I learned a lot in the class (Cheryl Darrow - Ten Second Studio) and will work more with this medium. If you are interested, check out Cheryl's website and her videos - they are very interesting, informative, and also a good laugh!!!


The last class - I couldn't believe everything was coming to an end. Cheryl Meador, the instructor, brought kits with all the pieces cut, the batting sewn in, and lots of pearl cotton for us to hand sew a mini-purse. In her instructions, she also showed how to make a pattern for other sizes or how to make book covers or whatever. I haven't down hand work like this for a long time and forgot how much I enjoy doing it. And, I love the fun colors.


So, that's what I did at Artiscape, well, at least the classes. We had a great time in Columbus, and I plan to go next year. Hope to see some of you there as well. Maybe the Canadian rugby players will be there again (but that's another story!
Check out the website at