Last week I told you about how I decided to go to college in Alaska. I started as a Biology major, but quickly realized that while I loved animals I didn't like memorizing all those facts. I didn't enjoy the nuts and bolts of being a scientist. As motherhood became more time consuming I took some time off from college to concentrate on my kids. I took care of my girls while my husband finished his degree. After he got his degree, we also moved to Michigan where he was from. I worked and he finished up getting his teaching degree and started teaching high school. After our girls were older and my baby boy was not so tiny, I decided to go back to college. This time I entered a degree program in textiles and apparel. I had always enjoyed sewing and watching my grandmother sew as a child. I had been spending more of my time sewing for me and my kids and learning how to dye fabric. I thought that this program sounded really interesting and I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills. I really enjoyed learning everything that went along with my degree. I loved learning design principles, art, pattern making, textiles, sewing, how to make a visual statement, and much more. This degree led me to where I am today. I love textiles and the tactile senses and touchable texture that they involve. I also love experimenting with surface design, dyeing, and art materials. My curiosity and love of experimentation from when I was a biology major transferred over to my art today. It is interesting how our lives change and how everything that we experience builds up to make us the person who we are today. We all have layers and interesting stories to tell. I love hearing your stories too. If you would like to share with me I would love to hear from you.
For those of you who don't know I have been a member of Artistcellar's design team for the last six months. This is my last project for them. I'm thankful for my time as a design team member at Artistcellar. I have learned a lot and I'm grateful for the push to make a new piece every week. It has been an adventure and a pleasure to use these wonderful art supplies and marvelous stencils. Thank you Artistcellar!
For my last post I made a journal page using Dylusions. These ink sprays are so full of bright color that I love using them. I started by taking select parts of the Apparatus stencil and tracing them onto freezer paper. Then I cut out all the gears that I traced.
I sprayed the non-glossy side of the freezer paper with a temporary spray adhesive. Then I arranged them onto my journal page and made sure that they were sticking down. I sat my journal upright and sprayed Funky Fuschia, Lemon Zest, and Squeezed Orange Dylusions Sprays onto the page. I also spritzed it with some water to make sure the ink dripped and ran together. I put paper towels under the page to catch the excess.
I let the ink dry completely with my journal upright.
I removed the freezer paper templates. This is a great way to use the stencils as a mask.
Next I found a steampunk image and cut it out. I added some chalk pastels in the same color scheme in the white spaces and blended them with my fingers. I wanted the background of the image to blend with the rest of the page. I fixed the pastels with spray fixative. After that was dry I glued down the image and let it dry.
I used a black Stabilo pencil to add a shadow around the image to get it to pop off of the page better. I also used a stamp to add a border around my page. I used the same Apparatus stencil and some Inka Gold to add some more gears to my page.
I found this quote by Oprah Winfrey and added it to my journal page with my Pitt pens for the finishing touch. "The Biggest Adventure You Can Take Is To Live The Life Of Your Dreams."
I hope that you all can live the life of your dreams and have a grand adventure. I will be posting regularly here with all kinds of new projects that I'm dreaming up.
Last week I talked about losing some of my sense of adventure as I got older. I didn't lose all my sense of adventure because I chose to go to college in Alaska. Alaska was far away from all of my family and friends and anyone that I knew. This was a big step for the shy girl who didn't make friends easily. It turned out to be one of the greatest adventures that I had ever had. It was a glorious experience that I never would have wanted to miss. I lived in Alaska for four years. I met my husband and had my first two children during these years. I saw majestic views and had a wonderful time. I have never lived anywhere quite like Alaska. The people and life style are all their own. Life there isn't so concerned with the hustle and bustle that life down here is so focused on. Going to college in Alaska is something that I will always treasure.
I hope you enjoyed another view from my past. I would love it if you would share an adventure that you have had with me. Large or small these adventures give life joy and wonder.
I was looking up some information on fiber art when I found a website that is full of information and inspiration for fiber artists. It is a whole website dedicated to creating and sending fabric postcards around the world called Postmark'd Art. I decided that making fabric postcards would be a great project for my post this week.
I wanted to go with a spring theme so I started out by coloring a piece of white cotton, large enough to make nine postcards, with a yellow Derwent Inktense block. I sprayed my fabric lightly with water and added the yellow color. I made some areas intensely yellow and some more pale. I blended it all together with a brush and textile medium. I let this layer dry.
I used three colors of Metamica paints and Tam's Butterfly Wings stencil to add butterflies over the yellow background.
I used some of my hand carved stamps and more Metamica paints to add flowers and dragonflies over the butterflies.
I added splatters and drops of pearlescent acrylic inks to get some more contrast. I let all the paint dry completely and then I heat set the paint.
Next I layered a piece of cotton flannel and muslin with my painted fabric and I free motion stitched a wavy pattern over the entire piece. I didn't want the postcard to be too thick, so the flannel makes the perfect batting.
I choose some fibers from the Pacific mix and hand stitched them over the surface.
I then cut the piece into nine pieces that were a little smaller than 4" x 6" postcard size. I picked one piece to add details to and finish off for mailing.
On this card I added some more hand stitching. Next I layered another piece of muslin, a piece of stabilizer and the quilted postcard. I satin stitched around the edges and trimmed off the excess fabric.
Now my postcard is ready to add an address and a message and be sent off to a new home.
I hope that I have inspired you to make some fiber mail art. It is fun and easy to personalize these small pieces of art. Sending them through the mail should bring a smile to the recipient and some postal workers too.
My childhood was spent largely in rural areas. I spent a lot of time living on farms with wide open places around me and mysterious forests to explore. I spent much of my younger years outside playing, exploring, and being an adventurer. When I wasn't outside I often had a book in hand and was immersed in the world of whatever novel I was reading at the time. As soon as I learned to read well, I always had a novel in hand. I still love immersing myself in the world of a novel and keeping my head in the clouds dreaming what it would be like to live there. I grew up as a dreamer and adventurer and often kept to myself. I was very shy and didn't want to play with other children a lot. I'm still pretty much a loner except for family and close friends. I keep in touch with the world through on-line friendships. I like hanging out and working from home.
As a teen I started to lose some of that adventuring spirit I had as a child. It was easier to stay in and read a book than to go outside and do anything. I still enjoyed outdoor activities, but only the ones with a purpose. I didn't wander freely and explore as much as when I was younger.
I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse from my past.
I have been inspired to play with Dylusions Ink Sprays this week. I am taking Lifebook this year and Tam has us creating fun pages using Dylusions. I wanted to play with them on a canvas. I love the bright clear colors and all the effects that you can create with these sprays. I wanted to leave some white space, achieve some great drips and build up the color. I hope that you enjoy how my canvas developed.
§ Dylusions Ink Sprays in: London Blue, Fresh Lime, Vibrant Turquoise, and Cut Grass
§ Stencils: TEXTures 2 Miro and Picasso, Star Coral and Sea Foam
§ FW acrylic inks in: Genesis Green, Galatic Blue, Waterfall Green, and Turquoise
§ Golden fluid acrylic paint in: Teal, Ultramarine Blue, and White
§ Pitt pens in Blue and Turquoise
§ 12" x 12" canvas
I started by laying the two TEXTures stencils on my canvas and spraying the ink sprays through them. Then I flipped them over into the blank areas and blotted the back with a paper towel to get the excess ink off the stencils and onto the canvas. I let this dry, as I will after each step, so that I have more control of the inks.
I made a couple of puddles of Dylusions in the middle of the canvas with London Blue and Cut Grass. I added some water and I splattered the ink around with the brush. I also tapped the brush to move the ink onto the canvas. You want to get a bit messy and get the ink to move over the canvas. Next I tipped the canvas so that the ink ran down to the edge. While the ink was still wet I added drops of the acrylic inks to the wet puddles. I tipped the canvas again to get these to run to the edge also. I did a bit of blending to get the ink to blend a bit in the middle.
After this was dry I took out the star coral stencil and sprayed more Dylusions into the two corners. I off-set the stencil so that it wasn't directly over the previous layer. I flipped it like last time to get off some of the excess ink. I made sure to leave the upper corner untouched so that I could have some white space.
I repeated this same process with the sea foam stencil. I used a damp brush to blend the inks around my focal point and in some other areas. I decided at this point the my painting wanted to become a jellyfish in the water.
I added more acrylic inks and water to the jellyfish and let it drip more. I wanted this little guy to have a lot of tentacles. I blended the inks in the body of the jellyfish more as well.
I used the stencils again with some fluid acrylics to add back some of the patterns that got covered when I sprayed through the sea foam stencil. After I was done I blended out the edges of each area so that there wasn't such a harsh line. I used the teal paint to cover the edges and the sides of the canvas.
I love how the drips went onto the sides of the canvas to continue the painting.
I used my Pitt pens to define the jellyfish and its tentacles. I also added a few water droplets to the top corner of the canvas.
I love how this canvas developed. I seem to be drawn to these water stencils and colors right now, maybe because everything is still white and frozen where I live. The only thing that I would like to try now is using these same methods on an unprimed canvas. The canvas that I used had gesso already and the Dylusions tended to bead up instead of sinking into the canvas. I think that the colors would have been a bit more vibrant on an unprimed canvas. I hope that you have some fun playing with Dylusions and seeing firsthand how fun they are to use.
I am starting a new blog series that will tell you a little more about me. I'll write these posts once a week until I'm done telling my story. If you are curious and want to know more about me you'll want to read this series.
I am a 40 something wife and mother of five children. I have been married to the same wonderful man for almost 20 years. I have two girls in college and three boys at home. My youngest hasn't started school yet, so he keeps me pretty busy. Even though my family is widespread in years, I wouldn't change anything. I love my kids and wouldn't want to be without them, even when they are driving me crazy.
My husband is a teacher and a writer with a great sense of humor. He makes me laugh all the time. We have a wonderful marriage even though we have had many ups and downs over the years. If you would like to read some stories about how we got together and started our life together you can go to his website and read the chicken stories. He has written quite a few tales from those years.
Family is very important to me and inspires me to do what I do. My faith is also inspires me and makes me who I am today. I am a Catholic and feel the love of God in my life every day. My faith life keeps me grounded and helps me keep others foremost in my mind. I'm not in this world alone and I have the responsibility to do what I can in a real way to help other people. There are many people in this world who don't have someone who cares and I need to try and show that I care in a concrete way. I do this by any way that I can, which sometimes just means donating money to worthy causes. As a mother of young children it is sometimes difficult to get out and participate as much as I would like. I am working on this and hope to do better in the future.
I hope that you have enjoyed this glimpse of my life. Next week I'll tell a bit about my childhood.
I wanted to make some art from my recycling bin for today. I have been saving pretty plastic bags for a while now in a rainbow of colors. I decided to go with a Valentine's Day theme since that is coming up next week. I have seen some beautiful art using fused plastic bags. I figured that if I'm ever going to make some beautiful fused art myself, I had better start practicing.
I started with a base of regular plastic bags, I used bags from Target. I cut off the handles and cut down the seam until the bags were flat. I stacked six bags on top of each other. I made sure that the logos were all to the inside. I cut the bags in half, so that one side had the Target logo and the other was white. I set the half with the logo aside.
I took the top layer off of the white stack of bags. I cut hearts out of purple and pink plastic bags and laid them down on top of the bags. I also cut rectangles out of purple plastic mesh. Then I laid down the top layer again.
Next I ironed the bags. I put them onto a piece of fabric that I use for art and I put a piece of parchment paper on top. I ironed the bags on low heat moving the iron slowly until they were fused together. This is the part that takes some practice. You want the bags to become one layer without over fusing them and completely melting them or getting a lot of shrinkage. As long as you use low heat it should work out okay. Keep in mind safety measures and fuse the plastic in a well ventilated area. You don't want to breath in plastic fumes. I fused both stacks of bags.
I decide that I wanted to make two clutch purses out of my fused plastic. I made a pattern and cut them out of the plastic. You can find free patterns all over the internet. I also cut out a lining fabric and a piece of stabilizer for each one. I wanted the extra layers to give the clutch purses some body and stability.
Before I sewed them up I wanted to add some decoration with free motion stitching. This also adds strength and stability to the fused layers. For the clutch with the red logo I picked out the Square Rose stencil and traced it onto the plastic with my fine Pitt pen. I then stitched the lines of the stencil with a few extra lines to connect the stitching. I stitched onto the plastic and the stabilizer layer together.
For the other clutch I first cut out some hearts from Angelina Film in two pinks and a purple. I laid these out and free motion stitched over the surface in pink thread. I used hearts and loops for my pattern. Then I got out Tam's Hearts and Stars stencil and traced out the pattern with my fine Pitt pen over the three segments of the clutch. I stitched the hearts and stars in black thread.
Once I had the designs all stitched up I added the lining layer and stitched up the purses. I used two different methods to put these together, just to try out what I liked best. I added buttons to close them too.
I'm not completely happy with how these turned out, but it was a great learning experience. I learned how the plastic behaves while fusing and what happens when you over fuse and shrink it. I also learned what construction method that I like best and what tweaks I want to make to my pattern. The pattern needs a lot of work, but I'll leave that for another day. Now I am ready to make more art out of fused plastic. I do love how the black rose pattern looks against the red logo and how the hearts and stars look against a background of hearts. All is all this was a great experiment. I hope that you are willing to go and experiment with materials and techniques because that is how you grow as an artist.
Papercloth tutorials are all over the internet with a lot of ideas to try. I wanted to share my version using Artistcellar stencils and my carved stamps. I use papercloth primarily for making journal covers, although there are other uses for this fun product too. I have another papercloth tutorial here.
I started by cutting a generous piece of muslin. It really depends on your end use, in deciding how large a piece of papercloth to make. I always make a pretty big piece so that I have a lot on hand. The process takes a while, so it makes sense to make a bigger piece. I laid the muslin onto a plastic bag, or other piece of plastic. You want to be able to peel it up later from the surface.
Next I took tissue paper, or other thin papers, and stamped images randomly onto the tissue paper. I used my hand carved stamps and StazOn Ink to add the images. I tore the tissue paper into smaller pieces.
Then I mixed white glue with water until I got a pretty runny mix. It takes a bit to get the glue mixed into the water well. I made up a small tub of this mixture. I brushed the glue onto the muslin a section at a time and laid down the pieces of tissue paper and brushed glue over the top. I kept layering until the entire piece of muslin was covered by the tissue paper. It doesn't matter if the tissue tears a bit or gets wrinkled because this will just add texture.
Next I added color by dropping on acrylic inks in blues and greens. I used some iridescent colors to add shimmer to the papercloth. I gently blended the inks and spread them around until all the tissue had color. I let the piece dry completely, which sometimes takes a couple of days.
I chose two of the TEXTures series stencils, Roadmap and Rivermap to add another layer to my papercloth. I used the Rivermap stencil and blue and green acrylic paints to add texture randomly over the entire piece. After that dried, I used the Roadmap stencil and black paint to add some pop to the piece.
After the paint dried I peeled it off of the plastic and cut it into smaller pieces. I wanted to make several journals from the piece, so I cut different sized rectangles out. I picked one piece that I had cut and added free motion stitching over the whole surface. I used a variegated blue thread and added a loose pebble stitch. The stitching adds strength and stability to the papercloth. The more you work the piece of papercloth the softer it gets, because it starts out really stiff. By gently bending it, it will get more flexible. You need the stitching to help the layers stay together. It doesn't have to be free motion stitching, but I love the way that type of stitching looks.
I also satin stitched all the way around the outside edge. I used strips of tear away stabilizer to make this process easier. It also strengthens the edge of the journal. After the stitching was done, I tore away the excess stabilizer.
I added the word possibilities in black thread with free motion stitching to one side.
I tore sketch paper into the correct size and made four signatures with five folios for this journal. I sewed them into the papercloth cover just like I did for my last journal tutorial. You can find that here. I also added beads to the ends of the binding threads and a ribbon to keep the journal closed. The finished size is about 8 1/2" x 11".
I hope that you enjoyed this journal cover tutorial and that you try making papercloth too if you haven't already. This journal is up for sale in my shop, so check that out if you would love to have this one for your very own.
I got some Yupo paper for Christmas and I finally got a chance to play around with it. Play is good for us, right? I didn't have a plan other than to see how wet media moved around on this synthetic paper. I tried using watercolors, alcohol inks, and Dylusions sprays just to get a feel for the paper. I loved how the alcohol inks and the Dylusions worked the best. For my page today I decided to use the Dylusions sprays.
I started by cleaning the paper to make sure it didn't have any oils or dirt that would repel the inks. I sprayed the surface with the inks and tipped the paper up and let them run. I also sprayed the inks with a little water to encourage them to flow and run together. I used these colors of Dylusions: Lemon Zest, Crushed Grape, Funky Fuchsia, London Blue, and Vibrant Turquoise. I love how the inks beaded up and ran together on this paper.
I chose to use some of Tam's Whimsy stencils on this page. I used Whimsy Town and Hearts and Stars and I stenciled with black acrylic paint.
I saw a face peeking out at me from the drips so I had to include her on my page. I drew her with Derwent Inktense pencils which I activated with a damp brush. This also activated the sprays again. Since I was drawing a found face I went with what I saw, so she isn't a classically beautiful girl. She is full of quirks and oddities, which I think make her a lot of fun. I added some details and a bit of shading with the brush and the inks. I also used some gesso to add a heart to the paper.
I added darker details with markers and added highlights to her eyes with gesso. I also added a few smaller hearts to the page.
I added words to the large heart with my Pitt pen and added dots in the letters with a turquoise Sharpie paint pen. The girl that appeared on my page wanted to get this sentiment across : Protect the Vulnerable. There are many marginalized people and animals that can use our help every day. I'll leave that thought with you along with the fun of using Yupo synthetic paper.