Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Wire Words: Glued, Stitched, and Tied On

Today I worked on a couple of projects using my new Wire Word Embellishments. The idea is to have some basic examples of how they can be used to show with the individual words when I list them on Etsy.

The tag was my first idea. I thought it might look kind of cool to use a wire word as a package add-on. All I did was cut out the tag shape from a piece of scrapbooking paper, roughed it up a bit, and then added a bit of page I'd torn out of a book. Then I tied the tag and the word together with the purple ribbon.

The next project is an example of a 8" x 8" scrapbook page embellished with the wire word "sweet". I thought it turned out rather sweet as well. Here I attatched the word with glue dots. It's going under a page protector so I know it will be supported and protected when I'm flipping through the scrapbook.

The last example is a picture frame. The idea of the altered book base I found in Kelly Rae Roberts book, Taking Flight. It's been a while since I saw it so I don't know how much mine resembled hers, but the basic cut-out was something I found in her oh so fabulous book. So first thing I did was draw out my box. Then using a metal straight edge and a sheetrock knife I made repeated cuts through the cover. I actually kept cutting through the paper until I had a 1/4" depth to my square. I wanted a different text than was actually in the book so I tore out a page from my french-english dictionary. I circled the word famille and then I used a glue stick to adhere the page down. Next, I drilled my holes. I used a hand drill and actually Jasper helped with this part. One hole in each corner going all the way through the book, and then three more holes through the cover only, to attach the wire word below the frame. To determine the placement of these holes I laid the "sweet" where I wanted it and then marked the spots where I planned on stitching the word down. After the drilling I went ahead and stitched the word down with embroidery floss. To reinforce the stitching I taped over the knots on the backside of the cover. I added the stitched ribbon around the frame next, and then did a little doodle and added some bling to the bottom of the cover. To finish, I threaded wire through the top holes and created a simple hanger. This also secured the book together so it can't be opened. This was VERY fun to make. I want to make lots and lots more! Tomorrow I'll add a photo of Jasper looking oh so cute and give it to my grandmother for a birthday gift!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wire Embellishments- Coming SOON!

I stayed up late the other night writing with wire. It was fun and I liked the look so I just kept going... and going...and going. In fact I bent the night away! I was watching Cold Comfort Farm while doing it and the time just flew.

On occasion people have purchased items from me to use in their own artwork. Birds, flowers, words, little bits of this or that. I love the idea that they are combining my work with theirs. So for a while now I've had it in mind to try selling some of my wire work as "supplies" on my Etsy site. I thought I'd start with words. I've used them stitched into mini art quilts, and my canvas paintings, as well as on scrapbook pages. They just seem to add a really nice dimensional layer and I really like the look of the wire combined with fabric and paper. These are sized just right for use in any of those mediums. I also thought that maybe using the words in their mixed media work would maybe encourage more people to pick up the wire for themselves and bend a little of their own. A girl can dream, right?

In the meantime.. for all those mixed media artists out there- Wire Words Embellishments- Coming Soon!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brick Walls

It's Sunday and my last post was WEDNESDAY! So I was determined to blog today. That decided- I was thinking of a topic and really not sure what that would be. It was my 10th Anniversary this weekend. So I've been bathed in sentimentality just remembering everything. I could blog about that. But I'm still of the mind that personal life events are only really interesting to those to whom it personally happens (although now that I write that I'm remembering the entire season of Joe Millionaire I watched once....)

During the week my little boy and I made the cross at right together. It was his homework. SO CUTE! I wanted to use it as an image but still had no idea how.... Then just now, I was reading a little bit from Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture. It's my husband's book and he's got it lying here on his desk next to the computer. So multi-tasker that I am, I've fallen into the habit of reading a bit while the computer's loading stuff.

The bit I just read was about brick walls. The author said, "The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. " My thought was "or not". Sometimes the brick walls seem to exist to show you that you don't want something all that badly at all. That's a form of direction as well. At my Wednesday morning bible study someone asked during prayer that God would guide them by continuing to open and close doors. I've asked God for signs before to show me His way. I wanted a big "GO THIS WAY!!!" and when opportunities came as a result, I went with them rejoicing in answered prayer. But sometimes I'd pray and get no recognizable response. That was hard. But now I'm wondering how many times was my response a closed door or a brick wall and I didn't recognize it for the gift of direction it was?

Lately, I've been blessed with an overabundance of ideas. All of which take time and effort so I've had to look critically at them and decide which one's to dedicate my resources to. Some I've just let float and waited to see if I receive some direction from God. One idea in particular I've invested a lot of time and effort and as a result REALLY want to see it happen. But I'm realizing that if that idea meets a brick wall I have a decision to make. "How badly do I want this?" and if it meets a closed door, "Am I going the right way?" Does God have another path planned for this? In art, as in all things we need to prioritize and evaluate. We need to decide what's worth our while and what is not? Where are you finding brick walls in your path? What closed doors have you encountered?

To return to the cross. I had other things planned the afternoon Jasper and I created it together. But when he called me and I saw him sitting in my art room, at my desk and with this blank cross in hand- I had to make the time to work with him on it. It was a door slamming closed on the rest of the plans I'd had for that time. But by taking the time to do this instead I was so rewarded! I loved the time we spent together on it! The bit of text he picked out (not knowing what it said of course- he liked the butterflies), was I thought, perfect! "Delight in the little things." Delight in the shut doors, and in the open one's. Delight in the time spent one way and not another. Delight in a cute little boy making a really big mess. Delight in the path you were directed to.

If you would like to view The Last Lecture- by Randy Pausch, click here.

Thanks for reading! Happy Sunday! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mini Art Quilts: Whoo- Hoo!

Yesterday I received notification that one of my two articles that had been accepted for the June issue of Sew Somerset was moved to the Aug. issue of Somerset Home instead. Very cool because now I'll have a whole new subscriber list seeing my work and I'll get another free issue! Ok, so I could probably drop the $14 dollars if I needed to but it's still kind of cool. :)

I actually got to see a proof of the Sew Somerset article yesterday as well. This will be the second time I've had an article published and it is still such a huge thrill. Maybe there are artists out there that can go on creating with absolutely no validation that their work is meaningful or interesting to someone other than themselves- but I am definitely NOT one of them. I love all your comments, especially the ones that are constructive. They really help me to thrive and grow in my work. Before I started on Etsy I was really reluctant to show my work to anyone. In fact, the few people I did show were pretty ho-hum in their reaction to my wire work. They loved my paintings, my drawing, but the fabric and wire thing just wasn't doing it for them. But here's where obsession can be a positive thing- I didn't care. I loved what I was doing so much that I just kept on doing it. Finally filling the entire house with my work- which then led me to Etsy (I had to clear the house out somehow). :) I don't know if I could have kept on as long as I have though without someone else saying they liked it too. Fortunately, the Etsy community of buyers and sellers have been incredibly supportive. They let me know that THEY liked it too and that has really kept me motivated to continue on creating and innovating. That and my husband has been incredibly supportive this entire time- totally important!

So thank you! And as a sneak preview and to kind of celebrate I thought I would post one of the mini art quilts that will be featured in the June issue. "dream" was created as a collaboration with my four year old son. I sectioned the piece off into 4 boxes and cut out a bird for the first section. Then I asked Jasper what should go in the others. And of course what he says goes.... And that is how this quilt was designed. After the major images were in place I was looking for a way to embellish the quilt. It seemed to need just a little more "something" to make it complete. So rummaging around in my bag I found a wire "dream" I had created for an ornament that was just perfect! I added the tweedle dee dee at the top because Jasper had been watching The Backyardigan's Tale of the Mighty Knights a lot and the "tweedle dee dee" of the flying fairy song was constantly running through the back of my mind. My own little soundtrack for this piece.

So those are a few of the little "behind the scenes" details of the construction of this quilt. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose....


I'm off to the family lakehome and should probably be packing instead of blogging but I wanted to quick post a photo of the rose I did last night. I mentioned a few posts ago trying to hand paint the wire flower forms I do- so here are the pics! I'm trying to give the flower a bit more mixed media, artsy, and graffiti feeling to it. I think the paint seemed to add to the sketchy feeling as well somehow. Anyways, it's going somewhere and I promise to post more phtotos as it develops.

For this version of my rose I hand painted the wire in a kind of haphazard way. Just here and there. I had to do several coats and I was working with acrylic so the bond is non existant. You could scrape the paint off really easily. SO if I stick with acrylic I'll have to seal it. I might try spray paint. I wouldn't spray the form I would spray the paint onto a piece of cardboard and then use a brush to pick up the paint to apply. If you have any ideas....

After applying the paint I wrapped the bloom with embroidery floss. The leaves were stitched like usual but then I cut out the center fabric from each. Then I squished the leaf up and frayed the edges a bit.

I want to wish EVERYONE who reads this the very best weekend and thanks again for reading!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Love

Thought I'd share some photos of a Spring scrapbook I did a few years ago. It's empty- I keep forgetting to take pictures for it. Keep forgetting I have it actually. So I was excited when it tumbled off the top shelf of my closet today. The papers I used were all from the Phoebe collection by Basic Grey. The stamps might have been Autumn Leaves. The basic design is from a class I took at Archiver's.

This is the year though! I'm going to remember my camera and take a bunch of cute Easter photos. Our family hides little mini baskets for everyone and then we all go on a big search. This is when we really miss my brother. He was amazing at hiding the baskets and did it every year. One year he opened up the septic cover in my parents yard and hid one inside. Once he was able to hide one on the roof of the house where it dipped a little lower, and once in a tree.... he was amazing. He moved to Montana last year and can't make it back. *Sigh* it's just not the same without him!

Other fun spring photo ops- Jasper getting his rain boots on, Easter morning, the resurrection rolls, the Easter ham....yum!, dyeing Easter eggs, the first spring flowers, the first patch of green grass, the trees budding, and of course the birds and bird nests we have in the yard each year! Oh, and Jasper likes to dig for worms right off in the spring too. He's really interested in "signs of spring" this year. He keeps asking if somethings', like rain puddles and Canadian geese, are signs. Too cute!

Happy Easter!!!! and Happy Spring too!

Monday, April 6, 2009

On my mind- Construction and Clay

A quick look in a new direction-I made this piece this weekend. I had a ton of orders and work to do but needed a creative break. So I grabbed a piece of bark from the garage and went to town with some new flower forms. The rose in the middle started life out last week as a little bird's nest but I liked the look of the form so much I kept it as is (there's a close up if you scroll down a bit). Lately all my creative dreaming has centered on two ideas.

The first is a constructed piece. I want to continue to develop my construction skills. It started out with the birdhouse assemblage I demo'd for you all a few months ago. But now I'm thinking of framing the wood all around and using a teal crackle medium to coat. Maybe with a cream on top- or below. Haven't decided yet. But then I want to wire on some more flowers. And here's the revolutionary part- I'm thinking of painting my wire. Not with a spray- hate that look but by hand with some metal compatible paints. I just have such a yearning for color lately. We'll see. Soo stay tuned on that one!

Now that I know you're riveted I'll let you in on the other idea as well. I've been playing around with clay and wire pendants (see Paris- a few posts ago) and want to start sewing into the clay. Maybe wiring elements like buttons or beads. I've just got a strong feeling it could really develop into something I love.

Part of the art of art I think is to continue to develop as artists. Sometimes that might mean just learning a new technique. Sometimes that entails a complete shift into a new direction. But for me, right now, my art is branching. I'm continuing to stick with some of the images I love but starting to use them in different ways. I can't wait to see where this all leads. Hopefully you all will stay tuned and help me along the way with your comments. I really appreciate knowing when something you see here on the blog strikes a chord. Or if you'd like to see more something.

Thanks again to all of you who have stopped by and have commented on my work. I love getting the reaction of others to what I do!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Quiet Book

I found a treasure at my parents place this week. It was the little book my mom gave me to play with in church as a child. She called it a quiet book. It's kind of a coincidence that I found it, because I was actually thinking about it not too long ago. It probably came to mind because my little boy can not sit through church quietly for the life of him. I know it's a lot to expect and to make it worse his mommy ALWAYS forgets to pack some toys. So he has to just sit there. That's when I remembered my little quiet book. So today I thought I'd post a few photos and maybe there's a crafty mom or aunt out there that was looking for something just like this!

The book is made of canvas and illustrates several Old Testament events. Creation, the tree of good and evil, Noah's ark, Jacob's dream, Joseph's coat of many colors, Moses in the basket, and the parting of the red sea are stories all shown here. The book is missing a few items, like baby Moses, and I think there were people crossing the red sea that have since been lost; but you get the idea. The book has several different clasps to teach little fingers to manipulate as well as a variety of "pretend play" options. Looking at this I get all kinds of ideas.

Unfortunately, my little boy is starting to get a little old for this kind of book but he still sat down and played a bit with it. But I don't think it would hold his attention for as long as it would a slightly younger child. HOWEVER, Jasper is totally into animals and the Noah's Ark page reminded me of a play set I'd made him on a slow day last summer. Looking at the two I'm sure I was inspired by my memories of this quiet book. So I pulled that out and he played with that for a while. The set I made him was made to hang from suction cup hooks so it could hang in the window. I also made the felt scenes two sided so that he had a choice of backgrounds. One is a night scene on one side and a water scene on the other. The other sheet is for his African animals on one side and has water and ice burgs for his Antarctica and ocean animals. I cut out the animals freehand 'cause it's fun for me but I remember my mother tracing cookie cutters for some of her felt animals. Of course you could create your own templates as well.

So now I have plans to create my own little felt play book for Jasper. I think I'll keeps some of the elements of mine but I'll create more imaginary play scenes since he's at the age that really loves to pretend. But I love the ark with the zipper that was in my little book. A great way of storing the shapes. I think I'll cheat and use Velcro for a few things as well. Once I've completed Jasper's little quiet book I'll post pics and instructions for making one like it. But until then, for all you crafty moms- feel free to copy the photos to create your own version!