Birds & Words

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Collection Folio - CC3C#23

Hey, there Artist Friends!  What a week!  I truly hope you all enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  This time we're going to alter Tim's awesome Collection Folio.  You'll find this one on page 34 of Compendium of Curiosities III, which you really must own.  No, really.  You've got to own it.

Just to be sure you include everything you need to be be eligible to win, please visit Linda Ledbetter's blog for your guidelines.  Be sure and visit all the Curiosity Crew blogs and leave a little love!!  We sure appreciate it and appreciate you participating in these challenges with us!!

Our generous sponsors for this challenge are Inspiration Emporium and Tim Holtz.    IE has a $50 gift certificate for a lucky randomly chosen winner and the Curiosity Crew Choice will receive a fabulous collection of Tim Holtz signature products donated by Tim & Mario for these challenges.   Everyone has a chance to win!!

All that being said....   Wanna play?  Let's go!!

I sit before you exhausted, but happy.  I don't know if I've ever worked so hard on an art project.  The possibilities know no bounds when it comes to Collection Folio.  I had a plan in my head for this challenge.  But everything, EVERY thing changed when I heard about a new book from the beloved Harper Lee.  To Kill a Mockingbird has long been a literary treasure for me and for many people.  When I heard the news of a new publication (its not really a "new" book, but rather a manuscript that predated the writing of Mockingbird), I knew instantly my love for To Kill a Mockingbird had to be the focus of this challenge for me.  My passion took over!

This blog will have more pictures and text than most of my posts, so please forgive my self indulgence and join me in celebrating this great book!

My passion for this theme made this project both easier and harder.  Easier because there are so many iconic images, ideas and symbols associated with this book that I had an abundance of material to work with.  Harder because this book and this author are so important to me that everything had to be just right.  I worked and reworked tags, elements, messaging, over and over.  Truthfully, I wish I had another week (MONTH) to work on this, and I may continue to work on it after the challenge is posted.  But it is truly satisfying to work very hard at your art and this one brought me great joy.
The cover includes many essential symbols from the book, and even includes a "miniature" of the book itself, which I describe below.  This project is absolutely full of symbols.  If you've read this book, and most of us who attended school in the U.S. have, you'll recognize many of these symbols.  I encourage you to click on photos in this blog and see some closer pics and so see some of the subtler messages from TKAM, interpreted through mixed media.

I used a paperback copy of the book and tore pages and quotes to use strategically.  I made a small "book" by gluing bits of the pages to Wendy Vecchi's Clearly for Art Blackout.  I stamped an open book stamp from B Line Designs, cut out three of these images, and then heated them.
I thought I had a better picture, but you can see above in the top right a little form I created.  I used two paint brushes and taped down a scrap of card stock over them to form an open book shape.  After heating Clearly for Art, I laid the soft modeling film on my form and held it till it cooled.  I did this with all three layers, glued them together with Glue n Seal and then clipped them till they dried.

My project is essentially a story board of the story.  I used sticky notes to prepare my layout and the images I would need to find.  Even though I freely borrowed pictures from the movie, my project is really focused on the book and my appreciation for this wonderful work of literature.
This whole project proved really difficult to photograph.  I've tried to give you a shot of the open flaps and layers and then a close up of each page as its revealed.  Thanks to my sweet huz, Rick, for a couple of extra hands holding things open while I photograph.  
Below is a close up of a woodgrain tag with some of the trinkets Boo Radley left for Scout and Jem in the tree in front of the Radley house.
Jem, Dill and Scout.  When the book begins, Scout is 6 years old.
One of many inspiring passages.

The next page introduces the relationship between Scout and her father, Atticus, and to Harper Lee herself.   The book was published in 1960 and is set in fictional Macomb, Alabama.  This shot was taken near that date.  Harper Lee's first name is Nelle, which is what her family and close friends still call her.  And she still lives in Monroe, Alabama, where she grew and which inspired the setting for her book.
I wanted to include mockingbird symbols, birds, feathers, etc., on characters that I think represent that in the book.  Tom Robinson is one.  Oh, by the way.  All birds in this Collection Folio are mockingbirds.  Even the ones that don't look like it.  Artistic license.  ;-)

Incredibly, the opposite side of the flash cards for "brave father" say "little glory".  This image of Atticus leaving the court room defeated but honored, incorporated that sentiment well.
This is one of the most moving passages in the whole book for me.

 My book closes with a modern day picture of Nelle.
And my blog closes the way I think might please our author, with her words.  These are the closing sentences of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I'll let them speak.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dimensional Cutting Pad

Leave it to Professor Holtz to come up with a different way for die cutting.  You run your die and your paper through the machine and it cuts, right?  The Dimensional Cutting Pad does this, but with a twist....  And therein lies our CC3C #22!  Check out page 62 of Compendium of Curiosities Volume III (click here to get YOUR own copy) for all you need to know for this challenge.
I was inspired by several things for my card for this challenge.  I knew I wanted to use Movers & Shapers Mini Butterflies, Tim's new Flourish stencil, and the lovely sentiment from Wendy Vecchi's Art and You set.  
 I spread a layer of Ranger Matte Medium on a scrap of Wallflower paper, laid a wide piece of lace over it, and the spread Matte Medium over the lace, and set it off to dry.
Once dry, I die cut the butterflies and then painted them with gesso.  I spritzed it with water to thin it a little, and then set these off to dry.  
I wanted the butterfly wings to stay a little open, so I snipped some little paper scraps to glue under the wings to keep them separated.  You could do the same with a bit of chipboard or grungeboard.
You can see here under the butterfly wings, they stay spread a little.
 Using my Wendy Vecchi Archival ink pad in Dandelion, I deposited some color on my craft sheet and mixed it with a dollop of WV Embossing Paste.  Creamy sweet buttercream embossing paste.  I didn't eat it.  Yay me!!

 Do you ever think "what in the world did I do before I had Embossing Paste or Distress Paint??"  I think that all the time!!
I need to balance the left side of the card and Tim's Spring Greenery strip die is just the thing.
My gesso butterflies get Vintage Photo edges, of course.  Also couldn't get by without this, but since I've lived in TimHoltz Land, I've never had to.
Ready to try it?  Grab your copy of Compendium of Curiosities III, turn to page 62  and get crafting!  This challenge is hosted by Funkie Junkie Boutique with a generous $25 gift certificate and a whopping oh-my-gosh-I-gotta-have-that prize package donated by Tim Holtz, who apparently has access to an enormous amount of his own signature products.  Enormous.  Amount.  Enter, you want to win this!!  Visit Linda Ledbetter's wonderful blog to get all the guidelines.  Not a lot of rules, just a few for fairness, easy to be eligible.  Visit all the Curiosity Crew blogs and leave a little love.  They'll all love you right back.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rock Candy Distress Glitter

Hey, kids!!  How about another challenging challenge?  Not a fabric girl, not a glitter girl.  But not a whiner or a quitter, either, so here we go with Rock Candy Distress Glitter!  I actually do like a touch of glitter as an accent on some pieces and this super-favorite-stamp from way back did just that for me.  Dried Flower from one of Tim Holtz earliest collections.  I use it a lot with Distress Inks and a spritz of water for a colorful earthy effect.  It's so lacy, the glitter is just a pretty hint of sparkle on my tag.

Please forgive my lack of photos from the process.   It's just a wrinkle free distress background with Stormy Sky and Tea Dye Distress Inks.

It's subtle, so I've chosen a couple of close ups so you can see a bit of sparkle.  You can also see here silver micobeads sprinkled over some wet Ranger Matte Medium.  I saw something like this at the Prima Booth at CHA and thought it was charming.  My little bees are fussy cut and popped out from the same stamped image.
This movers and shapers mini flourish is another favorite and keeps me buying lots and lots of grungeboard.  Lots.  Cannot remember life before grungeboard, I'm sure it was awful.   Its painted with Antiqued Bronze Distress Paint and then I tapped a little Black Soot Distress Paint in areas, misted with water and tapped that out with a cloth for a tarnished look.

Truly, truly love these little corked vials with a message inside.  This one says "small" and on the other side "journey".  Maybe "small" is my one little word for this year.  I'm finding myself focusing and appreciating the small, the quiet, the still and the simple more and more and more.  Maybe that's the reason that more than the bling that glitter can bring, I'm attracted to just a bit of sparkle.  That's what this challenge has taught me and is one of the reasons I love this artistic journey we're all on together.

Join us?  Follow the guidelines on Linda Ledbetter's blog.  Visit each of the Curiosity Crew blogs below:

Linda Ledbetter
Anita Houston
Annette Green
Candy Colwell
Hels Sheridan
Marjie Kemper
Susan Mostek
Yvonne Blair

......and you're eligible!  Win a random draw and you'll receive a gift certificate from the generous and truly kind people at Inspiration Emporium.  The Curiosity Crew choice wins a FabGrabBag from Tim and Mario, you know you want that one.  If you've noticed a gaping and embarrassing vacancy in your library, its probably a copy of Compendium of Curiosities III, which you must own to participate in the challenges AND which is a simple click away.  So click away.

Signing off in Colorado and let me be among the first to say (today)....

Don't Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dream Everyday - CC3C #20

Hey, CC3Cer's!!  Just home from CHA catching up on chores at home and work, brimming with inspiration and glowing from being with good friends.  It is such an inspirational environment, I can't wait to get home and get in the studio and create.  I had gotten a bit of start before I left for California and finishing up this tag was a blast.
Tim's Distress Watercolor - part 2 tech is the feature for this challenge, found on page 40 of Compendium of Curiosities III.  Awesome technique for those of us who are not watercolor artists, but love the organic look that watercolor brings.  Want to learn the details of how to achieve it?  Here are the details:

^^$^%&  ^*(*&)  *)*)&(*  ^&*&%  &^$^%#  %$@$@.  %$$^&  *&^*&(&  (&(&)(_+((*&^%  ^#@@#$%^&  *(YT$%^?   &*()PKJB  GTYUJ,  HY^ygb  nht^&U  HGFR^  &Yhbn.

And that's all there is to it.*
I covered some of my butterflies with embellishments so I included a close up here so you can see more detail.  I've learned when working with technique challenges to prepare several panels to work with for my learning curve.  I learned on this one to be sure and heat set the ink before I add the last step.
I started my tag background with Wendy Vecchi Crackle Embossing Paste.  I knew where my embellishments and focal point would be so I made sure to add the crackle in the areas where they would show.  I spritzed the whole tag with Iced Spruce Distress Spray Stain.  I need this groovy stuff by the gallon.
I wanted to add some Antique Linen Distress Paint over the cracked areas to tone down the white color.  I picked up my spray bottle of water to thin it and Lo!! it was not water, but Iced Spruce Spray.   Oh, accidental yummy distress joy!!  Mixed it with my finger and rubbed over the tag.
I sprayed my trims with Iced Spruce as well.  I've shown above the color of the teal seam binding I started with and how it changed.
"Everyday"  from Alpha Parts - Framed, backed with a scrap from Wallflowers Paper Stash.  I liked it without any paper backing but it didn't photograph well at all and was difficult to adhere without foam dots showing through.  I tried a couple of other dimensional adhesives but couldn't get that lovin' feeling.  Backing with paper and then building up grungeboard scraps did it for me.  Its a beautiful thing.
LOVE Tim's Gothic stencil and Wendy's Silver Embossing Paste.  LOVE coloring these beautiful metal Ideology roses with alcohol markers.
Loved this sweet little "dream" heart charm so I repeated the word for emphasis with die cut letters and also to balance the visual weight at the bottom of the tag.
Is that Electic Elements fabric I see peaking from behind the butterfly panel?  Why, yes it is.  I officially love fabric now.  I'm converted.  I sprayed this bit with Iced Spruce to unify color in the piece overall.

You have everything you need for this challenge!!  Go for it, super fun technique.  Our sponsor for this challenge is Funkie Junkie Boutique and the lovely Linda Coughlin.  I got to meet her at CHA.  You know that feeling when you finally meet someone and they are as nice as you hoped they'd be?  That's Linda.  Perfectly lovely.  As always. Tim and Mario have a super bundle of crafting candy for the Curiosity Crew Choice.  You know you want to win that one!

Follow simple CC3C guidelines and be eligible for you beautiful art to win.  Ready?  Go!!

*Some instructional information may be encrypted to protect the copyright and work product of Professor Timothy Q. Holtz.  Please click here for a key to unlock encryption.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Frayed Fabric

Me:  Fabric?  Really???  I do paper, not fabric!
Tim Holtz:  Don't be silly, you can incorporate fabric into your art.
Me:  Well, yeah, but I really love paper and Distress Inks and Paints and Distress Spray Stain and Ideology, and did I mention I don't really sew?
Tim Holtz:  I think you're overreacting.  Eclectic Elements graphics will be very familiar to you and you'll love the textural dimension they bring.
Me:  My sewing machine hates me.
Tim Holtz:  Just grunge it!!  Even an unkind sewing machine can't stop you from using my Eclectic Elements fabric which has a grungy, distressed vibe.
Me:  Well, they are kind of awesome.  And I really do love texture.
Tim Holtz:  Go for it!  Encourage your hopes not your fears!
Me:  Okay.  I'm doing it.

(The preceding is an imaginary conversation with Tim Holtz, Creative Wizard.)

I have always said "If you think you think you see sewing in my work, look closer.  It's probably ink."    So this one is not a natural for me, but wow!  I love this stuff.  I think you're going to love it, too.
My sweet friend Yvonne Blair has designed a new art journal and she sent me one to try out.  I wanted to use the Frayed Fabric technique to make a cover for my art journal.

I was working with 8x8 swatches of fabric, so I sewed 2 together to make a piece large enough to cover the journal.  I misted it with water, wadded it up to wrinkle it and let it dry. 
Check out Compendium of Curiosities page 66 for the Frayed Fabric technique.  I added embellishments, covered the journal.  

I attached the word band and pen nib by sewing onto the cover with black waxed linen.  I ended up having SO much fun with this project.  Just like I was saying to a friend of mine....

Me:  Okay, you were right.  Eclectic Elements are completely cool and I even enjoyed hauling out my sewing machine!
Tim Holtz:  I told you!  They're great for mixed media.
Me:  They are.  I'm loving using some of the scraps on my art journal pages.  I'm loving this fabric more than ANYTHING!!
Tim Holtz:  More than Distress Ink?
Me:  Never.

Sew, are you ready?  Check out Studio L3 to see the Curiosity Crew projects for the 19th CC3C.   Follow a few simple guidelines and share your art with us!  Our sponsor for the challenge is Inspiration Emporium with a generous gift certificate for our randomly chosen winner.  The Curiosity Crew choice will win a stinkin' awesome prize package from Tim and Mario, shown here:
Now that the holidays are over I'm ready to get creative aren't you?  I feel like I say this every challenge, but every challenge it's true:

I can't wait to see what you're going to do with this one!!