Saturday, July 27, 2013

More Metal

I continue to play around with metal ATCs from time to time.  One reason it is so easy is because I have some pre-cut ATC cards.  Some time back, I got in the habit of cutting up cardboard from Kleenex tissue boxes.  That was back when I was making ATCs featuring fortunes from fortune cookies.  (A project that died before it really went anywhere.)  The cardboard is study, but not too thick.  But having them at the ready really prompts me to pick one up and start a new card.
I am still using punches mostly for the shapes.  The card on the right used two arrows punched out of lightweight cardstock, with numbers punched out to put on top of the arrows.  On the left card, a border punch with different sized circles was used and also a round punch.  I use a small bit of glue stick to hold the shapes where I want them before I put the metal tape over the whole thing. I use metal tools to highlight and outline the shapes, then freehand other designs to fill in the card.  I find I am combining metal working and zentangle patterns most of the time to fill in the backgrounds.  It is so much fun to doodle on the metal.
It's hard to tell on the cards below, but the one on the left has a circle and oval that are recessed, and can be filled in with a paper or picture punched with the same punches.  On the right card, a punched out circle is glued on top and it is raised instead of recessed.
All that's left to do is figure out what to put where for the finishing touches!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


What is it?
It's kind of smooth, but it's not.  It's kind of wavy, but it's not.  It's kind of holey, but only when you hold it a certain way.

 It's definitely very interesting.  It's packing material that came in a recent order of art supplies, and I've had it on my desk for weeks, wanting to do something with it.
Unfortunately, embedding it in molding paste is not the right thing to do.  In order to make it stick, I had to keep pressing harder and harder into the paste, until it lost its different facets and just looks like a flat piece of paper.  Not exactly the look I was going for. 
I'm sure I'll keep trying different things with it. Maybe I'll try sewing it next time. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Metal Madness

Just because you spend a lot of time on something does not mean it is your current go-to project. Sometimes, it's just a little bit of play to remind you that you want this project front and center later down the road.

I have been playing with metal ATCs (artist trading cards) - they are like potato chips, you can't have just one.  Before I knew it, I had half a dozen.

These are all made by covering a piece of cardboard with metal repair tape (from the hardware store).  An extra wide roll is wide enough to cover the card, plus it is adhesive on the back.  Most of these started with shapes cut out with a punch or freehand, with the shape attached to the card before covering the whole thing with tape. Then I used various tools to make marks and designs.  The final touch was to color with alcohol inks.  Some of these will still get some sort of embellishment on them.
This one above is in progress.  You can see the scrap cardstock on the left with the holes in it.  It was left over from making a spiral bound book with my Bind-it-All.  I got a piece out of the trash to put on the ATC.  I also added tissue tape to the right.  It is awaiting its coloring and doodads.

I have also started an altered book to house these eventually.  Because I'm a copycat, that's why.
 It all started when I saw these ATCs that Gaye made a few months ago.  I knew I had to make some too.
She put hers in this metal book she has worked on off and on over the past several years.
It's so hard to get good pictures of metal without the flash blinding you, but you get the idea.
So, as I said, this is not my main project right now, but I can't seem to stop working on it. 
And by the way, a true friend is someone who lets you steal their ideas and they don't mind one bit.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Follow the Dots

In my last post, I mentioned Mellwood Arts Center where we went to see sketchbooks when they stopped in Louisville.  The Arts Center itself is an old meat-packing factory, long since out of business.  Currently, an artist can rent space there for studio, shop, and/or gallery.  It's a very interesting place if you like architecture, with lots of nooks and crannies, walls and windows to explore.  If you are adventurous, it reminded me of those old buildings where ghost hunters explore, with some areas that seem to be crumbling, with peeling paint and dark corners.
Other areas have been painted and brightened by the artists renting the space.  One was a mosaic studio.  It made me feel better from the time we stepped inside, with every inch colorful and interesting.  There seemed to be dots on every surface.

Even the trash can was colorful, covered with duct tape.
Talk about nostalgia - what a clever idea for an old hair dryer/chair from a beauty shop (no, I did not mean to say hair salon.  Back when these chairs were around, it was called a beauty shop!)
Love it's new title of a creative idea chair.
Other random places to sit in the open area outside.
There was a lot of empty space in this center.  And places to eat are practically non-existent.  I hope when the economy recovers some more, this place will thrive again.  Meantime, I'm wondering just how long it takes to put dots on every doorway.  I'm sure I would give up halfway through the project though.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sketchbook Adventures

I did something today that I have wanted to do for quite some time.  I even took a vacation day from work to do it!  I went to visit what is behind these blue bars.
Yippee - the Sketchbook Project traveling library came to Kentucky!  I drove to Louisville, picked up Gaye, and we braved heat and humidity to seek out the traveling library.  When we got to the Mellwood Arts Center, they were just setting up, so we went off in search of something to eat and wandered around the studios and shops in the massive building (a former packing plant).
Then it rained.  And rained some more.  Gusty winds and more rain.  When it began to calm down some, we  sat outside in an open area, and watched giant fish on a metal mobile as the fish swayed in the wind and soaked up the rain.  We kept an eye out to see if the Library windows would open again and if they again set up their tent and reading benches.

When the rain let up enough, they re-opened and a handfull of eager patrons gathered 'round to enjoy the sketchbooks.  I have never seen such an efficient, well-run outfit.  We used their laptop at one window to input our information to get a library card. Then we went to another laptop at another window, scanned the new card, and used a menu to select sketchbooks by title, subject, etc.  Once you submitted the type of sketchbook you wanted to look at, a signal was sent to their iPhone, they pulled one sketchbook off the shelf that you had chosen, and a second random one.  Once you enjoyed those, you turned them in, scanned your card again and picked more.  You could do this as many times as you wanted.  I picked subjects such as textile, architecture, cartography, etc.  The artists of these were from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands. I could have spent all day and night and probably not have seen all the books.  It was so much fun.  I never expected this library to come to a location near me, and I really enjoyed their visit.  I hope the storms did not keep others away and that they had many visitors to make their trip worthwhile.

And of course, I contributed to their cash register by purchasing a sketchbook with lots of ideas in it, a pencil and eraser...
and some pins to commemorate the tour.  I also grabbed a tour map and some stickers.
In spite of the storms, it was well worth the trip, and I may post a few other pictures of studios in the arts center.  Well done, Sketchbook Project.  Well done!!  Please come again!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Floundering in my Journal

I think it's time I say it out loud.  I am a Journal Addict, and I may need an intervention.  Just when I think I've got too many journals going already but it's manageable, I accidentally started another one. I swear, it WAS an accident.

When those Strathmore visual journals came out, I bought two at Michael's (watercolor and mixed media).  Being wary of hyped up products, I got the smaller 5 x 7 sizes, in case I didn't like them. Well, I did like them, and have worked in both off and on over the past couple of years, trying out techniques and making color charts on the pages.  I've been wanting to go to a larger size, but for some reason my Michael's doesn't carry these anymore, in any size.  They are pushing the next best whatever hyped up new stuff instead.

So, in ordering my grid journal for an online class and running across other journals on sale, I ended up ordering two 9x12 Strathmore journals (again, I had to get one of each--watercolor and mixed media), you know, for later.  That's how I ended up making the stars & stripes page in my last post.  I was anxious to work on a 9x12 size to see how I liked it.  I liked it so much, I played some more in it with what you'll see below, thus being now fully committed to another journal playground where I'll try out new techniques.

That (above) is the long version.  The short version is:  "Hey, look what I did."  (below)
This technique is based somewhat on Dina Wakley's re-inker background project in her book.  She squirted circles using bottles of re-inker ink.  I was too lazy to dig out re-inkers.  I had my sprays nearby, and unscrewed the cap to make cirles with the stem of the sprayer thing.
After using two colors for the circles, I spritzed those with water, then dipped the sprayer stem from a darker blue spray into the wet ink for just a touch of extra color.  When this was close to being dry, I could tell I didn't care for it too much.  And it looked nothing like hers.  I think maybe the squirt bottle gives way more ink than the sprayer stem, looking much brighter.  Plus, my circles may have dried too much before being sprayed with water because I was busy getting my camera and taking pictures.  
So I repeated the first part, making more circles over the first, and sprayed with a little less water this time, trying not to dilute the color as much as I had the first time.
I'm still not too crazy about the background, but I went on to the next step anyway, which is to use molding paste and a stencil to add more design.  Here, I went my own way again.  Whenever I use any kind of texture medium like molding paste, I'm never happy with that white stuff sitting on the page.  Even when I try to color it, I'm not happy with it.  So this time, I put some of the paste in a bowl, sprayed some Dylusions orange onto it and mixed it a little before I spread it through the stencil.  I do like this better.  Plus, since I didn't mix it completely, some of the white paste shows in places, giving it a marbled effect.

There are more steps to this process, more things to add to the page.  But I haven't gotten that far yet.  For now, I'm just floundering and wondering what to do next...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stars and Stripes

Happy Birthday, America.

In your honor, I present my journal page of Stars and Stripes
Technique used: gesso on page, vintage ledger paper glued down, sprays and stencils added, torn red scrapbook paper for stripes, cut out stars from black dot scrapbook paper, black pen for scribbling.