Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Altered Book - Purple

Here is a shot (from the web) of the incredible purple jacaranda trees in Pasadena - which inspired this book.

Here is the cover of my newest altered book - PURPLE. Beleive it or not the book is actually titled The Purple Plain - and i found it completely by accident in a box of books that were still packed from the move!
I am going to be doing a new altered book swap this summer - a "tip-in" swap. If you have not heard of that, it is a variation of the traditional altered book round robin. Instead of mailing books around to your fellow artists, instead you work on individual pages. Then you mail JUST the pages to each other. When you receive pages for your book, you "tip-in" to your original book.
This is the inside cover - using three different scrapbook papers

How do you do a tip-in swap? There are a few ways.
One is to cut two pages out of your book - leaving about 1/2 inch inside the book. When another artist creates their pages you specify the dimensions of the page. They create collage on the front and back - leaving a bit of a border along one edge undecorated. THen they mail you the pages. You glue their page in between the two leftover cut pages - in essence like glueing the pages back into your book.
This is the intro page. Since the book will not be mailed around, we are posting out themes, page sizes and instructions on a wiki site for all the participants to see.
Another way to to a tip in is to decorate just one side of your pages - then mail them off. You would then glue them ON TOP of an existing page in your book.
This is a picture from the web of a yellow car completely surrounded by fallen jacaranda blossoms. This is in south africa where jacaranda trees are quite abundant.

This is a purple passion flower really close up. Almost alien looking! I have instructed my fellow artists to create pages in any theme they like - so long as it is predominantly purple.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The New Craft Studio

The craft room "before"
(and where we slept our first night here!)
I started a new job in So Cal April 1st, so i moved with a coupld of suitcases and a tote of art supplies. My husband packed up the whole house and flew down here to join me and we moved into our new home, a swanky condo in Pasadena, June 1st.
The craft room "during"
(this is only a small portion of the stuff)
How amazing is it that i have a dear friend, Z, who PACKED ALL MY ART SUPPLIES for me? She also packed all my crystal and china, and not a single thing broke, she did such an awesome job.Anyway, last weekend i spent the day with my husband trying to make some sense of the gigantic pile of boxes. We erected 7 black metal shelving units and loaded them up with all the boxes. So at least they are no longer in a pile on the floor. I cannot say i know where anything is, nor is it at all functional, but i can say that it looks terrific - and I cannot wait to get crafting.In our old place, we had a separate office from the craft room. Here we have to share. So we created a sort of room within a room where the shelves create a divider. In a way it makes it easier - everything will be at my arms reach while seated at the desk.
But before i get started - i need to cover up the white wall to wall plush carpeting - this is a rental, afterall!

Gilding the Lily

Gold and Sparkley things
The day after my mini art retreat, An Artistic Affaire, we were all invited to attend a champagne brunch at a delightful shop Gilding the Lily, in Fullerton, Orange County, California. Nancy keeps the store filled to the brim with vintage treasures, dear to the heart of any altered artist. Be sure to check out her blog as well.
Ribbons, millinery flowers, hats, charms, feathers, beads, ephemera - all things suited to adding a romantic je ne sais quoi to your altered art.
Pink and Pretty things
Here are some pictures of things i purchase here and from the artistic affaire vendors. Plus many things that were gifted to the participants of both the affaire and the brunch. Blue Vintage-y things
Gotta love the goodie bag! And here is a shot of the bird themed colour box i received in the swap at the event. I showed the blue box before - but not the treasures inside! Yes - all these things came inside the weathered tin box.Please check out Kim Caldwell's blog here for some great pictures of the event at Gilding the Lily.

A new altered book season

For the summer session of my altered book swap group, i created a book called Fear. I wrote all about it in a previous post here. I just received my first swap book from Carol. Oddly enough, we both seemed to strike the same tone - a sort of offbeat look at dealing with life's issues. My book dealt with fear and quilt and depression. Her book is called Self Help! Carol used a book from the 60's,entitled Secrets of Mind Power. This was probably published long before there were whole sections of book stores dedicated to improving oneself. We have been instructed to keep it light and fun, of course.

Please check back in a couple of weeks to see what i end up creating in this book! And check out Carol's blog, the unlikely crafter, you can read more about her inspiration for this book.

My Altered Book came home

My altered book, A Gift of Life, was returned home to my new home - down here in Southern California. These two images above are pages straight from the book - no artist intervention. As you may recall, (or read about it here) my book was an illustrated Hallmark book from the 70's with some nice nature images and some seriously schmaltzy prose about the gift of life - birds and bees, and deer and frogs. My Northern Cal altered book friends have decided to keep the group going - i will participate remotely or virtually or whatever way i can! They met last month for a final swap of the spring books and to initiate the new swap for summer. These two are by Shelly - never content to just do a simple spread,above she did a series of tags that can flipped back and forth to give different views of landscapes. Below she inserted a set of flaps showing an assortment of trees.This page by Carol has pop up fish swimming upstream, with a bonus fish that swings out of a secret pocket on the edge of the page. This page by Dorothy where she took the text printed in the book - and continued with her own handwritten thoughts.
Here are the sign in tags, decorated by each artist:
The great thing about this book, is that because it already had illustrations - with only a dozen or so "altered" pages - it seems done! I could add a few things here and there - but it still feels complete.
Thank you so much to Dorothy, Shelley and Carol for keeping this altered book art going and including me.

Les Belles Fleurs Chandelier

My third workshop at the Artistic Affaire was with Kristen Robinson. We were given this fluffy tulle "kit" to work with!It contained ribbons and papers and vintage images and pearl buttons and rhinestone brads and even rosarie chain with crystal beads.
It contained a metal wreath form to be used as the "base" for the chandelier. The first step was creating little tulle flowers - by gathering up long strips with a needle and thread. Then we created little blue centers for the flowers with shiny blue elastic ribbon and pearl buttons.
We created flowers with cupcake papers and attahced them to banner triangles and hung them with ribbon from the wreath. We made more flowers with printed blue paper and copies of script writing - copied double sided - what a cool idea!
Here is the chandelier hanging in my guest bathroom. The cream and blue works perfectly with the tile and wall colours. (i need new towels!) I added my vintage plant stand to the counter - and filled it with all the goodies i swapped and purchased at the artistic affaire. Topping the stand is the bird box i received from Mariasela. Thanks Kristen for a great workshop. Check out her blog for some more how-to's.

Mosaic Madness

My second workshop at the Artistic Affaire was with Michelle Legler - a master of mosaic. We were asked to collect a few old dishes to bring to the class or any bits we might want to include. I brought some old jewelery - but some people brought shells, and door knobs and all kinds of cool things - like figurine remnants. They suggested we buy a pair tile nippers and safety glasses and gloves. But they did have some to share. I purchased the rose from Michelle - it really made my project. We were told the trick to breaking the tile - is to just use the tip of the nippers - cutting into about 1/8th of an inch. Here you can see my layout before the grout was added.

I went to the local thrift chain, Out of the Closet - not knowing for sure if they sold old dishes small assortment of vintage saucers. I was able to get a solid aqua plate, two floral patterned plates, and a cream and white with grape cluster texture. We were provided with a shallow cardboard box to work in and the lid to a box that Michelle and her husband make BY HAND! Once our tops were finished they handed out the boxes. They were covered in textured wallpaper. If we wanted, we could antique the box - i brought some metallic craft paint - so with a quick wipe with a paper towel, the texture really popped. When i was at the Home Depot - i also picked up some glass tiles to use in my project - but in the end i left them out - since they were much thicker than the plates. There is a way to use tile adhesive to balance out uneven materials - but since we were just using fast drying glue in our projects - it made it easier if they were the same thickness.
Here is a sample from the class - so pretty with beads and charms.
Please check out michelle's blog HERE and HERE for dozens of students work - the creativity and colour combinations was awe inspiring.
Thanks Michelle!

Home Sweet Home wreath

Our first class at the Artistic Affaire mini retreat was with Amy Powers. and she is the most delightful instructor. After insisiting that we all leave stress and insecurities aside and just have fun - we dove in. Our tables were set with the supplies for our wreath. An mdf (fiberboard) circle and house shape and a cute pink box filled with the fabric and flowers and buttons and doodads - all thoughtfully packaged with ribbons and tags and little jar with flowers on top.
Here you can from the instrutors table - a wreath in progress - you merely tie fabric strips around the wreath form and tie a couple of knots. If you have a dominant colour - then space it equally around - and leave space at the bottom where the house goes. She had balls of fabric strips to choose from - in addition to those included in our kits. Included in our kits were little plaster birds that Amay made by hand attaching them to a springy wire - so they could fly over the house. She showed us hot to paint them, and add a little party hat.
After tying on the fabric strips, we created flower clusters with the petals from a hydrangea silk flower - stacking a few different sized petals and adding a button. The wooden house shape could be collaged as we liked with papers provided - or our own stash. I added some vintage images to the window and doors.
Here is another student's wreath in progress - i love the butterfly - it is a nice touch. And the pom-pom trim on the roof - adorable!

Here is another sample wreath - this one has pretty floral paper on the house:
The house was glued to the wreath with wood glue. Then the whole thing was coated with tacky glue and sprinked with sugar crystal glitter.
Here is me with my completed wreath! Thanks Amy...!!