Monday, January 31, 2011

Grid Collage with Beeswax

 I had the pleasure of spending Sunday afternoon with two girlfriends for a crafty play date.  I made a nice salad with toasted almonds and dried cranberries, Z. brought BBQ chicken pizza, and K. made these delightful strawberry cupcakes - complete with pink heart shaped marshmallows dipped in white chocolate.  Aren't those lace-y paper cups adorable?
 We each created a beeswax coated collaged canvas in the style of Lisa Kaus's "gridlocked" workshop It was challenging to get the grid going - but once you had it all laid out - it came together beautifully.  This is K.'s canvas board - her theme was her husbands vintage Dodge and all things automotive.  Isn't it fun how found objects can "represent" other things?  Like the black checkers evoke tires.  The yellow playing pieces could be traffic cones.  Fuzzy dice?
Sorry about the bad camera phone images.  My real camera chose to be uncooperative.  The canvas was not as dark as it appears in the image above.
This is Z.'s canvas with a theme of family.This one still needs the coating of beeswax - which will smooth all the sharp edges.
Also - she might add more colour with some oil pastels. The flash card was altered to read 2 + 2+ 2 which equals 6 - a large number 6 will be adhered on top of the sea glass tiles.  That's for the 6 people in her family.  Actually only 5 - but one on the way!
And this is mine. I went with a lovebirds theme.  Yes - i am obsessed with birds, but i also added a few images and some dictionary pages to represent my husband. I think the central section - underneath the 3-d Victorian window, needs something stronger. there is a page from a book about Mozart and his love for his wife Costanza.  But the skeleton leaf on top is a little pale - maybe a touch of aqua oil pastel will bring out the texture...?
I especially love the effect where i layered napkins overtop of text.  Even the birdcage is from a napkin.  The bird inside - from another paper.  Please click images to enlarge. 

Be sure to check out the world wide web for other examples of Lisa Kaus beautiful work with paper, paint, wood and wax.  And even artwork from students who have taken her workshops and posted images on their blogs.
I'll be doing another one of these collage grids next week with my altered art group.  I wonder what i should do?  How about a moratorium on birds and robin's egg blue...?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paper Quilts - a Play Date...!

 Sunday afternoon i had the pleasure of spending time with three creative ladies, two of whom are expert FABRIC quilters.  We each created (or started) a paper quilt.  What is a paper quilt, you might ask?  Well, it can be many things - a combination of fabrics and papers or just paper, sewn or glued into shapes and arranged in a pleasing manner.  Here i created 9-8" squares each with 4 concentric circles, in my increasingly predictable robin's egg blue and sepia colour story.  I used scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, painted deli paper, tissue paper, book pages and vintage ephemera to create all the textural interest.  I lightly glued the circles to the square then cut them in half down the middle.  Then i rearranged the halves to spread out the blues and beiges across the piece.  Then i sewed each half together with a zigzag stich on the sewing machine.  Then i sewed rough (very rough!) circles along the edge of each paper circle.  Let all the loose threads stay!  Up to that is the "easy" part.  Then i had to sew the squares together.  This is where the heavier weight papers held up nicely, but the thinner papers kind of let me down.  They slipped, or tore or puckered.  But hey - it turned out really cool and you can't even tell from the picture!  The next step, according to the workshop that my friends took, is to further embellish with beads and buttons, etc - to create even more texture.  That will REALLY help cover up the mistakes!!
 This beautiful quilt (unfinished) is Dorothy's. She first ironed fabric to freezer paper for stability.  Then she layered on her paper circles.  Whereas i cut my circles in half - Dorothy's were cut into quarters.  This allows more variation of the pattern and colours.  Notice she even used paper doilies!! Next month i'll get a picture of her finished paper/fabric quilt.
And here are Shelley's luscious squares.  She used a blend of neutrals and metallic papers to create very uniform almost coin-like components for her paper quilt.  she will cut some in half or quarters, and leave some whole when she arranges her quilt.  Possibly on a muslin backing with spaces in between.  Stay tuned for pictures of the finished quilts, along with Karen's (sorry no photo yet) our master quilter.  Her larger circle/squares were in rich neutrals with a lot of strong geometric black designs.
You have got to try this!

Altered Book Blitz - Frida Kahlo Calendar

 On the weekend i worked on some long overdue projects that piled up before christmas. Here are the pages i did in the Frida Kahlo themed calendar. CLick here to see what i did last summer in the same book.  This spread started with a colourful painting of Frida with two birds.  I added the circles wrapping paper all around and added some rooster stickers and two yellow chicks on her head.  FRIDA and DECEMBER are added in more color with letter stickers.
This spread had Frida as a wounded deer on the right.  I added some pages from an Anthropologie catalog featuring slanted birch trees.  I thought the girl looked somewhat "southwestern".  I just added a quiver and some feathers to her outfit to create the huntress look.
 Ok - i'm sorry but i really don't get some of Ms. Kahlo's art.  This one is called Broken Column.  So i looked for columns in my clippings and found a 4 poster bed and some ruins.  The stained glass window has a sort of "broken" effect - so added that to the page.  The blue green stained glass echoes the blue sky and green fields, and makes up in colour what the religious figure lacks, in this black and white photo.
 So, to really disrepect her individuality, i thought i would like to see what she would like with normal eyebrows.  I painted over them in gesso and tried to to paint on skin colour to match her face.  That didn't work.  So i decided to just pretend we captured Frida, mid-wax job. I love the grey and cream colour story here.  And i think she looks great!
To finish off the last page of the December calendar, the last book in this 2010 round robin swap, i thought i would compliment this lovely painting with a simple christmas tree shape with faux postage stamps in the same red, gold and black colour theme.  A dab of stickles glitter adds some nice texture to the collar and cuffs.  And it is a few weeks late, but Merry Christmas everyone!

Altered Book Blitz - Bloom Book...!

I was long overdue on TWO altered calendars for the round robin swap i have been participating in for the last year. I created 8 spreads in two books on Saturday!  The first book is SHelley's flower themed book, Bloom.  I gathered up all my floral magazine clippings and started with two bouquets of yellow roses.  The backgrounds are vintage ephemera, a wall paper-ish floral paper, and some copper flocked wrapping paper.  A few butterflies (always the perfect compliment to flowers)finish off the page. Oh yeah - this was for November! Better late than never!
 For my next spread I started with a delightful illustration from a Nordstrom ad.  Her pretty blue dress (and cute blue poodle) called out for a Parisian scene.  I had to create her hat - since her head was cut off in the magazine - my gold mesh paper from Anthropologie was just the ticket, with a silk blue ribbon.  Buckets and buckets of flowers, cut from various magazines create the "marche".
Remember those flower photographs i picked up at an estate sale i wrote about here?  I purchased a whole bag of precut flowers and used all the red ones back in September's calendar.  The yellow ones create a whimsical spread with these two little girls from a Children's Place ad.  I flip-flopped the yellow hot air ballon - it was originally behind the girls on the right side.  But the seam barely shows.  The giant blooms are attached with thick glue dots. 
 For some variety in flower selection i went with a unique cactus spread from a magazine - splicing them together. The lady in white was cut from another ad in a magazine.  To add interest - i create a blouse out of the cactus flower remnants to coordinate with the background.  She is urging us to C'mon get happy!
Let's do just that!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Crafting

I came down with a terrible flu bug the week before christmas and ended up not putting up a tree or decorating in any way.  We were planning to spend the holidays with my sister and her family anyway - so by the time i was feeling better - it was time to  board a plane for Calgary.
As is our tradition, my niece and I did some crafting projects.  First we did some Martha Stewart glitter kits - butterflies and flowers. They are super easy to do - with pre cut sticky backing that you apply the glitter to one colour at a time - like with paint by numbers.
Next we created a large "paper quilt" on foam core. We cut rough squares from some colourful printed paper i was gifted by an art buddy.  We arranged them on the foam core and glued them with foam brushes and mod podge glue.
Next we cut some leaf shapes out of card stock with my niece's snazzy cricut and applied them randomly over the squares.  Then we added some gold filigree paper cut into leaf shapes.
It could use some final touches - like Portfolio water soluable oil pastels to add some shading and to smooth the sharp edges - but overall i think we did a great job!

Thanks Erica for another fun holiday creative play date!