Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finishing Up the Post Cards--Or Not

Remember these paper/fabric collage post cards I made recently? I decided to spend a little time this weekend finishing them up--in an effort to reduce the number of unfinished projects hanging around. I thought I would just sew them onto some watercolor paper and be done with it. Of course, it wasn't quite that easy.

Starting with the card in the lower right corner and working backwards:

1. First I fused the card to watercolor paper and used a zig zag stitch around the card twice. Yuck...HATE IT!

2. I changed the stitch and liked it only slightly better but hated the way it looked on the reverse side of the post card.

3. I changed the stitch again and sewed around the card first before fusing it to the watercolor paper leaving a small white border. I liked this a little better but thought it would be more interesting if the stitch attached the post card to the background.

4. I stitched this card to a gold wallpaper sample and was just about to trim it out and then attach it to watercolor paper...

...when I remembered some black mattes that I found ridiculously cheap at the close-out store about six months ago. So ridiculous in fact that I bought up every package they had. There were a few other colors, but black is classic, right?

I took the cards where I didn't like the stitching I had done and put them behind the black mattes.  Problem solved! Now I can call them mixed media collage ready for framing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge - Opposites

This is my second page for The Sketchbook Challenge February theme of OPPOSITES. It includes horizontal and vertical lines that highlight words with opposite meanings. It also utilizes positive and negative space.

I couldn't help throwing in one of my favorite pairs of opposites.

I finally uploaded some photos to my Flickr account. Now I just have to figure out how to link to that from here. You van visit The Sketchbook Challenge group pool here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Little of This and a Bit of That

I spent the week hopping around from project to project and working on a little of this and a bit of that. Here are a few more pages from Pilgrim, the altered book that I'm working in for The Sketchbook Challenge.

I recently went to see the musical, South Pacific, and couldn't help but feel the irony in going during what feels like one of the longest winters in history. This tied right in with the February theme of Opposites.

It also tied into the Illustration Friday theme of SWEATER, so I was able to achieve a trifecta of journaling! I used gouache on this page and really like how it looks--not quite like acrylic paint and not quite like watercolor. It's opaque and translucent at the same time. I think I'll have to play around with it a bit more.

I couldn't stop myself from making another batch of hearts from felt and sweaters. Sometimes my fingers just itch to sew. I think this has become a warm up exercise to other sewing projects.

I started making mini monsters from the same materials.

 You gotta love a monster!

I also decided to experiment with paper and fabric collage post cards inspired by an article in the last issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Just before Christmas, I splurged and bought myself a free motion attachment for my sewing machine, something I've been wanting for years. I'm still trying to get the hang of it, but I just love what it adds to a collage like this.

I also love the way a project like this uses up some of the small bits of paper and fabric that have been hanging around. I just can't let either of those things go to waste. These aren't finished yet. I plan to use a zig zag stitch to attach them to watercolor paper.

And last but not least, I started a new class this week! Here are a few supplies I needed to buy. I'll give you a hint about the class...power tools will be involved! Stay tuned to find out more.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

IF - Sweater

When you live in Ohio you wear a lot of sweaters. A lot of sweaters.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge - One Done and Eleven To Go

The Sketchbook Challenge has completed its first month and the second is now underway.  This feels like a good time to pause and contemplate my progress so far and give you a glimpse of how Pilgrim is taking shape.

The point of the challenge is to encourage the habit of keeping a sketchbook and using it for experimentation and practice. One advantage to a long, cold winter is spending plenty of time indoors playing around in a sketchbook.

The Dalai Lama in stitches.

I don't think a single day has gone by since the first of the year that I haven't opened up Pilgrim and added to her in some way. That's kind of big for me since I've never been a faithful journaler. I'm normally semi-sporadic at best.

Now I look forward to the time I spend noodling, doodling, and filling pages with color and text. The process is slower and more deliberate than what I'm used to. In the past, I've used a lot more paint and collage in journals and altered books. Flinging paint and gobs of matte medium is my usual technique. But since it's hard to work messy on a daily basis, I've had to change things up a bit.

Spraying rather than painting on pigment ink is just one way I've experimented with new techniques in Pilgrim. I've also played around with writing with ink and a dip pen, stamping, and stitching.

There are a few aspects to The Sketchbook Challenge where I don't feel I've been very successful. I didn't do much with the January theme of HIGHLY PRIZED. This page is probably the only one done specifically for the theme.

I also haven't posted any photos to The Sketchbook Challenge Flickr pool--although I DID finally set up a Flickr account. So, I missed out on the chance to win fabulous prizes in January.

The theme for February is OPPOSITES and this page is going to be about serenity and chaos. (For the record--I prefer serenity.)

Here you can see the altered pages next to the ones I haven't touched yet. I love the way they ripple and wave and seem so much more alive with color and art added to them. done and eleven to go. I hope I can keep up and have a completely filled book by the end of 2011. You can join The Sketchbook Challenge at any time--just grab a book and get started. Happy sketching!