Monday, October 27, 2014

Practical vs creative

Somehow, in the midst of trying to be productively creative, I lost my way. Literally, my way.

There is a natural conflict when a practical person tries to be creative ... the practical demand for "useful" can quickly crush the joy of seeing "beautiful!" appear as the fingers manipulate color and paper and glue.

I have been working to fulfill a friend's request for flower cards, and trying to invent something that was easily reproducible (just in case they took off and I got an order for 100 copies, you know). But reproducible, I discovered, has no texture. It's smooth, and boring, just like the one before it and the one after it. There is no life... no beauty that brings the I love it! gasp, or the desire to reach out and touch.

So, onward into bumpy, spattered, layered, one-of-a -kind! Let the joy of creating be the reward for creating. It is enough for the inspired heart.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. Psalm 9:1

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The "studio table" norm

Achieving normal on a work table takes time and effort. The put-away neat stuff is easy. Just put things back where they belong. But a table surface built in the heat of creating is a one-of-a-kind, hard fought, creative mess! (Be sure to check out the inspiration for all of this - The Altered Page blog)

Many hours of work (really? work?) passed between this and this...

which grew into this...

 and grew some more to become this.

I figure when I have to search for every tool, it's a very productive day. Yesterday was very, very productive.

I now have, ready to use, my pigeon  - made entirely of  gelli printed papers, then embellished with paint and ink.


 Look at the texture these collaged papers add. I am just loving this!

And for the road trip on Thursday? I have 3 pieces of guerrilla art. Oh yeah. This is a wonderful way to make a mess.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Show me your studio table

The challenge was thrown out by Seth Apter  nearly 2 weeks ago - show the world your studio table.

So, I added my name to the list and on Thursday, I'll show my work space. Before that could happen however, I had to find the surface of that table. I picked up, put away, taped lovely clean white paper (my paint catcher/stamp checker/color tester) in order to show that there actually was a table in the room!

all nice and tidy
The first project to hit the sparkling clean table top was a shadow box that is to be filled with military memorabilia - medals, ribbons, etc. It isn't a messy job. In fact, it's a very precise art in itself. I'm learning a lot of trivia regarding military honors... my respect for the men in my life who have made it from the swearing-in to honorable-discharge has grown immensely.

This is what the surface looked like a couple of days later. Turns out I spent more time researching than actually creating. Still pretty tidy... aren't you impressed?

Stay tuned. The show-and-tell comes Thursday.

Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth. Psalm 115:15

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gelatin prints made useful

There are a million things I should be doing, but those million things are always pressing. so rather than neglect this blog of mine any more... here I go.

A few months ago, under the influence of gelatin printing joy, I made a vow to myself that I would not do any new gel printing until I had used the huge stack of already printed papers sitting at the end of my worktable. I have kept my vow. What a journey it has been.

I scanned the best pages. I cropped and saved. Papers were then rotated, cropped and saved again. By the time I finished cropping, saving, rotating again and again, I was not only dizzy, but my files were full of amazing backgrounds just waiting for something interesting to happen.

For instance, from this (obviously printed on a scrap of paper) ...

 the lower right hand corner was cropped and became the background for this ...

which was printed and attached to note cards that I love. (A bit of bubble wrap stamping and some black, blue and white paint at the base of the lighthouse were also added.) And this is just one of the crops!!!

I just love when things that are fun also end up being useful. There has been so much progress made on the stack of printed papers that I am almost ready to start printing again! Life is good.

Jesus said - I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 1:8

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Harvesting delight

The first lavender harvest of 2014. Can lavender lemonade be far behind?

  ... if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the lemonade, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Matthew 6:30

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let the "using" begin

Since discovering the art of gelatin plate printing - Ha! the unparalleled delight of gelatin plate printing - my practical side keeps prodding me with questions.

Sure it was fun, but what will you do with them?

Stacks and stacks of what? For what?

That's not so great ... what will you ever use it for?

And then came the demand... No more until you use the piles you already have!

So, in the three months I have been missing, my time in the workroom has been spent finding for ways to use all of this colorful paper. I have begun to make a dent in those piles.

For instance... this was a flop. The paint wasn't cooperating. The colors were iffy. Though it was not good, it had something...

I put my scanner and PSE to work ...overtime. It allowed me to discover parts that are more beautiful than the whole. Because my projects are mostly 4"x5" I picked out areas that I thought might be useful and...

...with some added mark-making, stamping, old dictionary scans and a teeny bit of paint, I have a product! This is just one of my experiments. Though it still needs tweaking, I am encouraged to find that I do have a reason to keep working!

This is my favorite so far with the yellow background. added to this is an image transfer, stamping (with a hand cut stamp), and a strip of paint ridden deli paper. yep... my fav so far.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Psalm 37:3

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Still printing

I think spring is on the way. It's almost April. It has been at least 10 days since our last heavy snow. Is there hope for us?

I just made this guerrilla art with a gelatin plate print background. I love that there are ways to use the stacks of colorful papers.

Spring and useful product?!? Makes me smile.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Using the backgrounds

The very fact that I hate to waste anything demands that the things I spend time making have some practical use. It is one of the many reasons that I love guerrilla art. I can create to my heart's content knowing that it will serve a purpose.

So when I recently started using a gel plate - oh... so much fun - and ended up with piles of painted paper, I knew that there had to be a purpose... something that would give me a reason to continue having all this fun.

It was an afternoon for making guerrilla art, so I grabbed a print with pretty colors to see if it could be used to replace papers that cost nearly $1 each. I added some painty stamping and black gelato shading.

 I shall happily continue to print on my gelatin plate. Life is good... and useful.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Going for a smile.

My work table is covered with the leftovers of past projects. The actual open space is down to about 18"x12" so I began the de-cluttering yesterday.

It's amazing what gets buried. This altered tag was created so long ago, I can't remember what I did to get that blue background.

But I like this little tag, so it was attached to a note card that was logo-ed (is that a word?) and stamped even farther back in history...

and put it all into an envelope. Now, the whole group is waiting for the mailman to help me add a little cheer to mail time for a friend.

I hope she smiles.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Jesus)
John 16:33

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Green calendar

Waste always bothers me. This must be the reason that mixed media makes my heart sing. All papers, books, rusty pieces of metal, rejects, leftovers, and junk around my workroom - and life - can be reused! Nothing gets thrown away.  *sigh*  It's a blessing... and a curse.

A few of months ago, my friend (who owns a learning store) informed me that she had brand new, outdated school year calendars. "Could you possibly use them for something?" Of course I said yes, and she handed over the boxes.

That's right ... boxes.

Nearly 50 colorful shrink wrapped brand new old calendars.

Ideas... that's what I needed. Inspiration for sensible ways to use them up. OK, scratch sensible from the last sentence. Here's what happened. TJ Maxx let me down this past year. For years they have sold lovely arty desk calendars. I always bought one for myself to keep track of daily minutia. This year they had none... zero... nada. The big bookstores still carried them for full price, but what's the fun in that? I told myself that I didn't need one.

I was wrong.

Therefore, on a January home-alone evening, I sat down with one of the (four dozen+) free 2009-2010 desk calendars and Wite-Out. That part was easy - and long. The hard part was keeping my mind focused during the re-labeling. It doesn't seem that difficult to count from 1 to 28-31. Thank goodness the Wite-Out was right there. *sigh*

I glued some colorful paper scraps to the front, added washi tape, and stapled a tag to identify the year. 

Is it lovely? No. Does it work? Yes. Will I live long enough to use these books up this way? Never. Here's the bright side -  it didn't cost me anything and it is unique. (I know... I laugh too, every day when I use it.)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2

Monday, February 3, 2014

Starting ... with some DIY and thrift store books

Six years ago, this blog was born. I needed to sit down and write about life moments that weren't earth shaking - we had just come through earth shaking, and it was time to focus on something new. This spot became a log of what I was doing and learning, of what God was teaching me along the way.

Lately I have been distracted by my kitchen, but I am determined to get back to writing. Writers, like pray-ers, aren't the ones who talk about it, or read about it, they are the ones who DO! So, just like 6 years ago but for happier reasons, I am ready to do. The events in my life will be written here.

Last week, using instructions from the Frugal Crafter, I created my own permanent gelatin plate. No need for refrigeration, it waits for me on the shelf in my workroom. 

I used an 8" square stepping stone mold to hold 2 (6 oz) bottles of glycerin, 3 tablespoons of gelatin and boiling water. I forced myself to leave it alone overnight and - yay! - it popped out of the mold with very little encouragement. The bottom of the plate is the smoothest, so that's the side I used for printing.

After an experimental print fest on Saturday, I made the decision that I am not purchasing any more decorative paper. It is way too much fun to use pages from the cast-away books that I can't seem to resist whenever I enter a thrift shop. There are thousands of pages, just waiting for a new colorful life, right there in my workroom.

I learned a lot while playing working with my new toy tool. Especially important is to not use too much paint. The effect was grainy and usually unpleasant.

I have been loving the template surprise method of making card elements. These papers will produce some interesting effects.

Sooo.... I'll have to start sending notes?

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Creative energy

I didn't realize at the beginning of our kitchen re-do how much mental energy would be involved. But when you take a room - around which life revolves - and remove everything but the walls, it does take some thinking. And when said walls are over 100 years old, they rarely work smoothly into  the "well just do this" kind of planning.

So... 6 months into our DIY project, things are going well. We are down to the last projects (one more concrete counter, walls smoothed and painted) and the multitude of picky details that finish a room.

Yes, I have my wood counter with the live edge still intact. Yes, I have one concrete counter in place. I have running water, a range hood that whisks cooking odors outside, and a wood plank floor that I love. I could go on and on, but the greatest thing is that my dearly beloved and I are still friends after months of working together.

Pictures when we have our official opening.

In the meantime, we flew through autumn, sailed by Thanksgiving, and had a ball with the family at Christmas. January arrived bringing unbearable cold and nearly 2 feet of snow. And we lived to tell the tale. With 35 below wind chills, that was a feat.

 To soothe my creative spirit, I spread paint, ink, and anything that would adhere to pages and paper. I now have stacks of raw material ready to go.

Someday, if you promise not to laugh, I'll tell about my "green" desk calendar. Maybe.

O Lord, thou knowest...  Jeremiah 15:15