Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So, this past weekend I was at a trade show and took a few lessons from Tim Holtz and Jennifer McGuire--they were teaching together. In the class, we used the same materials, but did it in the "tim" style-grungy..and also in the Hero Arts style--bright and colorful...using the Ranger products and the Hero Arts stamps...the photo on the bottom (or on the left, depending on how your computer shows this) is the Hero set, and on the top (right) is the Tim Holtz set...these are both 12 x 12 canvases...both of these are on display in the store now. We will be creating some great classes from these samples. Stay tuned.

Another project involved making these neat flowers from the Ultra-Thick Embossing Enamel, colored with the "To Dye For" Inks, which are especially made to withstand heat. Flowers were formed out of wire, dipped in the UTEE, gently moved in a stirring motion with your hand-no twisting...add leaves and there you have it...again...classes will appear! There is a photo of a tag made with the flower.

This week's prize is the sets of clear stamps from Hero Arts, four rub-on packs and a bit of bling.
Leave a comment related to my writing , the photos, or anything...
and I will pick a name randomly to receive the prizes. I don't think I announced the winner of last week's turns out to be Cheryl, who filed her comment as such...
"I thoroughly enjoyed your wonderful collages.Thank you for sharing the stamp making technique that Tim taught you at CHA - it will be fun to try it!" Cheryl, thanks for playing...the Hambly overlays are yours...please call us to let us know when you will be in. thanks. 978-887-6397.
Now on to the "Stomach of the Artist!" (which will include the entire digestive tract.)
To figure how out our artistic digestive system would work, we need to know the function of our real one. The stomach (and environs) takes in nourishment, allows for absorption of the necessary nutrients, and moves the rest out of the body...I think that's enough detail in that area. So, artistically, we ingest nutrients in so many forms...taking classes, reading books and magazines, purchasing art supplies...We then process all of this and we absorb what we feel will make us grow, and become strong as artists..some details we ignore, as we are not interested in them...some just don't apply to us or our interests. But there are times when we take in something that just excites us a lot. And we are delighted in the "taste" of this new "food." We want to try out the new techniques, use the new materials, and we are nourished not only by our outcomes but mostly by the whole process of trying it all out..we are very nourished...and nourishing is what the stomach allows for...the stomach is happiest when there is the right balance in the intake, because then it can absorb the nutrients in the correct for our artistic growth, we need to have the variety that makes us thrive. If I only do one color, say, or one technique...and don't branch out, then my work could become somewhat one-dimensional. It is the variety that is ingested that allows for the fullest type of creativity to flourish.
Allowing the materials we do not need to be flushed out of the is called "cleaning out the art room!" If we have too much stuff in there that we cannot find, see or use what we have...a blockage artistic blockage, and we don't create as we want to, no need to go further into this analogy...I think you can all see where this is going. The idea here is to find the right balance of what we take in, so that we grow as artists at the optimum rate. Find your nutrients, take in what you need, and allow nature to take over...the actual creative process will be covered in another organ system...for now...just think about getting well-fed!
Next week--The Artist's Eyes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Collage Play

The first photo above shows the entire collage...I was playing with the newest Tim Holtz dies, from Sizzix, cut a few out, lay all the pieces out in front of me and let them "speak" to me...apparently, this is what they said...I was putting together a sample for a class meeting that night, so I was just trying to include lots of different ideas . In the next two photos, you can see some of the can also see where I stamped the images that I cut, using the dies and the black thick foam we sell at the store to create "custom" rubber stamps. This is a very cool idea that Tim Holtz shared with anyone who was paying attention at CHA...and since I dote on his every word...well here we are..

After cutting the foam, you can mount it to the acrylic pieces that are used as clear book covers by the Zutter company, with the Bind-it-all machine. They are sturdy, but you can cut them on your trimmer...if it doesn't go all the way thru, it will at least score it and you can snap it. I cut the acrylic pieces with my big Fiskars Guillotine cutter. The stamps are attached using the Claudine Helmuth matte medium from Ranger. I let it dry overnight, but I am sure it is usable way before that.

The hook at the top of the collage is one of Tim's dies...the one with the long skinny hinge on it, that I doubled over to create a loop...the butterfly, bird, heart and the word "wish" are made from some Accu-Cut dies...sprayed with Maya Mists...Tim's dies for the bird's wings, labels and keyholes..the gold key (TH die) is just more of the black foam-it's pretty inexpensive, so you can use it for embellishments, too...sprayed it with the Krylon 18K gold paint...(do that outside if possible)

In the bottom photo, with all the black foam stamps, you can see that I did an imprint into the flower piece...just heat the foam with your heat tool, and impress a stamp right away...we've been doing this for years, right?...anyway, I would definitely do this before mounting onto the acrylic as I think the heat might warp the acrylic...these images can be erased from the black foam by re-heating, but...two things to have it mounted on the acrylic by now, so you don't really want to aim the heat gun there..also, the foam is very inexpensive...just cut another flower and impress with a different stamp or leave it plain...All the images were mounted onto colored chipboard, from Creative Imaginations, a 9x9 piece on top of the black 9 3/4 " square piece. I used Zip Dry mostly for all the gluing.
Here is what I did with the bird cage. I sandwiched a piece of mica between two grungeboard pieces, added a patterned paper die cut on top, traced the whole thing onto more patterned paper, and glued it all together...
Here is another photo showing the bird cage on the front of a journal...this time I broke the bars on the bird cage, and since they are grungepaper, they stayed twisted, so it looks like the bird could fly away...and the bird is that black foam effect...please no e mails or letters, I know it is all just pretend...but I like the idea of that little bird being free...
So, now we are on to this week's prize to a randomly chosen commenter...just leave a comment, related to anything...and you will be entered to win this set of Hambly transparencies...there are six of them, I think.
Also, I mentioned in the newsletter, that I am starting a series of musings on the anatomy and physiology of the artist (keeping in mind that I am talking specifically about us as artists, not Picasso, etc)...actually, we deserve the musings so here goes...I will add a different physiological system each week (I hope!)
The Nose (sense of smell) of the Artist:
When we get a whiff of certain aromas, smells, odors, there is a very strong physiologic effect. In fact, I do believe, that it has been established that the sense of smell is the strongest sense for evoking memory. Smells can warn us of the need to open the window when we spray toxic paints or fixatives, or glues in our studio...a good idea to heed this warning! Also, we can smell our materials...certain inks have a strong small...Stazon has an almond odor...grungeboard and grungepaper has a very distinctive smell...some people love it...others not so much. The smells of our world can inspire us to create, new babies, a vintage trunk full of old papers, ...I love the smell of melted wax, and can tell that it is permeating the room...same for UTEE. Copic markers, alcohol inks...brand new books, even, soldering supplies, flux...something burning (an important smell!!) Our world is filled with smells, and we, as artists, experience them all the time. We take in these smells, and they definitely have an effect on us..positively or negatively...sometimes we won't use something because of its smell...other times, we put up with it because we "need" that product.
....and when there are the times that we relish the smell of what we are doing...It is all being recorded in our brains as part of our art experience...perhaps to be remembered at some later date, when this time of creating is brought back to us, letting us relive some happy memories. Our remembrances of wonderful times don't always include photos. Maybe we can begin to notice more how our sense of smell enhances our artwork, our process, and our enjoyment of what we do.
Next week: the artist's stomach!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This is the prize for the random winner this week..a cool bag (includes the bag) of buttons,,,got this on e for you, one for me...that sounds fair.
So, who has water in their basement?? Apparently, lots of people in Topsfield, so the local schools are closed. If you are coming to the store before all this water goes away, the best route here is via 95. Coming from the north, take 95 south , exit 52, and turn left...follow that into the center of town. From the south, take 95 north to exit 52, turn right, go into town .
A huge Maya Road order arrived today, I think it is the CHa order..haven't seen it yet, but I do believe that they are working on it as I speak (write.) Tomorrow is St. Pat's Day and we have the "Luck-o-the-Irish" wheel of fortune set up and ready to go. If your name is PAtrick-no IDs will be checked...if you say that's your name, we believe you!...anyway, If your name is PAtrick, you get to spin the wheel ...see the newsletter for a list of the prizes. I am getting into the spring cleaning mode, now, with the sun out. Don't forget that we are moving the annual yard sale up a week, so it is on the Sunday before Memorial day...sign-ups for table space will begin on April 1, no joke.
Comments for this week's prize can be completely random...write whatever you want..ask a question, tell us all a cool find you recently discovered, complain about the weather...anything goes!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thinking Winter

Here is the free gift for the randomly-chosen winner among those who leave any type of comment after reading this blog. Just click on the "comment" word below and throw in your two cents. Winner will be announced in next week's newsletter. The prize is a pad of 12 x 12 papers from the brand new release from We R Memory Keepers, along with 2 page kits and a card kit.

This week we will be chatting about winter and our attitudes..after all that is all we have control over, right?? I happen to love the cold (hate to be too hot) but am not crazy about snow...unless it is overwhelming and we are all forced to stay home..I see bad weather as a great reason for spending the day in the art room...not that we need any excuses. But we are, after all, New Englanders, and we are used to all this, and even should expect it, right?? It doesn't help that I have lost my winter boots at the moment and am still wearing my sandals...There are great art tools to use with snow scenes now...the white pen from Ranger, the Souffle pens, white glaze pens, white liquid applique, polar white Flower Soft, white chunky glitters , white flocking,...and then there is the whole silver snow look...anyone got any great winter "art" ideas to to hear from you.

Here is a card we did in a class over the weekend with the Tim Holtz "movie set" that has the popcorn in it...of course, we sold out of the set, so I have more on order from Stampers Anonymous...just imagine that you want to give some movie gift cards to there a cuter way to do this??...rhetorical answer needed!!