Monday, November 17, 2008

Tiny Inspiring Things

If you're like me, you like to walk at dusk and look inside people's houses. Not in a creepy way, but a passing glance as you stroll by and the lights come on.... You see people cooking dinner, watching the news, going about their evening tasks, all alight with purpose and meaning.

Here's a peek inside where I create. It's a little like glancing into the lit window of my mind.

This old wooden box is on the wall, directly to the right of where I sit in our studio (I share the space with my partner). I have a thing for old tins, especially little ones or unusually shaped ones. This box houses a bunch of them, and most of them have little supplies inside.

The 'Lustra' beaver tin (top right) holds the scraps from paper hole punches - hundreds of perfect, tiny colorful circles. And yes, I do use them!

The oblong silver tin on the next shelf down has giant paperclips inside. It was a gift from my mom, who adores objects that are scaled oddly - like miniature books and giant tweezers...tiny little kitchen gadgets and giant paperclips!

The bottom center cubbyhole are two of my favorite tins because they have stars on them. I love stars. In fact, I have a star crown that's encrusted with tarnished metal glitter that I sometimes wear when I'm so moved. Just because...

I also have little favorite things squirreled away and tacked to this box... the tiny celluloid bird that I can't bear to use, a tiny metal lion, foreign coins, a package of vintage razor blades... a changing collection of tiny things that inspire me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sow's Ear

At our recent art retreat, my sister Carol and I took a short class by Bernie Berlin called Resist This. I should have known there would be trouble when I looked at the supply list... an iron, rubber stamps... egad - paint AND hot irons? Rubber stamps? I'm so not a 'stamper'.

Here's the recipe...
1. Layer copious amounts of acrylic paint onto quality water color paper. Then crouch in a corner with your heat gun and try to get it completely dry.
2. Stamp your painted page with a rubber stamp using colorless embossing ink.
3. Back to the heat gun.
4. Then layer even more paint on top. Repeat drying process.

Allow me to interject here with the part about how little patience I have with waiting for paint to dry. Add to that the fact that we had paint everywhere by this point... well, suffice it to say we were not being star pupils.

5. Then fire up your iron. I was using an old travel iron that gets hot enough to brand cattle.
6. When your iron is smoking (okay, it shouldn't be smoking apparently - we figured that out by the horrified looks from the other class participants and the instructor's nervous laugh), lay a plain sheet of parchment paper (oh man, was it parchment - please don't follow my instructions!) over your painted page and simply iron, and lift, small areas at a time... simply iron, and lift! Lift quickly...and voila - a batik like pattern should emerge.


Okay, at this point, my sister and I had dissolved into laughter and snorting. Each time we'd 'simply iron and lift' the paper would begin to scorch and would not 'lift' but instead leave great streaks of paper on the page. But we soldiered on, and attempted to rescue our work by using wet wipes and water to scrub the paper off of the page. We were quite hysterical (no doubt somewhat fueled by the wine we had before the class..) and I'm pretty sure hugely obnoxious to the people in the class that were merrily creating beautifully patterned pages.

So, we laughed and managed to have a fun time. I ended up with two, count em', TWO pages of 'custom' paper suitable for use in other artwork and collage. Yeah.

The cards you see here are the end product of the paper. The paper is the base for a simple collage.

I call them them Silk Purse Note Cards.

You may call them whatever you like!

(And my apologies to Bernie Berlin, a lovely person who put up with our jackassery with grace!)