Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book It

As you know, I've been making all kinds of prints with my Gelli printing plate. Now I have a huge stack of beautiful papers that are calling out to me. Although it is difficult to cut into them, I also can't resist the urge to turn them into something else. My friend Linda just blogged about how she made a promise to herself not to make any more prints until she had used some from her pile. (Take a look at how she used up her prints.) 

The other thing that has been on my mind lately is a book that I bought about a month ago, Making Handmade Books, by Alisa Golden.

I decided to try my hand at some of the beginner-level book projects using my stack of Gelli prints and my box of trash.

Yummy trash, isn't it?
Here's what I made...

This one is a flag book.

This book is made using tied binding.

This is called an X Book.

The back view.

This is another X Book, with the addition of pockets for tiny paper treasures.

So... how do you use up your paper hoard?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Creative Braveheart for February: Corrine Gilman

I'm so excited to tell you about my February Creative Braveheart and one of my favorite bloggy friends, Corrine Gilman, from Sparkle Days Studio. If you don't already follow Corrine, you should. She is a kind supporter of the artist in everyone. I can't tell you how many times she has encouraged me to keep going on this sometimes daunting creative journey. Corrine is a Creative Juices Arts Expressive Arts Facilitator. She teaches intuitive painting and mixed media workshops and classes for adults in her studio in Massachusetts and across the country. This summer she'll be a featured instructor at Lucky Star Art Camp in the Texas hill country.

As I suspected, Corrine was more than happy to share her thoughts with us.

How did your art journey begin?

My creative art journey really began in earnest when I started blogging back in 2009.  For most of my life I was painfully shy and never wanted to be in the spotlight, but once I started blogging I realized that there was a whole world full of amazingly talented people living their creative lives that I wanted to connect with and to. It was an inspiration for me to get out of my own way and give myself permission to be sparkly (hence the name of my studio).  Over these past four years I have taken a deep and heart-opening personal journey to finding my true voice and telling my own story. In April of 2010, I attended a workshop at Creative Juices Arts in Oakland, California and my life as an artist really moved exponentially forward.  I discovered process painting and right then and there signed up for a year of training to become a facilitator in this process. More than anything, I am convinced that everything arrives through the process for me and I trust my intuitive gut when creating anything from mixed media to a mail art postcard.  The work informs me and I simply go with the flow.  Now that I am teaching intuitive painting classes, I see that the process moves the energy through each of us in so many ways, and that we can all be creative spirits dancing the juicy dance in all areas of our lives.

Mixed Media Painting, "Incubating the X"

Do you ever struggle with creative fear? If so, how do you handle it?

I do struggle with creative fear, the critic, and the idea that I am not good enough all the time.  One of the things I have learned that really works for me to overcome that creative fear is to go back to the process, not worrying about the outcome.  I pick up a glue stick and some paper and begin a collage.  It is my fall back always for "stuckness" and usually opens the avenue for other ideas to manifest themselves and I find that I am happily ensconced in my creative cocoon for several hours.  I also find that creative habit helps keep the demons away.  Some time in the studio every day makes it easier to feel the juiciness of my arty flow.  It may just be a journal background, or making a batch of postcards to send to friends, but it all adds up to making pure joy happen in my heart.
Intuitive Painting Goddess

Tell us more about Lucky Star Art Camp and what you'll be teaching.

Lucky Star Art Camp, so exciting.....almost can't believe it myself.  I met the founder several years ago at another retreat when we were cabin mates.  We talked about it then and now it is her dream becoming reality and my dream to participate.  I will be teaching a class "Creative Abandon - No Permission Slip Required" focused on opening up creativity and sharing some tips and tricks to move soulful energy and wild fun into your creative practice and give you ideas on how to establish that daily practice to open many doors for expression in the arts and in other areas of your life.  I will also be teaching a class on making spiral books called "Dreaming the Spiral"' which has been a bit of an obsession of mine in the past year, books for journaling in and as sculpture. I so look forward to connecting at a place where "daydream believers" come to play. 
I hope that Corrine's honesty and kindness inspires you to stay on your creative path, wherever it may lead. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting Creative with Grafix Films

Lucky for me, I was recently asked by Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine to participate in an artist's challenge sponsored by Grafix Creative Plastic Films. Even luckier for me, Grafix sent me a package of some really cool products for free! Included in the package: Rub-onz Transfer Film, Ink Jet Transparent Plastic Sheets, Shrink Film, and Dura-Lar Matte Film.

When I opened up all the products, I wasn't sure how I would use these lovely, smooth sheets in my typically texture-filled creations. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. So, like any good crafty one, I just started playing around with everything. I quickly learned that I could use ink, pencil, paint, scissors, and my ink jet printer on these films and that 3 of the 4 could be sewn with my sewing machine. As I worked with the films, I became inspired by their shiny, smooth, layered, and transparent qualities.

For a few months, I've been toying with the idea of making a handbag out of stitched paper. I decided to make one, using these films as both my inspiration and as embellishments for the piece.

I started making my fabric by stitching dictionary pages together, coating them in gesso, and painting them with a thin layer of acrylic paint.

I lined the paper fabric with bright green tissue paper and matte gel medium.

Next, I used Illustrator to create a series of pink and orange feathers (scanned from one of my hand-carved stamps).

Using my ink jet printer, I printed a sheet of these feathers onto the Rub-onz Transfer Film. I cut them out and rubbed them onto my paper fabric in a random pattern. I will warn you...  you will need to read the directions for this film. Being a break-it-first-then-read-the-directions kind of person, I wasted some of my free samples. But let's not talk about it here...

To seal my fabric before sewing, I coated both the front and the back with a generous coat of pouring medium. This gave the whole piece a shiny, plastic-like appearance. Next, I printed a few sheets of the feather design onto the Transparent Plastic Sheets and used them as embellishments for the paper fabric and a fabric tie. These were super easy to use. They printed well, were easy to cut, and stitched beautifully in my sewing machine.

After stiching all the embellishment feathers to the paper fabric, I folded and stitched to create a flap closure and two pockets for my handbag. 

I really had to hold my breathe as I stitched. I wasn't sure if my sweet machine could manage all the layers of paint, paper, matte medium, pouring medium. To my surprise, she made it (yes, my machine is a lady!)

I'm not sure where I will use this little number. I like to imagine showing off my tan in a cute little sundress and carrying it out to a nice dinner, beachfront somewhere. But, that would mean working on a few things... a tan and getting to a beach. Both actually sound pretty fabulous right now!

Challenges are, well, challenging. I know I've got a good one when I feel a little bit nervous and frustrated. These feelings are good because they force me to move out of my comfort zone and work in new ways. In the end, I am always grateful for the growth, even if I am not sure about the end result. 

How do you keep challenges affect you creatively?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Can't... Stop... Gelli... Printing

As I have said before, I LOVE making prints with my Gelli printing plate. I had a few hours of time this afternoon and had a little printing party with myself. I then had to force myself to quit and clean up. I felt like someone had just told me my parents had come to pick me up... early.

Despite having limited time, I did manage to try something new with my plate. I was inspired by a fantastic instructional video on the Gelli blog that showed me how to make stamps with craft foam. Yesterday, I kinda went nuts and made ten 8 x 10 stamps using heavy foam as the backing and thin, stick-on foam for the designs. Here they are all clean and new.

As I played around with each stamp, I learned that these work best with a very thin coat of paint. I also learned to keep inking and pulling until the design is completely gone. To my delight, I was able to pull up all kinds of layers and colors for surprising effects.

These circle prints are my favorite, especially the two on the right. Both were created by using extremely thin layers of paint over previously pulled designs, kind of a lightly re-inked ghost print.

One of the other things I love about print-making... the "trash" is pretty too. These brayer papers will go into my collage pile.

I use deli paper to soak up excess paint on both the plate and the stamp. The result is a stack of beautiful, tissue-like prints that look gorgeous when layered in collage.

I can't wait to play with all my new papers. Not sure what I will create, but I know I'll have fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A New Place to Roost

Today was a fun one. My friend Crystal and I spent the morning hanging some of my artwork in a new home, The Art Coop at 425 Market Place Antiques here in Roswell, Georgia. This new space feels good. The other artists and owners are so warm and friendly. And who doesn't like being surrounded by art and antiques?

I selected several pieces featuring cars, eye glasses, chairs, and elephants (for good luck!)

I am really excited about this space, as I will also be able to use it to have some workshops and classes in the near future.

It's fun starting something new, especially with the encouragement of friends. Sometimes putting myself out there leaves me feeling a little exposed, but sharing the experience with friends gives me courage. I'm so thankful for all the opportunities and friendships that have come my way since I decided to put my energy into art.

Making things just makes things better.