Thursday 29 January 2015

Artist Trading Post Exchange

Hi everyone. It's my turn to share a tutorial over at the Artist Trading Post Exchange today. We do these once a fortnight to offer inspiration, new products, share techniques and have fun!

Here's a sneak peek at my project this week:

I'd really love it if you pop over to the Artist Trading Post Exchange and see the full post. Thank you.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Flower Power. . . . .

Morning everyone. It's time for a new challenge at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and it's my turn to host.

I LOVE making flowers and often the grungier the better so here's my challenge for you:

'January is often a very grey and dark month. With this in mind, I'd like to brighten things up a little and bring some summer fun into the winter. Using a Mixed Media style, I'd like you to make some handmade flowers and use them on a project of your choice. Remember we are a Mixed Media challenge and and stamping must be included, but no digi images please.'

For my project, I decided to venture onto a larger canvas and use my flowers along with lots of stencilling, stamping and general grunge. I've kept the overall colour scheme light and full of sunshine to brighten up this dreary, dark month. As usual, there are quite a few pictures!

I've had lots of trouble (again) photographing this canvas. The natural light is so dim but artificial light seems to change everything. The close ups will give you a better idea of true colours and how all areas of the canvas really do work together.
The canvas was prepared with DecoArt Gesso, modelling paste through a stencil and some die cut vintage book pages (thanks to my Sister Sandie for this book which seems to be in Gaelic)
The modelling paste and the text die cuts are given a quick coat of Media fluid acrylic in translucent white - love this stuff!
The three fluid acrylic colours were then used in varying amounts on the canvas - looking very bright and blobby at this point! Next came some stamping with Archival ink with yes, one of Andy Skinners new stamps (soooo lucky!). This stamp gives the appearance of scratches on the surface - not sure Andy quite envisaged his stamp on a piece like this but it does take all sorts to make the craft world!
Translucent white is quickly applied in a random way to knock back the brightness of the piece.
Two other colours helped to knock back and warm up the colours: Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide and Green  Gold (again - big favourites of mine) and I'm starting to like it a bit more now!
DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze is added to the stencilled paste diamond shapes followed by some Raw Umber Antiquing Cream to age the crackle glaze. I don't have a picture but if you look closely through the crackling you will see some white stamping. This was achieved by using DecoArt Chalky paint which is a dream for stamping with. Just don't forget to clean your stamp as soon as possible after use.
The printed text can still be seen through the layers of paint. Two colours of Archival ink have been used in addition to some more stamping using the DecoArt Chalky Paint. The die cut diamond shapes have been outlined using a pencil and a waterbrush - really like how the texture of the canvas gives this technique such an interesting look. Most of the chalky paint stamping was given a very thin coat of  Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to help give the aged/grungy look.
Each of the large flowers was made from a gelli plate print which had been brayered with transparent yellow iron oxide.
The gelli print is then stamped with various colours of archival inks and another Skinner stamp and the round stamp is from Stampendous. Doing this brings the print together I think. Two further prints were made using favourite colours of Media Fluid Acrylic - I haven't shown all of this as the post would then be waaaaay too long!
Various floral shapes are die cut from the gelli print pieces. Small roses were made as the centre for two of the blooms and all the pieces were shaped and layered together for each flower. You can clearly see stencil work and rubber stamping on each of the flower pieces - some more dense than others!

The center of the large flower is made using a metal bead and some strips of silk which have been frayed on the edges.

Both of the other flowers have a small rose for the centre of the bloom.  Looks to me as if a slight amount of the mica spray may have been caught on camera on the right hand side, outer petals!

I then mixed some gold Interference paint with water in a mister and liberally applied it to the flowers - you can't see the shimmer here but I promise it's there!
The flower 'stalks' and 'roots' were made from wired paper string which has been coloured with the green gold fluid acrylic. The pieces were twisted together and the roots were made by curling the ends around a paint brush handle. 
The circular marks were made using pen lids with Chalky paint followed by transparent yellow iron oxide.
The sides of the canvas were painted and stamped to give a better look. More stamping with chalky paint.
I love adding small simple flowers and these have small black gems to finish them off.
Tiny dainty flowers which are a joy to use - for me anyway!

Larger die cut flowers and small flowers made with my favourite punch! (I can't resist adding these to lots of my work!).
This is my first larger canvas (since school!) and I've really enjoyed the experience - I could be tempted again!

Thanks so much for visiting me today and if you have time I strongly suggest you hop over to the Artist Trading Post Exchange and see what my team mates have been up to - you won't be disappointed!

The Artist Trading Post generously give a £10 voucher to the winner and our runners up can have a badge for their blog - all winners are chosen by the DT so it makes it so satisfying if you win one of our top three spaces. The winners of our previous challenge will be announced on Saturday so do pop in and see if you are one of the lucky ones!

Thursday 8 January 2015

Fresh Beginnings. . . . .

Good morning everyone. Today sees the first challenge of 2015 for the Artist Trading Post Exchange. Our host for this fortnight is the hugely talented Sue Carrington. Here's Sue's challenge:

'Now that the festive season is over and thoughts turn to what lies ahead in the New Year, take a look through your craft supplies and share with us a new product/technique/ or even a new item to alter ! Remember we are a Mixed Media challenge and and stamping must be included, but no digi images.
I decided to make a project using my new Faber Castell Gelatos. I've wanted to try these for ages so I watched all the videos I could find and then set myself the challenge of using them in a simple way first to get the hang of them. I thought I would then go on and be more adventurous but I couldn't stop once I'd started and my practice piece of card (along with some other bits and pieces!) turned into this:

All the background colour has been done using gelatos. A little Distress ink and archival ink for stamping was also used. If we have a holiday, we usually start talking about it in the New Year so this tag also represents a new start to the year, planning a holiday and using a new product.

As I was only playing, I don't have a photo of the finished background piece but here's the scrap which was left after cutting the tag. I wasn't convinced at this stage but it was fun so I carried on! The gelatos are just scribbled onto the card then misted with water and blended with a finger.
I removed quite a large amount of gelato and I still wasn't sure! The images are all  stamped in Archival. The white areas are achieved by placing a stencil on the dry gelato background and using a baby wipe to gently remove some of the colour.
Another piece of card was coloured using the same gelatos and some Tattered Florals were die cut. Some edges have been muddied with Distress ink and some gold mica spray was spritzed randomly on the finished flower. You can just see some curly rusty wire which I had to add - can't do without the stuff!
For the bottom of the tag I used some Stampers Anonymous stamps on the scrap card and cut them to fit. The edges were finished with black Archival ink. Some Tim trim has been used around the lower part of the tag and is then finished with some twine and wooden beads.
I was shocked to remember that I've had these beads hanging around since before my daughter was born so over 22 years! Talk about hoarding!
The top of the tag is finished with the same Tim trim and twine.
You may remember from an earlier image that the gelato background had a fair amount of white on it. I used Distress ink in Mustard Seed to tone this down and marry the colours together more. It's also not clear in this image but the whole tag was given two coats of clear embossing powder. I didn't want to use a glaze just in case the action of painting on moved the gelato colour around.
I took a line from the Nina Simone song 'Feeling Good' as my sentiment because that's how the start of the New Year always makes me feel. Click HERE if you'd like to listen to Nina sing this wonderful song.
The sentiment has been made using Tim Chit Chat stickers onto scraps of the gelato background.
Thought I'd take a picture of the items I used to make the tag (white card too). I could have used Utee but sometimes I find it affects what's underneath and I wasn't sure how it would react with the gelatos so I stuck to the fine EP shown here. The Tattered Florals are cut from Watercolour paper (heavyweight) and I have to say that the gelatos worked beautifully on this substrate.
Isn't it amazing what you can do with four gelato sticks? I haven't got a big set and I still need to play more but they are certainly great for making backgrounds.

If you go over to the Artist Trading Post Exchange, you can have a look at all the wonderful inspiration from the rest of the team. Just click HERE.

Remember that the overall winner (chosen by the dt) will win a voucher for £10 from the Artist Trading Post - good excuse to enter! You could also be chosen as one of our Top 3 so what are you waiting for? Really excited to see what you come up with!

Please do remember to pop back to the Artist Trading Post on the 24th January when our winners for this challenge will be announced.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Christmas Leftovers. . . . . . .

Happy New Year to you all and I hope you had a lovely Christmas break.
Today sees the start of a new challenge at Our Creative Corner and our host is Pamellia, one of our newest recruits (very brave to step right in there and host a challenge!). Here's Pamellia's challenge:

With the holidays merely a shadow behind us, my guess is you still have bits of Christmas leftovers stashed everywhere, not to mention bags of Christmas bits meant for the recycle bin. I am a hoarder of all things I think I might get around to using one day, and Holiday bits are no exception! Every closet, drawer and cupboard is overflowing with the little things I collected throughout the holidays. Things I think I might use and things heading to the curb.

Christmas wrapping, gift bags, tinsel, ribbon, gift boxes, tissue paper, Christmas crackers, wine boxes, empty gift wrap rolls, Christmas cookie tins, even the images from the fronts of cards I name, I hoard it! Let's put those bits to good use this month! With that in mind, for my introductory challenge theme, I have chosen........
To be clear, your project does NOT have to have a Christmas theme, I only want you to recycle your Christmas scraps.
If it's not obvious what Christmas leftovers you used, make sure to tell us about it, somewhere in your post.

I had to think about this for a little while because I knew I wouldn't use gift wrap or bags; I often recycle boxes so I didn't want to choose that option. . . . . . . . . . . in the end I looked at the gifts I received and decided on the smallest piece of packaging which had caught my eye. It gave me the idea to develop and make these:

Four ATC's all made using little pieces of this packaging from a stamp:
This came with a single heart stamp and I just couldn't bear to throw it away! Here's how I used it:
I used three ATC's that I made for this tutorial here and cut one more from chipboard and the saved packaging (these were glued together for added strength). A small amount of the packaging is left to be used like this:
The packaging was torn into small strips and applied to the three gelli plate ATC's. Thin layers of the acrylics shown were used to highlight areas and give more depth.
All four ATC's were then painted in random areas with Translucent Yellow Iron Oxide fluid acrylic.
Next came stamping to create depth with various colours of archival ink.
The fourth ATC was given a torn paper finish which belongs to Andy Skinner so I'm afraid I can't share it with you. However, also in the picture is some tissue tape which has been coloured to muddy it and then applied to the ATC, leaving the little heart exposed.
Two girl images are stamped onto acetate using stazon jet black ink (only one shown). Audrey is stamped onto mica using stazon.
Some areas of the stamped images are painted with fluid acrylic on the back.

Audrey is finished with some translucent iron oxide paint. Mustard seed distress ink was added to the background to warm the colours.
The packaging paper in the top left corner has been stamped over and altered with paint. Audrey was cut out before attaching and the cut edges are inked to give definition.
A chit chat sticker has been altered. Two stamps and a stencil have been used in the background on the right - using archival ink and paint.
This ATC has the girl image with green gold acrylic behind areas of the design.
I love the way the background shows through the acetate.
I forgot to take a picture of the full ATC but I have a number of detail shots - sorry! This background uses the main part of the packaging and the torn paper technique. I kept the heart clear of tape and paint so that it showed through the acetate.

I love how the colours of the background work so well - think that on the odd occasion I may use paper again along with a little altering!
I like that this stamp has its own built in sentiment too.
The added stamping in the background is clearly seen here along with some white stencil work.

The flower is one leftover from a previous project. I coloured it with some archival ink followed by some sprays of DecoArt misters to give it some sparkle. The brad in the centre is painted and crackled.
The stem is made from wired paper coloured with archival ink.
More chit chat stickers have paint added before applying to the ATC.
Stamped 'tissue tape' in the corner - love this new stamp!
Think I got carried away with this post but it was fun! Please do go over to Our Creative Corner (click on the name to be taken straight to the post) to see what the team has come up with and visit their blogs for further details. 

Our generous sponsor this month is Nicecrane Designs so look out for further inspiration using their products during the month.

Over to you now. Can't wait to see what you come up with!