August 29, 2007

finished ACEOs

No, these aren't from the backgrounds in the previous post- I don't work quite that quick! They are from a couple days ago; I just realized I didn't post pics of them! I made these over the weekend, again from a batch of backgrounds I made ahead of time... The butterfly cards are, from top to bottom, Flight for Life: depicting the migration of a monarch butterfly to Mexico (using vintage map paper I got in an internet trade), and Flight Pattern: which was made with sewing pattern tissue as a background, with real sewn accents (embroidery floss and vintage mother of pearl buttons.). I sort of made them up as I went along, and thought the names were a neat play on words... someone else must have liked them too, because they both sold only a few hours after I listed them in my shop! That's the quickest sale I've ever made, I think- pretty cool! I have another one in mind, I just have to make it... Flight of Fancy, which I envision with gold and lots of glitter...
These three ACEOs were made using clip art images I cut out and took to the Art Unraveled class, but never used... I call them my "Ladies of the Evening" (the evening dress, that is! haha! well, anyway, that shows you what my sense of humor is like, anyway...) All three use text cut from a vintage book, pertaining to a dance/night out on the town. I like how they turned out, too- the pink one is on a tissue paper background, and the other two are on backgrounds of textured Bravissimo paper, which is really nice quality specialty paper (I've had it for ages- I think the package is from a shop back in Illinois, before we moved... see, these things do eventually get used). These three cards are also for sale in my shop.

work in progress

So today when I got home, I had an idea to make a couple ACEO/ATC backgrounds... I still have card ideas in my head, and I also have some internet swaps in the works that I need to make cards for. (The swaps are via a site called swap-bot, which is great! someone posts an idea for something theyd like to trade- recipe, craft idea, supplies, whatever, and if people want to get involved they sign up- trades can be international or US only, and from what I see, lots of people are having lots of fun swapping things.)

Anyway, back to today's work in progress- I decided to cover some blank cards with vintage book text and vintage sheet music (from the thrift store), and then I decided to do some collage-style backgrounds using magazine pages, sort of like the art journaling class I took at AU, then it kind of just snowballed from there. I had gel medium (from gluing) all over my hands (it doesn't wash off, by the way- it sort of has to peel off... it's weird... and of course the phone rang!), and then I decided to dig a home decor catalog out of the recycle and rip it up to use some of the pics, and all the sudden the kitchen counter looked like a paper explosion:

Now, they're neat little ATC/ACEO background sandwiches, stacked between layers of waxed paper and Harry Potter books, drying and flattening. I'll show you what they look like after they're dry. (and like usual, I started out to only make a couple, and I think I ended up with at least 10- but, I'll have them when I want them.) So, the kitchen counter is back to normal, and my creative spurt has ended- till after dinner, anyway!

August 26, 2007

art projects... small ones!

So, I've been busy cleaning and re-oganizing my crafting space this past week. I was inspired by Art Junk Girl , one of my favorite bloggers, who has been re-doing her studio space over the summer, and also by the fact that my craft space is also technically our guest room. And, since my parents are coming to visit at the beginning of October, I thought it might be a good idea if the sofabed actually had room to open. (you may wonder why I'm working on this now, since October is a month away, but organizing for me is a big undertaking- it may take me that long!) I had some of my supplies in cardboard boxes in the closet, but could never find what I wanted, so I bought some heavy-duty shelves. I don't know why it took me so long to think of this, but it's a big improvement- packaging supplies and Etsy crafts now are (mostly) neatly organized, along with sewing supplies, my scrapbooking idea books, and lots of other things. My desk even got cleaned off, which allowed me to actually work on these: This ATC (title: Wounded) was made using one of the backgrounds from the class I took from Bernie Berlin at AU. The heart is layers of aluminum foil that I ran thru the crimper to give it some texture; the spike is actually a spine from our Argentinian Toothpick cactus...

This is another of the same backgrounds; this one (title: Mended) is made from metal duct tape pieced together in a sort of patchwork, along with copper eyelets and string. There is one more of the set that I haven't finished yet; these 3 ATCs are not my usual "style" at all, but they sort of just "came" to me, and I needed to make them to get them out of my head.

And now for something totally different; these 2 mini-collages were made from supplies I won in a blog contest from Art Junk Girl... I won an assortment of collage images, along with some pre-painted background squares and a number of heavy chipboard squares for creating my own collages. The first one was made from a collage image she sent me; the second one was made from images and text cut from one of my vintage cookbooklets. Aren't they nice?? (if I do say so myself... lol!) Now, check out the last pic for another view of them: Yes, that's right, they're only an inch square... they are what's called Inchies, which are Art Junk Girl's specialty. I love her stuff, but wasn't sure I could make anything so small... I still think the ATC size is easier, but inchies are interesting... it's actually fun trying to find things small enough to fit a one inch square!

August 18, 2007

AU Installment 3, Trunk Show re-cap

Sunday was my class with Bernie Berlin, on Artist Trading Cards. It was the only full-day class I took at AU, and I sort of "fell into" it... someone else was selling their ticket, 'cause they wanted to get into a different class. So, I ended up having a fun day making ATCs, when I wasn't expecting it at all! Bernie Berlin is an amazing artist; she teaches classes all over (she'll be in Italy next year...), runs a dog rescue facility from her home in Tennessee where she saves hundreds of dogs a year (she drives them to Illinois, Wisconsin, and the East Coast where they are adopted out... Noel is one of the first dogs I read about on her site; she is only a puppy, and was probably used as a bait dog for training dogs to fight. This is a pic of her with Bernie, sporting "ears" made for her by one of Bernie's artist friends, to help keep her head warm... Noel was adopted by someone in Wisconsin, and is doing great!). These are the first ATCs we made... magazine portraits: magazine images painted with gesso, then outlined with marker and painted with acrylics. I never draw people, so this is a good way to get faces without having them look like weird aliens, which is how they would turn out if I drew them freehand!

These ATCs used metal foil tape (for ductwork repairs) and string in interesting ways. The string ATC used a clip-art clown image; the string gives it some interesting texture. I think my clown turned out a bit on the scary side for me, but I posted it on Flickr, and someone wanted to trade for it, so it's going to a good home!

These cards are backgrounds, which I will eventually finish. They were made using a really cool product- Polished Pigments, which are powdered pigments that come in amazingly gorgeous colors... a tiny scoop of the powder was mixed with a liquid medium... the technique to make these was so simple! Drag the card thru the puddles of color, spritz with water, and use a heat gun to dry them, which mixes the colors in interesting and unexpected ways. Honestly, a couple of these were total accidents, because I dropped the card into the puddles of color- they look great!!! I have ideas for a few of them already, just need to get them finished.

The day was wonderful- lunch was provided, and it was great to hang out all day long with artsy/creative type people who are the friendliest people ever! It was so easy to just start chatting with people about their classes, projects, and their AU experiences. Next year I am going to take more classes; it was an amazingly wonderful experience. (I know I've overused the phrase "amazing experience" in this post, but there's not much else to call it!)

This pic is my practice set-up for the show; I set up the table in the living room to arrange everything so I'd know how to set it up.

Saturday was our first Craft Mafia Trunk Show... for me, the day was a bust. Not the show necessarily, but the day in general. First, we had no water when we got up (it was pretty much the entire town); next, there was a traffic accident that closed the highway north out of town just when I was heading out. Then after the show, we had electricity outages in our neighborhood. So, it was basically a frazzled sort of a day, overall. (I hate hearing about those fatality accidents; the highway in/out of town can sometimes be really crazy, but accidents don't seem to slow people down any, though...) After taking 15 minutes to move about 1 mile, only to be turned around by the police, I ended up driving 25 miles southeast to Casa Grande where I finally picked up I-10 to drive north to Tempe. After being in the car for about 2 hours, I finally got to the restaurant. I didn't personally make any sales, but it was still good experience. Hopefully next month will be better; the college-age crowd should be larger, and I can refine my table setup somewhat to make it easier to see things.

August 10, 2007

AU Installment Number Two, and plenty of Trunk Show Chaos!!!

If you're in the Phoenix area on Saturday, August 11th, stop by and see us at The Plaid Eatery, 1044 South Terrace Road, in Tempe. Jewelry, clothing, hand-knits, paper arts, candles, and more!!!

So, today's class at Art Unraveled was another fun one... "art journal" collage pages with Kelly Kilmer. Lots of gel medium, acrylic paint, and cutting and pasting plenty of wonderful papers and images from her stash. She literally had an entire garbage bag full of paper (scrapbook paper, pages from old books, calendars, tissue paper- you name it, it was in there!) that she dumped out in the hallway for us to scrounge through. She also brought pretty much all the other supplies we needed- watercolor paper, cool stamps, the paint and gel medium, and plenty of inspiration! This type of artwork is also something that I've never done before, and would have to say, don't exactly feel comfortable with, so it was really good to see it "explained" and find out that it's not as intimidating as it seems!!! Will I actually put together an art journal, though?? Not sure... stay tuned!

In other news, we've gotten LOTS of other press besides the newspaper mention that I posted about, and I'm getting really nervous for tomorrow's show. Tressa, our prez, heard that some of the AU attendees may take a break from their Shopping Extravaganza to stop by, too! I have pretty much everything packed up; I just need to make a sign for my table, and then I'll be free to worry all night about how it will turn out... LOL! Wish me luck; I'll let you know how it goes!

August 09, 2007

Thursday: Trunk Show and Traffic Tedium

First things first: how cool is this, hmmm??!!?? This morning, on my break at work, I paged thru the Calendar section of the Phoenix newspaper, because Tressa (our Mafia prez) said she sent info to all the local news outlets about our trunk show. And sure enough, right there it was!!! (I could have cropped it closer, but I thought you might want to look at Daniel Craig, too... LOL!) Tressa and Kim (the VP) also passed out hundreds of fliers at First Friday last week (an open-air art walk type thing downtown Phoenix on... when else... the first Friday evening of the month), and everyone has been e-mailing, flyer-ing, and publicizing. We've gotten the word out there, but I have no idea what to expect... do I not have enough things to sell? do I have too much? are they things people would want to buy?? Right now, I have to finish up some last-minute things (of course- you know me, the perennial procrastinator!), and clean off the table (it's in the garage) so I can set everything up for a practice run. "Traffic tedium" comes in because they were late getting the orange cones picked up this afternoon on the highway where they're doing road construction (pretty much every Maricopan drives to and from town on this highway unless we want to go about 30 miles out of our way). Because of this, a drive that usually takes me 45 minutes took an hour and 15 minutes. ICK.

Well, off to the garage to clean the table, the craft room to corral my collage supplies for tomorrow's AU class, the office to print some signs, back to the craft room to work on some last-minute ideas, oh yes, and dinner needs to fit in there somewhere... bye!

August 08, 2007

Art Unraveled, part 1

I've been to two events at Art Unraveled so far, and so far it's a blast!!! I definitely need to save my $$ and vacation time, and sign up earlier next year, so I can take more classes!! This week is crazy for me, between these classes and trying to get set up for the first Mafia Trunk Show, but next year I will definitely budget my time better, so I can spend much more time there.
This is a rather dark glimpse of Sunday evening's Meet the Artists event... a number of the artists had tables with samples of their projects, so you could see them, and talk to the artists about the classes they're teaching. I saw quite a few things I'd love to take classes on next year! Marney Makridakis (founder of the Artella website and print magazine) gave the keynote address, which had to do with creating a "mission statement" for yourself, like large corporations do, so that we can incorporate creativity into our everyday life more easily. I wasn't sure I was even going to go to this event since the hotel where it's being held is on the north side of the city (and kind of a far drive from Maricopa), but another attendee, who lives in Ahwatukee, AZ (south suburb of Phoenix), e-mailed me and asked if I'd like to carpool with her... how nice was that?? (thanks, Amanda!!!)
This is an assemblage by one of the instructors, Michael deMeng. I couldn't even tell you what all the components are, besides the most obvious: matches, a screw, some copper wire, and unidentified metal bits... all his pieces were all amazingly detailed and very small (the one pictured was probably only 1 x 3 inches...??). I find it intriguing, but also frustrating in a way, because I don't think I could ever put something like this together. The scientific/linear part of my brain would win out, and I would get stuck on "am I doing this right??" before I could ever make something that turned out like this. That means I admire people who can do it even more! This is one of the pieces I made in my Monday night class, Monochromatic Collage, with Cindy Kovack. She is a local artist- a story about her in the paper is how I remembered about Art Unraveled being in Phoenix, actually! Cindy recycles everyday objects that might otherwise get thrown away (old CDs, bottle caps, plastic Mardi Gras beads, shotgun shell casings, anything really...) to make small but elaborately decorated collage pieces with bases made from small tins or boxes. She had 2 tables full of supplies for us to use in our work, along with boxes of tins and containers to pick from. I completed two pieces in class and brought home the "ingredients" for another one, along with tons of freebies she handed out. This class was really fun, because I don't often work in 3D, and it was "freeing" in a way, to pick through all the brightly colored bits and beads and put them together in rather unconventional ways. (look closely, and you'll see that along with the bottle caps, there are mini Christmas light bulbs in this piece!) This is my second piece, constructed on the lid from an Altoids box. The picture is probably from a calendar, and was my inspiration for the piece. All the colors used echo the colors from the picture. The scalloped edging is actually older large-style pop tops glued onto the tin with sequins and rhinestones. This class used a lot of E6000 adhesive, lots of toothpics to apply it, and I did end up with a small pile of teeny beads, unused sequins, and trims at my table (some of them came home with me for future use- you know us artists, we don't waste anything if we can help it!) Unfortunately, it was only 3 hours, and the time really flew by! Everyone was super-nice, and I chatted with my seatmate, who is attending AU from her home in Alaska. People really do come from all over- I also heard an Australian accent in the hallway somewhere! See more pics of our finished collages and more of Cindy Kovack's work on my Flickr page...
I get to take two more classes yet, too!! more on them after... I'm sure I'll be brimming over with ideas, projects, and free stuff to share!

August 05, 2007

yes, we do still live here...

we had a wonderful time on our long-weekend Wisconsin vacation in the woods. We met Mom, Dad, and Judy for lunch, and hung out in the woods with Tom's family, relaxing and reminiscing. We made it back with only one travel casualty, Tom's leather hat (left it in the rental car, and the rental car agency never got back to us about it).

after yet another week on the road in California, Tom's actually working in the office for the next few weeks! A well-deserved rest (of sorts) for him; the luxury to actually drive home after work instead of to a hotel!

we've been having some monsoon storms periodically, which sometimes involve lots of wind, dust, and quite impressive thunder and lightning. There's nothing quite like driving through a dust storm while it sprinkles, which only serves to turn the dust into mud on the windshield! There are some flooded washes in town, but now that the bridge by our subdivision is complete, we're not cut off from town no matter how much water there is, thank goodness.

I bought (and finished, finally) the last Harry Potter book. I had been putting off reading it, because I know it's the last one ever, and knew I would feel let down by that. It was a great book, although it had some unexpected twists, I am quite happy with how it turned out- lots of stuff got explained, and right triumphed over evil, as we wish would always happen. I do miss Hogwarts School and the wizarding world already, though...

the next week is going to be busy for me:

Art Unraveled starts tonight with Meet the Artists, where I will get the chance to see and actually meet some of the people whose work I ogle on the internet and in books and magazines!

Monday evening I'm taking Monochromatic Collage, which involves found objects, small tins, collage images, and E6000 adhesive- sounds like fun! (click here for an example project from the instructor.)

Friday I'm taking a personal day from work to take a mixed media collage class titled Off the Wall with Kelly Kilmer... this class involves watercolor paper, stamping, collage images, paint, and requires bringing entire rolls of both paper towels and waxed paper- should be lots of fun, and will probably be messy! (here are some of her projects, posted on Flickr.)

Saturday is our very first Phoenix Craft Mafia Trunk Show!! I'm sure I won't be ready, no matter how much more work I do, so the only thing left to do is just put the stuff out there and see if anyone likes it, I guess. Craft Mafia members have been doing lots of promoting, so there should be quite a few shoppers attending (I hope!)... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, I'm taking one more class at Art Unraveled, a class on Altered Trading Cards with Bernie Berlin, an artist, author, and also animal rescuer extraordinare... this one was a great deal, because I got it for about 1/2 price from another attendee who got the chance to take a different class, so she needed to sell her ticket... this class also involves lots of gluing, cutting, and probably also will be messy, but I'll learn tons of new techniques!

Monday, I will be going back to work, and probably will be half-asleep at my desk by 8 am!