Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meet More of My Fairy Friends

Nettle Hailtree

Briar Goblinglimmer

Feather Saturnweb

Briar Rainbowfly

Oak Elfshimmer

Columbine Goblindancer

Columbine Elfwand

Fidget Goblintree

Gossamer Reedfrost

Gossamer Reedshimmer

Saturday, February 19, 2011

String Art Mandala

Rosemary made the most amazing book for this round. Her theme is mandalas. She asks each of the artists to create a mandala about 8 1/2" in diameter. Her book holds several pockets to house each of the mandalas. Let me tell you, there are some pretty tough acts to follow in this book! Rosemary made a beautiful iris folded mandala to decorate the cover of her book. Debbie West made a replica of the Rose Stained Glass window using a transparency and alcohol inks. Mike created a kaleidoscope effect using photos of Nelson Mandela (the "Nelson Mandela" mandala) and Howie Mandel (the "Howie Mandel" mandala)--hilarious! And DebZ did the most fabulous free-hand mandala. How could I follow acts like that?

Fortunately, I found a beautiful piece of scrapbook paper that inspired the mandala I made for Rosemary's book. It reminded me of a beautiful persian rug. But in order to make it into a mandala, I decided to decorate it with string art.

I started by reducing the decorative scrapbook paper until the circle in the middle measured 6" in diameter, then mounted it onto chipboard. I used a pattern that called for 80 points. Traditional string art utilizes small nails, but that would not work for an altered book. Instead, I carefully placed 80 mini brads around the 6" circle. Once the brads were in place, the fun begins!

This pattern is done in three sections. I used the black string for the first section, white string for the second section and the gold string for the last section. I followed the stringing sequence for the first section--or tried to. Somewhere along the way, I lost track and had to improvise. Stringing for the next two sections was much easier. Here is the finished product!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Exploring the Dark Side of Halloween

I had the privilege of working in Gretchen's Dark Side AB this week. I am not in the RR, but welcomed the opportunity to do a "guest" spread. The theme of her book is the Dark Side of Halloween. I found a factoid about Halloween that immediately caught my attention. It reads:

"Halloween shows some similarities to the Celtic Samhain festival which took place on the eve, October 31st and the day of celebration, November 1st. The Celts believed the veil between this world and the next became blurred at this time of year which marked the transition from summer to winter."

I envisioned a spread using a torn window separating summer and winter. I found a beautiful picture of flower-filled meadows (representing summer) and a cold, dark scene (representing winter). I printed out the factoid onto a transparency and sandwiched it between the two sides of the torn window. I added a piece of gauze which created a "veil" effect. I embellished the summer picture with a product called FlowerSoft which adds dimension and a nice spongy texture in a variety of pretty colors. Finally, I embellished the winter picture with iridescent "snow" (on sale for 90% off after the holidays!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Celebrate Life

I was working in Mike's Celebrate Life book this month. The idea for my spread grew out of a Japanese movie called "Departures." It's about an out-of-work cellist who takes a job as an encoffiner. An encoffiner is someone who prepares bodies for cremation. As morbid as this may seem, each person is treated with grace and dignity giving a beauty to death. Since we are focusing on techniques for this round robin, I decided to do a matte gel transfer.

I chose an "Ophelia"-inspired image and printed it out on a laser printer. I applied several thin coats of matte gel medium over the image and allowed ample drying time between coats. When it was completely dry, I soaked the image in a shallow pan of lukewarm water for 3-5 minutes. I then gently rubbed the paper to remove paper pulp. As I rubbed the paper off the back of the image, the gel transfer began to stretch to almost double the size! It was a lot like kneading dough. Don't worry--as the gel dries, the image will shrink. Since it got a bit scrunched, I took a paintbrush, dipped it in some water and dampened the image just enough to reshape it. After it dries, you can use the gel transfer in your artwork!

I love how the matte gel transfer dries with a translucency. It gave my spread an ethereal quality. When I placed the gel transfer into Mike's book, the words of the pages showed through. I took paper and fabric flowers and embellished the image to complete my spread.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Fabulous Fairies

I have been having so much fun making fairies for friends! From top to bottom, meet Ember Rainbowglitter, Hazel Elftree, Columbine Elffilter, Briar Goblinfly, Ember Rainbowtree, Fidget Goblinglow, Briar Iceglitter, another Briar Iceglitter, Hazel Elfwitch and Nettle Goblinwitch!