Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Penny Leis

It's graduation season and in Hawaii, it's traditional to give leis. Many years ago, I learned how to make leis using pennies. There are many different styles of money leis. Some use paper bills (fan folding, origami) and others use coins. I prefer to use pennies because the size and weight are just right. Dimes are too small and light, quarters are too heavy--and expensive! With a lei like this made with quarters, the graduate may be tempted to take it apart for the money!
The leis in the top two photos each took about 250 pennies. I wrapped the pennies in 4" x 4" cellophane squares (using the graduates school colors) and strung into a lei.
I made the lei in the middle photo for my 11 year-old niece who graduated from 5th grade. A full penny lei would be too much for her, so I made a lei with $5 in quarters decorated with lace trim.
The leis in the bottom two photos are also penny leis. I took 140 pennies and wrapped them individually in 3" x 3" cellophane squares tied with curling ribbon. Then the pennies are strung together carefully rotating each penny 90 degrees so that they form a circular pattern.

May Fairies

Heather Elffly

Columbine Rainbowglitter
Gossamer Moonglow

Buttercup Elfwand

Columbine Goblindancer

Columbine Rainbowwand
A sampling of my May fairies...

Earth Rhythms & Morphscapes

I absolutely love how this spread in Su's "Earth Rhythms & Morphscapes" came out! Again, focusing on new techniques, I went with Scratch Art which I had never tried before. I had the scratch art special paper--shiny black gloss, but when you scratch the surface, holographic paper is revealed. What fun!
My first ideas centered around making a scratch art spirit animal, but alas, I can't draw--even if it is just scratching. So, I began to journal about things that are "me"--where I was born, significant people, places and events in my life as I grew up. In no time, I had enough words to fill several pages. then I started by simply writing the words in free-form swirl patterns across the pages. The technique is so simple and I really like the way the flow of the curves played right into Su's theme of Earth Rhythms.
By the way, you can actually make your own scratch art paper by coloring a piece of cardstock with crayons (no white showing). Press hard to get a good layer of color. Then paint the entire sheet of cardstock with black tempera paint mixed with a drop of liquid dish soap (2 tablespoons paint to 1/4 teaspoon dish soap). Allow the paper to dry completely, then use toothpicks to scratch. Give it a try!

Speaking of Turtles...

This is the spread I ended up doing in the Turtle book this month. Since we are focusing on techniques, I thought that a simple pull-out tab would work nicely with the turtle. I decided to do a spread illustrating a scene from the Aesop Fable about the Tortoise and the Hare. I have to say that it was the background (scrapbook) paper that bought this whole spread together. I was struggling with how to make the background. At first, I thought I would gather sand from the beach and glue it to the page for my background. However, when I dug up this particular sheet of scrapbook paper, not only did it look like sand, but there was a path going across the page! I immediately visualized the race course where the tortoise takes the finish line "by a neck."
When you pull the turtle's neck out, the moral of the fable is revealed: "Slow but steady wins the race." I reprinted the fable in the foreground on vellum. And just for fun, I added the silhouette of the rabbit's head and ears to show just how far behind the tortoise he was.

My Final Inspiration Card

I bet you've been wondering where I've disappeared to...well, my computer went on the blink and it's only now that I've been able to get it up and running agin.
Now that's not to say that I haven't been busy creating art! I've had lots and lots of projects keeping me busy this past month. Where do I start?
Let me first share with you my final inspiration card which was inspired by my friend, Sox. One day, she generously shared with me several wonderful ideas for what to do in an altered book whose theme was "The Turtle." She was at no loss for turtle ideas. One of her ideas had to do with this vision of a turtle having to carry his whole house on his back. That image sort of stuck with me and I ended up making this inspiration card for her--as a tribute to her turtle idea. She received the card today and thought it was rather cute. I think he is too!