Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Penny Leis for Graduation

It's graduation season again and in Hawaii, we honor our graduates by giving leis.  I have made various penny leis over the years.  The pink and iridescent cellophane lei in the top photos were made for a family friend graduating from college in Colorado.

The red and black cellophane lei in the middle is for my nephew who graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  Red and black are their school colors.

The red lei in the bottom photos is for my niece who is graduating from high school.  At her school, each class votes on a class color that will be associated with their class throughout high school.  Her class color is red.  Since she is petite-sized, I wanted to create a daintier lei that would not overpower her.  I experimented by making this lei with glittered tulle (3" x 3" squares).  I like the way it turned out.  The size turned out just perfect for her!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Turquoise, Pink and Orange

I cycled through a lot of different ideas before I finally arrived at this page (above).  I love the color palette, so I was surprised and frustrated that I couldn't easily figure out what to do.  I think part of my struggle was that many of these color journal pages will be bound in a Midori style journal (elastic cord binding).  The size is 8 x 8 with a fold in the center.  This is a surprisingly small size for me and it required some scale adjustment on my part.  Also, some recipients want the work to be flat.  Talk about a challenge!  My style tends to be chunky, embellished, interactive.  I find that my "go-to" techniques often require the structure of  an actual bound book (which is why altered books really appeal to me!)  So, outside of my comfort zone I ventured.

The creative process began with this idea of Kandinsky-inspired circles.  I made a mock up out of concentric felt circles, but once I saw it, I wasn't loving it.

It took me a long time to reach the decision to abandon this initial idea and start anew.  So, once back to the drawing board, I began to make a connection between these colors and Bollywood.  This palette reminds me of India and knowing that Jen loves music, Bollywood seemed a logical choice.  Easy and inspiring, right?  Or so I thought. Beginning to feel the time crunch, I forced myself to just START.  While pulling stencils that gave me an "India" vibe, I thought I might try playing with these new layered stencils from Altenew (Dahlia).  Using Distress Stains, I chose orange for my background color. For the first stencil, I applied a pink Distress Stain with a felt applicator (I was too lazy to find my sponge daubers).  I applied a turquoise Distress Stain through the second stencil.  Some of the colors started to bleed into each other which gave it a soft, water-color effect.  I was fascinated by this layered technique.  This is how it turned out:

Interesting, but it didn't feel right for these color journal pages.

Next, I pulled out my Dylusions sprays and started playing with some of my other stencils.  This background was created with orange and pink Dylusion sprays.  I added another layer applying turquoise acrylic paint with various plastic lids and Q-tips.  I was happy with the bright and energetic look that was emerging.

As fun as this was, it really needed something more.  I toyed with the idea of adding silhouettes of Bollywood dancers.  Or a Buddha image.  Again, none of this was really grabbing me.  I think that's when I started to move toward a Boho page.  I imagined colorful ribbons decorating the page edges. 

 Yes!  But, it still needed a focal point.  I found a quote about music that seemed fitting.  I printed it out in a 3 x 3 square and framed it in turquoise paper (using my new Frame punch board from We R Memory Keepers).

Despite the early struggles, I am very happy with how this page turned out and think Jen will love it too!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Bargello Leftovers


Look at the pretty cards I made with my washi tape bargello leftovers!!

Acrylic Pours

I have been watching a few different acrylic pour techniques but never tried it myself.  I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty when I signed up for an acrylic pour class at a local craft store. 

We used a variety of materials in the class. To start, we used a mix of Liquitex professional ink with pouring medium.  The class had pre-prepared a different squeeze bottle for each color.  Just by eyeballing it, the bottle was 3/4 full of pouring medium and about 2-3 dropperfuls of ink was added. You can add more ink for a more intense color, but the volume comes from the pouring medium which is not cheap.

Our work stations were equipped with a shallow box (large enough to hold your canvas) lined with parchment or wax paper.  And gloves.  And an apron.

For the first piece, we proceeded to squirt our canvas with different colors.  You can see I used magenta, turquoise and gold.  Once the color is on the canvas, you tip and turn the canvas to move the color on the surface.  Gravity takes over.  Where the turquoise and gold ran together, it created a green color.  I kept trying to get complete coverage but the way I was squirting the mixture and/or the amount I was applying left these openings exposing the canvas below.  The design sort of began to grown on me and I figured I could always go back and fill the space with another medium (ink pen doodles or glitter accents?)

For the second piece, we did the "dump" technique.  This is where you take a cup (we used 7 oz dixie cups since this was a larger canvas) and start to layer your colors for the pour.  We used a combination of Liquitex Professional inks and Color Shift acrylic paint for our colors. As with the inks, pouring medium is added to the acrylic paint.  It was roughly one part acrylic paint to 4 parts pouring medium.  I started with the black acrylic/pouring medium as my base color.  A little goes a LONG way with black, so I tried to use it sparingly.  To the base color, we added about 8 drops of liquid silicone.  Instead of buying liquid silicone, you can take a can of silicone spray and spray it into a non-porous container.  Stir.  I had heard that the more you stir, the smaller the cells.  The less you stir, the larger the cells.

Then you to add your colors into the cup right on top of the base color/silicone mixture, one at a time.  I added a metallic lime green (acrylic paint), turquoise and gold (inks).  This is called a "dirty" pour because it contains a mixture of inks and acrylic paints. 

We inserted push pins on the back of the canvas frame.  This lifts the canvas off the box and allows the paint to drip down the sides.  To start, place the canvas face down on top of the cup and flip over.  Remove the cup and watch the paint start to flow.  We tipped and turned our canvases to stretch the different colors and create new patterns.  I scooped up some of the excess paint and applied it to the empty parts of the canvas for more coverage.

As time went on, bubbles started to appear.  This is the effect of the silicone.  We experimented by quickly passing a heat gun over the surface to further activate the silicone and create more cells.  I don't know why I did not get too many cells.  Maybe I needed more silicone, because even after applying a fair amount of heat, I still but didn't get too many cells.

I found the process very relaxing and hope to be able to try it again--the next time with glitter!