About Me

Friday, January 28, 2011


There are almost 1500 participants in Workshop I of the Strathmore Online SeriesPam Carriker has been the instructor for this first class in visual journalling.  I mentioned earlier that our objective for this 4-part workshop was to build a new journal page collaged from our own old art and other recycled materials.  There's been quite a buzz about Pam's new book, Art at the Speed of Life; you can catch a preview and mini-tutorial by the author here.
Where the Wild Things Play
I added fiber streamers and decorated tags to the spiral binding of the page.  The tags have more phrases like, "Bright colored jellies with ribbons that sting", etc. This being a journal page it is filled with feelings and symbols apparent to no one but myself.  Some of the imagery is dark rooted , but others aren't really the morbid fascinations they seem.  See my post about the Creature from the Black Lagoon doll . 
Below is the original collage and thumnails of the recycled "art".


Monday, January 24, 2011


At last my paper bag treasure book is finished.  I have worked on it most days since I started the class in October and don't begrudge a moment.  It was pure play from the search for content and materials to the final result.  In between there were new products and techniques to experiment with, and I learned that scrapbooking is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to paper arts and mixed media.  My book is crude compared to Sara Whitmire's  as I'm still clumsy with the techniques and mediums.  Her excellent videos for the class made the process look do-able and of course effortless in her talented hands.

Covers and pages are wax coated.  I used fibers and ribbons on everything, and if you look at the clusters from the binding (beaded wire) you'll see a string of dried mushrooms hanging with the crepe ribbon and novelty yarns.  You might also spot some silk ribbon, a pretty beige I got from hickory nuts. 
Here is a view of the open side of the book with the pages fanned out.  Actually they are so stuffed with shroom "stuff"; they won't close until I get some heavy duty clips.
I'm afraid the inserts and inclusions are in danger of falling out.  I decorated just about every surface, and every front has a back, even labels and mini-bags.

The pages are collaged.  I don't have much in the way of paper stash, so I used some handcrafted solids and used pictures of fabrics, etc., to make my own backgrounds.  Unfortunately my DIY scrapbook papers were not as substantial as commercial products, so I had to experiment with adhesives and distress methods.  I'll likely do the same thing next time (I told you, I've already started!), but I'll print on heavier paperstock.

First Page
You've probably wondered what I could find to fill a book on mushrooms.  My choices were easy because of the recipient, a mushroom hunting friend born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Germany.  Amazing what'll come up with keywords
German mushrooms like the prayer card on the left showing a guardian angel guiding children to choose right from wrong!  Behind the inserts tucked in at the left is a vintage picture of a child presenting a mushroom to his mother.  The two tags have pix of popular edible mushrooms pfefferlinge/oyster and morels.  Behind the tags is a small white paper bag distressed with a secret potion our teacher provided and decorated with another vintage kids/shrooms picture and on the reverse morels in a handcrafted basket with provencial linen.  The real treasure is the button peaking out.  It's glass, a mushroom man with walking stick and comes from the Czech Republic where they are still producing buttons from antique molds.
Each page was a collage.  The gnome is from a vintage German postcard.  The background is a picture of fabric, the foreground is cut from one of this year's Christmas cards.  You see the tags peeking out to the right?  The book is made from 3 paper bags.  Slits are cut in the bottoms to house the tags in the bottom portion that folds over.  I have therefore 6 tags all of which bear mushrooms from international postage stamps!  Romania and Isle of Man have particularly beautiful collections. If you didn't understand about the bag bottoms I came across a mini tutorial this morning on Cloth, Paper Scissors Today, a daily newsletter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


When I say I'm catching up, it sounds like I've been delinquent in my self-imposed, creative responsibilities, although that's hardly the case.  I have been working on projects everyday except for 10 days of travel to and from California.   For Jane LaFazio's Sketchbook and Watercolor class I completed all but half an assignment.
Despite all my whining, I got a lot from the class and highly recommend it when it comes around again in March.

What's really kept me busy and excited with no end in sight is another Joggles class I took  that began while Jane's was wrapping up.  I've been wanting to learn more about mixed media so I enrolled in Sara Whitmire's Paperbag Book.  Do take the time to check out the class link because no matter how I try to describe the project, I'd fall short.  Basically we constructed a book from paperbags and then decorated with a theme using various techniques and products (my paperarts stash got a jump start!), then created all kinds of hiding places for little treasures.

I did not go for a Christmas theme, worrying I might not finish in time.  I'm still working on three books.  The most fun for me was finding theme stuff, much like a treasure hunt.  One book, the closest to completion, is a gift for a mushroom hunting friend.  I was able to find pictures of antique botanical prints, vintage European postcards, tons of mushroom lore, mushroom art, mushroom fabric, mushroom buttons, and  I'm working in wonderful woodsy colors.  As you may suspect, the morel of my story is I can't stop!

I'm also making two books in pink, the intended recipient's favorite color, with a French theme.  I'm using pink & hot pink in both cases, one accented with grey, silver & black and the other with, oh la la, chocolat.  They are going to be delicious, and I will be working on them a little or a lot each day, as I've already cached supplies and pink frou-frou.

You may have noticed from the badge that I had the temerity to sign up for the Sketchbook Challenge.  I know, I know, but it'll pressure me to draw.  I am in Week 2
of  Strathmore's Visual Journal Workshop I, which is free and online.  This is what I made for the first week.

The assignment was to recycle previous art into a collage.  You can probably recognize bits of TAST samplers, CQ blocks, the creature doll I made.  Some of those pieces used recycled material in the original work.  The water lily is from a watercolor painting I did about 20 years ago.  I'm still working on the second assignment which uses graphite pencil, oil pastels and gesso.  I'm not too happy with results thus far, but I have faith it may be salvageable.

And that where I am to date, happily dabbling in new mediums and techniques.

Monday, January 10, 2011


OMG -- I'm farther behind than I thought!  I wrote the following 11/06:

"Let me preface:  anything I write about my personal drawing demons, has nothing to do with Jane LaFazio's class which I'm enjoying (except for the sketching part) and hopefully making progress thanks to support from a gifted teacher and sympathetic classmates and my own determination.  While journalling this morning I saw a buck in my front yard; the movement of his  antlers rubbing against a tree caught my eye.  He left shortly thereafter, but I sketched him in my journal.  Are you catching this?  I drew a picture in my journal!  I never draw in my journal journal (my ritual morning exercise of writing longhand) except for the occasional stick figure or doodle.  Had I not already had pen in hand, I might not have taken the time to capture that remarkable scene other than in words.  It felt, um, rewarding, and validated my reason for taking the class in the first place.  You were probably wondering that.

In Lesson 3 we practiced direct to pen sketching with blind and continuous line drawing. Jane said we might find our results somewhat wonky. What a relief."

If you note the date on this watercolored sketch, it is Halloween appropriate!!!  That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!   Here's the rest I completed for the class.