Tuesday, August 14, 2012

See You in September!

For the first time since I started blogging in earnest in January 2011, I am going to take a blog break for the rest of this month.  But I will be back in September, so please come back to visit me then!  I will have lots to share with you when I return.

I leave you with images of the most recent Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) I have created:
For this little house, I used acrylic painted papers in blue and tan, with a scrap of text paper for the roof, a scrap of Cavallini & Co. bird sticker for the central image, a little punched heart, and phrases from a magazine to say, "your intuitive sense of what's best for you."  I think the off-center arrangement works a bit better in person than in the photo somehow.

For this ATC, I used an image from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, which was illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen.  Boy, I love the illustrations in that book!  I have used them for a number of different projects, including my recent collage pages.  Here, I just added a little balloon from book text, glitter pen on the stars, gold marker around the edges, and a clip of text saying "my epiphany."  I really like this little one.

The little boy in the picture above was flying over some rooftops, so I used the houses from that same illustration for another ATC.  Text page roofs, direct-to-paper inking for the background, gold pen edging, and stars punched from gold paper.

This ATC is actually not brand new, but I brought it out of hiding. The jacket belonged to Amelia Earhart, hence the "LOST" stamped on the inked background, which also has the rubber stamped image of a compass rose.

If you are interested in doing any swaps with me, check out the "Swaps" tab at the top of the blog.  I enjoy different kinds of trades, and will be up for some new ones when September rolls around.

See you next month!

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Studio 791 Collages

In my last post, I shared some stitched ribbon collages that I made last week.  Today, I have some more collages to share, made with some ribbons and stitching, but mainly composed with paint and paper. 

The first one caused me a lot of agonizing!  I kept making additions and changes trying to make it just right.  While I basically like it, it feels a little "fussed over" to me now because of all the reworkings.  Let me know what you think about the final result!
Dreamer, 6"x6"
Paper, photo transfer, paint, pencil, pen, stitching
In my next collage, I used acrylic-painted background paper with a roughly-torn edge overlaid with a tissue-paper image from F.M. of LaWendula.  I stitched over some vintage rick-rack from my grandmother's sewing stash, a text page from my own collection, and a text page and paper doll image from F.M. 
The Garden is a Dream to Me, approx. 5"x7.5"
Paper, paint, rick-rack, stitching
The text at the top came from a short story called "The Diary of Adam and Eve" by Mark Twain.
In my last collage, I used only papers and a chipboard shell image from my F.M. collection, just adding a tiny swatch of ribbon stitched in the corner.
Requiem, 6"x5.5"
Paper, chipboard, ribbon, stitching
It was a fun challenge to use only the limited papers in one envelope to create a piece of art.  I think this last one is my favorite, though it could be the color scheme that appeals to me as much as anything.

Even after dabbling in drawing, painting, beading, and other forms or art and craft, collage remains my very favorite.  I love the process of selecting materials and arranging them on the page, determining how they should be oriented to one another and affixed to the project, considering the story they collectively tell.  It is fun, therapeutic, and satisfying!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Stitched-Ribbon Collages

Studio 791 has been buzzing lately with art-making.  It's a good thing, too, since I am involved in a number of art swaps right now, and really need to get out of the studio and into the post office very soon!

I created a series of three stitched ribbon, lace, and fiber collages, all 4x6 inches.  They almost look like stitch samplers to me, as I played around with the various stitch settings on my sewing machine.  The collages didn't photograph quite as well as I had hoped, as their true rich colors don't seem to show up very well here.  But you can get an idea!
I had a little fun with this next piece, using an image transfer of a vintage photograph of two women standing barefoot on some river rocks.  I replaced their heads with postage stamps, and re-drew their bodies accordingly to create a little reconfigured historical meeting among monarchs:
I will definitely be trying this with some more of the portrait-style postage stamps I have in my collection!

In my next couple of posts, I have some additional collages, as well as ATCs to share with you.  It's been a productive few days around here!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Look Inside an Art Journal

If you've read my blog for any length of time now, you have probably seen photos of my mother during her visits to our home.  You have seen us creating art together, sorting our stamp haul from the auction, teaching each other one craft or another, visiting interesting places together.  Within the last decade, she has lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky--always too far from my Pennsylvania home for my taste, but always making time for visits with me and her granddaughters.

What you may not know from the photos, though, is that besides being a loving and supportive mother, my mom is also a caregiver.  Eighteen months ago, her husband had a massive stroke, and he has remained bed-bound and dependent on my mother for his most basic needs, such as grooming and bathrooming.  His hospital-style bed occupies their living room so that he will not feel isolated in a back bedroom.  A nurse comes periodically to check his medications, and a "bath lady" comes as well.  Therapists come, and then they don't--my mom and her husband are at the mercy of outside evaluators who determine if there is enough promise of improvement to provide services once in awhile. 

My mother's dream is that her husband will someday be able to be transferred from his bed to a wheelchair; it would open up the whole world to him, in a sense.  The chances are very small.  According the brain scans, the stroke has wiped out one-third of his brain-functioning, and it is very difficult for him to remain focused, to follow through with therapies, to track what's going on with his own body.  Mainly, he knows tiredness and frustration.  And heaven knows, tiredness and frustration are pretty much what Mom has known for the last year-and-a-half, without a break, as well.

That's not to say that there haven't been some bright spots to celebrate along the way.  A couple of amazing women have entered their lives to offer aid and friendship when my mother has needed it most.  Old friends have fixed the deck and helped out with that sort of heavy-duty home maintenance.  Neighbors have cut grass and trimmed trees.  An honest roofer has been trying to help Mom with a leak in her roof, without charging for initial failed attempts.  Mom has made lots of visits to keep up with her grandaughters in Philadelphia and her grandsons in Atlanta.

And...Mom has discovered a real talent and affinity for art.  She has always used her creativity in sewing, cross-stitch, and quilting, among other things.  But now she has moved into drawing, mail art, and art journaling.  She brought her first art journal, almost completely filled now, to share with me this past weekend during her visit, and gave me permission to take some photos and share it with you on my blog.  

I'm not going to make any comments on her pages, but I hope that you will look through them, and listen for all that they speak about her life, her heartache, her healing, her creativity, and her faith.
Mom's art journal cover

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mark My Words

In addition to Rolodex cards, index cards, and ATCs, bookmarks make a great little canvas for small-scale art.  Chris, of Parabolic Muse, recently hosted a bookmark swap, which allowed me to combine three of my great loves--books, making art, and receiving fun art in the mail!

One of the bookmarks I received in the swap was this beautiful scratchboard feather created by Irene.
The back has this portion of a poem by Emily Dickinson:  "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words and never stops at all."
The other bookmark I received in the swap came from Marie Otero.  I love all of this bright and bold imagery!
Side One

Side Two
In addition to bookmarks from two swap participants, Chris included her own stitched bookmark as an added gift to us!
Front detail
Back detail
You can check out my bookmark contributions to the swap in an earlier blog post!  I hope their recipients are enjoying them as much as I am enjoying the ones I was lucky enough to receive.

All of this bookmark swapping got me in the mood to create some bookmarks for the fall craft shows I am going to be participating in during the coming months!
I used some of the stitched paper I made last year to create a collection of bookmarks. 
Then I stitched ribbons to bookmark paper to create lighter-weight bookmarks with exposed stitching in the back. 
More bookmarks awaiting stitching next to the sewing machine
I will be curious to see what kind of interest these bring at the craft fairs!

Again, many thanks to Chris for the bookmark swap, and for putting me in a "bookmark frame of mind"!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Art Wall & A Winner!

Before announcing the winner of my collage page giveaway, I wanted to share a new feature of Studio 791--an inspiring Art Wall above my sewing station.
I'm not quite a photography professional here, to be able to show off these artists' work to best effect, but I can vouch for the beauty of all of these pieces.

I have two lovely collages purchased from the Etsy shop of Hanna Andersson, otherwise known as iHanna, and am so happy with the frames I found for them at Michaels.  Above one of them, I display two of the many amazing postcard collages sent to me by the talented mail artist Karenann Young.
At the top of the wall is the pencil drawing by Martin L. Burgett, from the 1890s, which I acquired recently from the Briggs Auction.
Beneath that, I have an adorable elephant print by Regina Lord, purchased from her Etsy shop, Creative Kismet Studio. I mounted it on colorful patterned paper from PaperSource, and found a frame for it at JoAnn. (You may remember that I have another print from Regina hanging by my kitchen sink, where I enjoy it SO many times a day, as well as a necklace pendant I love to wear!)
Finally, I have a fun and inspiring portrait on a wood panel by Janet Briggs of Random Acts of Art.  I love the quirky tilt of her head, don't you?
As you can see, I have plenty of space to expand my collection.  I love having examples of art, many of them originals, by artists whose work and online inspiration I admire. 
I hope you will support the artists you love, as well! 

And now for the results of the collage page giveaway:  There were 14 entrants, so I did things the old fashioned way, and put each person's name on a slip of paper and mixed them up in a bowl.
And the winner is...
Chris, our very own Parabolic Muse!

Chris, your collage pages are already packaged and waiting to be taken to the Post Office, so you should have them very soon!

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway.  Stay tuned, because I have some more giveaways planned for the coming months!