Monday, October 27, 2014

Mokume Gane Christmas Ornaments

Autumn has arrived here in Virginia, and I couldn't be happier about it. It's my favorite time of year. The onset of cooler weather and the vibrant colors of the changing leaves often makes me feel inspired, and cooler weather also means I usually pull out my polymer clay and try out new ideas, as well as old favorites.

This year was no exception, and my first order of business was to play around with the mokume gane technique. If you're unfamiliar with mokume gane, here's a link to a little tutorial on Sculpey's site. This technique has been around in the polymer clay world for years, and yet this was the first time I've ever tried my hand at it. I have no idea why I waited so long, because it's so much fun, fairly easy, and the results can be complex and stunning. I'm sold!

To get a jump on creating for the holiday season, I made these Christmas ornaments. If you're interested in purchasing any of these, they're available for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Studio Table

Just a quick post today as I play along with Seth Apter's (the creative voice behind The Altered Page) Studio Table project. Seth asked artists to join him in sharing a photo of their messy tables mid-project. My table is often much, MUCH messier than this when I'm working on something, but time constraints during the last week have left me without many opportunities to really get down and dirty. I did have a couple hours the other day in which I was able to pull out my Gelli plate and work on some monochromatic prints, so I snapped a photo then.

I'm almost embarrassed that it's not messier! Ha! 

Pop on over to Seth's blog today to see all the other contributing artists and their own wonderfully messy tables. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Colorful fern notecards

I tend to always have on hand a very large amount of stamped, painted, or inked papers that I've created but not used for any particular project. These papers are mostly the results of me playing around with ideas with no set project in mind. The other day I decided to go through the HUGE stack of these papers, hoping to make use of some of them. I pulled out a few colorful, rubber stamped ferns I'd completely forgotten about and decided to use them for handmade cards. I only had a small amount of the images, so I sat down to create more in the same vein. Nothing like trying to use up a seemingly endless supply of paper, and then creating more! At least I had fun, right?

The fern images were stamped onto 140 lb. watercolor paper using spray inks. I spritzed the inks onto deli paper, then stamped the fern into them, and then stamped onto the watercolor paper. On some of them I also added a bit of pearlescent spray. These images were then adhered onto a stamped background using adhesive foam. 

I had so much fun creating these cards that I made several, some to keep for myself, and some to sell in my Etsy shop. For a few of them, I used an aspen tree stencil and white spray ink to create the background.

I just love the bright colors and the watercolor effect of these ferns, and the almost ghostly aspen tree background really makes me happy. I liked that background so much that I created several of them...which of course means that pile of papers grows ever larger. Some things never change...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Repeating patterns

I just love when I stumble on a design I can adapt to fit more than one creation. All of the following projects were inspired by one of my cards for the ICAD Challenge. That's happened for me a few times over the course of the challenge, and I'm loving the flow of ideas and inspiration such a simple thing as ICAD has yielded.

First up is the ICAD that spurred all the ensuing projects. It started with a Gelli print background that I added some stenciling to using sequin waste. I then inked up a script stamp in black ink and stamped it randomly on the surface of the card. I finished it off by stamping one of my newest hand carved stamps using acrylic paints in cadmium red and vermilion. Aqua is my favorite of all colors, and for awhile now I can't seem to get enough of it when paired with red.

Next up I pulled out yet another Gelli print, this time one I'd created on textured kraft cardstock. I followed the same steps to create this handmade postcard. I also added some punched Gelli print circles on the side and a bit of doodling with a micron pen.

Why stop there, right? Here is a set of 4 handmade notecards done the same way. I just love bright, vivid, and citrus colors! And aqua always comes out to play in my studio.

Here's another set of 4 notecards. I was having so much fun with this theme I just couldn't stop. In fact, I'm also now working on a couple ATCs in the same vein. 

As an aside, if anyone is interested in purchasing these colorful and cheerful notecard sets, they are available for sale right now in my Etsy shop.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Exploding Dinosaur

Just a quick post to share a link with my readers. I am not the only creative person in my family; my mom and brothers are very creative as well. My brother Josh has been drawing for as long as I can remember, and he recently started a weekly web comic. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think with enough exposure, it's really going to take off. It's pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. 

You can find his web page here: Exploding Dinosaur, and there's a Facebook page, too. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

More ICAD 2014

Although I'm a bit behind, I'm still playing along when I can with the ICAD challenge. I'm still very much enjoying it, and learning a lot about my own process as an artist, not to mention getting lots of fresh ideas.

Here are a few of my favorites from my recent ICADs:

 ICAD #14
This one was from a Gelli print I'd made.

 ICAD #15
A simple one to test out a newly carved stamp.

 ICAD #16
Testing another hand carved stamp.

ICAD #18
Playing with acrylic paint and flexible molding paste.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ICAD 2014

I'd been seeing the Index-Card-A-Day challenge  (aka ICAD) going on over the past few years and thought it interesting, but I never jumped on board. After seeing a friend post one of her index cards on Flickr, I decided to give it a go this time around.


I usually don't have a problem getting some creative time in most every day, so for me the challenge wasn't really about carving out a bit of art time every single day. I'm really not sure exactly what prompted me to join, or what I'd hoped to gain, but I am so glad I decided to play along!


I knew from the beginning that my own personal goal would be to incorporate some of my lesser-used art supplies. Other than that, I decided to just go in whatever direction I wanted on any given day. I have rarely used the prompts and themes, although those can be helpful to give you a jumping off point or something to work towards.


By the time I'd gotten to my 4th ICAD, I noticed a wonderful thing starting to happen. I had a flurry of ideas and things just seemed to flow. For me, this is what I always call being "in the zone". All too often when I sit down to create, the zone eludes me, but getting to that point feels amazing, and it's there that I do my best, most authentic work.

A revelation!

After working on this challenge for a few weeks, I'm finding almost no end to the rush of inspiration. These little index card creations have given me a ticket straight into the zone, and it happens almost effortlessly. I can't really explain why; maybe it's the small size (although I do make ATCs and other small creations as well), maybe it's the fact that I've been using some of my forgotten art supplies, or maybe it's the freeing feeling of using something as common as an index card. Perhaps it pushes aside that inner voice that nags at you to make a masterpiece when you sit down with a canvas or expensive papers and paints. I don't fully understand it, but that's ok, I don't need to have all the answers. I just know that this fun little challenge has allowed me to break out of a bit of a rut I was in and make some authentic creations. Not only that, but the ideas that have come about on the index cards I have then transferred to other pieces, like handmade postcards and other mail art, ATCs, and more. 


I would encourage anyone to give this a try. The main idea is just to be creative, just to get something onto the index card. It allows for a small bit of art time every day, and can be done nearly anywhere depending on your chosen medium. You don't even have to consider yourself an artist to give it a try, but trying is what's important. Give it a shot, and I'm pretty sure you'll find it to be as much fun as I have. And you just might be surprised by what ideas you're able to unleash, and the resulting creations.