Thursday, April 13, 2006

My ATC: Stellenbosch

ATC Title: Stellenbosch
Swap Name: Map in Your ATC

I participated in a 4/3/ swap on an internet ATC chat list called "Map in Your ATC". I made this series in February.

About My Process for This ATC
When selecting a map to use as the background, I looked for specific colors and other interesting map features that would be appealing to the eye. Since the ATC is so small I want it to look good so I choose elements with certain content and certain colors and which are certain sizes. I looked at the large maps with a template the size of an ATC like a little window to find what small section of the map would look nice on this very small canvas. I really enjoyed the pastel colors of this map. I also carefully selected which part of the map would appear on the ATC. I thought that putting the center of the town just off center with the roads leading away made a pleasing composition.

I decided to add a wine label from that region whose label would look nice on this ATC. It was convenient that this book has tiny labels from the winemakers in each region, perfectly sized for ATC making. I first chose the Stellenryck label but felt the ATC still was missing something, so I selected a second label. I carefully chose where to put it on the ATC so as to not cover up something very appealing to the eye. When I started this series I had no intention of using rubber stamps so this ATC was completed without the use of rubber stamped images (unlike some others in this series.)

This looked bright and 'new' and 'unfinished', so I added some acrylic glazed paint which I custom blended myself with a ‘sweetheart pink’ colored acrylic craft paint (Folk Art brand which I had on hand and costs under $1 per bottle. I am trying to use what I have on hand rather than restock my entire art supply inventory with top of the line art materials which, by the way, I can’t afford!) It was hard selecting a glaze color because I didn’t want the color to wash out the color on the map (which happened with a different ATC that I was making that I ‘ruined’).

The last step was to put the edging on which is acrylic paint in a bronze metallic color, which I selected because the Stellenryck label had a similar color.

Working with mixed-media collage is not a fast process. I had to let each layer dry in between. This ATC took several days and not including the selection of images took over an hour to complete.

I like all of my wine map atlas ATCs and had a hard time parting with them. I hope the person who ends up owning this ATC enjoys it as much as I did!

General Background on this Series
At a library book sale I had found a wonderfully illustrated book from the early 1970s which was a 'wine atlas'. (Note: I have since seen other wine atlases and the newer they are the less charming they are because of the difference in the maps. Funky shading with bright colors in the newer books is not the same effect as the old style maps, to me, at least!) I never knew that wine atlases existed. They are maps of wine growing regions that show certain things about the climate and the terrain. The atlas goes through every part of the world and discusses the special wines that grow in that area. The science of wine growing is explained and the wine making process itself is also explained in detail. When I saw the book I was drawn immediately to the maps. However, the book reeked of mildew. I bought it for 50 cents with the intention of cutting it up to use in collage artwork. Since the book smelled like mildew I had no problem cutting it up. I also knew that by sealing in the papers, the mildew would not be a problem for the ATC as a final product, such as to incite an allergy attack in a person as they held my ATC.

Criticisms of Collage as an Art Form
There have been some negative comments on some chat lists lately about collage being basically an inferior art form. Comments are made such as "taking a cutting from a magazine and slapping it onto cardstock and calling it an ATC". That is not what I do. I had to spend time looking through the wine atlas to find a nice map that would look good as part of the ATC. I am not like Beth Cote, who I saw on the Carol Duvall show this week (episode CDS-1613) making a pop-up altered book, demonstrated that she takes random rippings of papers and slaps them down onto a composition. She said it straight out, just rip it, glue it, and put it down. I don't do that. I take the time to think about how it will look on the ATC

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