Sunday, November 26, 2006

Worked On My First Traveling Journal

Last week I finished working on a traveling art journal which I signed up for on the site. This was the first time I worked on a traveling journal.

We could do up to ten pages in this very small journal.

The style and assignment of this art journal was to journal in the style of Danny Gregory such as he did in his published book “Everyday Matters”. He further talks about how to teach yourself to draw with pen in “The Creative License”.

I wrote and sketched everyday objects and things around me, in pen. I also added some partially finished artist trading cards which just ended up looking like collaged items in the book. I added some photographs. Some of what I added was the proof strips that the film developing place gives you when they print up the photographs. They were fun for adding to a journal.

I also did an evidence page a la the artwork of Candy Jernigan. There was one day that my two sons and I experimented with polymer clay. I used aluminum foil to line the pans with when the pieces were baking. Later I crumpled them up so they could be recycled. One day my older son took the meat tenderizing mallet to it and squished it down and put all kinds of patterns into it. A large amount of aluminum foil was compacted into a flattened sphere. I adhered that to a page in the journal and labeled it as evidence of a day of making polymer clay pieces. That day was the first time I actually used polymer clay and my sons and I were teaching ourselves what we could do with it.

I am looking forward to doing another traveling journal one day.

One thing I’d like is a journal with a deadline. This one had no deadline and I ended up keeping it for a full month to work on then was delayed with Thanksgiving prep and didn’t get it in the mail for one fuller week. I usually don’t drag my feet, but sometimes I do need a deadline to make myself finish something, even an art project!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Dining Room Is Now Empty (of art and craft supplies)

I began decluttering, straightening, reorganizing the house and also cleaning the house in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday four days ago. I systematically did various tasks plodding along.

Yesterday was dedicated to getting all the art and craft stuff out of the dining room. In September I had straightened up and put everything in cardboard boxes and then stacked them along the walls, so that homeschoolers coming here for a co-op could eat on the table. But anyway between the last meeting and yesterday the table was a bit cluttered up.

I sorted everything on the table. I put the two rolling carts full of rubber stamps into the basement.

I sorted what was in the copy paper cardboard boxes. I put all the books and magazines to be cut up to use in making art or else to become an altered book in boxes dedicated for just those things. I then put random ephemera, saved, free stuff in other boxes. I had only half of one box full of purchased supplies such as some colored papers from the craft store. Most of what I have saved is random ephemera such as junk mail, colored paper from junk mail, clippings from mail order catalogs or newspapers, old ticket stubs and other random things. I labeled the boxes to tell what was in it “random ephemera” or “books and magazines for making art”.

My filing system is not very organized. I basically fill boxes with the papers. Then when I go to make something I sift through it. I toss out the stuff that I determine won’t be used and I use or save what I see as the best or most interesting.

I think I have enough stuff saved. I was not angry at myself for saving up all this stuff. However after looking at ten boxes of books, magazines, and random ephemera, I think that is enough.

I was inspired by doing that task yesterday and really wanted to sit down and make some art.

However instead I hauled everything to the unfinished basement, where I have ample storage space for stuff like this.

Oh did I mention I already have some boxes of stuff down there similar to this stuff?

I have enough, I think.

I also found two blank journals that I purchased at a used book sale at a library fundraiser. One is big and square shaped, about the size of those old large square photo albums. The other is a leather bound journal with lines on one side of the page. It has an advertisement for a prescription drug embossed into the leather but perhaps I can alter it in some way to hide that.

So anyway right now the dining room looks like a perfect dining room with (just) furniture and framed art on the walls and vases and candlesticks to decorate the room. The room looks quite nice but that art-mess that defines that stress-relieving part of me is absent.

One problem with this house right now is that so many rooms look good and the way they are ‘supposed’ to look but that leaves me no space for things such as a place to sew, a place to make art (and to leave the stuff out), etc. I could convert a corner of the unfinished (dreary and dark) basement for this endeavor but the atmosphere would be so depressing I would dread being down there (with the spiders). Ugh. So for now it will be stuff stored in boxes and hauling things out when I want to do something then cleaning it all up when done and putting it all away, I guess.

Confession: for a few months earlier this year I kept the art supplies in boxes and stacked them along the kitchen floor near the table. I made a lot more art during that time as the materials were two feet away from the table and I could pull them and out throw them back in very quickly. It didn’t look so great to have copy paper boxes lining the wall over there but it sure was good for creativity.

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Lisa Vollrath’s New Websites

Artist Lisa Vollrath has some new websites. One is called In order to gain full access to the site users must agree to the terms of use, then must register with a username and password.

One of the terms which is a bit gray to me is that we are not supposed to sell anything we make based on the directions on the site. My only complaint with this is that if the technique is not unique and patented by Lisa Vollrath I don’t see how this makes sense. For example last month I read on a blog about one inch collages. I then linked from that blog to many other blogs talking about the technique and showing many different unique one inch collages. Never along the way did I see any references about Lisa Vollrath. I see today that on there are directions for those same collages. I don’t see how it is possible to expect me to promise to never sell one? I have NEVER sold an art piece of mine and don’t know if I ever will. But, I don’t know, something bothered me about that rule.

I joined the new site: and looked around a bit today after our Thanksgiving guests left. The site is small so far but is interesting and gave me some enthusiasm to really get going and to make something.

I am grateful that the site is free. I can’t wait for the site to grow even more.

I see also that Lisa Vollrath has another site, and also she has now password protected her original sites, and Ten Two

I encourage you to go check out Lisa’s sites if you want some interesting ideas.

The thing I have always appreciated the most about Lisa Vollrath’s site is the detailed directions along with the photographs of each step along the way.

By the way Lisa Vollrath sells CD-ROMs of various images and antique photographs. She also sells some CD-ROMs of instructions on how to make various arts and crafts. I purchased a $10 disk that contains information to teach how to make metal jewelry with soldering. That will be one of my Christmas gifts for me. Hooray!

Lisa Vollrath also publishes an e-newsletter.

So anyway go over there and get some inspiration and then buy some of her stuff from her!

I mention Lisa Vollrath's sites not because I earn a commission from the referral but just because I thought you may want to know about these changes in her sites and also of the various cool things she sells.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Dadaist Postcard: Summer Fun

Here is another Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article which described a new summer camp for special needs children which a nearby town was offering for the first time.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush.

I thought the pretty blue colors with pastel yellow and pink accents was summer-like.

I added a packing tape transfer of a photograph from the newspaper article which shows children playing. The odd thing is that the transfer was clear and bright but after application against this colored background it is hard to figure out what is depicted. Oh well.

The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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Dadaist Postcard: Photographing Mountains

Here is another Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article which described a book that was about to be published. It featured photography, landscape photography of mountains and about mountain climbing. I used just one paragraph. I selected this as it had a lot of adjectives which I thought would work well for a poem.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush.

I selected blue as it reminded me of the color of the night sky.

I tried to think of ways to embellish this without covering up the text and came up empty handed. So it is just as it is, words on a hand painted background.

The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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Dadaist Postcard: Steamboat Willie's Transition to Mickey Mouse

Here is a Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article about the history of Mickey Mouse. The gist of this first paragraph was that Steamboat Willie was quite wild, a drinker of alcohol, a jazz dancer and a womanizer. However, at some point Walt Disney cleaned up the character to appeal more to young children.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush. I was trying to go for a red, black and white theme. In the end I decided since the text was so long to just leave the newspring on the red painted background and to leave it simple. I thought about adding a packing tape transfer of Mickey Mouse and one of Steamboat Willie but it seemed too cute-sy so I just left it as is. The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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My ATCs: Christmas in Maine

Here is the end result of the mixed-media collage that I made and then cut into four artist trading cards.

You can read about how I made the collage in this past blog post of mine.

Top Left Corner:

Top Right Corner:

Bottom Left Corner:

Bottom Right Corner:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Collage: Christmas in Maine

I made this 5x7 inch mixed media collage last week. The intention is to cut it into four artist trading cards.

I was inspired by an L.L. Bean catalog page which I had saved depicting winter in Freeport, with ice skaters on a pond near the L.L. Bean store. Actually in real life there is no pond near the Freeport store but why ruin a nice scene?

I covered up the words on the catalog’s cover with layers of tissue paper with stars on it (at the top). At the bottom I used a list of words from an easy reader book for children learning to read. I added bits of ephemera including a bar code from an envelope that came to my house.

I was using a phone book from Maine as my collage gluing surface. If you don’t know this trick, here you are. You open an old phonebook to a clean page. You lay down the paper you need to apply adhesive to. Brush the adhesive over the item and lift it up and glue it to your artwork. When that phone book page is used up enough, turn the page and use that clean surface. It takes a long time to go through one phone book!

So I had this old phone book from Maine and decided to tear out a listing of towns and also a tiny map of Maine. I marked an ‘x’ on the map to show where my grandmother lives, the place where our family’s homestead is that I still visit many times per year.

I then went through a Dover book catalog and cut out small images to add to the piece. I chose some of Eric Sloane’s illustrations as they reminded me of Maine: axes (for cutting down a Chrsitmas tree), holly, and two barn images. Two of the images were aged/darkened using the Tim Holz ink in the color 'straw', and two were made into packing tape transfers.

I added a recipe torn from an old Betty Crocker cook book with a recipe for hot cocoa from scratch, because obviously those ice skaters would love some hot cocoa when they were finished.

Going through a stack of papers I found a colored envelope from a card that my grandmother in Maine had sent to me. Bits from that showing the words “Eastern Maine” were added. I then got on the postage them and dug out my stash of cancelled postage. I took out only holiday and Christmas themed stamps. One stamp shows a puffin which is a bird that lives on the Maine seacoast.

The lighthouse image and the church are from tourist brochures and the Maine phone book.

The piece of colorful map and the maroon colored lace were sent to me by an ATC swap participant as a thank you gift to me, the hostess (thank you Maureen!).

So there is the scan of the 5x7 inch collage. I plan to cut it up this weekend and then will scan the individual ATCs and hopefully can get those uploaded for you to see also. It is interesting how different the little artist trading cards look as individual pieces when compared to the larger sized collage.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Collage: Early Bird

Last week I unearthed this finished collage which was long forgotten.

I made this collage in July 2006 when I had Lyme Disease very badly. Actually the day I made this collage I had started the antibiotic treatment and was feeling horrible, having what is called a Herxheimer Reaction. This is a worsening of symptoms that happens due to a large die-off of spirochete organisms. Anyway that day I felt so horrible that I declared it a ‘make art and try to feel better’ fun day.

Then I put it with some ephemera and forgot about it completely and never did anything with it.

The base inspiration was that I saw an ATC swap online requesting the artists to use the colored part of security envelopes in the ATC in some way, shape or form.

I used a 5x7 inch piece of recycled cardboard as my base. I then used some of the security envelope paper on it. The intention was to slice this into four ATCs when it was done. I call these “block collages” as I make one big collage first then later cut them into ATCs. I don’t plan out each single ATC, I try to concentrate on the collage as one large piece and try to not think about how each little ATC will look in the end. I like the surprise at the end when it gets cut up.

I used a 1977 newspaper that my grandmother had saved. I liked the color of the “foxed” paper (slang term for oxidized paper). I enjoy the different kinds of font that older newspaper used. I liked the little bird which was in an ad for early bird and for an early spring store sale.

I then had the bird theme going and added in some complimentary colored postage stamps with birds on them.

There is a Citrasolv transfer of a digitally altered photograph of my younger son on here as well.

I also used some map images from an small and old world atlas. I added some ephemera with numbers such as the calendar. I saw some text on a piece of junk mail I had saved and cut it up to spell out “Please use your gifts”. I was in a mood that day thinking that we really all should be putting our natural talents to full use.

In the end I like the color palate of mostly white, off-white, beige and black with the accent of pink and a few other random colors thrown in. The collage started off colorful wit the tea bag, Ben Franklin postage and the mountain range but as I worked with it, it became more subdued.

There were some other swaps going on at the time that required the use of a map on the ATC, and another with the use of thigns we got for junk mail. I was trying to throw a little of this and a little of that together. My plan was that if I was able to get all the ATCs finished on time I’d join up with that swap. I prefer to make the ATCs FIRST then I sign up and send them in. I hate being caught with a deadline and no time to finish it, that is when making art for fun turns into a chore and a pressure deadline.

So anyway here is the 5x7 inch block collage. I will slice it up later today, and will scan that over the weekend then hopefully can get each single ATC uploaded to share with you.

These ATCs will be swapped privately, they are not going to be used in an ATC themed swap.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Worked On a Dadaist Poetry Postcard Swap Today

I was on the site looking at what types of swaps are going on there and saw one for a Dadiast poetry postcard swap. I love the Dada movement but had never heard of this poetry.

The technique is to take a newspaper article, as many paragraphs as you want your poems length. Cut up each single word and put them in a bag. Take out one at a time and arrange the words in the order that they come out of the bag.

We were to put these words on a homemade postcard and to decorate the postcard in some way, any way we want.

Last week I cut up cereal boxes and painted the backs with acrylic paints and then cut those into postcard sized pieces.

Today I cut up the newspaper articles and applied the words to the background using acrylic gel medium in soft gloss. I figured out a technique that worked well by the time I struggled with other not useful methods. Here is what I did that worked. I spread some gel medium on the postcard’s surface. I then dabbed my finger with the gel medium and used that tackiness to pick up the tiny word and I adhered it to the postcard. When I was done I lightly put a coating of the soft gloss acrylic gel medium over the whole postcard so that all the edges of the snippets of paper would be adhered well, and left them to dry.

I did three postcards today. One article was about summer camp for special needs children, run by a town. One was about the history of Mickey Mouse and how the original Steamboat Willie was a womanizing, jazz dancing, and alcohol-drinking prankster. The last postcard was about a book that was published showing gorgeous wilderness mountain scenery.

The hand painted backgrounds are pretty or shall I say nice looking. I don’t know if they need any further embellishment or not, I will have to ponder that over the weekend.

If you would like to see some other people’s example of Dadaast postcards, go here.

If you want to check out Swap-bot for yourself, here is that site.

This is the first real mail art that I have ever made and participated in! I don’t consider artist trading cards pure mail art as they, themselves, don’t go through the mail.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Quotes I Read Tonight (From Rubber Stamps!) That Apply To Me and My Life

Today I was looking at the Zettiology rubber stamp catalog. These quotes which are on their rubber stamps struck me. I think you will like these, too.

“You finally do have to give something terribly intimate and secret of yourself to the world and not care because you have to believe that what you have to say is important enough”.
–May Sarton

Rubber stamp #34-178-E by Zettiology

This stamp is applicable to me right at this exact moment in time! It is hard sometimes writing here on my blogs as I am putting pieces of myself out there to the great unknown public and sometimes it makes me feel vulnerable. Today someone navigated to my other blog by doing an Internet search for “frumpy homeschool moms”. Oh my! Am I a frumpy homeschool mom and is that why it pointed them here? Nah, it was because of something I had written about in the past. The reason I mention is that I then saw that another person linked through from a blog I’d never visited so I went over there and saw that the blogger spoke in a positive way of the post I did earlier today, and she called my blog ‘cool’ which was nice and frankly I was flattered. I went to thank her in the comment but first, I read that one of her readers shared her opinion that she’s read my blog and ‘doesn’t like my tone’. Oh my. The bubble of happiness was deflated. Sigh. See what I mean, it is a risky business sharing my thoughts with the world. Of course not everyone will agree with what I say and some may not like my tone but really, do they have to talk about me like that, what purpose does that serve? Whatever.

“What you are will show in what you do.”
–Thomas Edison

Rubber stamp # 1047-D by Zettiology

“Each of us has more power over the world than we imagine.”
–Marguerite Yourcenar

Rubber stamp #32-168-C by Zettiology

“Begin where you are”

Rubber stamp #33-171-C by Zettiology

“Things are only impossible until they’re not.” –Jean-Luc Picard

Rubber stamp #1045-C by Zettiology

I love Jean-Luc and Star Trek Next Generation so I just love that there is a rubber stamp with one of his quotes on it, plus it is a great statement!

“Thus to be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.”
(quote from G.W.F. Hegel but it is not stated on the rubber stamp)

Rubber stamp #28-131-E by Zettiology

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
–Martin Luther King

Rubber stamp # 1103-C by Zettiology

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”
(quote from Gilbert Highet but not stated so on the rubber stamp)

Rubber stamp #29-140-C by Zettiology

Hey here is one quote I just found on the Internet that I absolutely love!

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Hear, hear!

Back to the art stamps…
Zettiology is a rubber stamp company and a vendor of some other art supplies (like all these collage sheets!), owned by Teesha Moore and her husband Tracy Moore. You can view their rubber stamp catalog online (and place orders if you want). Also they have lots of photos of their studio and tons of scans of their artwork, go check it out! Some of Teesha’s is here and some of Tracy’s journals can be seen here. Their newest line of stamps is art by the very interesting artist Theo Ellsworth.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Collage: Scotland/Ireland

I made this 5x7 inch mixed-media collage today.

The base is a recycled piece of cardboard from TGI Friday’s Potato Skins.

The background was given to me by a participant in an ATC swap which I hosted, whose name is Maureen B. I also added some other collage elements from Maureen B.

There is a piece of magenta colored lace fabric in the upper right hand corner.

I liked the background so much that I had trouble covering it up!

The black blocks are stickers from the sides of postage stamps (from the packaging).

I used tiny cut-out’s from a Dover Publishing book catalog, going with the theme of celtic and medieval images.

Snippets of text were cut from junk mail that I had received. The hopefully inspirational messages were actually from an ad from Sears trying to convince us to remodel our kitchen (hilarious)!

As you can see there is a piece of a round playing card. I own a deck of this but I think this one card was also a gift from either Maureen or another ATC swap participant.

Maureen also gave me the moon face which I believe she printed on her computer printer directly onto acetone, or it may be that plastic for an overhead projector (or are they the same thing?).

Someone, it could have been Maureen, gave me those silver stickers which actually are raised up and have a texture to them (the four leaf clover, the cross and the bow).

The adhesive I used was Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss. I also used it as a top coat.

Since the heat is on in the house it is very dry and this has completely dried in about two hours.

I love the background especially the color of that yellow in the map. I like the type of illustration on that background map as well as the font type.

Originally I was going to use rubber stamps or painted effects on top of the collaged elements but in the end I didn’t think it needed any further embellishment.

The original intent for this piece was to be a collage which would be cut into four ATCs. However I really like how it looks as one piece and I may just keep it for myself.

I have been thinking of starting an art journal just for myself to keep and if I do something like this could be added in as one page in the artist journal.

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