Saturday, February 17, 2007

Started a Journal for Ideas and Inspiration

Last night I decided to start a journal for writing ideas and for visual and text that are inspirational.

I pulled down from a bookshelf, a blank journal which I bought about five years ago for $3.99 and had never used. It is oversized and square with a spiral binding. The paper is blank and white colored thicker than normal pages. I would estimate that the pages are about 9 inches x 9 inches (but I didn’t measure it).

Last night I went through some of my clippings, scraps and ephemera to select images that are inspirational to me. I also chose some comic strips which I thought were very funny. I could use some lightening up so to me anything that makes me laugh is helpful. I chose text that I had formerly cut out of magazines of words and phrases that are positive in attitude and are uplifting.

Today while looking through a little box of scraps, while making ATCs, I’d pluck out scraps from past projects whose images are inspiring to me. Some are little bits that remind me of making a certain ATC or a certain theme that I worked on. To look at a tiny piece of scrap paper and remember an afternoon of making art with a specific theme is a good thing.

I laid this journal next to me while making ATCs and I’d slap in cuttings while making the ATCs.

I am using Golden Acrylic Gel Medium in soft gloss as the adhesive. I use waxed paper in between the pages to keep them from sticking together in case any of the adhesive oozed out of the edges.

My tip for putting the adhesive on the paper is to use an old phone book. I lay the paper on the phone book and put the adhesive on with a one inch wide foam brush. I lift the wet paper up and put it onto my dry surface. This works for anything but teeny-tiny pieces of paper. When the phone book page is gooped up, I turn the page and start on a new page.

I am still keeping my other journal which is an “everyday matters” journal. That one documents my life and has sketches along with collaged elements from my daily life.

I am being careful to have the one journal be uplifting and idea filled while the other is other ephemera from my experiences.

So far this is a fun journal to keep!

Making ATCs Like Crazy Lately

The other day I made nine angel themed ATCs. These were last minute ATCs for an angel themed swap. I did get them out just in the nick of time, on the "due to mail" date.

Last night I sat down to make some butterfly themed ATCs and finished four. I made them in a block of four then cut it apart afterwards.

This morning I went to work on "Garfield and Friends" themed ATCs and made and finished six. They are one big block right now and will be cut into six ATCs tomorrow.

This afternoon I worked on a "junk mail" themed ATC swap. I made a block collage that is the size of six ATCs.

Tonight I worked on more ATCs that are comprised of 100% junk mail but also are made in the abstract style. I am not sure if I will use these for the junk mail ATC swap or the abstract ATC swap.

Tomorrow I need to do some scanning of these larger collages. Then I will cut them into ATCs, scan those, then prepare some for mailing out.

One reason I am pushing myself to do these is I found out I have to go out of state to help a relative and that is right in the middle of a time when some ATC swaps are due to be mailed out. It is too hard to make ATCs while visiting that relative and when I am there I have no Internet access. My goal is get these done and out in the mail before I leave. Also due to this trip I went to Swap-bot and dropped out of some of the swaps that I had signed up for, to lighten my load.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My ATC: Angel Statuary

I took a digital photograph of an angel statue in a cemetary. I then used Photoshop Elements to alter the image. I printed it on cream colored paper on my computer printer. I adhered that paper to a piece of cardboard for strength. The letters were rubber stamped onto the front of the ATC.
My complaint is that due to the quality of my printer, you can see the pixels. In this case I used the image anyway chalking it up to giving the image a grainy, interesting look.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Misplaced Rubber Stamps

I am annoyed today because I have misplaced a whole set of rubber stamps. How that could have happened I have no idea. I am very organized with my rubber stamps thanks to a local Freecycler having given me her two rolling carts with drawers. I promptly filled them with my rubber stamps, even divided into categories per drawer.

I was reading a book about artist trading cards and saw a cool bleach rubber stamp technique explained. I had tried the bleach method of rubber stamping once before and it did not work. I decided to give it another try.

I had signed up for a Science Fiction themed ATC swap. I have a set of stamps which is perfect for using on this swap.

I started the day with a plan to try the bleach technique on black cardstock and to color in the bleached out parts with a makeup sponge and rubber stamp ink.

However upon going to fetch the rubber stamps I found them missing!

Later when I had time I thought perhaps they got mixed up with my paints and my rubber stamp ink pads. I did a quick check, no, they were not there.

I then faced my little craft closet which had grown cluttered. I didn’t know if in the pre-holiday prep period I had accidentally shoved them in there, someplace where they didn’t belong. I then spent about 90 minutes putting my hands on every single art and craft supply that I have in that closet. In the process I reorganized some things to put like things with like things. I put all the beeswax collage equipment into one box and that will go to the basement. I put all the metal crafting supplies in one box and that will also go to the basement. I put all the crafts for kids in one box.

I found all kinds of supplies I had forgotten about that are crying out to be used.

And finally I have all my embossing powders in one place.

I also found my hand carved rubber stamps and my carving tools. Those were nicely put away in the closet but I had forgotten that is where I had put them!

One tube of gouache watercolor paint had a loose top and had dried up. That was a hint to get to using the rest of the colors before they dry out.

I then went to the dining room table which right now is covered with various art and craft supplies which I have been using in the last month. I sorted and reorganized and put stuff away.

I then checked the rubber stamp carts yet again, yes, again.

Then, my next stop was in the basement to go through ALL of my ephemera. I have about a dozen copy paper boxes full of stuff. Some are only books to cut up and use in art making. Some boxes are magazines. Four of the boxes are ephemera from my grandmother from the 1950s-1980s. The rest of the boxes are random papers that I’ve saved, anything from tourist brochures to snippets of gift wrap to maps to interesting pieces of junk mail. Only one box has store bought papers, amazingly enough. I get most of my papers for making artist trading cards through ephemera from my daily life. I still didn’t find the stamps (or any stamps for that matter).

I then rechecked those rubber stamp carts yet again. The light is low over there and so I thought maybe I missed them. Now that I think of it, I should have used the head lamp that we use when camping with the Cub Scouts!

The issue is not just me wanting the rubber stamps for this swap. I have a real pet peeve when I lose something. I then will spend hours and hours looking for it! I always find what I am looking for in the end.

While writing this one more idea came to me. I have a few boxes of craft supplies stashed in the basement that I did not check. I thought those were mostly various children’s craft kits but maybe I am wrong. After dinner I’ll have to go check those. Otherwise this will bug me and may even cause me to lose sleep or to dream about lost rubber stamps!

In case you are wondering what set I am looking for it is a set of stamps made by Mars/Toyko/Adorned Surface and is of vintage toys. Some of the stamps feature images of robot toys and ray guns. I really love that set (and others made by that company).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My ATCs: Various Themes

This first ATC was created a few months ago. Someone was hosting an ATC swap in which we could use only the comics to make an ATC with. Although I didn't participate in it, I challenged myself to use some Sunday newspaper comics to make an ATC with.

The Harry Potter image was a goodie bag that one of my children came home from a birthday party with. There is a paint chip there as well. The word "score" is from junk mail trying to sell use tickets or season tickets to see the New York Yankees.

This next ATC was inspired by collage papers from Autumn Moon. The owner of Autumn Moon contacted me as she owns one of my ATCs from a swap. She was beginning her business and offered to send me some of her new collage sheets if I would make some ATCs from them so she could put my ATC images on her website if she desired.

I was looking at this image of the woman and I thought she looked a little like she had the devil and an angel inside of her at the same time. I looked through some postage stamps that I had from that starter kit that Kenmore Stamp sells for $2 (500 stamps for $2). I chose a background which I had painted previously with acrylic craft paints and a stipple brush. I made a packing tape transfer out of the collage sheet. I selected the stamps that showed the woman as both a pussycat and a tigress (or is that a leopardess?).

I didn't think the ATC was finishe so I didn't send it in to Autumn Moon. For months I kept it in a box of what I consider to be 'partially done' ATCs. However last week I decided it was good just 'as is'. So here it is.

I was reading "The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery" by Karen Michel and was inspired to make paper doll chains out of newspapers. I used The Wall Street Journal financial papers to make men. The paper dolls were adhered to a background which I had painted with acrylic craft paints and a stipple brush a couple of months ago.

My brother purcashed a home from an artist two years ago. She was already moved to Manhattan and very busy working. She asked that my brother throw away a whole basement and garage full of clutter that she had saved. My brother offered me some of it. She had art instruction books and art school textbooks. There were books on making homemade greeting cards (from back when it was not a mainstream thing to do). There were some finished handmade greeting cards. There were some new, expensive papers also. These origami cranes were amongst the things she wanted thrown away, as they were part of a homemade greeting card. However last month the cranes fell off the card which I had not yet used. I decided to put the cranes onto an ATC background and call it an ATC.
I made this background using acrylic craft paints and a stipple brush.
I considered putting the number "2" on this but left it as is.

I particpated in an ATC challenge swap in which we were to use ONLY elements from a box that something came in (food, products, whatever). The below images were cut from an action figure box of a Pirates of the Carribbean toy.
I had a very hard time making this ATC as I could not get the composition right. I finally ened up with this and liked it so much I decided to keep it.

The purple background is another hand painted background of acrylic craft paint applied with a stipple brush to a food product box.
This originated when I saw the image of the woman in a Dover children's book mail order cataglog and realized she was just the right size for an ATC. I cut out the image.
The background paper (would you believe) is an envelope which contained junk mail. The company was trying to sell us a luxury condo in a resort community. The paper had great texture as well as pretty colors so I saved it for possible use in the "junk mail' ATC swap. I made this long after the junk mail ATC swap was over.

With a 50% off coupon from A.C. Moore craft store I bought a square shaped die cutter.
One night while watching TV I went through a UNICEF mail order catalog and cut out these images.
Last week I used a brown tinted acrylic craft paint and added a cream colored craft paint. I applied the paint with a junk mail credit card sample. When it dried it looked more like a dusty rose, which was different than what I was trying for, but anyway...
I applied the images in a grid like pattern to the background.
This was originally one piece. When it was finished I sliced it into two ATCs.

I was doing an ATC swap for Valentine's Day in which we had to use an image of a heart somewhere on the ATC. I found this little girl in the Dover Publishing children's book mail order catalog and clipped her out. I placed her on a background of a handmade paper from India purchased at A.C. Moore. The greenish background is actually a brochure from junk mail, yet another luxury vacation home place.
(For some reason we are on some mailing lists for medical doctors and they think we are also of retirement age. We get mail addressed to my husband as an M.D. My husband is NOT an M.D. We are no where near retirement age and to boot we are not in the market for a retirement home or to purchase a second home in a luxury golfing community in South Carolina or Florida or Costa Rica.)
Lastly I thought the card was missing something so I added these four little flowers which are rubber stamped with a stamp by HeroArts (they came with an alphabet set).

While decluttering my paternal grandmother's house I came upon loads of new gift wrap. This was from the late 60s or early 70s. I knew it was perfect for making ATCs with. I adhered the gift wrap to a base card of a recycled box. It was very bright so I added a top coat of a custom tinted acrlyic glaze paint.
I was then stuck on this and didn't know how I could embellish it further. I let it sit for months in the 'not done yet' box. I then declared it done and let it free by swapping it out.

The important thing about this is that I had a lot of images to choose from and I carefully chose a section of the paper which looked good on an ATC and had a nice composition and a good flow to it. Some people might criticize this for being an 'easy' ATC but I think that sometimes it is not about being heavily embellished or having dangling things off of it, or chunky things glued onto it, but rather carefully choosing images and having a good composition.
The colors were also very cool and so typical of the early 1970s.

This was another in which I was trying to use comics in the ATC in some way. The piece of envelope and stamps is from an ATC swap I did with someone in the Netherlands.

This ATC was yet another when trying to use colorful comic strips to make an ATC with. Here is another used stamp and envelope piece from an ATC swapper. The phrase "All new..." is from a tourist brochure to the P.T. Barnum Museum. The little letters were sent to me by an ATC swapper. The dollar bill is play money which came inside of a birthday party goody bag that my kids received. The Home/Away piece is from the New York Yankees junk mail brochure that came in the mail.

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