Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dreaming of Art


A few months ago there was a Cloth Paper Scissor challenge for quilted postcards. I have been making them for years, so it was right up my alley. I combined an old photo [my kindergarten portrait, circa 1960] along with a Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ hat and a pair of clipart scissors. I used a background of newsprint, and made skyscrapers out of more newsprint. A little lace for a pinafore and accents with water-soluble oil pastels, a little stitching, and the postcard was done.

The basic design was done in photoshop, and I output it directly on fabric. Somehow streaks appeared in the face, but I kind of liked it because it reminded me of lined paper that schoolchildren use. In the background is a portion of my favorite quote, from Buddha, which says: “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” If five year old Linda knew that she would make a living one day doing art [fabric design, newspaper & magazine layout design] she probably wouldn’t believe it possible.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marie Antoinette-Inspired Paper Doll

Emeline, the Marie Antoinette-inspired party girl, is made of paper, tyvek, fabric, lace, ribbon, sequins, brads and glue. Her head, shoes and the roses on her skirt and bodice are Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ royalty-free images. The arms and legs are cut from cardstock, with an overlay of “faux lace” that I make using dried, recycled tea bags stamped with white printmaking paint.

The skirt was pieced together with an underlay of recycled tyvek (from a USPS shipping bag). I painted the inside of the bag with Lumiere turquoise acrylic and a touch of gold swirl. Four panels of a vintage French rose were added, and pink ribbon covers the join marks. Some sheer pink and silver lace creates the bottom skirt border.

Emeline’s face and hair were enhanced with markers and chalk. The legs, arms and head are attached with mini brads so that the parts are moveable. The finishing touch was the addition of tiny sequins to resemble jewels, which were glued to her hairdo, and also applied to her wrists, shoes and skirt.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shabby Chic Angel Tag Tutorial

Just in time for the holidays, I made a batch of “Shabby Chic” angel tags. The shabby effect is achieved with several techniques—using recycled tea bags for the background, unevenly applying white printmaking paint to the tea bags, and using an intentionally torn effect on the angel images. The shabbiness is contrasted with the chicness of delicate, sheer laces and gossamer pastel ribbon trim.

Here’s how I made the tags:

1-use a commercial tag as a base (I got mine at Staples), or cut your own from a beige, smooth poster weight paper.

2-take dried tea bags, carefully open them, empty out the tea, and flatten. The uneven tea stains give a nice aged look. Do not use damp tea bags—they will rip. Any kind of tea is fine, but take the bags out before you add sugar, lemon or milk.

3-select a variety of stamps—lacey textures work well but any stamp will do. French fleur de lis or English classic designs also make great 'faux lace.'

4-apply white printmaking paint to the stamps. You can experiment and mix the patterns.

5-drape the tea bag over the stamp and press lightly, then carefully remove the tea bag and repeat until it is all covered. You can get usually get two or more images from each paint application. I call the painted teabags ‘faux lace.’ Depending on the size of the tea bag, you may need several for each tag. Printmaking paint works best, but you can use any white paint, just be sure to clean the stamps carefully when you are done so they don’t get paint stuck in the crevices. Printmaking paint works well because it stays wet longer than regular paint, which prevents it from drying on your stamp.

6-when the painted tea bags have dried, glue them to the commercial tag, covering the base completely. It is okay to layer the tea bags or rip little pieces and fill in where necessary to get complete coverage.

7-select a center image and glue to tag—I used some angels from The Graphics Fairy. http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/

8-add strips of lace—thin, sheer laces work well. Thicker laces work better on the edges since they will obscure the subtle textures and colors of the tea bags and ‘faux lace.’ These laces are from M&J Trim.http://www.mjtrim.com/

9-if desired, add a little chalk pastel to enhance the center image, and also to soften the background color.

10-add a bow of shimmery ribbon at the top, and some extra lace or rick-rack at the bottom.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Well, Hello Dolly…I’m in Just Steampunk, Volume 2!

If I were someone who follows numerology or plays lotto, I’d think there was some meaning to two dates—1/11/12 and 11/1/12. The first date is when I posted to my blog about the art paper dolls I made for the Roses on My Table group’s steampunk paper doll trade. The second date is when I opened my mailbox and found a complimentary copy of Just Steampunk, vol. 2, with my dolls on page 101 of the magazine.

Several months ago I sent an email to the magazine with some jpegs of the dolls that I kept for myself. (I made five, traded two and kept three.) I hadn’t heard one way or another about the dolls other than getting a polite response thanking me for my submission. So, I was jumping up and down, twirling and squealing when I opened to page 101 and found a full page with my three steampunk dolls!

One of the dolls (top photo, doll on the left) is particularly symbolic. Back in 2007 I wrote an article in Cloth Paper Scissors called “Painting Out the Panic.” One of the pieces used to illustrate the article is a figure I call “Broken Chakra Girl.” BCG symbolized my struggle with panic disorder, particularly the fifth (throat) chakra. My anxiety would cause my throat to constrict and I wouldn’t be able to speak. I also got frequent sore throats at the time.

 I used BCG’s face for one of these dolls, cut her hair, gave her a top hat, changed the color of the turquoise throat design to match her steampunk style, and made her neck a normal length. Somehow the steampunk version represents healing, with her strong, mechanical, shiny body and bold stance. Her green broken heart is no longer exposed, and is protected by her steampunk armor.

All of the dolls are made with original faces that I drew or painted. The bodies are made of painted, recycled coffee filters, painted and stamped recycled tea bags adhered to fabric, or paper. The metal textured legs and arms are cut paper from Just Steampunk, volume 1. The body with the corset and the clockworks are also cut paper from the first issue. The body parts are attached with tiny brads so they can be posed and played with.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Karen at The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ for the use of her vintage images of butterfly wings and top hats; to Zinnia at Roses on My Table for creating such a wonderful online art community; and to JoAnn at Roses on My Table for running such a great group. http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/