Sunday, May 11, 2014

Experimenting with Retro Arts Café Pre-cut Templates

Part of me swoons when I see the gorgeous mixed media work posted online made using templates and unfinished parts from Retro Arts Café. But a little voice in my head says: “Why waste your money? Build your own box or recycle one. Make your own doll template.” It also whispers: “Stop spending so much money on art supplies! Save your money for something more exciting than cardboard blanks, like learning how to use encaustics…” and “Come on, part of the fun of creating is starting with your OWN template…why spend money when you can download templates off the internet for free?”

Well, I finally broke down and ordered a bunch of Retro Arts Café items. I started with an ATC holder and a paper doll. (Some of the items I ordered are still waiting for me to find the time to experiment with them.) The ATC box was easy to put together and well cut. I stayed inside my own comfort zone and decorated it with printed recycled teabags and my favorite lace. I added dots of dimensional gold paint to cover the joints. After I was done I realized I should have painted the interior, but it really didn’t show once I put some ATCs in it. I also realized that I should have put it together first and applied the teabags after for a better fit on the sides.
The doll forms were kind of weird. I ordered a small and a large. The large was a little larger than the size I usually make, and strangely elongated. And the head was tiny and out of proportion. The small doll (which I have not used yet) is really miniature and much smaller than I am comfortable with. I covered the large doll with my favorite recycled, printed teabags and made a skirt of assorted laces. I just couldn’t use the tiny head that came with the doll, and chose a face to go on top of theirs from The Graphics Fairy’s free vintage images. The dolls came in a rectangle, and I had to pull the pieces out, which left a negative space doll. It was fortunate that I had the leftovers since I somehow lost a leg and had to recreate one on cardstock. 
I also ordered some stencils, which I have been experimenting with. They are made of a lightweight durable paper, so I was afraid they would turn to mush when wet, and dry all buckled-up, but they did stand up to repeated paint application and washing. Now I just need to find a big chunk of free time and a bigger space to work on than my living room table!