If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that over the past year (since last September) I’ve been writing my MA dissertation as well as working full-time for the first time – it’s been a challenge! At the end of this month, my dissertation will be in and I’ll be enjoying my second year in my job – which feels like a success in itself. Fingers crossed, they’ll love my dissertation, and in October I’ll officially have graduated from my Masters and be celebrating the conclusion of three years’ hard work.
Due to all of this, I haven’t had much time for playing – my art has fallen by the wayside and when I have attempted to create, I just haven’t been relaxed enough to enjoy it so I haven’t produced anything I’m happy with. However, this week has seen a change in this trend! I’m mid-way through my holiday and apparently relaxed enough to create, try new things and I’ve ended up with some work I’m really, really pleased with.
Firstly, I’ve been participating in ICAD over at Daisy Yellow Art. ICAD stands for Index Card A Day, the idea is to produce artwork on an index card each day, it can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I’m rubbish at doing them everyday, so I’m just sitting down to one whenever I get the itch to do so. The one below is my favourite so far, produced this week, and I spent hours and hours on it:
I started with a card I had already painted with layers of white (I didn’t want the pattern on the card). Then I started mixing various shades of orange, red and yellow in acrylic, using my brush and a homemade stencil to dab the paint onto the page. Once dry, I added further layers – the paper doily and the frayed hessian pocket which I then added more paint to. The pocket is machine-stitched on – I used straight and zig-zag.
Down the left-hand side, I have used a decorative machine stitch in white, and on the left I have chain-stitched by hand in cream. I then spent a while having fun creating the beaded bits! I’ve never added beads to my work before and I love the added texture – if there’s anything I’ve learned about myself this week, it’s that I absolutely adore texture and my work seems boring without it.
Next I created the tag – I trimmed it down to size to fit the pocket (the hessian wasn’t cut to size as it was an impromptu pocket) then painted the edges in orange to make it fit with the rest of the card. I also tea-dyed the string, though the photo doesn’t show this up very well.
Finally, I added a few scrapbook embellishments from My Mind’s Eye (the enamel dots) and Basicgrey (the triangles and curly bracket) then outlined various bits with a fine Faber-Castell PITT pen.
While I was making this card, I worked on top of a blank sketchbook page in my moleskine so that it caught the paint that went over the edges. Once I was finished with my ICAD piece, I switched to the sketchbook to use up all of my leftovers and a few extra bits.
ICAD spillover page!
I used the rest of the paper doily, the ends of my machine and hand-stitching thread, the pieces of hessian sacking that were leftover – including the frayed bits I pulled out – and the edges of my journaling tag which I cut off. I even used the paper towels I’d cleaned my brushes with to texture the background. Nothing gets wasted at my art table!
Again I built up layers, added more paint, hand-stitching and machine-stitching. I tried to create a larger version of my ICAD page, essentially, repeating certain aspects, changing the way I used certain elements to match the new page (like the shape the beads create). This time I also added white gel pen around the black PITT pen, used corrugated card as a stamp, and I used a library pocket from Fancy Pants.
The thing I loved about this process was that one page inspired this other, it was like doing a first and second draft. I still love both of the pages, they share so many elements, but they look completely different. They also made me feel that I was getting back to art and art journaling the way I love to do it, rather than trying to emulate someone else or keep it minimal because I don’t have much time. If If I only have a short period of time to produce art in future, I will do a little bit of a piece then go back and work into it later, rather than rushing myself! (It’s the one thing I dislike about ‘one-a-day’ art prompts – too much of a rush).
Finally, I just wanted to share a new thing I’m trying – papercloth! I’ve been researching into ways of making handmade paper for a project I have in mind and came across a tutorial by Diana Trout on Createmixedmedia.com which was a quick and easy way to create papercloth. I thought it would be perfect for the cover of what I’m hoping to create so this evening I’ve given it a go, changing a few points here and there. Here’s what I have so far:
Papercloth – Drying stage
I watched Diana’s tutorial and printed off the awesome free PDF provided, followed the instructions on the video to the letter except I used mod podge instead of PVA and splashes of watercolour paint as I don’t have any liquid acrylics.
For the paper I used tissue paper, paper napkins (pulled apart so it’s single ply) and the kitchen towel leftover from the ICAD and moleskine pages mentioned above (again pulled apart to get single ply pieces). The kitchen towel pieces are my favourite so far as they were saturated in acrylic from the ICAD session the other day so are really bright – almost day-glo among the duller grey napkin illustrations and dark watercolour paints.
The process is messy and fun, and I highly recommend giving it a go. Right now, I’m still waiting for mine to dry so I’ll let you know how successful the attempt was as soon as it’s dry.