Monday 23 December 2013

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas Gift Picks for Mixed Media Artists

I was recently reminded of a post that I made while taking an online paper-crafting course with Craftsy®. I posted about two tools that I had “wished” for last Christmas and purchased by “Santa” from Lee Valley Tools here in Canada. For those of us lucky enough to live in a city with a Lee Valley store it’s a great place to go – they have the most interesting tools, gizmos and gadgets. I also have several favourite tools that my quilting alter ego likes to use and I will post about another time. For those of you in the USA or abroad, don’t despair - Lee Valley does mail order, though perhaps not in time for Christmas 2013!

Now to the tools!

Spiral Screw Punch
The first is a Spiral Screw Punch® AKA a Japanese Screw Punch and is a great tool for fibre, mixed media and book arts. At $39.50 it comes with 6 different sizes of cutters. It is a well made product and robust enough to put holes in layers of fabric, through a hardcover book cover or a stack of paper. It’s great to be able to punch holes wherever you need to on your project when a conventional hand held punch will not reach. It is made in Japan.
Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl
The second tool is a Speedy Stitcher® Sewing Kit. It is a type of awl and used primarily to stitch canvas and leather. It is easy to use and you can do simple, stitched spines to make journals and books. At $13.95 it’s one heck of a deal and comes complete with bobbin, needles and waxed threads all of which can be purchased separately when replacements are needed. This item is made in the USA.

PS No kickbacks were received from Lee Valley. I’m just pleased with the price and quality of their products.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

FOG Tuesday - UTEE™, Grafix™ Shrink Film

Who knew that 9 grown women could be entertained for a day with UTEE (Ultra Think Embossing Enamel), shrink plastic (a flashback to the past), a heat gun, a melting pot and alcohol inks? 

After our November warm up collage we were ready to play. We were working with Melt Art™ Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel™ (UTEE) to create embellishments for future projects. Even if you don’t own a melt pot you can use UTEE a number of ways. We dipped or sprinkled, then heated with a heat gun. We melted it in a Ranger’s Melting Pot®, and then poured, dipped and let it dry. We stamped into it, poured it onto stamps, and anything else we could think of to try. You can also use the melting pot to shrink your Shrink Art Plastic.
A small sampling of the number of embellishments 
that were made with UTEE, Shrink Plastic
and other mixed media items.

Grafix™ Shrink Film - 3D Flower
Painted with Alcohol Ink
Everyone had at least one sheet of Grafix Shrink Film to try. Jan also brought along her Sizzix Big Shot machine and some dies, adding another dimension. Cutting out a large flower from the shrink film, colouring it with ink, felt pen, or even pencil crayons and then shrinking it with the heat gun was the start.

We soon learned that we could manipulate the petals while they were hot. This pliability does not last long, but we determined you could re-heat it if necessary. Yet another interesting discovery! As you will see from the photos, we did some amazing things that day.

A tidy work space is highly over rated! Creativity Rules!


I also wanted to leave you with a snapshot of a few of us busy working at our tables. 

We are messy, but Creative!

Monday 16 December 2013

FOG Tuesday - Gelliarts™ Plates, Glue Gun Stencils and Mono Printing

While we were humming Baby It’s Cold Outside things were heating up in our session last Tuesday. After our warm up collage (see previous post) we launched into using Gelliarts™ plates, glue guns and a plethora of other stuff to make glue gun stencils and mono prints. For those of you who do not own a Gelliarts™ plate, they are very cool, but if you are just mono printing you can do much the same on a piece of plexi glass, glass or on a transparency. However, if you are using the glue gun stencils you need a bit of the cushiony give that the Gelliarts™ plates have and a large piece of fun foam gave some pretty good results as Jan found out.

The first order of business was to make stencils using hot glue by making designs onto a non-stick craft sheet or parchment paper. There are several videos online where you can view this technique. Here is a link to one on Diana Trout’s website where Jane Davies does an excellent demo.

Terri's Glue Stencil
Type of glue gun stick did seem to make a difference so you might want to be more organized than I was to know exactly what type of glue stick that you had in order to track its success. Thinner lines, placed further apart and a flatter end product seemed to act better as a stencil when put into use on the Gelliarts™ plate. The stencils themselves ended up looking like art as seen in this glue stencil of Terri’s. 

Siri's Mono Prints on Paper
Left with glue stencils and overprints, Right commercial stencil

You can mono print onto hand made paper, fabric, card stock or deli paper. The only problem with the fun and ease of using this product is that you end up with a gazillion finished pieces and then you need to come up with a gazillion projects to use them in. 

Jan's Mono Prints on Paper and Fabric
Left using Glue Stencils, Right using Foam Stamp on Fabric

They will make great backgrounds in art journals, greeting cards and fibre arts projects depending on the surface that was printed on. 

Diane's Mono Print on Paper with commercial
plastic doily stencil.
Terri's Mono Print on Paper using glue gun stencil
and several over prints.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Fog Tuesday

With traffic crawling along in Calgary on FOG Tuesday, we were late getting to the session. The roads were very busy and extremely icy. At the suggestion of one of the group we had a potluck for lunch – some very tasty offerings were sampled, though much to our surprise no one brought dessert! That has to be a first with any potluck that I have been to.

Design Element – Texture
Warm Up Collages - Design Element TEXTURE
  • Texture as an element of design can be visual or tactile.
  • Visual texture might be achieved through colour or value, with darker areas suggesting depth. Some visual textures may be interpreted as tactile, for example the use of a smooth fabric that has a brick pattern may seem rough.
  • Tactile texture is something that can be felt, for example the actual surface where your collage is built may have a texture of its own or you can add texture with embellishments, layers of paint or spackle. All fabrics are tactile with surfaces being rough or smooth.
  • Each member took 30 minutes to complete a collage using texture as the primary design element in combination with one of the previous design elements of shape, colour or line.
The actual textures are not easy to see in the photo, but there are hand made papers, sequins, tissue paper, silk flowers, dry brush techniques, napkins over hot glue and chip board shapes just to name a few.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Arts Club at the Library

For a terribly cold, though sunny day we were pleased that many of the regular Arts Clubs participants braved the cold to join us at the Central Library for our fibre / mixed media project and the final Arts Club session for 2013.

Each session the Calgary Public Library picks a theme for their programming and the fall 2013 theme was Sight and Sound. We decided on a reusable cotton bag with a music theme, focussing on historic composers and modern day musicians who write their own music.

Participants were introduced to a number of techniques including spray dyes, dye based stamp pads (we should have taken photos of our hands!), embroidery stitches, the making of fabric yo-yos and the printing of photos onto cotton fabrics and organza.  After that they their own creative juices began to flow and new techniques were tried.

A couple of the participants utilized paper towels to create their own masks for spraying and several used their yo-yo circles flat as backgrounds to their photos. If you look closely at Bach he’s looking a little glassy eyed with sequins and Beethoven’s bag is creatively aged with ink for a vintage look.

The one and a half hours went by very quickly. While the projects were not 100% completed I think that it’s safe to say that everyone had a great time and will finish their projects at home.

Jan and I will be back at the Central Library Arts Club on April 5, 2014 so stay tuned for that session.