Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hammering Was Heard From Below

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I have been in the basement all morning busily hammering, crimping and sawing away. When I emerged it was with these 2 pieces of jewelry. The necklace is another version of the one I posted this morning and only took me about 2 or 3 hours to complete. 

This bracelet was actually started in my last class that I took at the retreat which was called "Timeless Connections" and was taught by Kieu Pham Gray. I think you can see that the design has a lot of steampunk influence in it so you can understand why I wanted to take it. I also wanted to learn how to properly cut metal and make cold connections with rivets. A few of the squares could be a better design but I think the bracelet still turned out pretty good. I'm thinking that maybe all the women I know will be getting jewelry for Christmas this year.

CREATE Mixed Media Retreat

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This was the project that I completed in the class taught by Thomas Ashburn called "Charming Sheet Metal Pendants". We started with a charm and then cut out a piece of copper (or brass) to mount it on. We learned how to torch the metal to give it a colored patina. (I now know how to put that Creme Brulee torch to good use that I got for Christmas a few years ago.) The loop that the charm hangs on is sandwiched between the front plate and the back plate which keeps it from coming out. It's all bolted together with tiny brass machine screws. (YES.... I ordered a bunch of them for all my future steampunk creations.)

And because these are so much fun to see here are some of the birds that were created in the "Birds Gone Wild" class.
She colored the metal body with alcohol inks. The tail feathers were already colorful since they came from pop cans.

Another bird made by my neighbor (Dennie) with the suitcase of fabulous stuff. I just love that it sits up on it's own. (The beak is a pull tab cut in half.)

I love the golden color of this elegant creation and the branch she brought for it to sit on.

This one was just over the top and fabulous. Look at all the stuff on the branch. 

Very understated compared to some but very queen like. 

LOVE the lime green on this one.

AND of course you can't have a bird without some serious bad ass bling!

A Boa Is Not Just A Snake

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Friday, September 2, 2011

CREATE Mixed Media Retreat

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This was another of my favorite classes and it was called "Fragile Fusion Mixed Media Journal" and it was taught by Rebekah Meier's. NO.... this is not my finished book but rather one of the class samples that I will aspire to achieve.

 These are the rest of the pages inside this wonderful little book. (It measured about 7" or 8" square.) The pages are made on a double sided fusible webbing sheet. You start by cutting up napkins and tissue paper to cover the sheet then iron it all down. Let me tell you that the sheet was covered using very brightly colored stuff. You can mix and match all kinds of patterns and colors because in the next step you paint it with a wash of watered down white paint. (If you wanted to keep some of the bright colors she suggested using a gold metallic wash instead.) From there it is layering stenciled and stamped images  then more paint to tone it down. The last layer is using some Angelina fibers and film and Bo-Nash glue powder with gold foil.

Here's the cover for my book when I eventually get it finished. It is painted on something called "Timtex" which I have never heard of. I think it is some kind of very thick batting or stiff underlayment to sew on. It is about 1/4" thick and just sucks up the paint. 

Here is the only page I finished in class and believe me when I say the photos do not do justice to any of these pieces. The subtle layers and sparkle of all the metallics really don't show up well at all. 

Here is another one of the class samples and a couple of the inside pages. She also did another class that taught doing art collage quilts that I wished I had taken. Just so many classes that were only offered once it was so hard to choose which one to take at a certain time. I definitely plan on going next year since it was so easy to drive there.

Beautifully Botanical

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little Bit Of Asia

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It may come as no surprise to many of you but I am starting another circle journal with my regular group of ladies. This time the theme is "A Little Bit of Asia". I mean, who doesn't love asian designs and calligraphy. As usual we all make our own covers/book and then decorate the first page. It then gets mailed on to the next person who does a double page spread and then in turn mails it on. 

I decided to try something that I have always been fascinated with and since it looks very asian I thought this was the perfect time to learn how to do it. It's called a piano hinge binding and is actually very simple to do even though it looks pretty complicated. I originally wanted to use a bunch of fancy chopsticks that I have been collecting but the tapered shape of them didn't let the binding sit right so I went back to the regular bamboo skewers that are usually used for this binding. 

Rather then leave the white of the watercolor paper showing on the spine I covered the hinge part with torn strips of asian book pages. Here you can see how they show in the inside of the pages. Each artist may choose to let them show on their pages or decide to cover them up. 

This last picture is of the inside cover which actually attaches the covers to the pages of the book. Most of the tutorials I found that showed this technique did not even attach covers but I figured my book would stand up to being worked in a little better if it had one. As you can see I still haven't decorated the first page yet but I still have time since the project starts in October. 

CREATE Mixed Media Retreat

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I know you are all wanting to see more of what was done at the retreat so here is some of the flock of birds that we created in the "Birds Gone Wild" class. 

For those of you that were trying to guess which bird was mine... this is the one I made in class. The body is from a baking tin that I bought at a garage sale for a buck. The wings are from a tin I found at an estate sale and of course the watch parts I have tons of for all things steampunk. 

I had so much fun at this class that I couldn't get to sleep that night so here's what I made in my room later that evening. The body is from an old tin ceiling tile that was in our class kit. The wings are 2 rusty metal hearts and the feathers are pop can pull tabs. The "collar" was a piece of trim that my neighbor gave me from a cheap stained glass lamp that she pulled apart. The crest was a brass embellishment I had and the legs were in the class kit. (I think they are from an old bed and hold the springs to the frame.) 

More of the flock from the 20 or so students in the class. 

Just Peachy Keen

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CREATE Mixed Media Retreat

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Sorry I didn't post any more pictures of the retreat yesterday but I was trying to do some more unpacking. I also wanted to finish my book from the first class that I took there. It was called "Binding The Unbindable"  and it was taught by the lovely Bianca Mandity. In this class we learned how to incorporate unusual things as book pages. Stuff like an old 45 record, a bamboo placemat, a board game board, computer chips, packaging plastic, a piece of metal, etc. Anything that you can't fold to make a page out of could potentially be used with the type of binding she showed us. It is a simple coptic stitch but the secret is that you make your actual page only about an inch wide. You then glue the object between the folded strip and it becomes a decorative element of the page. (I know it sound confusing but you'll see what I mean when you look at the rest of the pictures.)

P.S. This is the class that I sliced my index finger pretty good. I forgot I had a sheet of aluminum in my paper file and I reached in forgetting all about it and cut myself really good.

Here is the finished cover of the book. I started with an old Reader's Digest (condensed version) from the 50's. I had a bunch from when hubby's father passed away and we cleaned out his condo and they all had wonderful printed covers under the ugly dust jackets.

Here's a close-up of the binding stitch. You can see that we cut away the original binding and just used the covers. We used plain old duct tape to cover the cut edge since it now comes in all those amazingly wonderful colors and is so much cheaper then book binding tape.

Here is the first page and I actually had it finished in class and glued into the book. When I started I didn't have a theme in mind but I knew I wanted it to be something using games and numbers. When I went to finish it here at home I continued with that but added the "play on words" aspect of it. Notice it says along the top next to the binding strip  "go forth & multiply". The binding strip is a file folder with some of that cool printed packing tape I got from Michael's. Usually that strip would be 2 complete pages in a regularly bound book but here I glued the flash card in the fold of the strip. (That hides all the stitching threads on the inside too.)

Now you can see the other side of the flash card page along with the slide cover on the chain. It goes with a clue card from an old $45,000.00 Pyramid game. (See the photos below for a close-up.) You can also see the next page which is a piece of a Pac-Man game board that my neighbor gave me. I thought the little holes in it were cool so I found words to glue into each one.

Once you place the red slide cover over the clue card the words appear like magic. I actually made the slide cover by taking a transparency and coloring it with alcohol ink then sandwiching it between 2 slide covers that I die cut from white chip board.

I covered the back of the Pac-Man game board with some red paper and added a piece of an old Bingo card that I had. Once I had that glued down the song kept playing through my head so it had to be out on the page. The binding strip on this one is from a set of old blue prints that I found at an estate sale, the day before I left for the retreat, from the 1958. (It was only $5.00 for role of about 30 big sheets.) 

The second page is an old 45 record that my neighbor gave me after I gushed about how cool the red transparent plastic was. My friend Marita actually scrambled to send me some records to use for this class but that red record was just too cool to pass up using it. (I found a bunch at the same estate sale as I found the blue prints at.)

If your wondering how I was able to cut the record.... well the teacher told us to use plain old scissors. Believe it or not it worked and it was pretty easy to do. She said if the record seemed a little thicker to try kitchen shears or to score it few times with a craft knife and then snap it. (It will naturally break on the score line.) Even it breaks a little uneven it doesn't matter because it will be hidden by the binding strip. 

The second page is another file folder that has some printed packing tape covering it. It has the tag shapes to it because the back has 3 tags attached to it. The binding strip is plain card stock that I covered with Tim Holtz tissue tape and then I added a strip of numbers from a Dymo labeler. 

Here you can see the tags on the back of the previous page. They were samples I made for one of the Tim Holtz challenges from the Studio L3 blog. The second page is a "Sorry" game board that I cut apart. I drilled holes in 4 of the game pieces to hang along the bottom. I also cut the words "sorry" from one of the game cards. 

On the back of the Sorry game board I attached some more math flash cards and added the "incorrect" answers with some die cut numbers. The facing page is a piece of packaging plastic that I stamped with white Staz-On ink. I also stamped the cross-word puzzle and added my saying inside it. I didn't add a lot more to this page other then the blue puzzle pieces because you can see the other pages through it and I didn't want to cover that up. 

The back of the clear plastic page is mostly "Trivial Pursuit" stuff. I cut apart the answers from a card and glued them to blank tickets. I then cut the title from the directions card and added it to my saying. 

The chess page is made from a bamboo placemat. I made the chess board from striped paper that I cut into strips and the chess pieces are punched from glossy paper. The binding strip is a file folder covered with more of the printed packing tape and it also has a zipper added next to the edge. 

For the back of the bamboo placemat page I added another math flashcard and the letters are from Tim Holtz. They were originally black plastic but I dressed them up with a metallic gold paint pen from Krylon. 

So that's it for today. Be sure and stop by tomorrow to see more.