In the Garden

Today I’m feeling like I need an escape; a peaceful place to gather my thoughts and tune out the world. I have it in my mind to create such a place in my own back yard, but for now I’ll just have to pretend.

Here is a simple paper cutting I finished last month. It was a good month for me. I think all the sunshine helped energize my mind and awaken a little creative beast with in me.

I did this tin because Japan during springtime is one of my favorite places to be.  I wanted to capture the serenity of a tranquil Japanese bamboo forest, the soothing sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the breeze and the trickling of a gentle stream.japanese garden papercut

I’ve started to use more of my own hand made embellishments and I like to keep it as true to handmade as possible, but I did use two texture plates for the sky and the grass. Also, I cheated a little and used a small circle punch for the cherry blossoms. I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of cutting out 50 little tiny circles by hand.

bamboo garden

Japanese garden collage

As I said, this was a pretty productive month for me and I’m excited to be finishing up a few projects, which I hope to share with you next time. But now – I must go tend to the garden –

Cheers!

 

 

Riding the Wave

When I posted I was DONE, you didn’t take me seriously did you? Well, the fact is – I am done, my last post still applies. And no, I don’t have anything profound or truly blogworthy to share, but a funny thing happened – not funny ha ha, but funny interesting…

Lately I’ve had a wonderful amount of “free time” and used that time to NOT stress about making goals, meeting deadlines or planning anything other than using my time to put more thought and energy  into the activities I enjoy.  This is not only true for the business side of things but also for the home life side of things as well. In reality, the daily chores and tasks that NEED to be done are simple and take very little time; keeping the floors swept, the sink empty, fridge full, electricity on, internet connected and having clean clothes – all important and all can be accomplished in less than 5 hours a week. As for business, well a person could fill every hour of  the 24 doing business related stuff and that doesn’t include creating and making. Now I’m just riding the wave of life, going with the flow, enjoying the ride. And with that new philosophy I’ve managed to get some fun “work’ done.

I was, for some reason, compelled to do a paper cutting using Hiroshige’s Thirty six Views of  Mt. Fuji as my inspiration. I decided to use The Sea Off Satta in Suruga Province because it is such a widely recognized iconic piece of work and my reference would need  very little explanation.

The Wave

It took about a month to do this one. There was no deadline and I even took a couple of road trips during the month too, something I would have never done before. This time I just enjoyed the process and had fun with it.  I didn’t even stress out when most the layers had to be peeled off and reconfigured because the lid wouldn’t close properly. Now I know how better to plan out my layers so that doesn’t happen again.

Here is a little peek at the process, the quick sketch and a few of the cut layers with one side assembled.

wave assembly

Well, that’s all folks.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention… I took this piece and about 4 other older pieces with me to an event I had no intention of selling at and what do you know… SOLD. And see, I am so done, I didn’t even bother to fret over the lack of wave metaphors I could have been and should have been using throughout this whole post to make it more you know, “bolgworthy”.

Cheers!

 

 

Changes…

After weeks of trying to find a witty, entertaining way to explain my absence and lack of motivation to write anything more than a laundry list- I give up. So here it is, my not so grand reentry into the blogosphere.

 

What Has Changed

Sadly, Elliot was growing more incoherent each day and developed a very annoying habit of beating her head against the wall for hours on end. I found it impossible to concentrate with all that racket so we had her shipped off to a very fine sanatarium  finishing school so she might be molded into a more polished version of her twisted little self. But this means our bricks and mortar shop, Twisted Elliot, has officially closed.

Once Elliot learns the art of proper parosol twirling and how to distinguish between a pitchfork and a dinner fork and especially how to control urges to stab someone with either, we will happily welcome her back and continue to love her unconditionally.

Yes, it was a little sad to close the door on Twisted Elliot, but all is well. We are in a new studio space, which is exciting (we have windows!) because I feel it will give me a place to work more and worry less about presenting that work in a retail setting.

Here is a peek at the new studio:

I call this the “Collectors Corner”, it’s a place for all those weird things I find on walks or have been given to me by friends… things like deer bones, dead bees, feathers. Not sure what the feng shui in all this is, but it might explain a few things.

collectors corner

storage and photobooth

A major dilemma I’ve faced for years now is having access to a convenient permanent “photo booth”, a designated zone where an item can be placed and photographed immediately upon completion. Since I make small items, this should be pretty easy… it isn’t. This area in a corner of my shelving units has potential, I’ve had  a little luck with some items, but there hasn’t been consistency in the photos and I’m doing a lot of editing, which can be very tedious and time consuming.  But, notice all the empty space on the shelves?  I always have to make sure I save room for the hoard to grow.

work zone Collage

This area by the window has proven to be a good option for a “photo booth” though not a permanent set up. But all I have to do is drape some white paper over my computer and VIOLÁ! Then dump photos int a photo editor and Voilá! again… the key would be to get the shots right from the beginning… oh well. Again, not perfect, but very little set up is required, and on a sunny day the lighting is pretty perfect. I’m enjoying having these two separate work areas, including my brainstorming area (you can tell not so much as a cloud in sight these days). Two work areas make it easy to move back and forth between tasks and projects when I need a break from one or the other…

comfy place

and the comfy spot is great when I need a beak from both. This also makes a nice cozy spot for the occasional visitor (hint, hint).

And then there is this:

packing station

                                                  The pack and wrap station for all those Etsy orders that are going to start pouring in and flying out. But for now it is a good spot to just hang my coat. Notice my fabulous  Blue Apron  boxes? They are great for transporting the dolls to and from shows.

And that’s all the changes that have been happening here. It’s a work in progress, and we are missing Elliot, but when she returns, there will be a place here for her in the newly padded cupboard.

 

What has Stayed the Same

Pretty much everything else has stayed the same.  Well, not really, but I won’t dare bore you with all the bland and boring details. Besides, most of it doesn’t involve me, and I’m not one to gossip… not online anyway.

So, until my next post, which hopefully will be soon, Cheers!

And I meant to ask… how is the New Year treating you so far? Have you also had some changes going on in your world? All for the better I hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Camping Everyone

I’m excited to be doing a few Holiday shows, but I’m also feeling very pressed for time. With that, I can only leave you with a photo:

caravan tin Collage

This Christmas caravan was created from an Altoids tin. The roof is made from Sculpey III  polymer clay and rests on a trailer hitch made from a clothes pin, spool and wood bead. Other embellishments include decorative paper, beads, pipe cleaner and charms salvaged from thrift store jewelry. I decided not to make my own bottle brush tree because, well, I just wasn’t feeling motivated to do so.

I’ve done a good job this year using only items I can salvage from my stash and using the paper scraps I have collected over the years. The only purchases I have made are for products I have run out of and some really beautiful, hard to find decorative paper. Mostly I’ve been working on creating my own background papers using photo editing programs.

Hey, this was supposed to be a quick photo only post. So with that, while all is quite and calm, I must get back to work. I have about 100 more of these to make.(!)

And Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Bates and Switch

Remember this?

paperowlCollage He was to be an addition to an altered Altoids tin paying homage to a classic American film. In keeping with the mood of that film though, I realized he should be in black and white, so it was back to the folding board for me. The second time around you think I would’ve been quite proficient at the folding and cutting. NOPE. Those tinny talons became nothing but a challenge to my patience. After three attempts and several days, I finally had an acceptable specimen.

The Idea

I first saw the movie Psycho when I was a kid. Of course, the most memorable scene in Psycho is the shower scene. While it is the scene many of us think of first, it wasn’t my intent to recapture that particular setting. For me, it was the eerie setting of the parlor, with its shadows, tense ambiance and of course those ominous birds looming in the background; trapped, hinting at not only what was to come, but also of characters seen and unseen. My little feathered friend was to be the perfect prop for that scene.

Then, a funny thing happened. While rummaging through the bins of one of my favorite “junk” stores,  I came across a small glass tile. The feel of it was smooth, the view through it was tinted, but just enough so as not to distort an image placed behind it. Its slick surface and tint led me to think of a window, a voyeur and finally, the slickness of shower tiles. It was also the perfect size for the inside of an Altoids tin.

Looked like it would be the shower scene after all…

I decided to recreate the shower scene using the glass tile, but I also felt the need to capture a hint of that creepy parlor idea. However, I thought an owl perched in the shower would be a little odd. I had to find another element to use as the backdrop for the setting, which meant I’d have to switch out my owl for something more fitting for the scene.

You may remember Norman spying on Marion Crane through a peephole hidden behind a painting which hung in his parlor, or perhaps “study” is a better word. According to my research that painting was Susanna and the Elders and is based on a biblical story from the book of Daniel about a woman bathing in her garden. Susanna is spied on by two elders who threaten to turn her over to the authorities for the crime of adultery if she does not have sex with them. Throughout history this scene  has been studied and painted by many artists, but I chose to use Artemisia Gentileschi’s interpretation.  Artemisia went through her own trials and tribulations at the hands of a man and a biased judicial system as well, in fact it is believed she painted her version of Susanna and the Elders (at the age of 17!) as an expression of the turmoil she experienced.

Aside from the history of this particular painting, I liked it because I felt it perfectly referenced both the parlor scene and the shower scene. I wanted to use it as a collage that would bring the two scenes together.  I made a black and white copy of the painting, cut it up and began playing around with the pieces.  I was happy with how the billowing robes became an extension of the shower curtain and how Susanna’s torso and right hand fit nicely with Marion’s head and left hand.

I debated whether to use the red paint. We all know how gory the scene was, I didn’t think it was necessary to recapture that element, but I did end up choosing to use a bit of red, for no other reason than to give a little color.

 

psycho altoids tin

 A Little Background

I had this Psycho themed idea in my head for a while, I spent months collecting bits and pieces; keys, tapestry, curtain hooks, even an actual fly. I also spent a lot of time researching the movie Psycho as well as the story and painting of Susana and the Elders. Over a period of 4 months I spent several hours arranging and rearranging the pieces only to toss it all aside then return to at a later time, usually with something new to add. Weeks would go by with no progress, but it was always in the back of my mind.

I tend to get stuck on an idea and develop tunnel vision, ignoring anything that might be a  another alternative to my original idea. I’m also a little impatient and want to complete a project in a day. However, after being taken in a new direction with this, even after having to switch out the main focus of the idea, I’ve learned to be patient and I’m beginning to feel ok with the fact that I have many unfinished projects, which I will finish someday.

I share this part of the process not to pass myself off as a tortured artistic genius and I realize this piece lacks any artistic qualities at all; it doesn’t serve to educate, raise awareness or challenge an ideology and in all, it is simply put together using basic skills. But, in the process of making it, I learned patience, to pay attention to my surroundings as I’d hunt for that one thing that would bring all the pieces together. Though my owl didn’t make the final cut, the process of putting him together (more than once) also taught me patience and perseverance –  and that I really do enjoy working with paper.  I’m learning to not let frustration defeat me. The final product looks nothing like my original idea, but that is part of the process as well I guess.  I believe all this has a purpose and someday I may figure out what exactly that purpose is.

I’d really like to hear about your creative process. Do you have a special formula for bringing an idea to fruition? What have you learned about yourself through the creative process or on the path of creative / artistic self-expression?

 

 

 

No Excuses (well, maybe just a few)

Ummmm – excuse me while I sneak in here and pretend I haven’t been missing for the past six months(!). But I do have several good excuses;

1. I opened a brick and mortar shop, which keeps me pretty busy.

2. I’ve had no internet access from that shop, which keeps me off-line most the day.

3. I am now a grandmother, which doesn’t necessarily keep me super busy, but is as good an excuse as any I think.

4. I was trying to avoid a stalker.

Needless to say, my life has not been lacking in blog material, just time. I’m hoping this post will get me back on track to becoming the great internet sensation I was building up to all those months ago. And by the way, if you’ve been following along, you’ll remember I was leading up to a big reveal of a couple of huge surprises: Refer to numbers 1 and 3 above. Hey – it’s been six months – I’m a little over it all already.

Anyway, in running my own shop, Twist n Pout, a small collective of local artists and Etsy sellers, I’ve faced a few challenges in finding the focus to create my own “art”. Just when I have a creative break through, I face another distraction that takes me off course. Yet today, I’m sitting here with a great sense of accomplishment. Not that I have completed an actual project, but I did get one thing done.

I’ve had an idea to create a tin based on a classic American film. (Maybe you can guess which film, based on this little piece I just made.)  I’ve been thinking about it for a few months. I’ve collected bits and pieces for it, started it, restarted it and finally tossed it aside in my growing graveyard of unfinished projects. Last night however, I found the perfect element for this tin idea.

[IMG]http://i317.photobucket.com/albums/mm374/mauther/animals%202/barnowlpapermodel00011_zps1c7f6eb9.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

I wanted a sculpture, but I knew clay would present a challenge, so I decided to try my hand at creating a paper owl sculpture. I began to sketch the idea, thinking of how I would need to cut and fold the paper. Then it occurred to me – someone, somewhere in the Googleverse, must have had the same idea once, so I Googled “create a mini paper owl”.

Clearly, there are some highly creative and talented people out there and I have no idea why none of these people aren’t wildly famous for their skills. What really makes these talented folks so special though, is their willingness to share their how to’s with us. For FREE 🙂

The barn owl model I decided to make was by Japanese designer, Zardos. To the best of my ability, I have tried to give the most accurate credit I could find about this designer. I have found little information on Zardos, but there is a large selection of models at papermau.blogspot.com. Free printouts for personal use are available, as are assembly instructions. The directions for this owl were in Japanese, but the pictures were fairly easy to follow.

I wanted my owl to be small, so I printed the images at 50%. This made the talons a whole lotta fun to cut and assemble.

owl modelThe rest was just more cutting, folding and gluing.  After a full day of cutting, folding and gluing I ended up with this little guy:

paperowlCollage

He is not exactly finished, he could use a little trim and a touch up with some paint, but he is assembled and ready for his new home in my next tin  – yayyyy

And now, can you guess what classic American film I have in mind?

Have a most wonderful day, afternoon or evening, depending on the side of the world you are reading this from.

Cheers!

 

 

Super Quick Decoupaged Box

So real quick like…. Not a lot of time for a project this week AND I sometimes like to post simple projects for those who think they are not crafty or creative.

I wouldn’t say I’m a type A personality when it comes to organization, but I like to have a place for everything and everything in its place.

I’ve had this filing box for years. No, it isn’t pretty, but it has always been in a closet or a cupboard. What works for me now though is having it out and accessible. I use it to keep all current important documents handy and to file our bills.

filie box

Since it sits on the floor out in the open now, (filing cabinets don’t work for me –  that’s why) I find it to be a real eye sore. I went hunting today for a pretty decorative box and while I found many, I settled on this one:

black boxI thought the little flip top compartment in the lid was so handy; A great place to store envelopes, stamps and mailing labels and a pair of reading glasses – all the items I need when I am working out of the box.

I often cover boxes with decorative paper and use them for storage on shelves. It’s a simple, cheap and easy way to add a bit of “style”, pizzazz, or color.  For this one I just applied some scrapbook paper (from Steam Punk Botanicals Recollections Paper stack) on the top and front. I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to cut around the handle openings on the sides, so I opted for a simple layout:

easy decoupage

Very easy, just cut out a design and glue it on the box (I used modge podge) decoupage style. This is a very simple way to add your own personality and taste to a basic storage box (like a sturdy shoe box) in very little time. This took me about 30 minutes. You wouldn’t even have to cut out the pattern, you could wrap it like a present with some beautiful wrapping paper (just wrap the lid and bottom separately).

Boxes are a great way to organize and store small items AND recycle otherwise functional boxes.  All it takes is your favorite pattern and some Modge Podge! (If you feel challenged at even using Modge Podge, you could opt for stickers.)

And now to find a way to repurpose that ugly file box…

Ideas anyone?