A Shadowbox Begins

Wow, did this month fly by or what! It feels like only yesterday that I thought the Art Elements theme of the month, Repurposing, was perfect for a project that I’d been thinking of, and it’s already reveal time. Many thanks to Lesley Watt for hosting this theme, since it turned out to be the spark that got this project started.

We’d taken out a new set of teacups a few months ago, and since then, I’d been holding on to the styrofoam container they came in, because it was perfect for a shadowbox!

Styrofoam Shadowbox: WIP

However, I’ll add some emphasis on the first statement of this post, because I couldn’t complete as much as I’d thought I would. To compensate for the lack of creative time last month, I think I put my fingers in too many pies this month. 🙂 So I’ll just list the few steps that I’ve completed in the project as of today. So far, I have:

  • Decoupaged the styrofoam surface with newspaper
  • Added some texture by crudely adhering cheap toilet paper onto the surface
  • Applied gesso over the surface
  • Brushed some yellow / orange acrylics over it

All of these steps were interspersed with a lot of waving around of a heat gun, and then, because the surface still seemed a bit springy to the touch, letting it dry overnight and get some sun through the day as well.

I like how it looks so far. Next, I’ll add more acrylics of orange / red / brown shades, and try out some ideas for decorating the shadowbox with other material. Hopefully by then, I’ll have figured out what goes into the shadowbox, because let’s leave the most important stuff till the end! 🙂

Coincidentally, some of my other projects this month fit the repurposing theme too, but they’re not a part of this reveal, and I’ve already talked about them. Though I couldn’t complete something for the reveal, I had a lot of fun this month, and it feels great after the crafty scarcity of last month!

More repurposing: a trinket box made from packaging cardboard base, scrap clay, and paper from a manual; and a shawl (which I’m still working on) using yarn reclaimed from an earlier project.


This is a blog hop, so if you’d like to check out what the other guests and the Art Elements team have repurposed for their artsy projects, do head over to their blogs linked below!

Guests: Tammy Alysen Evie & Beth Karin Hope Divya Anita (you’re here) Sarajo Kathy Rebecca Martha

AE Team: Niky Laney Cathy Caroline Jen Jenny Sue Claire Lesley

Advertisements

Art Journal: Birds of Prey | AE Challenge

I’ll admit, when Cathy came up with Birds of Prey as the theme for this month’s Art Elements Challenge, all I could think of was making owl polymer clay beads and use them as earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with owls, but I’ve already made owl drawings, owl doodles and owls in macramé, and I just really wanted to give other raptors a try. So I gave my newfound interest in art journaling some nudges, and finally used some new Gelli plates that we’d bought. After what seemed like a long time, I ended up with this –

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page

The background

I started out with a background painted with light-blue acrylic colors, to whose borders I added brown and black. On this, I used a chevrons-patterned stencil for some gel prints. I think I’m learning to work with the unpredictability of my gel prints, because I wasn’t disgruntled from all the times they didn’t turn out right. 🙂 The Gelli plate that I used was a new one that is smaller than my A5 page, and I’m still figuring out whether to trim the page for my next session, or try to make the border work with it somehow.

The tags

I used waste paper from my gel printing sessions to die-cut some labels. I used another chevrons-patterned stencil to add subtle background patterns on the labels, and then a circular Gelli plate to add the sun/moon shapes. I also used a mandala stencil with the gel plate to add light (and some not-so-light) patterns over the suns/moons. I then trimmed the sides and bottom of each label to get my tags.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

The sketches

I read a lot of raptor material and looked at quite a few pictures, and then used a gel pen to messily draw a falcon, an owl and a vulture from memory. (I know, I succumbed to the owl’s magic and couldn’t resist adding it. But at least it’s amongst other raptors. 😛 ) I don’t think the falcon turned out quite right, but I’m not aiming for perfect! 🙂

The ’embellishments’

I stuck the tags to the background page, and then experimented with shading to form some shadows around the tags. It involved painting a short line outside the edge of the tag and smudging it before it dries. It took a while, but I like how it turned out, and I wouldn’t mind following the process again next time and improve on it. I used a white gel pen to write some words and draw some simple designs, and then drew some ‘jump rings’ at the edges of the tags, just because I felt like doodling a bit more.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

I had a lot of fun with this page, and even though it seemed to take forever (I worked on it in spurts across two days), I’m happy that I tried stuff that I hadn’t before. What a wonderful opportunity the challenge provided – thanks, Cathy!


This is a blog hop, so head on over to these blogs to check out more inspired raptor creations!

Guests: Tammy Beth Cat Anita (you’re here) Kathy Alysen Linda Rozantia Jennifer Hope Sarajo Melissa Sarah

Team Members: Caroline Cathy Claire Jen Jenny Karen Laney Lesley Lindsay Marsha Niky Sue

Sweet Dreams Earrings

Another month ends, and brings another Art Elements reveal with it. Lindsay Starr hosts this month’s theme – Moon.

At first, I thought this was perfect to try out gel prints with a recently accidentally bought gelli plate (we found we’d ordered a round one instead of a square one.) But I still have hit-or-miss results with gel printing (and you can guess which it was this time), so I came back to jewelry.

I tried out an idea that I had of connecting points around wire hoop earring bases with wire to form a crescent moon. The wire didn’t work out, but I felt good old thread would.

Sweet Dreams Earrings | Anita

As usual, this look wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started out, and as usual, I really like it. 🙂

I changed the wire idea a bit to suit the thread. I first crocheted along a portion of the hoop. Then came out a needle, and I wove the thread back and forth between the crochet stitches to form a crescent shape.

I wanted to add streamers to the moons, but crochet wouldn’t create them as thin as I liked, and macramé would have worked better if only the thread was a bit thicker. 🙂 So instead, I added some really tiny charms, and I think this turned out better than the streamer idea. I wondered whether to embellish the moons with seed beads or sequins, but sometimes, simple is best, and I left it as is.


It looks like quite a few artists have been inspired by Lindsay’s theme, and we’re in for a treat! Hope you’ll check out their interpretations in the blog hop.

Guests: Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita (you’re here) Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew: Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue  Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay

Elegant White Earrings

It’s time for yet another reveal at Art Elements, and this month, Claire Fabian has thought of ‘White‘ as the theme.

I ran through my ever-growing to-do list of projects, wondering if white could be the star in any of them. In the end, as it happens more often than not, I made a brand new project. 🙂

Elegant White Earrings | Anita

I used a right angle weave stitch with white pearl beads as the basis of the beading, with silver seed beads added between the beads for a netting / lace-like effect. I’d started out with an all-white palette, but wasn’t connecting with the earrings I was making, so I redid them with some gunmetal colored beads added in. I like this two-color version much better, and since white is still the defining color in the project, I don’t have any regrets about the addition!

I added white teardrop beads and hematite seed beads to the bottom for more dimension and interest. To finish the earrings, I only had to attach earwires to the top. I like how these earrings turned out looking elegant and traditional.


The sneak peeks from the Art Elements team and the guests have been interesting, so don’t forgot to join us in the blog hop. Thank you, Claire, for a serene theme to end the year with!

Guest Artists: Alysen Anita (you’re here) Beth Cat Divya Elaine Hope Jill Karin Kathy Lucy Rozantia Sarajo Susan Tammy

Art Elements Team: Caroline Cathy Claire Laney Lesley Marsha Susan

Image Transfer: Coasters

I’ve not participated in challenges lately due to my creativity having become sluggish, but this month’s theme at Art Elements – Stars by Laney Mead, brought forth some tiny sparks in my right brain. 🙂 By the time I thought of joining, I’d already created some Diwali gel prints using the only stencil in our stash that has some star shapes in it, so I hoped other ideas would appear soon.

I considered various ideas involving beading, wire-weaving, faux soutache with polymer clay, and gel printing, but none clicked. Then, I came across some old printouts of star shaped patterns that I’d thought I’d use for image transfer jewelry using polymer clay. Since I was still woefully short of jewelry ideas, I settled on making a set of coasters instead.

Polymer Clay Coasters using Image Transfer

Don’t see too many stars? That’s because I ran out of prints…

 

The ‘sure’ idea

I wanted colorful bases for my coasters, and instead of spending time and the little energy I had on Skinner blends, I brushed a variety of chalks on plain, unbaked circular clay sheets. (Now that was fun. :)) I transferred the star pattern image onto a sheet of translucent clay, intending to adhere it face-down on a coaster base so I could bake the whole setup and then sand+buff the translucent surface. However, before I could place the translucent sheet on the circle, the sheet just tore apart. Argh, the horror!

Since I’d transferred images onto clay before, I’d been pretty sure that this would work, and now I didn’t have enough copies of the star prints left to form a ‘proper set’ of 4, so I opted to just use a different pattern for each coaster instead.

An alternative

The translucent clay just didn’t want to work with image transfers, so I started looking for alternatives. Liquid polymer clay can be used as a medium for the transfer – but surprisingly, it didn’t produce great results on my unbaked sample bases or baked ones. Then my sis suggested transparent matte gel, and it worked brilliantly! So I applied the gel on my baked coaster bases and stuck the paper on it pattern-side down, and waited for the gel to set completely. I then got the paper soaking wet and gently rubbed it away from the base, leaving the pattern behind.

Finally!

As usual, things just had to work a bit differently on the final pieces than on the samples. 🙂 The ‘gently’ part turned out to be difficult, and I rubbed away the pattern at a few places on two of the coasters. By the time I was on my second piece, I noticed that the pattern would appear pretty vibrant and clear while wet, even if traces of paper showed up everywhere while dry. So for my last two pieces, I decided to just leave all of that stubborn trace paper be, and waited for the pieces to dry fully. Then I poured some resin over the coasters, and voila! Vibrant, patterned coasters, just the way I want. They’re still curing as I write this post, so I haven’t tested them yet; I hope they work well and last a long time.


I was pretty sure I won’t have anything done for this challenge, and even though only one of the patterns has any resemblance to stars, I hope this little something is still better than nothing. Thank you, Laney, for the heavenly theme! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have come up with; let’s go blog hopping!

Guests:  Jill Divya Alysen Kathy Tammy Cat Samantha Anita (you’re here) Karin Sarajo Rozantia Kimberly

AE Team: Jen Jenny Niky Laney Claire Cathy Marsha Caroline Susan Lesley

Swirly Pendant | Art Elements Challenge

I’d thought I would have loads of inspired ideas for the Art Elements ‘Swirl’ theme, but I found myself continually revolving around only one concept – swirled polymer clay lentil beads. However, I couldn’t really think of anything much different from a couple of lentil bead buttons I’d made a long time ago, so it was a no-go. As the month drew to a close, I thought I just won’t participate this time. Then I decided to give mokume gane a try. As usual, it didn’t go so well, but I managed to salvage the project, and it turned into this –

Swirly pendant, polymer clay | Anita

Think this just about qualifies as a participant for the challenge! 😉

I used an embossing folder for the mokume gane texture, with a red clay sheet over a thicker yellow one, so that a patterned yellow shows up on the red when I slice away the raised areas. The slicing didn’t really work so well, so I impressed the same texture again onto the same clay. From this sheet, I cut out a square that would fit into a pendant frame that I own. I then applied red and gold Perfect Pearls on the raised surfaces of the square, and smoothed out its edges.

I filled up the pendant frame with scrap clay – I anyway had leftovers from the slicing and the cutting out of the square – and then set the square over it so it appears somewhat domed. A 20-minute bake completed the pendant.

So that’s my super-quick project for the Art Elements challenge. Today’s the reveal, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have created, and I hope you are as well!

Guests: Alison Anita (You are here) Cat Caroline Jill Kathy Karin Kimberly Mischelle Raven Sarajo Susan Tammy

AE Team: Cathy Caroline Claire Jen Jenny & Lesley Laney Marsha Susan

Helical Key Fob

This month’s Art Elements challenge has the theme of Seed Pods, and is hosted by Jen Cameron. When I signed up for the challenge, I didn’t really have any idea of what I would make, but soon after, I was reminded of seed pods from my school days. On our way to school and back, we would come across these helical seed pods strewn all around. I don’t see them anywhere these days, and I still don’t know what kind of trees they were from. I thought it would be awesome if I could represent them.

Research using the vague terms I could think of didn’t turn up anything useful, and anyway, I don’t think I even remember those seed pods that well, so I eventually ditched the research and focused on the artistic. That’s when the Cellini Spiral sprung to mind. I’ve admired the effortless gorgeousness of this stitch but had never worked on it myself. After trying and discarding a few color combinations, I ended up with a viable one – I just love these colors!

Helical Key Fob

The Cellini Spiral stitch itself is easy to learn because it’s essentially a tubular peyote stitch, but the constant color change requires some attention, so it’s probably not TV stitching. 🙂 Mistakes are really easy to undo, though.

Since none of my bead caps seemed to really suit this piece, I ended up using a 16-gauge wire for the finishing. I strung the wire through the length of the helix tube and formed the ends. (This wire was so hard to work with!) I also made a jump ring for some extra swing. Now that’s a key fob I totally adore!

So it looks like this project wasn’t about technique-oriented challenges for me, but it makes up for that with the happiness it brought. Thank you, Jen, for the chance to channel a tiny piece of the past into the present. 🙂


This is a blog hop, so please check out the insanely creative ideas from the other guests and the AE team!

Guests: Tammy Raven Alysen Anita (You are here) Cat Kimberly Rozantia Sarajo Divya Caroline Catherine Kathy Jill Norma
AE Team: Claire Caroline Lesley Niky Laney Susan Marsha Jenny Cathy Jen