Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year โ€“ our โ€˜Inspiration Stationโ€™ โ€“ one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!

 

I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!

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Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

My sister and I collectively work on quite a few arts and crafts, and we thought we’d try out a theme-inspired creativity session between us once in a while – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. We’d like to do this every month, let’s see how it pans out.

Sis chose our very first theme last month: a mood board from Butterfly Reflections, Ink which is in turn inspired by Pinterest. I’d wanted to make a short, squat cosmetics holder for some time, to put eye/lip pencils and sticks in. The mood board was perfectly inspiring to get me started on this project!

Inspiration Station: Dec '18 inspiration

Inspiration Station: Dec inspiration – a mood board at Butterfly Reflections, Ink.

To start with, for the squat cylindrical wall of the container, I used a thick cardboard roll left over from used-up tapes. For the base, I used two circles cut from a chipboard – a smaller one that fits within the inside of the wall, and a larger one whose size matches the outside. I adhered the circles to each other and to the wall’s base.

I then glued striped paper, which I cut from envelope covers, onto the inner and outer surfaces of the base and onto the rim. To make them fit well, I cut them larger than the required size and snipped notches at regular intervals outside the ‘borders’, which proved useful to grip adjacent surfaces as well as to ensure that there are no gaps showing in the finished product. While all this dried in the sun, I moved on to gel printing.

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

The paper for gel printing was, again, from a thread-reinforced envelope, and it provides wonderful texture, both visual and tactile, which I love in containers. I used stamps with circles and patterns for my interpretation of the shapes in the mood board. The gel printing went better than I hoped (but still not exactly like I wanted to – the blues turned out too bright, and pinks are supposed to be flowers and dandelions. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) However, I just love the outcome! I cut the paper to size and glued it to the outer and inner walls, with the thread still intact.

To set the surfaces and finish the holder, I used matte transparent gel. (Thanks, Sis, for the idea! I think you’ve finally succeeded in making gel ideas stay put in my mind, ready for access at the slightest nudge. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I’ve already started using the holder, and I’m delighted that it’s just the way I wanted it to be!

Sis has made a pretty card for our theme, and you’ll want to look at the cute flower motifs and the background!

Shadowbox Shrine

Oops, I almost forgot to make something from my PCA course this month. And when I did start work on a project, I accidentally cracked my version #1 when it came out of the oven. I could almost feel this month pass by without a PCA project, but I managed to make a version #2. And I’m delighted with it!

Shadowbox Shrine

Shadowbox Shrine

This mixed media project by Darlene Madden is a shadowbox shrine, and I think it really highlights textures and layers. Darlene uses various media in her project, whereas I used mostly chalks and Perfect Pearls. None of the pictures I clicked do any justice to the splendid shine that comes from the Perfect Pearls. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I sculpted the key by hand, and for its wings, I used a template to cut out a heart shape, cut it vertically into two halves, and cut slits in them to form the ‘feathers’. I die-cut the lace ornament on top-left from paper, and applied metallic paints over it. I like the bling and weirdness it adds to an otherwise serious piece! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also love the mystery that the shadow adds to the object in the center — it would be rather boring otherwise. I think I like shadowboxes. How about you — are you a fan of them?

Jewelry Box

Since I barely managed to finish my quota of last month’s PCA courses, I decided to start early this time. ๐Ÿ˜€

Jewelry box - after

Jewelry box

Jewelry box - before

Jewelry box (before)
Image used from the online store’s website since I forgot to click a picture before I started. ๐Ÿ˜€

Teresa’s course is about beautifying a wooden jewelry box using painting, silkscreening, decoupage and resin. Amongst all PCA projects I’ve worked on so far, the lack of materials where I live is most evident in this one.

For the painting — the acrylics that are available here are kinda tacky, and they dry quickly to a rubbery texture; I find they’re unsuitable for a large variety of ‘advanced’ projects that interest my sis or me. Silkscreens are not available locally at all, and as for the resin, I was going to buy it only if I could come up with a layer that’s worth the gloss. So I set to work on the project with whatever I could use. (I was actually surprised I could find a jewelry box to work on. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I had to first flip the lid of the box inside out, since it originally had a flat outside and an inset on the inside. However, the reverse is what works for this project.

I managed to paint the box fine — a red-brown base layer, and then some white and brown lightly distressed texture over it. I toyed around with the idea of an image transfer onto the surfaces. (Looks like my latest project is still on my mind! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) But I’m still not sure that the transfer will turn out 100% alright. If it turns out patchy, that’ll be the end of this box, since I won’t be able to cleanly wipe the ink away. Instead, I tried using a texture stamp to imprint some nice patterns on the box, but it turned out pretty bad. In the end, I just used the texture stamp on a sheet of clay, and lightly ‘antiqued’ it with white paint post-bake. I also added a clay border to the inset since the textured sheet didn’t really warrant using resin. I finished with a thin layer of Mod podge instead.

My project is nowhere like Teresa’s, but I still like it since it turned out perfect to store our antique jewelry. ๐Ÿ™‚ My sis wants to decorate it even more, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll enhance it!

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

Mixed Media — my latest muse, because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to work with all the things in their project! ๐Ÿ˜‰ So it’s no surprise that the next item I chose in PCA was mixed media — a Hope Angel canvas by Barbara. I wanted to have a face in my piece too, but wasn’t too happy with my angel, so I drew upon some inspiration and made a Hope Tree instead.

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

Mixed Media: Hope Canvas

I didn’t think the delicate background that Barbara makes for her piece would work for my tree, so I added more media to draw out the textures and colors. My! That was a good decision, and I was almost in love with the piece already. ๐Ÿ™‚ I experimented with adding this and that to complement the tree, and finally used a bird and a peace sign to complete the piece. I fussy cut the bird (hehe, I’m using terms that I learned from my sis) from a clay sheet that I textured, because none of my stencils worked size-wise. And I die cut the sign, painted it and stenciled in the lettering.

Thankfully, I had enough space in my oven to bake this project. Since it’s still a big piece, I monitored the temperature like a hawk to make sure nothing went awry. (I am soo glad I invested in an oven thermometer!)

Overall, I love how it turned out; it’s totally worth all the effort I put in! ๐Ÿ™‚

Dragon Pendant

Another challenge that inspired me to try out something new!

The team at Art Elements launches a themed challenge every month. I’d thoroughly enjoyed working on a sugar skull keychain inspired by their October theme. This month, it’s a winter themed challenge, and Niky from Art Elements came up with a dragon-inspired theme! And who can resist dragons? ๐Ÿ™‚ So I tried my hand at a dragon pendant, and then decided to officially participate in the challenge as well. I’ve been inspired indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€

Polymer Clay Dragon Pendant

Polymer Clay Dragon Pendant

Thanks to Niky for coming up with this theme. I wouldn’t have tried something like this otherwise. I loved making the pendant — from inspiration to design to execution! Someday, when my claying skills improve, I’ll make some different dragon jewelry that does justice to the sheer awesomeness of this magnificent creature. Until then, this will do. ๐Ÿ™‚

I originally had a design in mind for a dragon curled around a large bead, but sculpting a dragon was not something that I was looking forward to, especially so soon after sculpting the sugar skull. I have a mold with some paisley vine-like shapes, and I thought one of them could work as the dragon’s body. I changed my design to suit this dragon shape, molded the clay, and made the tail pointier.

Though I’d thought of adding scales similar to the appliquรฉ flower petals I made for my sugar skull, I didn’t think I’d be able to work much on the dragon’s curly body. So I poked dots on its back instead, and made some ridges on its belly.

I set the dragon on a big flat wooden bead, with a large white glass bead behind the dragon. The setup still looked a bit empty, and I cut off thin strips from a gold-and-brown sheet I’d made, and arranged them behind the dragon.

I covered the back with a layer of dark polymer clay, and bent two wires to form loops that I attached to the back. I then wrapped a strip of brown clay along the circumference, marked ridges on it, and added more of the gold-and-brown strips over it at the top.

I kept the piece aside for a few days — just in case I finished more projects, I could bake them all together. I took it out this week to fiddle a tiny bit with it, the behind-the-dragon strips broke off partially! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I didn’t have the patience to remove all of that area, and risk damaging the dragon as well, so I added a few more strips to the broken area. The new strips didn’t work well with the old ones, and no gentle prods could make them do so. I finally poked dots in them to force them to stay. To keep things consistent, I carefully poked dots in the other similar areas too. It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not bad either… Liquid Polymer Clay would probably have helped here, and it’s now gone up a slot in my to-buy list.

Finally, I made two tiny horns and a tiny eye, and attached them both to the dragon’s head. I wondered if I should try to add anything else (wings), but I couldn’t risk the dragon’s body crumbling like the background did, so I went ahead and baked the piece before anything else could break off. It came out of the oven well. Phew! ๐Ÿ™‚


Here’s all the beautiful dragon-inspired jewelry that everyone has made —

Guests

Kathy Lindemer
Kelly Rodgers
Shai Williams
Tammy Adams
… And of course, there’s me! ๐Ÿ™‚

AJE Team

Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Diana
Jen
Jenny
Laney
Niky
Susan