Friday 29 November 2013

beauty in decay

Ever visited pinterest and searched for the word "rust"?
It's incredible what a large number of people have pinboards over there showing rust in all its various kinds - and they all are (at least to them and to me) sooo beautiful! I often ask myself what it is that attracts us this much with rust or even other kinds of decay...just think about drift wood, pebble stones, fallen leaves, condemned houses, old theaters with wall papers peeling off and revealing a lot of layers underneath! 

Is it that feeling that we are allowed a glimpse through time - back in time but foward to the future as well? As if rusted objects - worn by time and nature - take us on a time travel at high speed. How will I look like when I will be seventy? Which kind of traces will time have left with me then?

I honestly love faces of people that show their wrinkles. From seeing them you can tell if the person has been leading a happy life or one filled with a lot of sorrow and bitterness. There's hardly anything more beautiful than smile wrinkles, isn't it?

Wrinkled faces of old people also often evoke some deep respect in me. They tell about experience and wisdom. Maybe I feel this kind of respect too when I look at timeworn and rusted objects that have been withstanding ages obviously.

During the summer holidays we visited my husband's uncle, who is a dedicated collector of timeworn and old things that tell stories too (and who has revived and renovated an old car all on his own during six years of searching and restoring).

He gave me a lot of rusted treasures from his shed for my creative work after taking a look at my blog - and I guess he was happy that he had found someone who shares his love for old and timeworn things. We spent a long time in his shed where he showed me a lot of the treasures he had found at flea markets and we enjoyed it so much.

 The two keys I used for the two panels were just one of his generous gifts (thank you so much, Uncle Helmut! :).They still have the labels on them that indicate their former purpose.

I also found (and fell in love with) a wonderful watchmakers cabinet on ebay some weeks ago and immediately knew that I wanted it for Christmas. As my wonderful husband loves what I do and supports me in it wherever he can, he immediately said "yes" and we were lucky to win the object. It's filled with over thousands of watch glasses in various sizes and I can't wait to incorporate them (bit by bit) into my future artwork!

He generously allowed me to already use two of them for this two panel project ;) :-X

But back to beauty and/in decay. We seem to mingle our idea of history and time with the look of timeworn objects, don't we?

They touch our souls and I love to question myself why.
Time travel, time that changes us and everything (but cannot be changed by us in return), time as our companion (and sometimes enemy), time as our (healing) friend, .... if you take a look at the incredible lot of ways humans deal with the phenomenon of "time" you get an idea about the power we attribute to time (and about the power it really has upon us).

And where does time ever get visible? In decay - caused by weather, water, wind, air or constant use.

One of my arts teachers at university (who taught "design" among other things) told us that the best working and most loved tools reveal themselves by their traces of use and wear...

...handles being "sanded" down by a thousand times of being held in sweaty hands, steps of stone stairs being sanded down by the feet of millions and billions of visitors walking on them, .... "You will recognise the most beloved tools by their signs of wear and abrasion" he said and I still love this saying as there's so much truth in it!

As I took a lot of pictures this time and I want to spare you the endless scrolling down I decided to offer you a closer glimpse on my two panels via a slide-show. I hope you like them!


You can click through the images of the slideshow by using the forward arrow button if the slideshow is too fast ;)

Hugs and happy creating,

Claudia x

Materials used: painting board, fine sand texture paste, two clock glasses, Adirondack Alcohol Inks, Ranger Distress Inks, DecoArt Traditions acrylic paints, eyelets, wire, rubber stamping (Prima) and embossing with Ranger embossing powder "Rust", stencils (Tim Holtz and TCW), scrapbooking papers and dictionary pages, copper plates and a Sizzix metal embossing folder, Artemio letter stamps, Ranger black jet archival ink

Monday 25 November 2013

Last minute selfmade presents: colourful notebooks with DecoArt acrylics

Still in search for some artsy last minute selfmade gifts for X-mas? Well, how about making some really easily and quickly made colourful notebooks?

If you are as addicted to collecting unique booklets to write or doodle in as I am and/or you know other people who are too then this is the right project to make ;)

All you will need for making notebooks like these are:

- DecoArt Americana acrylic paints ( I used Bleached Sand, Yellow Light, Bahama Blue, Coral Blush, Olive Green, Green Mist, Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin, Golden Straw and Navy Blue)
- a spray bottle filled with water
- a brayer
- some sticky tape and some glue
- baby wipes
- kitchen roll
- a pack of white dividers (available at any bureau shop) - which will spare you a lot of cutting to size
- a transparent sheet (from your bureau stuff) and a white sheet of paper to stuff in
- thread, scissors, a punching needle, a sewing needle, a punching mat
- a label stamp
- a brush

I recently bought a Gelli Plate (after half a year of rolling all the pros and cons in my mind), but before I owned that really fun and easy to handle tool for monoprinting I used a lot of different surfaces for the monoprints I did with my pupils.
One of them was simply a transparent sheet fixed to the table with some sticky tape (and filled with a sheet of white paper so the colours can bee seen more clearly).

 1. Well,  let's get started: get your transparent sheet and fix it to your table too. (as I know me being a very messy crafter I fixed it to my craft sheet first).

2. Get a stack of dividers ready and the DecoArt Americana acrylics. Apply dots of various colours randomly onto your transparent sheet.

3. Now comes the most important part: the trick with the brayer!

Don't roll it over the whole sheet in different directions but keep moving it with hardly any pressure(!) from left to right only (or right to left only if you are left-handed) and do only very short distances at once - then lift the brayer and put it down some centimetres further to roll on...and so on.
That way the colours will not mix too much and a lot of space will remain uncovered (which will let the white of the paper you print on show through). Don't clean your brayer after this - put it aside. You will need it in a sec. Your transparent sheet should look like this now:

4. Place two dividers onto the transparent sheet and use the colour covered brayer to press them down. Roll the brayer firmly over the whole sheets, then lift them off the ground (if you brayer too long some of the paper might stick to the transparent sheet as the acrylic colour then works like a glue once it has dried too long).

The sides you covered with your brayer will become the insides of your booklets' covers. They will look like this:

The outsides should kind of look like this: bright and colourful. Let dry (or speed up with a heat tool). Clean your brayer and surface with some spritzes of water and some kitchen towel.

5. Take a pile of dividers (depending on how many pages you want your notebook to have), put one of the prepared covers on top and cut off the side pieces where the two holes are.

Use one of the dividers to create a stencil for the holes you will have to punch for the sewer binding. Fold it in half and mark four spots.

Punch holes through all the layers using a punching needle and a punching mat.

6. Choose a thread of a matching colour for your colour design of the cover and take a large sewing needle. Use doubled thread and the length of about your arm. This should do for sewing the binding twice.

Start with the second hole from the left and from the inside, then slide the needle through the hole left to it from the outside to the inside again. Then through the hole you started with to the outside again and through the third hole to the inside and through the fourth hole to the outside again. From there through the third hole to the inside again... then repeat the whole procedure.

This way you should have done a kind of weaving  and the thread should be doubled everywhere. Tie the ends together on the inside of your booklet with several knots. Then cut off the excess thread.

Now you can carefully fold your booklets. The only thing left to do is create a label.

7. Get a label stamp (mine is from Red Lead), the DecoArt Americana Navy Blue, a soft brush and the transparent sheet again and spread some of the colour on it. Dip the stamp into the thin layer of paint and stamp onto some white card.

8. Cut out your labels, do some handwriting on them (or leave them plain for the person who will receive this lovely gift) and glue them to the covers. Done!

Hope you have a lot of fun making your own and will be giving away a lot of these colourful booklets! They are so easily and quickly made!

Hugs and happy crafting!


Thursday 21 November 2013

What the Poet Does

Maybe some of you know that I have been writing poems rather intensely for quite a long time (and some of them even made it into anthologies) some years ago. I still do now, but not very often honestly. Seems that my actual need to express myself in stamped, collaged or painted images has taken the place of the urge to express myself in written images. But I definitely feel that there's not much of a difference between writing or painting an image...I always feel like painting with words (and also sounds and rhythm) when writing a poem and I often feel like creating a poem when making a mixed media piece of art.

So I tried to put in words, images and colours what it is that a poet does exactly on this art journal page.

The background is a gelli print and I found that the 6''x6'' format is a size I really love. Maybe I will just bind some more pages into a booklet some time. I also love the borders of the prints - with those imprecise overlaps from the various layers. So I left some white around the edges instead of cutting them off.

I love that poet stamp from Paper Artsy! Being a good poet requires a lot of discipline and the will to force yourself not to content with your very first tries. So I find the gentleman really appropriate.

To me words have colours in a special way. Or maybe some feeling of "visible" sound that evokes an impression similar to colour when I hear them play together. I often pick the words before I realise the idea that has already started to form in my head to find that they evoke exactly what I wanted to write about.

Sometimes I build poems around certain words - just because they evoke a certain melody, rhythm and/or image in me. It's always a wonderful thing to let the words take the lead, but trying to guide them into their perfect places. Which is really very similar to working with colours and textures, isn't it?

I am sure poetry means something different to each of us, but we all feel those similar "ingredients" at the core of our creations (written or painted ones) - bringing something to light and into shape by partially letting it build up from our vague ideas, letting the materials we work with take the lead sometimes.

And you simply feel it, when you have done a "good poem/painting", don't you? (And most of the time you also feel when you have messed up ;).
Being creative to me means that perfect balance between controlling a medium and letting go at the same time - listening to the inner nature of the materials we work with. Which is what makes it that joyful I guess.

Seen from this angle we are surrounded by poetry, aren't we?

Hugs and happy crafting/composing.

Claudia x

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Another brilliant sundown over Vienna

I am still struggling with some health issues and even though they are nothing too severe (and should be fixed within the next two weeks hopefully) they cause a creative block which I really hate. The weather over here in Vienna is mostly grey in grey during the days - only the evenings bring the most beautiful sundowns of the year.

The view from my balcony shows the Danube Tower to the left and the large dark building in the center is our General Hospital. The soft hills in the background are my beloved Vienna Woods.

About twenty minutes later the city looked like this:

I really never tire of watching my Vienna change its face within minutes.... and even my son often calls for me to take one more picture ("Mom, it's even more fantastic now! You HAVE to take a picture!" minute later..."Mom, it has turned even more fantastic now! Please, take a picture!...;)

If you want larger images just click on them. Hope you have a good time crafting!


Claudia x

Tuesday 19 November 2013

White On White - Try It On Tuesday

Servus and welcome back to another edition of Try It On Tuesday challenges!

The new challenge asks you to create something

White On White

(which from my point of view is one of the supreme disciplines of card making and crafting....which is why I really struggled with this theme - but the results are worth it honestly - just hop over to TIOT and see for yourself ;).

Sadly this will be my last DT project for Try It On Tuesday and I want to thank my wonderful team for having this wonderful, wonderful time. TIOT was my very first DT and (also because of that) will always remain something special to me :). Thank you so much, ladies! You really helped me with growing into challenges and DT stuff and made me love it. 

I recently had some health issues which made me think.... and after I had thought enough I decided to reduce some of my crafting time and rather spend it on becoming more agile and healthy again (instead of just "waiting" for better times and hiding out behind my crafting desk). I also wanted to gain more time for creative experiment (which includes also projects that might go to the bin - and this should not happen when under pressure with DT projects to be done).

My white on white card is not white on white on the back honestly...*lol. I hardly ever manage to make anything without leaving at least one final fingerprint...*sigh. I really admire all those card makers out there, who are able to produce all these immaculate cards!! I definitely will never become one of them *lol.

But now to my card for your inspiration:

I did some dry embossing, some heat embossing (which is so very white on white that it was almost impossible to photograph *giggle) and some die cutting. And that's mainly it.

To make all the white shapes a bit more visible I blended the edges and raised areas with Distress ink "antique linen". Hope you like it (as it is really the best I can manage with card making I am afraid ;).

See you over at Try It On Tuesday (to admire and learn from your white on white projects) and I wish you all many many more crafting fun with the TIOT challenges. It's definitely one of the best places I know ;)

Claudia x

Monday 18 November 2013

Imagine... all talking in numbers or notes.
While I am the one who loves words (to hear them, read them, write them, even see them), my husband is a maths genius (and obviously my son is too) . To him numbers and algorithms are just different ways to express ideas and ways to describe systems in our world.

When I stumbled upon the music sheet background page in my art journal I thought that notes are a different kind of language too. So I decided to bring letters, notes and numbers together and do an art journal page about ...well, about what exactly? About life I guess. Life seen (and expressed) from a different perspective. My son and my HB both find systems almost everywhere - in shopping malls as well as out in beautiful nature - and they all can be described numerically.

Being able to write down a wonderful musical composition is just another language, isn't it? I love it when music is in the air - and imagine the notes flying around, dancing in the air to a mathematically (?) organized choreography, weaving a wonderful carpet of sound - talking to us without words, but evoking a lot of images, feelings, colours maybe? Music and imagination go together so well, don't they?

I really admire composers and mathematicians - they "speak" languages I am not able to use myself as I am a words-fixated girl. I even guess they see the world differently.

I love the shapes of letters, different fonts, the look of music sheets or calculations on paper. Doing this page I enjoyed playing around with the shapes of numbers, letters, single words, black and white space and covered against non covered areas.

Have a good start into the week! It's grey in grey over here again....*sigh.

Hugs and happy crafting!

Claudia x

PS: as mathematics will always remain a big mystery to me, I enter this journal page to Simon Says Monday Challenge "It's a Mystery"