Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mail Art duo - More Fun with Masking at PaperArtsy!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I discovered to my great surprise that the PaperArtsy masking challenge is still up and running! If you haven't done so already, please do head over to the PaperArtsy blog and catch up with all the beautiful work there - and there's still 4 days left for you to be inspired and link up your own art! A few days ago I played with masking using a manilla tag and a punched stamp shape on some old plain white envelopes.

This carnival-themed envelope will soon be on its way to my oldest friend, Judith. Having started creating mail art using a mixture of painting with a brayer, stamping and stencilling, layering and adding my own art and collage, I couldn't stop: maybe it was a little hint of spring in the air! 

Still on the theme of carnivals, I tried putting down a few layers and then masking before adding yet more. This gave a slightly different effect to masking from the start and creating white areas.

On this envelope I used the wonderful long Sara Nauman handwriting stamp from ESN10. This stamp works really well when you stamp with paint, but always remember to clean your stamp thoroughly and immediately with this technique. I like to rub away layers with baby wipes and to create a dreamy, smudgy effect.

Just a hint of sunshine over the last few days inspired me to think ahead to long summer days and the romance between Bottom the Weaver and Titania, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Puck, the mischievous sprite uses the juice from a tiny flower called 'Love in Idleness' to place the self-important Bottom and the proud Titania under a love spell. On my envelope Bottom, bedecked with flowers, wears his ass's head and Titania's fairy crown has been replaced with a clown's hat - all will end happily, with the correct couples together again and harmony restored!

I returned to masking off areas of white space on this envelope, which includes a couple of little owls performing a card trick! Somehow - wise as she is - the little clown owl on the left has managed to transform her assistant into the Queen of Hearts!This challenge has spurred me on to try using some of the masking products out there, but for now it's been fun using these simple techniques and seeing what effects I can achieve with them. It's been a great opportunity to play with different combinations of Fresco paint colours too and to re-visit creating backgrounds using lids dipped into little pools of paint. I love the effect of this kind of mark-making around the mask.

I have a little 'stash' of hand-drawn images scanned into my computer, which I re-size digitally and then re-colour with water-colour pencils. The hearts are drawn onto book text, cut out and then coloured with water-colour pencils.
Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven and looking at my mail art. I do hope you've joined in with the PaperArtsy challenge, or that you will have time to do so in the next few days and that your week will be happy and creative!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Masquerade! Joining in the masking fun at PaperArtsy!

Hello and Welcome! I'm trying to be a better blogger than last year so today here I am at Magpieheaven sharing some mail art I've created to send to an old and special friend I was re-united with on Facebook. Over at the PaperArtsy blog here there's such an inspiring challenge going on. I've enjoyed looking at all the contributions from the Guest Designers and those playing along so much that I decided to do some masking of my own! It's ages since I joined a challenge in Blogland and I've had lots of fun using this theme to inspire my own project!

Masking is great technique for Mail Art. I remember seeing the incredible Darcy Wilkinson once demonstrate at Ally Pally. She transformed cheap white envelopes into little works of art in no time, creating masks from everyday bits and bobs and lots and lots of layers of Fresco paints! It was time to brighten up the grey days with another go at her techniques!

My masks were a mini manilla tag, a stamp shape punched from scrap paper and some strips of torn masking tape. I used a brayer to apply layers of Frescos and I also stippled with Baby wipes. There's some stencilling on there and some stamping with paint. The stamp shape and the strips of tape were applied during the process so that different layers could be masked and would show through. I also carefully wiped away layers in places to reveal what lay beneath as I went along. I lost track of all the colours I used, but there was Tango, Red Bus, Brown Shed, Inky Pool and Yellow Submarine layered over opaques like Mermaid, Blush and Taupe.

I had some collage images I wanted to add to complete the picture! Not only was the envelope all about 'masking' - my friendly tiger and his lovely assistant are also 'maskers'. I think they're off to provide the entertainment at a grand Venetian ball!

 You can see what was left when I took away the masks. I added some detail to the tag and gave it to the Masquerading tiger to hold. Once I had outlined my tiger and his little companion in 6B pencil and fine-liner they stepped out from the background. You might have noticed that I've added some Sara Nauman stars stamped several times in paint onto my background. The butterflies - a symbol of good fortune to Venetians - are punched from scraps of paper and Vintage Playing cards.

Nothing is wasted with this technique. I've used the tiny tag with its many layers and punched butterflies from the scrap paper for the stamp space.

Thank You so much for stopping by today. Traditionally it is carnival time in Venice - or it was a little earlier in the month - so this was the perfect time to play with masks! I hope you'll check out the PaperArtsy challenge and maybe have a go yourself. There's a generous £50.00 voucher for PaperArtsy goodies to be won in the draw. Have a lovely, creative week.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Owl ATC Box

Hello from Magpieheaven. Tomorrow is St Valentine's Day, but I'm afraid I'm not really sharing a very traditional Valentine make over at Calico Craft Parts! I do think it's just a little bit romantic so please pop across if you would like to see more.

Meanwhile, may tomorrow and all your days be full of love and creativity.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Capture Life's Moments!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Back in January I resolved to write more blog posts - oh dear - I haven't done so well yet. Never mind, today I put fingers to keyboard here at Magpieheaven, just for fun and I'm sharing some pieces I created for a very special class! 

 I'm celebrating a lovely on line workshop I participated in last Summer. Saints, Sinners and Shrines, Alternatives to honouring the Divine within was part of the Artful Gathering collection of classes, taught by the inspiring and talented Mary Jane Chadbourne. I always learn so much from Mary Jane's classes. She creates a very special place for her students in which they can learn new techniques and gain in confidence and inspiration not only from her expertise and talent, but from generous and gifted class-mates too. I find that the inspiration from these classes stays with me throughout the year, enabling me to go on creating long after the close of the class.

We discovered the serenity of religious retablos and the fun and exuberance of Mexican Day of the Dead! I purchased one of Mary Jane's MDF retablos, beautifully made by her husband, but a pattern was included in the class, so I was able to add to my collection.

 The piece below, which I created most recently  is something of a 'What if...' One night as I lay awake, I thought about anthropomorphic animals. So often we see ourselves in animals and animals in ourselves. The shrines and Retablos we created in class were sometimes inspired by Renaissance paintings of beautiful, regal women - and some class-mates did create shrines and retablos honouring pets. What, I wondered, if I combined animal and human? What might a wise Renaissance owl look like? I started with this sketch in ink and water-colour on the pages of a vintage copy of 'The Natural History of Selbourne'.

I paired her head with that of a little girl's body in a Renaissance study and added some finishing touches. Meet Ava, the wise Owl, accomplished in Poetry, Music and Science - a true Renaissance bird-woman! I had lots of fun crackling and ageing the MDF frame.

Her wings and the tiny owl flying out of the picture are from Calico Craft Parts. The little rose is created from a mould I made myself and some paper clay painted with PaperArtsy Fresco paint in London Bus, Blood Orange and Brown Shed and touched with some Treasure Gold.

For the background on this and the first retablo, I created a 'Master-board'. I took a sheet of thick, drawing paper and painted, stencilled and stamped layers on it and then cut shapes from it as required. I still have some left for future projects like ATCs and greetings cards.

The Tim Holtz word band reads 'Capture Life's Moments' - something that I suspect Ava aims to do as she flutters out into the night. Thank You so much for stopping by my blog today. I've really enjoyed sharing these makes from Mary Jane's Summer Workshop on this rather cold and wintry day. February always makes me think that Spring is not so far away, though. Have a great creative week wherever you are and whatever the weather.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The Street Where You Live!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm over at Calico Craft Parts with a Victorian Box evoking a special street. Please hop across if you can and take a peek.

Thank you for stopping by and may your week be a peaceful and a productive one.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Encourage Your Hopes!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! How often do we hear the phrase 'Fairy-tale Romance', or the comment 'She led a fairy-tale existence'. Fairy-tales have come to be associated with impossibly perfect lives in which problems are magically solved almost before they arise. We talk about a 'charmed existence' and 'happily every after'.

 That's not how I see fairy-tales at all. I've always found that authentic fairy-tales are about tough quests and struggles, symbolic of our human pursuit for happiness and meaning. Voices from long ago whisper to us about our relationship to the natural world and animals; the importance of courage and acts of kindness; loss of innocence and treachery; jealousy and cruelty where we least expect it and the hope of redemption and reconciliation. My project over at Calico Craft Parts today is inspired by fairy-tales: it is about the start of a personal quest as well as a homage to folklore and it's a reminder to me not to lose hope. Please check out how I made my arched ATB at the Calico Craft Parts Blog here.

In 2017 I am starting a quest. I have had brief attempts at this in the past, but now - rather late, I know - I want to explore my family history properly and not to be too easily discouraged. I'm apprehensive about what I will find along the way and I know that what unfolds will be no fairy-tale in the idealised sense! I suppose, like many fairy-tale characters, I am searching for buried treasure. If I could be granted one wish it would be to discover images of my father or members of his family. I don't know if I will encounter a good fairy or fairies along the path who make this magic happen, or if I will discover that I don't actually need this but some completely different treasure. Whatever happens I want to hold onto hope - my special word for 2017. Do you have a quest? Whatever your plans or dreams I hope they yield fruit for you and that all your creative endeavours bring you joy!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy 2017!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Warmest wishes to my followers and friends. I do hope your Christmas was a Happy and Peaceful time and that 2017 will be a fulfilling and a creative year. Have you made any resolutions for 2917? I don't often make New Year Resolutions, but this year I am resolving to blog more and to set myself some new creative challenges. I don't even know what form they're going to take yet - I'll just have to see what comes my way and listen out for the muse whispering in my ear along the way!

Meanwhile, I'm over at Calico Craft Parts today, just looking back briefly, with a round-up of my favourite makes for 2016, so if you have a moment, please pop across and take a peek. If you haven't done so already, do look back over the beautiful projects from my team-mates too. They are so inspiring! I never cease to wonder at their imagination and invention and the beauty and versatility of Calico Craft Parts: Calico really do give us a wonderful opportunity to spread our creative wings!

May you step into this New Year with Hope in your heart and the Muse at your side! Love and Good Wishes for 2017 and many, many thanks for your support throughout 2016!