I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Seeking Illumination

Hello everyone, and a warm welcome to you.  At least there's some sunshine in today's pictures - the fact that my fingers nearly froze while I was photographing, we'll overlook for now!

So I'm still catching up with The Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas (only not Christmas if you're me)... but I'm getting there, and in all we've got until 17th December, so I should make it, I hope!

Linda offered up number 7 yesterday... but this is my number 6 (yes, I know, I still haven't done number 4).  And it isn't just any tag - read or scroll onward and you'll see what I mean... 

From Linda's original tag, you can spin off in any direction, as long as you let her know what it was in her tag that inspired you.  And the prize, if you complete all 12 according to the rules, is sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique.

So for this one, it's obviously the gloriously glossy clock die, and the magical book text background.  I've been using book pages as backgrounds, and love them, but Linda's added an extra refinement - ripping some of the print away with masking tape - which I completely love for how it adds to the distressed look.  Expect to see more of this one!

I was also inspired by her use of Iced Spruce DI, which I've only just added to my stash, and once I'd started using it I couldn't stop.  So as well as using it on the background, as Linda did, mine also made its way onto the clock!



This was one of those projects which just kept expanding by itself.  It took several days, and quite a few times of letting it wait and see.  But now this tag has hidden secrets to reveal... Let me take you on a journey in search of illumination.

To start with it's not just one tag - oh, no - look here:





Something in the distressed book text and Iced Spruce made me think of those extraordinary medieval illuminated manuscripts, and I started to try to capture something of that quality.

This is the cover of my book, worn, leathery, but still carrying that golden gleam of knowledge and painstaking labour.









The first step was to try out the Indigoblu Mega-Flakes I added to my stash a while ago, but hadn't dared play with yet.  I wish I hadn't waited so long - I love them!

They're used here with the Tim Holtz elegant flourish stamp, and I adore the shimmer of the peacock metallic colours in the light.  And because it has the shifting colours, it keeps that sense of age and distressing - it's not "perfect" gold leaf, but shifts as the eye looks at it.

I love that in this particular selection of flakes, there's a turquoise-y colour, which I love with the Iced Spruce UTEE'd clock face.

You can see that around the distressed edges of the tag, I added some gold acrylic paint using my fingertip - looking for that medieval gold edged paper feeling.



If I had been a monk in the Middle Ages (sorry, I'd really rather be a monk than a nun; I prefer the singing), I very much hope that I would have been one of those lucky ones in the Scriptorium, charged with copying the best knowledge of the age from book to book, disseminating learning.

I know that in writing about my book of spells, I traduced the church for its actions against "witches", and the wilful destruction of so much wisdom and knowledge of the natural world, but there is also much to be grateful for in the music, architecture and libraries created in the name of religion.


And as they illuminated their great manuscripts, the monks were also in pursuit of spiritual illumination, of course... a journey towards spirituality and inner calm, with which I also find myself in deep sympathy.  And all you've seen so far is really the outside cover of our journey in search of illumination, so let us "open" the cover to reveal what's inside:


I was so lucky that the sun shone briefly today - there's so much gold shimmer around that it would have been impossible in the recent dull days to get a photograph that would even slightly do it justice.


The flourish here on the lower panels is stamped in Versamark Watermark ink, and I then brushed gold and copper mica powder into it for the burnished sheen.  The whole panel has had a light dusting - I hope you can see the lustre.











The quote is one I've always loved... and it's just the start of the piece.  I had the whole of the Desiderata up on my wall throughout my university years.  I could probably do with hanging it up again now.  Or maybe I'll just open up my illuminated tagbook.

The quote is handwritten on some more of my tea-stained tags, and distressed with Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist (which I painted on in places as well as spritzing), Gathered Twigs DI, and some more gold acrylic paint on the edges.  The corner stamp is by BoBunny.

There's plenty of Heirloom Gold misted around, inside and out!

But we haven't yet uncovered all the hidden secrets - the journey to illumination is never simple; it's a lifelong exploration, uncovering layers of meaning in the world.  So we have another layer to remove - but we have found the key to the lock, so now we can discover what is revealed behind the tags...




I had a lovely time creating my illuminations.  They are embossed in copper, and then painted using Tim Holtz's Perfect Pearls paint technique.

The shimmer is so glorious - again, thank you Universe for the sunlight today!









I even think they're beautiful before they get anywhere near the paper!  I don't have one of the official palettes, so I used some leftover Idea-ology packaging from a set of gears (I never throw anything away at the moment).

Once you've made up the paste, you let it dry, but it can be reactivated any time with a brush and water - so pretty!

Thank you so much for bearing with me through this search for illumination - I hope you've found some inspiration, or simply some pleasure along the way.  It's certainly a joy for me to know that I'm not on this journey alone... I'm so grateful for your company and your support - thank you!

I don't want to make this post even longer than it already is by quoting the whole of the Desiderata, but if you don't know it I do urge you to follow the link - it's very beautiful.  And I'll leave you with just a few more phrases from it which I love.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
You have the right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

... in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

From Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I'm entering this in the following:
Frilly and Funkie are looking for Anything but a Card with a Hidden Twist
Simon Says Stamp and Show would like to us to Just Add Pearl - plenty of Perfect Pearls here!
And the Craft-Room Challenge are playing with Time-Keeping - my clock face is taking us back in time, and into time for meditation
Thank you to Linda Coughlin for the initial inspiration - this is my Tag 6 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas

61 comments:

Cestina said...

Oh very lovely. And how apt to post something with peace and illumination as its focus, on a day which must have been very fraught indeed for you.

I'm so glad that the sun shone......

JoZart said...

Well it was certainly illuminating to browse through those beautiful tags with all their exquisite detail. I especially love the leafing effect on the swirls and your choice of colour palette.
Jo x

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Gorgeous tag card, wonderful muted colours and the touch of pearl is luscious . Love the pockets on the inside and your use of the flakes. This piece looks so tactile, love it. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. I I'd smile to myself when you said some people leave there Christmas decorations up all year. Could you imagine my house if I left all my Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations up, my children would think I was mad lol lol. Tracy x

Candy C said...

Oh wow! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I love the text that you've used underneath the weathered clock and stamped flourished. Love that entire couple of tags! But then you fastened them together and finished off the insides. They also are just amazing! Such beautiful work and design! Thanks for sharing your amazing art with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Sue C said...

Gorgeous project Alison, the Perfect Pearls look delicious !

Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Sue C x

froebelsternchen Susi said...

ADORABLE creation Alison! I love this aged style and all the textures...AWESOME!

Buttons said...

So this is the tag that keeps on giving!! Where to start, well your use of text has convinced me to buy a trashy novel to abuse!! the Mega Flakes are divine (and addictive:) the Iced Spruce is delicious, and those illuminated panels are the icing on the cake. So much inspiration, so little time!! Can't wait for the next one. Hugs, Buttons x

Shelby said...

Beautiful tag! The multiple components of this design is fantastic and love all of the creative elements you've used.

Shelby

Patti P. said...

Alison, visits to your blog are always illuminating....such a joy. Love your tag book and your fabulous post explaining it all.
hugs....

Suzie's Card Den said...

This is a really stunning project, it shimmers so beautifully, I would love to see it real life.
Hugs
Suzie xx

sam21ski said...

OMGosh this is absolutely fab. Love the guidling flakes, they come up brilliantly don't they and like you say depending on the light it changes colour. But oh wow I love those perfect pearls, please don't hide them behind the stunning tags.

Sam xxx

Chrissy said...

Oh! I love this tag Alison, isn't the golden shimmer beautiful..love the clock die, another on my wish list..beautiful work.

Luv CHRISSYxx

lynne said...

Your photography shows the glimmer and shimmer to absolute perfection.
The colour palette is exceptional and somehow adds to the mood of the tags (tags which are so much more than tags).
Wishes
Lynne

ileyssilver said...

You are such a talent. I tried making a few of Linda's tags and had so much fun. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

Another beauty!

chrissies said...

An amazing tag and a brilliant idea

Love Chrissie xx

barbarabeesblog said...

Very very beautiful and I love the colours you used illuminating and warm, perfect for grey autum days.
Thank you for stopping by last week and leaving this nice comment.
BarbaraBee '83

Neet said...

Alison, I do not know where to begin re commenting on this work of art. It truly is beautiful. Sir Tim will be mentioning you again I can see.
You have a natural flair and the eye for making something like this - it truly is awesome (not a word I use much).
Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us and thank you for visiting me when I was AWOL on holiday.
Hugs, Neet xx

florenceandfreddie said...

Stunning project Alison. You really have captured the medieval looks with those flakes. What a fab idea. I might have to buy some of those just to try this. As always TFS.
Regards Florence x

Pia said...

wauuuuw what a great job , so fantastic teknic and colours
hugs Pia

Dianne said...

Soooooooooooo Beautiful....

Nan G said...

I am in awe of your talent. This is stunning! You have captured 'illumination' beautifully. Love that your tag is a mini book! There's so much to explore and fall in love with! I am truly inspired!

Susan said...

Lovely use of color and design. You truly captured the essence of old world, Book of Kells, imagery.

Susan said...

This is absolutely breathtaking! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Lisa M said...

It's like opening up Pandora's box of limitless awe and amazement. The deep rich colors and exquisite textures with secret compartments and copious amounts of inspiration...you are one talented lady my friend. Your double tag of tantalizing treats is superb!!

soapHOUSEmama said...

WOW! This is so beautiful!!!

Anita Houston said...

Holy cow!!! Holy cow!!! Absolutely elegant and gorgeous!!! A joy on the eyes on the outside and then you get to see the inside as well, and WOW!!! Love this Alison...just utterly beautiful! Thanks again for playing with us at Frilly & Funkie!

Alison said...

Absolutely stunning!!! x

die amelie said...

Gosh, Alison,

this is absolutely perfect use of Mega Flakes! Love this sooo much! And the used text pages give such depth and meaning to your creation!

Wonderful!!!

Hugs,
Claudia xxx

Terry said...

Beautiful, elegant and so rich! Honestly, I keep going back for more looks! Every detail is incredible and I love those mega flakes! Well I have had my treat for the day! Thank you! Love it!

Terry said...

Oh and thank you for sharing this beauty with us at Frilly and Funkie! I was so overwhelmed, I forgot!

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Beautiful! Simply gorgeous. I'm glad the sun shone for you too so we could see the shimmer, shine, and sheen on your tag piece. You put so much work and thought into every piece and we reap the benefits but seeing such greatness!

Andrea Small said...

Oh - oh! OH!!!! How gorgeous - I can see you walking the cloisters, occasionally pulling this out of a pocket in your monkish robe (or perhaps your sleeve!) and allowing yourself a small smile as you contemplate its beauty...how very clever to have secret illuminations. Yum yum. x

Sue said...

Absolutely gorgeous Alison, I love the stamp you have used with the PP painting, and the Iced Spruce looks wonderful x

Silvia(Barnie) said...

How wonderful, so many fantastic details and texture. Love the embossing.

Ali H said...

This is a very beautiful project - the colour combination & the care & attention you have put into the detail is lovely ! Thanks so much for showing us ! Thanks for stopping by ! Ali #57

Kim x said...

Wow Butterfly, another masterpiece, mine always seem such humble offerings after yours.
I'm glad the sun shone through for your pictures, it makes all the difference doesn't it.
I'm still on the pills but not having to take quite so many thankfully.
hugs Kimx

May said...

Breathtaking beauty Alison... your creations are Simply Beautiful... the detail & design is outstanding ... you are such an inspiration.... love it all!! Hugs May x x x

Ellie said...

You asked this question: are they Rosina Wachtmeister cats that Katzelcraft are using?
I must say - I don't know, you'll have to ask beatrice from Katzelkraft that...

I really like what you've made here! Gonna use it as inspiration!

Maria said...

Hi Alison, Wow! I love this, such a beautiful creation! You've used some of my favourite things on this - Iced Spruce, gilding flakes....I love the effect of the book pages being masked then ripped off - something I must try! Thanks for joining in with our Timepiece theme at Craft-Room!

Maria xxxxx

Samantha Elliott said...

Wow Alison this is absolutely fantastic. Love your idea of being a Monk!
I am glad I am not the only one who buys stuff and doesn't get round to using them. Perhaps now I will. Great idea of the gears packaging! Hehe
Hettie xx

inkypinkycraft said...

Really gorgeous, lve the colour of the clock against the background! Yummy! Trace x

Janny Jager 't Hooft said...

WAUWWWWWWWWWW Alison this is a great tag book.
Love the idea and every thing you used.

Greetings Janny

Anna-Karin said...

Another absolutely beautiful project Alison. Love the idea behind it and then the surprise when you open it to find even more beauty. The outside is stunning wit the shine and the clock and the inside is just wonderful. Love how you bound it too. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

Zoe Sanderson said...

Speechless this is wonderful a fantastic theme filled with wonderful distressing and texture. Blown away, thank you for sharing with us at Craft-Room Challenge XOXO Zoe

Candy C said...

Hi Alison. Me again! I just wanted to stop by and thank you so much for the very sweet comment you left on my blog about being published! I'm "gobsmacked" as you Brits say! haha <3 Candy

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

This is such a stunning tag/book :)> The background looks amazing and I love the clock die! I am blown away!!! xx

toni said...

Alison this is sensational!initially i thought ooo gorgeous tag, but after scrolling down and seeing the extent of your work.... well I'm lost for words.absolutely beautiful x

Leikkaan Mervi said...

Wow,Alison!
Gorgeous shimmery creation, beautiful texts.
This is a treasure; so many fabulous details.
Thank you so much for sharing this at Craft-Room Challenge, good luck.
Happy weekend;-))m

Terry said...

Wow complete amazingness, love your double tags with the backgrounds, they are amazing, love the embossed pieces the colors and the text. LOVE IT. Thank you for sharing with the DT from Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs Terry xxx

Karen McAlpine said...

This is so cool!! I think I will have to put that Spruce color on my wish list...I love how you used it on your project! Love the glossy clock face. Glossy accents on the die cut?? Beautiful project!!

chris cesar said...

This is such a beautiful work, love very much the medieval look of your tags!
Friendly
Chris

craftimamma said...

Inspiration and pleasure, both in bountiful measure! This is a breathtaking piece of art and no words of mine can do it justice so I will just say thankyou and go back for another long look at all the delightful details.

Hugs
Lesley Xx

Annie said...

Wow Alison. This is gorgeous love the various textures and stamped images. Good luck in the challenges x

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, so much to catch up with.
This is an amazing project, love all the gold and gilding flakes, beautiful with the 'aged' distressing
Avril xx

Suzanne B aka brookfies said...

Hello ...this is a beauty. So much detail, depth and texture. Thank you for sharing with us at the Craft Room challenge. Wishes, Suzanne x

hazel said...

Wow!!! This is an amazing project, I love the design and all the elements - It's fabulous. Thank you for joining us at Craft-Room Challenge.
xxx Hazel.

Marjie Kemper said...

Sorry so late to the party here but I just came around and caught up on a week's worth of your creations. Oh, Alison, this one is one of my all time favorites of yours.

Absolutely STUNNING colors and textures... love it inside and out. Fabulous! Just pinned it to my Tag Art board. Thanks for sharing it with us at F&F!

Debi said...

Just a stunning piece Alison!!! thanks for joining us again at Craft Room challenge, Debi x

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Wow! You had me drooling at the cover tag and then the delight just went on and on. Everything you have done here is absolutely wonderful - such a pleasing vintage color palette - the golds and other illumination colors from the Perfect Pearls are timeless. And I love the idea of the tag book. Your take on Tag #6 is an inspiration to all of us. I'm sorry it's taken me a month to get around to visiting you but be assured that I am delighted to have you taking part in the 12 Tags challenge!

Hugs,
Linda

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Wow! You had me drooling at the cover tag and then the delight just went on and on. Everything you have done here is absolutely wonderful - such a pleasing vintage color palette - the golds and other illumination colors from the Perfect Pearls are timeless. And I love the idea of the tag book. Your take on Tag #6 is an inspiration to all of us. I'm sorry it's taken me a month to get around to visiting you but be assured that I am delighted to have you taking part in the 12 Tags challenge!

Hugs,
Linda