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...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Float like a butterfly




Hello all!  

This post is for me rather than all of you, I'm afraid!!  Many of you have already seen this project, which was my first piece as Guest Designer for The Artistic Stamper in February of this year, and I was so thrilled with all your amazing comments and feedback.

However, when you post your pieces you can only put a sneak peek on your own blog and since I use this place as a sort of virtual scrapbook of what I've made and how I did it (hence the massively long posts the whole time!), I asked if it would be okay to post the full thing on Words and Pictures at some point in the future.

And this is that day... so please don't feel you have to comment all over again!!  This is just so that I can get all my work "under one roof"...










Now my "crafty" name of Butterfly was pretty much an accident as anything else - I've never really been much of a lepidopterist, but having adopted the name, I do seem to be drawn to them, craftily at least, quite often.













I'd seen quite a few "specimen cabinet" projects on my travels, and when I decided to work with the amazing Insects and Butterflies plate that was sort of what I was thinking of trying.













But in the end, I couldn't bear to pin them down, and so I decided to try to find a way to let them fly free - why do we create these difficulties for ourselves?!?














It all started with a little floristry frame I bought in the Czech Republic.  I got three of them at the time, and last time I used one - for the Semi-Controlled Mayhem of my Big Top Circus - it gave me headaches, so I knew the chances were it would go that way again!




I experimented with stamping the butterflies and dragonflies and colouring them in various ways, but it wasn't really taking off for me, so I decided to try it the other way up and create my colours first.

I did lots of wrinkle free distress technique with a mixture of Distress Stains in blues, greens and turquoises.







I also added Cosmic Shimmer sprays and Glimmer Mists both to the craft mat and onto the paper as I was drying it so that I could create lots of iridescence within the colours.














Then I got busy stamping...  I used Archival inks, mainly in Cobalt, Olive and Library Green - either individually or blending them on the stamp...












...and occasionally I even zhuzhed it up a bit with some Aquamarine!






Then there was lots of fussy-cutting - absolutely NOT my favourite thing to do!  

Some of the images are virtually symmetrical, so those I was planning to glue back to back and colour any edges that were still showing.









But others were too asymmetrical for that.  I toyed with stamping on tissue and using the reverse, but in the end I decided to go for something more abstract.

I used my Viva metallic paints - one in Turquoise and one in Golden Green - to paint the backs of the asymmetrical insects.  These are some of the most beautiful iridescent paints I've ever seen!






I used the lovely Calligraphic Mat stamped in either Library Green or Cobalt Archival to provide some decoration across the gleaming paint.












Then it was UTEE time!  And this was where I had one of my accidental brainwaves.

As I was adding the UTEE - great for protecting vulnerable antennae, and adding beautiful glossiness, as well as having the effect of intensifying the colours - I realised that it made the wings mouldable.

So once everything was safely coated on both sides, I went through again, heating lightly and shaping the wings for flight.



Let's skip over the part where I tried all sorts of ways to string'em up - raffia, twine, gold wire - and go straight to the elegantly simple solution: ribbon.

Not only easier to thread onto than most of those others, but also they were all far more prepared to sit nice and perkily with just the folded ribbon holding them in flight... no need for knots beneath each insect, or glue.





Still fiddly - don't get me wrong! - to get them all threaded in the right order, the right way up, balancing the different insects and heights.  But eventually I was pretty happy...












Once the "flying" insects were sorted, I needed to have some perching ones, some who'd just alighted for a moment on top of the mobile.  

Cue lots of fun and swearing as I attempted to glue minute portions of glossy butterfly to a single twig within the frame at exactly the angle required.






And then a couple just balancing on the upright tower part at the centre... more angling, more bad words, and a bit of cheating by tucking bits of dragonfly into the weave of the twigs!










Thank you for sticking with me through one of my trademark lengthy posts.  I've tried to give you some idea of the journey and some idea of the finished piece... 

Of course the real joy lies in the movement as the butterflies and dragonflies flutter in the breeze.  (Not when you're trying to take photographs of it in a biting wind, though - it was February at the time!)  

Thank you for dropping in today... and indulging me in this little revisitation.  

I hope whatever you're up to today brings you joy, and I hope to do some catching up in Craftyblogland over the next few days.




Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

48 comments:

Sara H said...

This is so beautiful!

Astrid Maclean said...

I remember it well and it still looks amazing:o)

Helen said...

I thought at the time how angry I would have got with the threading up - but agree that ribbon looks fabulous and if it saves knots, well hurrah for that. It did, and still does, look spectacular - but you have so much more patience than I to ever consider something like this!

Amanda said...

Stunning!!
Love
Amanda x

House of Bears said...

Lengthy posts are good. There'snothing more frustrating then some arty inspiration with no idea of how to emulate it. We kive your work, and your descriptions.

Brenda Brown said...

It's fabulous to see this again Alison, such a wonderful project. I agree that it is important to keep our blog as a diary showing all the projects we make, and bringing it back in its full glory has reminded us how wonderful your 3D projects are. Thanks for sharing.
hugs {brenda} x0x

Redanne said...

I am so very happy to see this stunning hanging again Alison and to be taken through the 'how to' as well. Butterfies are my most favourite of creatures and I could just look at this all day...... Hugs, Anne x

mark gould said...

loved it then and still love it x

Dianne said...

I too loved it then, but this post is sooooooo special, the things I have seen under this roof, are a pleasure to all of my senses, and I have yet to see it all, so I will be under every inch of that roof today, I can't wait to start this adventure, thanks Miss Butterfly, so if you see a magpie hanging around you'll know its me:):)
Have a lovely Sunday..

Jennie Atkinson said...

This was such a gorgeous project Alison - I loved it the first time round and it really is a treat to see it again. I agree that sneak peeks ought to be given their full time on our blogs - perhaps we ought to do a monthly round up now and again!!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend x

Chris Warner said...

Stunning! What a clever idea. I think you should be crowned Queen of the butterflies, lol. A fab project. Chris xxx

Carol Q said...

yep. .... still a fabulous piece of inspirational crafting. pity it couldn't stay in the garden all the time :)

Sarah said...

As always, well worth the time to visit. Fabulous work of art!

Lisa S. said...

Amazing project Alison! I fondly remember your Circus project for TTT and I love what you did for AS. It's a one of a kind treasure. :)

Keren Tamir said...

Wow this is phenomenal. At first when I saw the picture of the project without reading, I thought it was a photo of a statue In a park you went to. Then I read you made this and I nearly fell over. This is outstanding. I love it so much. It's a beautiful piece of art.

Lisa M said...

Instantly took me back to your circus top and wow was I ever gasping for air when I saw that, but now this! I love that you were able to show this in full detail. It's a fabulous piece of artwork. I hope feeling came back to your hands in a reasonable time after fussy cutting ALL of those!!
I concur, top 1 on my least favorite things to do. ;)
hugs,
Lisa x

toni said...

i remember this lovely creation, it's great to have a more in depth look. it's even more gorgeous second time around x

clare said...

how beautiful, such a great idea and looks fabulous in the garden. x

Rita said...

Absolutely Stunning Alison. Hugs Rita xxxx

inkypinkycraft said...

looks fab , as it did on artistic stamper.sorry if i have missed any comments , been a funny week so apologies that i am late, hugs trace x

Netty said...

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee and this really hits the spot, its fabulous Alison. Hugs Annette x

Almo said...

Hi Alison, first time I have seen this, absolutly beautiful. Fascinating reading how you got to the final product after a lot of trial and error with different materials. Thank you for sharing - again. Hugs Mo

Dagmar said...

wow - it`s so fantastic!!!!

Cestina said...

I thought my computer had gone wrong or my time/space sense had....I am sitting looking at the real-life version and knew it had been hanging from the lamp for a long time.

Then I read the post....it remains pretty well my favourite piece I think though it's actually getting very hard to choose!xx

Dorthe said...

Yes Alison, I remember seing this amazing project you created!
Now reading all which went with the construction of your flying butterflyes. makes them even more fantastic!! it must be a very beautiful piece of art viewing it moove in the wind!
xo,Dorthe

craftimamma said...

How could we not comment again on this amazing and beautiful creation Alison. It's an absolute delight and one I would love to see in real life.

Hugs
Lesley Xx

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

I'm glad you're showing it again Alison...I still admire this creation!

kind regards, Alie :-)

Wanda H said...

I remember this project and it is still fabulous!!!!!!!!!!! And I really enjoyed seeing it again!!!

Katherine (sutty) said...

Just gorgeous :) I love all the inking and stamping. Thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog too :)

sara j said...

OMG. I didn't "know" you in February so I have not seen this and am ONCE AGAIN blown away...such patience. The moldable wings, the glistening, the layers, it all must be incredible in person. This is really stunning Alison, both visually and for the process. The color is pretty cool too! lol.

Tincan Crafter said...

I looked at that picture before reading your post for ages, thinking wow - how did she get the leaves of that plant to grown in that shape -lol! Amazing work, you totally had me believing for a while that it was real! Love it.

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, an outstanding creation.

cathylynn said...

Amazing! Your work is always top notch and this is one gorgeous creation. So much details and time went into this and it speaks love and patience! Wowzers I love it all!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Janny Jager 't Hooft said...

Love to see it again Alison .
It is realy a great piece of art.
Greetings Janny

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

This is such a cool project Alison! I love the butterflies in a mid-fly effect :). And I haven't had a chance to congratulate you on your permanent DT appointment with the Artistic Stamper - well done you. More ways to inspire people with your crafty magic! xxx

Olivia said...

Whauuu.... what a beautiful bunch of butterflies! Absolutely amazing....

Unni A said...

WOW! This is so beautiful! Wonderful! Amazing! I love it!
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving so nice comments, I really appreciate it!
hugs, Unni

Sue said...

This really is beautiful Alison, those shades of blue and green are just perfect xx

Nan G said...

Still just as gorgeous ! A fabulous make butterfly! Hugs

Gerrie Johnnic said...

What an amazing project, and the thought process that goes with it!

Candy C said...

Alison...your butterfly piece is so pretty. It seems as though they truly are floating in the air. :) I love how you've attached them to the beautiful grapevine style top by running twisted ribbon through them. It's so magical. I love the colors of your paper that you stamped them on. Love the stamped images, too. Such a lovely, lyrical piece. I also wanted to thank you for the very sweet comment you left on my blog. You made me feel so good! <3 Candy

barbarayaya62 said...

Love the butterflies and your work is very romantic, beautiful, amazing!!!!!!!!!! Barbarayaya

Hettie said...

Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous piece Alison. Love it and all the lovely scrummy colours you have used!
Hugs
xx

Anita Houston said...

So so so beautiful! I love the butterflies...the green is wonderful!

siljanskreativeck said...

What a cool idea! In the first moment, ich thought, it is a photo from an efeupflanze. It looks so nice!!

Cathy L. Calamas said...

I'm glad you did this because I missed the first post about it. Spectacular and I learned a new word:
lepidopterist. If you could collect your creativity in a jar, we'd all be begging for it!!

Patty said...

I discoverd you blog just right now...your works are very stunning!! I love it

Kasia said...

Fabulous project! Alison, you are amazing! :)))))