Friday, 28 June 2013
Hello all, and welcome to Words and Pictures on another grey, wet, dreary day here in the British Summer.
I'm here with one of those makes which drew its breath from several sources, came to life somewhat grudgingly, and with many coats, re-coats and re-re-coats of paint, and I'm still dissatisfied with it, but in the end it does tell a story I rather like.
The starting point was the literary challenge set by The House of Bears for June - a number of quotes from Jane Eyre, from which we could spring off according to inspiration. Well, you know by now how much I love starting with the words...
And the pictures for this one come from the lovely images available at Nicecrane Designs, drawn from several different sheets.
And then it got all caught up with the Stripes challenge at Simon Says Stamp and Show.
My stripes are the bars of the cage keeping the birds imprisoned, and the bones of the corset, the pleats of the skirts and blouses which, for all her declaration of independence, are keeping the woman imprisoned (and there are some more literal stripes to add to the cage and corsetry: streaks of paint and some corrugated card, naturally).
And that got me to thinking about the bars we take for granted, or sometimes don't even notice - the metaphorical bars which keep us caught in a place or a job or a mindset, and how the first step to escaping those bars is to become aware of them.
They might not feel like bars to us at all; they might seem to be positive things - but in one way or another they are keeping us from being truly free. No matter how gilded the cage, it's still a cage.
And yes, you'd be right in thinking there's some stuff going on for me right now!!
So, the tag, then - another extended tag, because I needed space for the words to sit independently of all the other action going on.
I started with a jumbo tag, some texture paste and the Crafter's Workshop Damask mask. And then I started in with the painty layers... I'm not even going to try to add up how many times I painted and repainted it.
There is some crackle glaze in there somewhere, and I used a hard bristle brush to get the strong striped texture into the paint, and also some baby wipes to knock it back, also creating distressed streaks.
There were many different versions of the texture highlights too - ink, paint, and there's still some of each of those in places...
But the main highlighter that you can see by the end is the fabulous White Fire colour of Treasure Gold - applied partly with fingers and partly with a brush for extra textural effect.
The woman is from the Nicecrane sheet: Muse of Poets. (You may have seen the utterly beautiful tag the amazing Astrid made with the same image recently.)
Once she was printed, I inked with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo Distress Inks, adding some inked creases for an aged look, and some brush strokes of gesso.
I rather like the effect of the gesso - it gives it a definite sense of age and incipient mildew!
The beautiful delicate birdcage is by Crafty Emblies. It has also had a touch of gesso and a touch of Treasure Gold - well, if we're talking about gilded cages...
If you saw my krafty birds' nest cards the other day, then you might recognise the little guys inside the cage.
They're from the Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady. I've used the sketch version, though you can also get the same set pre-coloured (hopefully making an appearance here some time soon).
This time rather than printed in black onto kraft paper, I've altered the image so that it's sepia and printed it onto white paper.
The third Nicecrane set being used here is the wonderful Vintage Fashion Pages, a brilliant sheet of ephemera - eight different magazine pages with columns of adverts and illustrations...
These were perfect for my purposes - pictures of the constraining corsetry of the period, the rigid pleats of the skirts and blouses, as well as the columns of newsprint giving me yet another version of stripes.
These too have been inked and gesso'd for that aged look, and I'm happy I remembered to grab at least one picture before they got layered into the tag and covered up!
I was very fortunate that with the Crafty Emblies order there arrived a little grab bag of extras. (This was an order from a while back - I know there have been some problems, and don't know anything about where things are at now.)
I probably wouldn't have chosen a dress form for myself (being a needlework-ophobic), but it makes a perfect echo of the bars of the cage - shaping the bones of a corset to create a "Tapering Waist" - a form of imprisonment of which she's not even fully aware.
The topping for the tag is some inked lace snippets tied together with dyed seam binding for a full-on feminine vintage look...
... but, as I hope has become clear, this is as feminist as it is feminine. You have to do some reading between the lines (look, more stripes!) for this one. Don't take the quote at face value.
Speaking of the quote, it's stamped with my little Hero Arts alphabet onto plain white paper which I then inked with Antique Linen, spritzed with water and then edged with Vintage Photo.
The background is very fine corrugated card which has been painted, inked and gilded to match the tag above.
(Anybody spotted it? shhh... evil corporate empire cupholder, and my only excuse is it's been sitting around here forever!)
The eyelets have been White Fire'd to take away their overly brassy golden colour, and some more ribbons tie the two sections together.
And I roughened the edges of the tag with the Paper Distresser, partly to get the Vintage Photo DI to take better.
The surface of the tag is so rubbed and buffed by this point that the inks tend to slide off it a bit.
Ooh, nearly forgot the paper flowers (from Wild Orchid Crafts - life doesn't allow for handmade flowers at the moment, sorry).
They have also been altered, of course, to tone in with the overall look of the tag, and then I think we're pretty much there...
There have been some nice short posts lately, but I seem to be back on form with this one! Thanks so much for seeing it through (if you're still here), and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Here's the quote in full, as well as some more food for thought:
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.
From Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I'm entering this for the following:
The literary challenge at The House of Bears using Quotes from Jane Eyre
Stripes at Simon Says Stamp and Show
The inaugural Ali-Craft Blog Challenge which is an Open theme