Hello again! It's been pretty quiet on the crafting front here at Words and Pictures (though there have been plenty of travel "post"cards - don't miss the latest ones, Beijing - The Forbidden City Part III and Beijing - The Artists' Quarter if you're a travel photo junkie), but now we're in the midst of a flurry of creative activity.
If you missed yesterday's Beautiful Moments guest post for Frilly and Funkie, I would love it if you had time to check that out, and there's more excitement coming very soon, but right now it's time for a new challenge at A Vintage Journey.
It's been ages since I've managed to join in with an inspiration piece, but I'm really happy to be back for Astrid's wonderful Texture or Embossing Pastes theme. I don't have to be asked twice to use texture paste, especially when crackle paste is included in the list!
This large 12 x 12 canvas has actually been sitting on my craft room floor in a part-done state for months. (I kid you not, it really was months - I had to remove a layer of dust before I could carry on!)
The background was pretty much in place, and I'd decided on the photo and some of the embellishments, so all I had to do was gather a few more bits and bobs and work out where to go next.
I'd started with some fabulous papers from the Polish UHK Gallery. They no longer seem to have this collection - My Dear Watson - but they still have some amazing designs.
I loved the woman in glasses, with such gentle sadness in her gaze ...
... and then those spectacles are echoed in the optometrist's sign over the bottle of poison - but there's something so ominously watchful about those eyes compared to the woman's look.
I'd already been the playing with the DecoArt Crackle Paste - smearing it onto some dry-embossed number panels (an Andy Skinner idea from one of his workshops I've been on)...
... as well as in random areas here and there.
I intensified the look of the crackles by adding and wiping away DecoArt Antiquing Cream in Raw Umber.
And then started to add colour using Distress Sprays and various DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics.
I think when I started making this many months ago, I'd had a plan to work with more colours but when push came to shove I found myself reaching for my favourite blues and browns.
The blues give that hint of melancholy...
... especially when you add the touches of rusty decay.
Influenced by the images already in place on the papers, I found myself automatically reaching for the haunting photo of the group of children from Tim Holtz's Found Relatives.
There's something about the ominous question "where", which makes me fear for their welfare.
It's not reassuring that the word Death hovers over them so balefully.
There are objects and ephemera from their lives around them, fragments of lace and collected bobbins - their mother perhaps was a seamstress...
... but the ornate picture frames speak of reasonable prosperity. The sewing may just have been a hobby.
We'll never know for certain, as these few fragments and artefacts seem to be all that remains of the family.
Now even their memory is fading, overgrown with rambling vines and trailing ivy.
(You'll recognise the Calico Craft Parts, I'm sure.)
But in that forgetfulness the possibility for fresh atrocities arises - a terrible danger... "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", as George Santayana says.
All the layered tabs and tags are from the UHK papers too... the Polish language gives us some idea of where this family are from.
Perhaps they are some of the countless numbers of Jews forced to live in the enclosed ghettos of Nazi-occupied Poland.
Or, if you'd like a glimmer of light thrown onto the story, perhaps they were some of those lucky few rescued and smuggled out by Polish Catholics like Irena Sendler...
... and that's why their mother, in what remains of her short life, has been left wondering "where" they now might be, praying that somehow, against the odds, they would make their way to safety and be welcomed in.
I don't know... I prefer to leave this one full of questions, and let you fill in the gaps with your own stories. They somehow seem to come bubbling up from between the cracks.
I hope you'll come and play along with our Texture and Embossing Pastes challenge this month.
You'll find plenty more inspiration from my amazing team-mates over at A Vintage Journey if you click the link.
And if all this has been a bit too doom and gloom for you, my pages yesterday for Frilly and Funkie were a lot more uplifting - full of light and Beautiful Moments, I promise - so you might prefer those!
Thanks so much for stopping by again today. I did warn you it was a busy few days here with new projects! I'm back on Monday with a very exciting post, so I'll hope to see you then. In the meantime, have a peaceful and enjoyable weekend everybody.
To save one Jewish child, ten Poles and two Jews had to risk death. To betray that same child and the family that hid him required only one informer or, worse still, one blackmailer. The risk of being caught by the SS was not prison, but death - death for the entire family.
Fear makes you weak; anger makes you strong.
You see a man drowning, you must try to save him even if you cannot swim.
All quotes from Irena Sendler