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...

Friday, 3 June 2016

Where are they now?

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

48 comments:

Julia Aston said...

Gorgeous layers of texture on your background Alison and so many wonderful little bits to look at in each section! Julia xx

Brenda Brown said...

Oh my Alison what a wonderful canvas full of brilliant texture and story. I just love sitting going over all the amazing details, seeing how you echo shapes and images, how you include little facets of embellishments that spark the imagination and creativity and how you bring everything together in a wonderful composition. The papers, the layers and the insights into your imaginary family are just superb and a joy to behold. Have a great weekend xxx

brenda said...

A really quick hello and peek at your work, internet problems most of week and grabbing a few moment while it's there.

B x

Astrid Maclean said...

Well Alison, Brenda B has said most of it already, so no need to repeat all of that. A truly haunting piece, your imagination never ceases to amaze me. I'll never look at those children in the same way again.... I shall now have to explore Irena Sendler. Oh and I am glad you stuck with your favourite blues and browns!

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Amazing layers and beautiful textures on this gorgeous canvas Alison and the story you have woven makes it even more remarkable. Thank you so much for sharing it, Deb xo

craftytrog said...

Beautiful!!!

chrissie said...

Really beautiful Alison with lots of wonderful textures and inspirational ideas.

Strong words today for sure. Food for thought

Love Chrissie xx

Almo said...

Stunning! I love blues and brown and no one does them quite like you Alison. The different textures and elements in this piece are lovely even though the story is a little sad. Love the crackle effect at the back of the numbers. Mo x

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Those layers of texture are so wonderful and all the little bits to look at in each section are amazing!
A wonderful make Alison!
oxo Susi

Lauren Hatwell said...

What an emotional rollercoaster it's been. Yesterday's calm shores are pounded by waves of worry today. I do hope there is a happy ending to the story. Lx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh Alison! 'nuff said! Chrisxx

Pamellia Johnson said...

Wow Alison, this is just outstanding! WOW!! With all the travelling you do, I have no idea how you can make projects so detailed and full of elements that take time and effort! Well done! hugs :)

Florence said...

Stunning! Have a lovely weekend. Look forward to hearing your news.
Flo x

Sandy said...

You are so dang good at designing Alison -- learning the techniques is one thing but being able to put it all together in a pleasing and delightful composition is something else. I am going to be studying this several times!!
sandy xx

Juliz Design Post said...

Fantastic mystical project Alison. Amazing mix of textures and loving the design.
Enjoy your weekend, Julie x

Team Clark said...

What a magnificent project filled with layers of meaning and beauty! I often ponder the same things when working with these photos. Love hearing your ideas. I'm so glad you went with blues and browns, my fav palette too! :)

Mrs.B said...

An amazing piece Alison and such a haunting story full of questions. We visited Warsaw a few years ago and this has taken me back to the sights and stories from the museums.
Avril xx

Jenny Marples said...

Every element on this comes alive as you weave the story and the pictures together. I love the mix and magic as ever Alison xx

Paper Profusion said...

Stunning in story and visuals Alison. Fabulous nooks and crannies in each. Glad you dusted this off and brought it here. Have a lovely weekend. Nicola x

A Pink said...

I begin by apologising for not having visited as often as I would have liked over the past few months and hope you will forgive me .
Your 'words and pictures' Alison are so captivating, thought provoking and emotive and both work together to bring each other alive.
Thank you for sharing your creative gift with words and pictures .
have a lovely weekend
hugs x

Hope to be back soon to catch up on posts I have missed xx

rachel said...

amazing canvas Alison - that crackle is really yummy and everything works together perfectly ... lovely xx

Inky and Quirky said...

Another truly stunning piece of art Alison, I always love picking out all the meticulous detailing you do
Hugs
Donna Xx

Deborah Wainwright said...

Wow love all those layers and the crackle paste looks amazing. Also love the idea of creating stories with our art, which you are fabulous at. An amazing piece, love it xx

Dorthe said...

Love,love, what you created, Alison. The beauty of all the crackles, and layers, all the sweet little objects you found and added, symbolizing the life of this -maybe- Polish poor Jewish family ! You are fabulous with your stories dear, and leave me "embroidering" on thinking what became of a
them all, and if some, hopefully, was saved from the destiny of so many other Jews.
Perfectly, beautiful, and stunning piece of art !!
Hugs,Dorthe

Craftyfield said...

So many elements coming together on this layout! I do try but somehow I can't seem to push the design far enough (before it get messy I mean!). Love how you weave a story in the project too. xx

Helen said...

Fantastic Alison - no idea how I missed this earlier... very poignant story you've woven and some wonderful embellishments.

Coco said...

WOW... Alison, you will never cease to amaze me.
Vintage has never been my best style though I love it, but when I look at this, admiring how all the details and all the bit and bobs you have added with care and love work well together to give full life to this canvas, my strongest desire is to create soon something similar! Sharing your love of blue and brown, thinking to a little realistic story like yours, sharing your feelings, and playing also like you with crackle, embossed papers, and DecoArt antiquing creams, and so on! This is so much joy, both to create and to look at I think! Thank you Alison... xx

Inkypinkycraft said...

i just love the gorgeous details jammed in every part of this ...the colours are so wonderful xx hugs x

Julia said...

Wow! What a lot of stuff on this canvas. The final piece is just stunning, I love all those images, the texture, the layers and all the little bits of interest embellishing it. It is fabulous.

Lynn Price said...

You are brilliant at this palette, and I always learn from you with this (and elsewhere). Absolutely fabulous detail, and as always, love the story! xxx Lynn

Barbara Schiassi said...


I'm always amazed when I admire your projects! This is one of my favorites of your! i think it's so brilliant, you have an outstanding attention to details! Love love love! BArbara

Gio said...

Wow, Alison, I am speechless! So many and lovely details, the light-bulb, the bottle, the frame, and the scrumptious texture. And the image is so funny. Love love it!

Nan G said...

Oh Alison, you're stories always take me so detailed and intriguing! Like your collage piece here! Fabulous absolutely fabulous! Now I'm off to find your Frilly n Funky piece. Hugs

Nikki Acton said...

Oh another awesome work of art and text... I love your story telling almost as much as you art! xx

Hazel Agnew said...

Poignant, sensitive and thought provoking. Just fabulous art Alison. Love the story that you have woven around your art. So much to look at and wonder about. Inspiration? You bet! Xx

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Gorgeous canvas Alison, love the vintage image and those wonderful delicate crackles, which go perfectly with the delicate blue. Love the texture and all your layered elements. Tracy x

Annie said...

A stunning canvas with the addition of its story making it more poignant........wonderful words and pictures xx

Lots of fabulous details, beautifully collaged and nostalgic too

Tfs and best wishes
Annie x

Candy C said...

Alison...what a beautiful piece!! Oh my goodness!!! The dimension and texture you have mastered on this is amazing! I love everything about this. Your work ALWAYS fascinates me. I have been horrible about leaving comments on blogs. Just too much life in the way. But I do see your posts on here and Facebook and I adore them all!

Jennie Atkinson said...

Oh my heavens Alison, this is such a fabulous canvas. The individual little areas of texture and crackle are amazing andI love how you have incorporated the stamping and photographs too. Gorgeous colours as usual. So sorry to be so late in visiting. Jennie x

Kasia said...

Beautiful canvas! Love the background and all these great details :)

Sue said...

This really is beautiful, and I really enjoyed seeing how it all came together with the texture and colours and all the fine detail. xx

Pawsitively Creative said...

Well this is breathtaking and I can't believe you had to clean some dust off of it. Hehe! So many elements and crackles to take in. Every time I look at your pictures I see something new. The little bottles, the littles frames, the Death jar, the eyes. WOWZERS and a bag of chips! This is so fantabulous! Hugz! ~Niki

maria's knutselplezier said...

Wuw what a stunning project , great colours, great techniques and all your special elements fit so beautiful together!! Real ART!!! I LOVE THIS!!!

Have fun!!
Maria

Julie Ann Lee said...

What a great combination of elements, Alison. I love all the atmosphere and subtle weaving together of visual and narrative elements.It's like stepping into a compelling and slightly disturbing short story. I love it!xx

Sara Barker said...

Oh, my, Alison, another fabulous story to go with an even more fabulous canvas! Love the details and all the crackled decay on this! It truly looks to have been kept in a dusty, moldy attic somewhere, and that is good in my opinion! I love making discoveries like these! big round of applause for such a brilliant canvas! (Sorry to be late, but I find it increasingly difficult to keep up--life is rearing it's sometimes ugly head! But I am so happy to be able to visit today!) Hugs!

Ruth said...

I've so missed visiting you Alison, as much for your beautfully woven narrative as your exquisite creations. Such delightful detail, the tiny stars in the vial, the snippets of polish words, the crackle. A truly gorgoeus piece...again! Ruth xx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

My goodness, yes, a bit of doom and gloom to end the day with. I suspect the worst myself but I do think there is some happiness in the nostalgia in your piece. I love these projects you do that have stories in them. Not all stories have happy endings.

Jackie P Neal said...

Very ,quirky, fun, and inspirational all in one! heehee
Alison,you sure know how to create and compose an interesting canvas!! xoxo