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, 25 August 2017

Feeling a little sombre

Hello all... I've been having a weird couple of weeks, feeling about as grey as the weather has been.  Not actually ill, but not quite up to par; restless, unsettled, and unable to get anything constructive done - especially at the craft table.  Things just kept on ending up in the bin.

Then the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge offered up Artist Trading Cards as the theme.  I love ATCs (I still miss the Fun With ATCs challenge where I was on the design team until it stopped running), and they're really small, so I decided I must be able to manage a couple of 2.5 x 3.5 bits of crafting... and I did, but the grey mood made its way onto the craft mat, so it's a sombre little set of ATCs I have for you today.


And there were still stages during this process where I nearly gave the whole thing up in disgust.  So I thought I'd share some of the struggles along the way... maybe it's useful to know that it's not always all plain sailing around here!







Things kept not going according to plan, and nothing pleased me, but I tried to embrace the discomfort and push on through, and somewhere at the end of it I managed to make my peace with them.














I think they do reflect a truth about how I've been feeling, so that's something, even if its not the most cheerful of destinations.














I started by gluing scraps of book page across the top end of a piece of A4 manila craft card.















I gave that a watery wash of gesso and scraped on some Watercolour Ground with a palette knife for texture.














Next step was a good spritzing of Pumice Stone Distress Spray.  You'll see mine's taken on quite a greenish tinge, but I don't dislike the green-grey tone.











Hang on... Time Out - I'm lying... that wasn't the very next step.  There was a whole mess in between.  I tried some wrinkle-free distressing with lots of greens - ink and Oxide - and hated it completely.

I rinsed away as much as I could, but it took a good coat of Snowflake Fresco paint to completely cover it up - and then I was cross because I'd lost all my book text.  They almost went in the wastepaper basket, but this was where I decided I couldn't put another thing in the bin.  I had to push through...










So I cut my three ATCs from what I had.  The last one was so wonky I nearly dropped down to just a pair...

I mean, this is how it's been - I can't even cut straight lines at the moment!  But I stuck a bit of chopped off card back on to even it up, and carried on.










That cobbled-together edge determined the next step... I thought some tissue tape would disguise it quite well, so all three ATCs got a nice strong column stuck down along the edge.

If you look closely, you'll see the extra stuck on card under the Paris postmark over on the right!











It's not how I would usually use tissue tape.  I prefer delicate shreds of the stuff, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  (Okay, even I can hear that's a little melodramatic for the situation at hand!)













And, having done it, I started to be less cross about the whole process and a little more interested in where to go next...













... though still far less decisive than usual.

I hadn't even managed to decide on the orientation yet - portrait or landscape.













I needed something to make me happier so I reached for meadow flowers - the Tim Holtz set of Wildflowers silhouette stamps - and stamped my favourite in a slightly different position on each ATC.













I used Watering Can Archival and - for the first time - my stamping platform.  Just as well I did... over a textured surface like this, it's fantastic to be able to go for a second stamping to get the full definition.













And things definitely started to look up when I added some lid-stamping with gesso (large circles are done with a Distress Paint lid, smaller ones with an alcohol ink lid).










But I hit another delay at that point and pottered around for a long time trying all sorts of possible embellishing, discarding idea after idea in disgust.

I settled on the messy thread quite early on, but couldn't quite work out what else belonged there.  I nearly left them just like this.








I knew I wanted words, but resisted - at first - the idea of using the same quote on all the ATCs, even though they were the words calling most loudly to me.  It's the Pythagoras quote from my EAB02 Darkness and Light set.

So in the end I yielded and stamped it three times in Watering Can.  I clear-embossed them and trimmed them, but they were too blockish in the full form, so I started to trim them again.










As I was slicing them up, I was arguing with myself about where to make the cuts - speaking the words out loud to hear the difference - and found that I actually quite liked having the variations...












According to where you split the phrase, it slightly changes the emphasis and therefore the precise meaning.  Go on, try them out loud with the different phrasing - I dare you!














Of course, that tickled my word-head no end - these are the things I make my living out of! - so I decided to let it play out on the ATCs themselves, so they each play with the phrase slightly differently.







The simple wooden buttons provide an echo of the lid-stamping circles in the background...














... and I finished off with some doodled white pen frames around the edges.

In the end, those strong stripes of tissue tape have softened into the background...











... and I do love the textures here, so that, although I wouldn't say these exactly make me happy, they do somewhat soothe my soul.  And it certainly made me feel a bit better to have got something finished.







Thanks for putting up with my small helping of sombreness and my stop-start process on these ATCs.  It may feel like there are lots of process photos where not very much seems to have changed... but that's exactly what it was like trying to get these done.  I kept getting stuck and having to really battle for the next step.  But I am glad I persevered.


I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  I'm off to visit friends, so hopefully that will reset my internal mood and I'll be back next week full of inspiration and delight.  Happy crafting all!


I'm offering these up for the Artist Trading Card theme at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge
At Mixed Media World they have Anything Mixed Media with a Moodboard - in the mood I'm in, my eye went away from the brights to the soft green greys of the picture at the bottom right of the board, with flower heads against the sky
Anything Goes at Emerald Creek Dares, so I'd like to play along there too

It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Confucius

52 comments:

Valerie-Jael said...

Gorgeous ATCs! Feel better soon, hugs, Valerie

Helen said...

Love the atcs, they turned out great, even if the mood was sombre when you created them... not surprising, given the "summer" we're having.. Enjoy your weekend and come back refreshed and restored!

chrissie said...

The end result is amazing but it is sad to hear the struggle you had to reach that point. Sometimes you may have to settle for less than perfection to be a part of something. Hope you soon feel better and that you meeting with friends lifts your mood.

Thank you for sharing how you made the wonderful set

Take care

Love and a big hug

Chrissie xx

Nikki Acton said...

Ah Alison the result is brilliant... Wonderful tones and textures. So frustrating when things don't work... My bin was full a few weeks ago... Hence the Skype project... We need to arrange one. Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling your best, perhaps you need a rest after all your travels! Hopefully it is now behind you and these fabulous designs reignite your creative genius and life feels a bit more positive. Nikki xx

brenda said...

I am so pleased you didn't give up on your ATC's Alison as they really are lovely, I very much like the soft grey through green hues and textures.

B x

Sylvia/LittleTreasures said...

Oh Alison, I did enjoy your post, I've felt the same way, dark, cool, rainy, days change my frame of mind. I love Fall and it seems like it's here, so today I am putting away decor and bringing out FALL. I too love the ATC's started to do this challenge and left the mess on my desk, so I enjoyed your process. Just received the Oxides and some new watercolors maybe another try and things will "fall" together. Your ATC's have fun layers. I like the white doodling and swirly threads. Sending hugs and hope your MoJo comes back in full force. I enjoyed the visit...misery loves company

A Pink said...

I can so relate to how you have been feeling Alison as I have been feeling similar for some time now .
Your atc's are really beautiful and I love that they tell something of how you have been feeling recently. Love the word variation idea .

Poignant but beautiful .
x

Cestina said...

The word thing is fascinating. I am sitting here trying them all out and the change in emphasis is astonishing. I actually rather like the grey effects. I hope the spa town proves its worth. xx

My name is Erika. said...

These are gorgeous ATCs. Thanks for showing us how to do it. :)

simo said...

Dear Alison I really understand this feeling...been there myself...but I also think that choosing to add flowers (even if wildflowers) is always a statement for hope...hope for better days to come, for some light to shine through...
Just like the words chosen, so appropriate, we can't have light without darkness...or we wouldn't be able to appreciate it to the fullest. Hope you are now feeling more...'yourself'...a huge hug from me. Simona

Julia said...

Oh dear, you have been having a tough time. I'm so glad you managed to push through those barriers and create your ATCs. I'm sure everybody experiences just what you describe, I know I do. I rather like your ATCs and particularly like what you have written about cutting and placing the words to change the emphasis. You are a clever word lady. x

Patty O'Malley said...

I think your ATCs turned out beautifully! It's good that you persevered and didn't give up. I hope your spirits lift soon!

Marci said...

They are lovely! Hope you feel better soon.

Jennie Atkinson said...

You and me too Alison - thank you for sharing how you feel, as I feel the same at the moment having just got back from our long adventure. Like you I thought the ATC's were a great way to get back into playing. And yours have turned out so beautifully - I just love those wonderful muted colours and the stunning ways you have used the flowers. Just gorgeous. And ..... one of your stamp sets has just arrived, so hoping to have a play over the weekend. The sun is shining here at the moment and no wind, so a shame to be sat inside! Have a lovely weekend xxx

craftytrog said...

So glad you pushed on Alison! Your ATCs are simply lovely!
I've just come out of a bit of a black hole, hormones I think. Fortunately it didn't affect my art, but I was horrible to live with for a couple of weeks! Hope you feel better soon.
Wishing you a great weekend,
Alison xx

Team Clark said...

I'm sorry to laugh, but this all sounds like a conversation I have in my head quite frequently! I find that using printed papers causes me this kind of anguish... I fuss and fuss and fuss until it's almost no fun at all. Then I long for a project with a messy process. I love how you chopped the quotes differently and just love the grey green quality of these. The wooden buttons were the ultimate touch, so perfect. Hang in there my friend! Soon it will all fall from your fingertips again. :)

froebelsternchen Susi said...

These are so beautiful Alison ! Gorgeous! Hope you feel better soon!
Happy weekend!
oxo Susi

Chrissy said...

Well Alison, after all the drama and feeling of blaa..they came out AWEsome..great colours and stamping and so glad they didn't go in the rubbish..I get that awful feeling sometimes and nothing goes right..hope you feeling better by now..

Luv CHRISSYxx

Amanda said...

All might be grey, and that includes yourself, but grey obviously suits you well even if it has to be forced out of every creative ounce of you, I love love love the end results of your trio.
Love
Amanda x

Lys Scrap said...

How I love your post, Alison, so touchy. It says so perfectly the tough and uncomfortable paths creativity takes to express itself. You were right not to give up and go on and on, until you "recognize" your make as something authentic, according to you at that moment. Even if the process is purely yours, it speaks to us so clearly and the result is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

Clare Lloyd said...

Your ATCs are lovely, hope you feel better soon

Meggymay said...

They are gorgeous ATC's Alison and well worth you not letting them get you down. Sometimes we just have to keep going and these three are really beautiful.
Yvonne xx

Paper Profusion said...

Oh I hear ya Sista!! Keep your heart up Alison, this is just one tiny phase in a much greater adventure. Your artsy craft cup will return and runneth over! Anyway, I really think these are wonderful, subjued, but very lovely. I can see how the stamp platform was v useful too. Have a lovely weekend and don't be too hard on yourself. Hugs to you, Nicola x

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

I know that feeling well, I've not made much for a few days too as lacking in ideas BUT you've created some real beauties here Alison :)
Hugs
Donna xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Sorry to read that you are going through dark times - hopefully some light will shine on you soon! It seems that even though you struggled through that making of these ATCs you haven't lost your touch! Hugs, Chrisx

Kate said...

I hope you start feeling better soon, Alison. It stinks to be under the weather. I really enjoyed seeing the process of your atc background. The texture reminds me of handmade paper infused with petals and such. So pretty!
Kate

Brenda Brown said...

Now I know you're still able to have a laugh about all of this struggle but I'm so glad you persevered and got to a satisfying result. To me these are pure Alison and very beautiful, muted and melancholy maybe but still beautifully designed and layered with the perfect words. Keep pushing through you'll find those flashes of inspiration you need xxx

Dortesjs said...

Gorgeous ATC, love the whole process to..keep up

Craftyfield said...

Your post made me laugh... I'm not having fun at your struggles but at how often I've felt the same way. Difference is, most of the time I end up with an under par project...
I love your ATCs but if you don't like grey, my advice... keep off any inks, paints etc... in grey. You'll naturally use more colours and if the need arise, you can easily mix greys that are much more interesting!

Jackie P Neal said...

Oh Alison! Your atc's are absolutely gorgeous and fantastic!
I laughed, or giggled the whole way through your post as i think we all have been there,sometimes more often than not! heehee
I do hope you are moving on past this unsettling period- maybe it had to do with the Eclipse?
Anyway,sending hugs and wishes for brighter happier moods your way!
huge hugs,Jackie

Pawsitively Creative said...

Well I for one am glad that you kept on puttering through this and excelled with the finished ATCs. Isn't art a journey for sure. It is hard to get back in the groove when things aren't vibing. Your colors may not be what you were looking for but I agree with you about liking he finished design. Awesome sauce and fantabulous!

suzyb said...

I think everyone gets a case of the "blas" every now and again and it doesn't have to be in the winter months. I have been feeling kinda "out there" myself but not in an ill way. Hard to explain really, but with all the "stuff" going on in this lovely world of ours it's hard not to feel some sort of gray.
The atc's turned out great and the colour is like moss in a forest or the sea, at least on my screen is does. Thanks for sharing and I'm sure a visit with friends will put you back on the right track.
Have a lovely time.

Monika Gulyas said...

I love your sombre ATCs Alison!!! Beautiful greyish tones!!! But I hope you will come out soon from this bad mood!!! Have a glass wine!!! Cheers and big hugs!

Hazel Agnew said...

Wow Alison, a wonderful breakthrough after the flu s. I have been in the doldrums for some time now and must take inspiration from your wonderfulmpost tomget me buzzing again.
A graphic description of your feelings and love how you came through. Wish that there was a magic formula! Thankyou for this great post! Xx

Redanne said...

Alison, your grey mood transferred beautifully to your ATC's, they are absolutely gorgeous! I am sorry to hear that you are not up to par at the moment, we really need some sunshine! I hope the grey mood goes soon. I love your post, you have certainly inspired me... Hugs, Anne xx

Valika said...

Какая прелесть!

Maureen Chandler said...

Thank you for sharing these ATCs - they are really quite pretty and your process is very interesting! All the best to you as you recover your happy spirits - it happens to all of us!!!

Corrie Herriman said...

Your ATC's are fantastic ! I hope you feel better soon !
Corrie xxx

Meihsia Liu said...

Love these gorgeous ATCs, Alison. The texture and the embellishments you created are fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. :)

Julia Aston said...

well, Alison, I hope you are feeling better after finally spitting these out of your work table - because I feel very happy seeing them!! even if the sentiment is trying to drag me down into deep thought a bit!! Love the colors, stampings and textures! Julia xx

Julie Ann Lee said...

Thank You so much for sharing what you went through with these ATCs, Alison. I'm sure we all have these times when nothing seems to go right and the bin threatens to overflow with our discarded efforts. I love that you went on and produced these beautiful cards. I so admire that you let them reflect your mood at the moment too. Art is not always about being upbeat and feeling on top of the world, there is a place for reflection and for those grey days. You have made grey days beautiful. xx

Coco said...

A little sombre maybe, but all three beautiful, beautiful...
I love the texture too, and all these grey-green-white shades showing through gorgeously here and there! And your repetition of this unique quote is perfect, beautiful words.
Hugs from my holidays (I've a few days quiet remaining before the rush of the back-to-work period!!) xx

Sue said...

I guess you know by now that it's not just you Alison. It's amazing how our mood comes through into our art, isn't it? These are really lovely ATC's, and there's always room for a little reflection xx

Claudia N. said...

So happy to see and hear how these beautiful ATCS helped getting you back into creative swing, Alison! Yes, I miss the FunwithATCs challenges too....they were always great fun and the small format can be so rewarding to work on! Love these ATCs to bits!!!
Thank you for sharing them with us at Emerald Creek Dares, my friend!

Claudia xxx

Sara Barker said...

Well, I am late to this party, aren't I? I certainly feel your pain on the things just not right thing, and I'm afraid it's spilling over into almost every aspect of life right now. I'm pleased to see you persevered with these ATC's, though! I think they are gorgeous and I so enjoyed reading your process. Would it be helpful to know that almost every single thing I make goes through these ups and downs. I guess that's why my stuff always takes on a grungy appearance. Well done on straightening out your cutting situation; I'll remember that tip! And I'll have to remember to keep my Antique Linen stain, as it leans toward that greenish tinge you mention. Sending positive crafty thoughts your way!

rachel said...

Oh my - these ATCs are so pretty - gorgeous work Alison xx

Fliss said...

Very serene and restful atcs Alison and sorry to hear you've been feeling under the weather, know it well as I felt like that a couple of weeks back. Hope you're now feeling better.
Fliss xx

sally said...

The mood may have been grey, things may have conspired against you but the results are delightful. Hope the grey cloud has now lifted and the sun is shining on you once more....


Sally xx

Gio said...

I'm glad you found the mojo again, lately I am struggle a lot myself, so I understand you.
These ATC are pretty gorgeous, with a soft, vintage feeling, I love them!

Etsuko Noguchi said...

Wonderful ATCs, First I thought that you used fabric when I saw it in the photo. It's a fabulous background and I love these quotes of your stamps. xx

maj. said...

Absolutely beautiful!!!!

Anneke said...

I love these ATC !!! Thankyou for sharing your art and your feelings.