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...

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Hopeful Flowers





Hello all, and welcome to an unusually quiet Words and Pictures.

As January vanishes away, I'm dashing hither and yon - sometimes feels like ever-increasing circles - just about managing to be in the right place at the right time, but without much time left over for anything else.

And there's exciting craft news coming along in a week's time, so I'm saving some of my energy for that!  But I'm squeezing in a blogpost before setting off to Bath in about an hour's time.

As a result of all the busyness of life, the jumbo tag I'm sharing today is not a current make.  It was actually made some time back in the autumn and is finally making an appearance prompted by the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge who are playing Tag It this week, and the chance to add a touch of colour to these grey days for Stamps and Stencils' On the Bright Side theme.









This was one of those tags which unfolded over a number of weeks on the craft table.  I would get a couple of steps done, and then get stuck, leave it for a while to get on with something else, and eventually return to take a few more steps. 











It's not in quite my usual vein - though it does have many of my favourite things - so maybe that's why it was such a stop/start process.

I took plenty of photos along the way - just as well, or I'd have no idea any more how I made it! - so this post is all about the creative struggle to get it done.












So way back in September I started by putting texture paste through a fabulous Donna Downey stencil onto a jumbo tag which, as you can see, had already been through some aborted stages before being painted over with gesso to start again.














I added some additional texture mainly around the edges with the Tim Holtz Speckle stencil...













... and then set to with some colour.  I think I was using mainly DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics, but four months on I'm not entirely sure any longer.

As I dried the paint with the heat tool, I found the texture paste was bubbling underneath.  I really liked the effect, so I did it some more.













Next stage, a couple of weeks later, if I remember rightly, was to add some dollops of DecoArt One Step Crackle in and around the stencilled texture.













You may be able to see that I've glued the tag to some thick cardboard by this point - the sturdy support means the crackle can do its job without distorting the tag.  It also gives the whole thing a satisfying solidity.














Once that had dried and crackled (nice!) it sat around again for a while...







... until I took the heart-in-mouth decision to smother it in white Antiquing Cream.  You've seen this method in action in a couple of places since (the Mini Marvels and the Trailing Ivy) this was one of the most dramatic cover ups!


You apply it, let it dry, and then wipe it back with a damp cloth for a whole new effect.  It's a little scary to do...








... but totally worth it when you see the white crackle against the darker colours...















Then there was some more procrastinating when, having decided the flowers now needed a bit more presence, I was unable to decide how to achieve that.















I re-placed the stencil and applied DecoArt Crackle Paint through it.  I lost my nice bubbled texture, but I think it was the right decision.














Once it was dried and crackled I started adding some more colour with the Fluid Acrylics. 












Yellow is an almost-never colour for me, but I had been dabbling in daisies with my watercolour explorations at the time, so I guess that influenced this decision.

I couldn't quite decide how to handle the centres of the flowers.  On the one hand, I really didn't want to cover up some of the delicious crackle which was there.











On the other hand, they looked a bit weird with just empty space in the middles.  It was another waiting period while I debated what to do.














In the end I went with some Prima Art Stones...















... topped with a brushing of raw umber paint to give them a seedy look.














It was touch and go with the addition of the words too... the tag sat there for days as I added and removed the Quote Chips, trying to decide whether they belonged or not.












Finally, with some tangled thread in the mix, I glued them down.

Still not sure whether I should have left them out after all... but I guess they fit quite well with this whole drawn out indecisive creative process!












And I found myself using black - black! - to edge the tag.  It felt like it needed some strong definition, but it doesn't feel very "me".













After all that stressful decision-making, the topper is as simple as can be - just some garden twine to tie up the daisies.












You can probably tell I'm not entirely sure about this one.  I really don't know whether I like it or not.

I love the crackled daisies and the crackle in the background, but the finished look is a bit off to my eye.

Ah well!  One day this year I hope to finish the journal page I've also used this flower stencil in - that one is shaping up to be far more my kind of thing.  But it won't be until the end of April at the earliest now...

Yes, it's packing time again.  Words and Pictures is on the move again for the next few months.  Getting the balance of winter clothes and craft stash in the suitcase is going to be as tricky as ever!

I hope you're all in fine fettle, and I really hope to manage some blog visiting soon to find out what you've all been up to...  In the meantime, happy crafting all!

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
Lady Bird Johnson



I'd like to share this in the Tag It theme over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge
With the unaccustomed pop of yellow, and some bright colours underneath all those layers too, I'd like to share this at Stamps and Stencils where they are looking for spring-themed projects On the Bright Side

47 comments:

Patty O'Malley said...

I think this tag is wonderful!

hazel said...

A stunning tag, lots of lovely textures.
xxx Hazel.

Dorthe said...

I think I love it Alison,
I love your flowers with the feeling of so thin petals, you can see through, -I love your amazing blue crackled background, with the gorgeous result from the white Antiquing Cream, the distressing with white splashes - and the quote , so true -
Wishing you wonderful months away, dear friend.
Dorthe, xoxo

Mrs.B said...

I know this is different for you, but I love it. The Antiquing cream really does give a fabulous finish to the crackle. Good Luck with the packing decision.
Avril xx

Valerie-Jael said...

Gorgeous and stylish tag Alison. Look after yourself, hugs, Valerie

Chrissy said...

This tag is so beautiful Alison..I love the crackle background as always and the beautiful blues but when the yellow popped up on the scene it was just heaven..I love yellow and I love the flower centres too..gorgeous.

Luv CHRISSYxx

Helen said...

your tag looks gorgeous in each stage! I really love it just at the white paste stage, and the blue/green stage. I'd have been tempted to stop there (and maybe start another one to carry on playing with!)

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

What a beauty Alison, I think this is one of my favourites. So striking with the boldness of the daisy's and that delicate wash around them. At each stage it does not lose it's calmness.
A beautiful study of nature which I would stare at for hours and hours if it were mine.
Hugs & wishes on your journey ..Tracey x

Cathy said...

Popping over from SSS Monday as this beauty caught my eye. Glad I came for a closer look, love all the crackle and it was great to see your process, Cathy x

Fliss said...

It may not be your usual colours Alison but I'm so glad you braved it as the flowers look really stunning with all the amazing texture and are perfect in yellow. A real breath of Spring on what has been a very wet and dull day.
Fliss xx

Meggymay said...

You may feel it is a different colour combo for you Alison, but be assured it is a gorgeous tag. Maybe spring is on the way.
I hope you have a safe journey when you sent off on your travels again.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

The crackle finish really gives this tag so much texture. Very pretty. :) Hugs-Erika

Kate said...

Beautiful Alison! I love seeing the transformation from start to finish. The colors are amazing and that crackle finish is perfect.
Kate

craftytrog said...

It's a stunning tag Alison! I must dig out the antiquing cream! What an amazing effect over the crackle.
Have a happy week.
Alison xox

chrissie said...

The tag is stunning and so many things to inspire and admire on it. Your use of paste and crackle never fails to amaze me Alison.

Take time to enjoy life as you dash from here to there.

Love Chrissie xx

Sue said...

This is beautiful Alison, I always love crackle, and the embossing paste and threads are perfect. I wish this was the scene out of our window, but it's just grey and raining (again!) Have a lovely week, Sue xx

Annie said...

wonderful textures Alison and I love that stunning stencil. The background is wonderful but the flowerhead are my favourite and I love the layers of colour.

TFS and huge hugs xx Hope the packing doesn't take too long and safe journey xxx
Annie x

A Pink said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your 'recount' of this tags gradual development. Every step you chose to take has made for an absolutely gorgeous tag. Thanks for sharing Alison .
Hope your travels over the next few months are all smooth and safe . Have a great time .
hugs x

Marci said...

I think your Daisy tag is gorgeous, even if it is different for you. Love the centers on the flowers, too.

Monika Gulyas said...

Alison, this is beautiful!!! These soft and crackled yellow flowers with the art stones in the middle are amazingly beautiful!!! The background is awesome too!!! I love it!!! Big hugs

Craftyfield said...

So many of my makes go though these agonising stages when I'm totally paralysed and can't decide the way forward! In the end your tag turned out beautiful and I wouldn't change anything, apart maybe take out one of the word (odd numbers and all that). xx

froebelsternchen Susi said...

A terrific tag Alison! You never cease to amaze us!

pearshapedcrafting said...

It may have been on your craft table a while but so pleased you kept coming back to it! It was interesting to see each stage and the decisions you took to complete it! You ended up with the most beautiful tag! Enjoy your travels - hope your packing went OK!Chrisx

Anita Houston said...

I'm so jealous of your trip to Bath...I LOVED it there. LOVE your Autumn tag, and those crackled flowers in all their color and the bomb!!!

Diana Taylor said...

I think the tag is lovely - I love your wonderful textures and use of crackle glaze and such a pretty stencil too. I'm reminded of the earliest spring flowers appearing after a cold winter - the white crackle looks so lovely and frosty.

Coco said...

Wow, wow and wow!!!!!
Another stunner jumbo tag, and one more favourite of mine!!!
Loving your unusual use of yellow (it is so beautiful here!) and Prima artstones with a touch of raw umber on them. What a fabulous idea!
Hope you are having a good trip to Bath.. looking forward to your new stamps maybe, dear Alison. xx

Mac Mable said...

I always learn so much when I pop in and today is no exception. Wonderful texture and techniques and I love it! x

nausica said...

Very, very, nice!! Congratulations!!

Jackie P Neal said...

Absolutely lovely tag Alison! And I do so appreciate the way it came about...sitting and waiting patiently for the next layer! Well done, even if you are still not sure! ")
safe travels to you and so looking forward to your exciting news!
Jackie xo
ps..thank you for your reply!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

The end result is beautiful! And I'm glad you shared the whole process, including the times when you put the tag aside because you weren't sure what to do next. I chuckled a few times, as I read your post: I could relate to your feelings along the way.

You said this isn't your usual style of artwork, but it came out fantastic. Sometimes it's good to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. I've done that recently with my own artwork, with Zetti, and I was pleased with my results.

If you also make postcard sized artwork, I encourage you to drop by the Sunday Postcard Art challenge site and share your creativity there. :-)

simo said...

I love it Alison! Love the process and all the steps involved in the creation of this Tag! Hugs xxx

Hazel Agnew said...

Hi Alison. The process of adding words reminded me that sometimes I create a piece with no deliberation and then dither for ages, deciding the placement of the words.
Wow, what a journey this tag has been on. You have described the various stations where the tag alighted so well. My favourite one was the addition of the artstones....just perfect!
Love the crusty old tag. Reminds me of the rock pool rocks in the ocean with their build ups of crustaceans! Magic! Xx

├čeulah ├čee said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your process and could relate to all your decision-making angst. Gesso over a false-start, check! Pasting a support behind the tag due to distortion, check! I admire the end result tremendously but also relate to/understand your feeling that, "it's just not me." But part of the appeal of making things is what I discover about myself along the way, so it's all good in that respect. Love what Hazel said about it being a crusty old (but very pretty) tag. It is magic!

Julia said...

How satisfying it must have been to re-discover the work you started all those months ago and create another wonderful piece of art. That crackle must have been so exciting to see come together. I reckon you are only unsure of this tag because of the yellow but yellow is good and the tag is beautiful. x

maj. said...

Looks amazing! Great tag!!!

Margaret said...

This might not be your traditional style, but it is lovely! Your daisies are fantastic, especially with those seedy centers! I have to admit that I would have panicked during the antiquing cream step...but it does look wonderful in the cracks!

Kirsten said...

Lovely tag!

Julia Aston said...

what gorgeous texture, color and crackle on this Alison! love the seed centers and whisps of fiber! Julia xx

Meihsia Liu said...

This is such a gorgeous tag, Alison. The colors and texture you made are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. :)

Sara Barker said...

PERFECT in every way to me, Alison! Love those spring like colors--something greatly needed here as we head into our 3rd day of heavy downpours and endless grey sky. The robins are out in droves, so that's a good thing. I digress...I'm so happy you kept at this over sized tag, because it holds so much beauty and obviously excellent crafty decisions along the way. Thank you for sharing your process--what fun! Sending hugs!

Julie Ann Lee said...

What a beautifully tactile tag! I love its delicate colours, how dimensional it is and - of course - the touch of crackle! Gorgeous! xx

Angela Radford said...

A gorgeous tag, beautifully made and a great tutorial. Love it xXx

Sandy said...

I love this tag Alison!
And I love Bath - I stayed outside of Bath around 14 years ago - and I absolutely loved having tea and biscuits at the Sally Lunn Bake Shoppe.
Talk about good!!!! Bath is beautiful and so is the country side around Bath. I was there for a good week staying at St. Caherines's court which was then owned by the actress Jane Seymour. I understand it was once a Catholic Monastery which King Henry the VIII decided it should belong to him! I loved every minute of our stay. Next door lives a real live Lord and his family. I met the Lord one day walking towards town - how exciting is that except he was just like you and me and not half as talented as you!!
Thinking of you!
Sandy xx

Etsuko Noguchi said...

It is a wonderful tag for spring Alison, beautiful flowers and colours. I like the results of white Antiquing Cream penetration into cracks. xx

Neet said...

This tag makes me want to gently stroke it - I would love to feel the texture you have achieved. The crackle and the use of the Antiquing Cream add another dimension to it.
Hugs, Neet xx

rachel said...

Oh Alison - this tag is a real stunner - its beautiful compositionally, colourfully and texturally - I love it! Big hugs rachel x

Ruth said...

Gorgeous tag, love, love, love the crackle with the white antiquing cream....stunning! It's a joyous creation with so much texture, the flower centres are perfect. Thanks so much for joining us at Stamps and Stencils Alison! Hugs Ruth xx