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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Encore - Meditation Cube

Hello all... here's an Encore post from me today (I can't be bothered to sweat it out with New Blogger in this heat!).  This was created almost exactly a year ago, and then shared on the PaperArtsy blog in September 2019.  I thought we needed some mindful meditation back then... and things in the world seem to have gone from bad to worse in the twelve months since.  There's an even greater need for this little Meditation Cube now...  so here's what I wrote back then.  (And if you don't know what I'm on about with this Encore business, you'll find the details at the end of the post.)


Hi everyone, it's Alison from Words and Pictures here, and I've got a tiny Meditation Cube to share with you today.

I'm going to try to obey the instructions on the cube and keep the talking to a minimum, but there'll be lots of pretty pictures because when you've got a cube there are a lot of different angles and faces to capture!

When I saw the topic I thought, well, inchies and twinchies - best to choose some Mini stamps for that, so I've been playing with Seth Apter's Minis, some of the older ones and some from the latest release.

I had a jumbo tag left over from another project, already wrinkle-free distressed with some of my favourite Distress Inks and Oxides.  I found that with a little bit of coxing and boxing I could just get squeeze six 2 x 2 panels out of the tag, perfect to go on my 2 x 2 x 2 Twinchie box (MDF, from Calico Craft Parts).

There's Ground Espresso, Stormy Sky, Chipped Sapphire and Pumice Stone involved, some of my favourite colours, so I find that very soothing.  Also my eye never tires of tracing the lines of the random splotches and blotches.

Some quick decisions about which Minis would go opposite/next to which, and then it was out with the Wow Vanilla White embossing powder.

The diagonal positioning was dictated by the size of the Twinchie - that was the best way to get as much of Seth's fabulous stamps onto the space as possible.

I really like how, as a result, each image leads the eye round to the one on the next panel, up to down and down to up.  It's quite hypnotic as you turn it.

But then each face gives your brain a different shape to process, so it means you don't fall into autopilot - it's an active trance state!

And it was the soothing effect it was having on me that made me think about adding some words from EAB03 Music & Silence.

In some places I only wanted partial quotes, or even individual words, and that's where some masking tape (or any kind of tape really) comes in handy.  It means you can ink up the area you want, and then quickly apply the tape in case any of the surrounding area has got inky, and then you stamp.

You can, of course, also wipe the ink away from where you don't want it, but I find that sometimes leaves pale traces if you don't do it carefully enough, whereas this way gets me just the word(s) I want and no more.

I stamped the words in Jet Black Archival and then embossed with Wow Primary Bark, a deep dark brown.

The embossing means that as you turn the cube, your fingertips become highly sensitive to the raised textures, which keeps you very focussed and in the moment.

The repetition of the phrases calmly suggests the possibility of silence and stillness, while the mind stays alert to the changing images, ready to listen.

A couple of metal cogs and wheels and bolts offer additional visual and tactile stimulus.

The positioning pretty much took care of itself, dictated by the stamped images.

Given which way up the words are, and that bolt on the top, there is definitely a top and bottom to this cube... this is the bottom!

It really was a meditative creative process, as well as being a very meditative object to turn in your hands.

And the way the blues and browns travel around the corners, and the contrasts between the light and dark embossing all make me very happy.

You may feel it's cheating slightly... an inchie or twinchie constricts the amount of space you have to work with, but by making a cube, I had six times the playing area... but then how could you possibly choose between all those fabulous Minis otherwise?!  And if I'd gone for flat twinchies, I'd almost certainly have made a set of them. This way, my set of Twinchies has become a lovely 3D object.  I hope you like it as much as I do.


Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I'm grateful that so far the Czech Republic hasn't been quite as toasty as many other places, though we could do with some rain.  But if you're due to have the downpours forecast for when the weather breaks, I hope you don't get too much.  Stay safe, stay well and engage in some meditation, or some creativity!  Happy crafting all, and see you soon.

Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is a poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.

I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats.
Eckhart Tolle

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm busy.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  For some of you they will be new, but if you've seen them before, please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Corrugated Quotes

Hello everyone!  I hope you're doing well, and not suffering too much in the heat (if that's what's happening where you are!).  I wanted to pop in to share probably my favourite samples from my latest round of stamp releases, launched by PaperArtsy in June.  It's a lo-o-ong one, so grab a cup of whatever keeps you going!

There's one sample for each of the stamp sets, so one quote comes from EAB18 Gardens & Growth, one from EAB19 Life & Living, and one from EAB20 Night & Day.  The colours for each were specific to each stamp set, but intended to co-ordinate overall with one another, so these work beautifully as a trio.

I was going to try to write this post in New Blogger, but then I decided I didn't want to waste my time getting frustrated.

For as long as Legacy is here, I'm sticking with it.  I can write a complex post very quickly.  With N.B. even the simplest post is a trial.

But on to happier things... this trio of tags.  You can see what they have in common... the Paper Dolls, the regular-sized colourful tag mounted over corrugated cardboard...

... the Tim Holtz Wildflower thinlits and Lin Brown's fabulous grasses from PaperArtsy ELB30.  These grasses always seem to play a part in my quote stamp samples, and here they are in triplicate!

I was also enjoying playing with 3D quotes with these arched banners.  Some of them were done on acetate (check out Double Sided Acetate if you missed those ones) but on two of these I went with a more conventional substrate for my arched words.

What's great about this technique is that you can use a quote that might be just a bit too wide to fit on the card or tag and still get it all on!

Let me take you through a few process pictures so you can see how they all came together, but mostly I'm going to share pretty close-ups, so feel free to scroll on and enjoy those!

Let's start with EAB18 Gardens & Growth (might as well go in number order so that I don't get completely confused!!).

I stamped the grasses in paint over a brayered background - there's a lovely softness to the paint stamping, as though the grasses are blowing in the wind.

I decided to have another layer of stamping, so this Hot Picks wildflower stem appears in Leaf Green Archival.  I stamped the stem again upside down to make it long enough, and you get one of those lovely knotty bits in the stem into the bargain - very true to life.

I cut the Thinlits stems from another piece of painted card, and used more Fresco paints to add the petal details. 

Some are tucked behind the tag, and some are layered on top.  It all adds depth and dimension.

The twisting cotton thread adds movement and intricate detail.

The quote is stamped in Leaf Green Archival and clear-embossed so you get that little touch of gloss to catch the light.

And I blended on a little bit of co-ordinating paint around the edges to draw the eye in towards the words, before fixing it in place with a couple of Idea-ology fasteners.

I love this little girl, so I'll forgive her for picking flowers in my garden!

Onwards to EAB19 Life & Living...  a quick look at the early stages first.  For this, I used one of a pair of sponged tags (you've seen the other in action already on the Life & Living acetate tag linked to above).

This time the grasses are stamped in Archival so you get that lovely sharp look.  I combined Leaf Green and Olive Archival inks directly on the stamp for a slightly variegated look.

The tag I cut some of the Wildflower thinlits from was a bit dark, so I sponged on some gesso and got this really lovely mottled look.

And you'll see that others have a little bit of script stamping to add extra detail.

Again the cotton thread swirls around to help give a sense of movement and life.  (Ignore the little seedpod near the bottom star - it's not a permanent fixture.  I was photographing outside.)

Speaking of the stars - they're moulded in paperclay in one of the Finnabair silicone moulds.

Since it's clearly twilight, I thought the stars might just be starting to appear.

I gave them a rough coating of white embossing powder so that they would be the same colour as the text stamping, rather than just having the plain paperclay matte finish.

And there's another segue to the white-embossed words themselves.  Since the colour palette for the Life & Living samples included the lovely Lavender and Wisteria Fresco paints, I decided to echo the twilit sky at the top of the tag for the quote down at the bottom.

It brings those soft purple tones to the fore on the panel as a whole.  It's fastened in the same way as the one on the Gardens & Growth panel, even though this quote would have fitted lying flat.

The boy is one of my all-time favourite Paper Dolls, so it's only fitting that he takes his place on this, with one of my favourite quotes (by Oscar Wilde).

And it may also be my favourite of all the samples.

(Sshhh, don't tell the others - and in any case the Gardens & Growth girl and tag is such a close second as to make no odds!). 

And so to Night & Day... (This post has probably taken you all day and all night so that seems appropriate!).  I don't seem to have anything in the way of process photos for this one, but you get the idea by now.

The ombre tag in the background is another sponged affair - I love the subtle blending capability a natural sponge gives you.  (Again, you can see its partner in the acetate tags linked before - you get a better look at the effect there.)

And I think here we're probably at the start of the day...  throwing open the windows to the day.  The window might be very weathered (with PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze), but it still lets in the golden dawn light.

The Thinlits stems here play the role of the ripening corn...

... as do the grasses, stamped in Pumice Stone against the sky.

The quote is stamped in some Stampendous powder which happily echoes the Sky Fresco paint of the background, as well as catching the light to make me happy!

I decided I really wanted to include the author of the words this time.  Quite apart from anything else it adds an important balancing element to the composition of the whole piece down there at the foot of the panel.

Our Paper Doll looks more than ready to throw his heart into his day's work, whatever that may be, but however high his heart is leaping... 

... his feet are firmly grounded on some Idea-ology Design Tape.

Phew, I think we made it!  I hope you like them as much as I do.  I really enjoyed creating this triptych... even though it was an unconscious one.  I didn't plan it like this from the start.

They weren't made together... each was created along with the samples for the rest of that quote set, but as the days progressed I obviously gave in to letting them echo one another, and by this third panel, it was a conscious process.

I wanted the Lin Brown grasses again, so I used them again.  I wanted some more corrugated card,  so I grabbed some more.  I wanted the Wildflower Thinlits to add another layer, so I let myself have them.  I wanted another arched quote, so I made one.

And by the end I was a happy woman.  As a triptych, they're one of my favourite makes of all time, all the better for being slightly accidental.  Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  As you know, this blog is as much my own personal scrapbook for my creations as anything else.

It's an endlessly happy bonus to have your company as I keep my records of what I did and how.  For that, and for your lovely comments and for the inspiration I find as I hop around Craftyblogland, you have my thanks now and always.  Stay safe, stay well everybody.

I am working here (in Amsterdam) on my last big triptych, which will be a tremendous story, and which gives me a more intense life and exhilaration. My God, life is worth living!
Max Beckmann