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 20 July 2012

Semi-controlled Mayhem

Where do these ideas come from?!  Why do I start these things?!  Why do I make life so difficult for myself?!
Here's the latest creation - a mobile - to have been filling my head, craft table and all my time, and it's been quite a ride...  
(Photograph warning - there are a lot!)

The starting point was the Artistic Stamper challenge looking for Circles, which (appropriately for a circular challenge) had been revolving in my head since nearly the beginning of July, and then got an extra little shove when Top Tip Tuesday also laid down a Circles challenge this week.

Somewhere in the small hours one night, the revolving ideas began to take on the shape of a circus Big Top tent (ah... maybe the word 'top' in Top Tip Tuesday snuck in there!).  

And right near the beginning of this new, crazy craft obsession back in March, I was really lucky to get the Graphic 45 Le Cirque stamp sets on ebay for a great price...

I don't have the matching papers yet, so this project gave me a chance to play with lots of fun techniques to create papers for stamping the images on, for the tent, and for the reverse of the images.

I'd been trying to work my way round to some Altered Metal for the Frilly and Funkie challenge, even though I don't have any alcohol inks or patinas in my stash yet (right at the top of the list for when I'm home and have some money again, having seen what everyone's doing with them - really exciting!).  

I was also setting myself a little challenge to use some bright colours out of my comfort zone.  I haven't got the Dylusions sprays which everyone in the universe seems to have, but I do have Distress Inks in Dried Marigold, Tumbled Glass, Wild Honey and a few others which I've barely touched.  Time to get them out.

And, finally, for Simon Says Stamp and Show this week, it's No Rules... so I really decided to let rip.  

I would say the result was semi-controlled mayhem for a while, but I think it worked out in the end!

I'd had three little woven carousels, found in a plant nursery, sitting on top of the wardrobe for a while, and that blinding light in the early hours about the Big Top was simultaneous with the thought - 'I could use one of those for it'. 

I knew the Le Cirque stamps were ready and waiting, but I didn't really have any papers to meet my own challenge of brighter colours, so it was out with the Distress Inks.  

I really had fun creating lots of variations on a theme.  

I did some blending, some spritzing, some flicking, some puddles on the craft mat combining variations of the colours I mentioned above.  

I occasionally added some Peeled Paint to the mat from a Distress Marker (not having the pad in that colour).

(On the left, it's getting ready to be stripes of tent.)

I used the TH retro circles stamp on one of the backgrounds using the wiggle-walk across the colours on the mat to ink up the stamp.  Then with a spritz of water you get a nice watercolour effect on the print.

I really wanted some dots (nice and circular) in the mix, but I don't have a stencil (here's another 'yet'!).  What I do have are some Tim Holtz mask sheets, so with a hole-punch I created my own dots stencil.  

Of course, the hole-punch can't reach very far, so it was a pretty small stencil that I had to keep using as a repeat pattern.

To some parts I added the damask stamp from Recollections Lace Backgrounds set, stamped in Faded Jeans, for some extra texture. Having gone back and looked at the Graphic 45 papers for Le Cirque, I find there's a similar paper there, so again my subconscious was more on the ball than me!  You can see my version on the reverse of the Mayhem pennant above.

As I say, I used some of the papers for stamping the images on, and some were used as the reverse side.  This fabulous laughing clown is the only circus figure to appear twice on the piece - clowns generally come in troupes, don't they... a hilarity of clowns?!  On the reverse side, we have the damask again, with some more stencilled circles added, this time in gold acrylic. 

He was relatively easy to cut out (though circles are not my favourite thing to cut freehand, even following a carefully traced line round some washi tape).  The other figures, once backed onto their respective papers, with some strengthening card sandwiched in between, all had to be fussy cut slowly and patiently.

The acrobatic clown was okay, but I had some hairy moments with a couple of the others... the elephant (near the top of the page) nearly lost his tail.  

The trapeze artist has unfeasibly thin ankles (I think that, like Barbie, anatomically she'd be unable to walk without breaking them if she existed in real life), and the tricky space within her arms, but it was all worth it once I saw her holding on to the twisted gold wire (picture wire from the hardware store), which I wound round her own stamped rope.

All of them needed a UTEE coat for protection of those delicate extremities, but the glossy enamel was part of my plan anyway.  I love it!

The ringmaster hangs right at the centre of things of course, beneath the other element I really wanted to include - a lovely green marble (supermarket freebie, though I had to sand away a silly advertising transfer first)... not just circular, but globular now!  

I created a net of golden picture frame wire to hold it in place, and attached our glorious ringmaster beneath.  With that belly and that cloak, there's plenty of space on the reverse to admire the gold polka dot stencilling!

As well as the figures, there are some stars stamped on orange, backed with the damask papers, and those are mounted into some gold curtain rings, filled in both sides with Glossy Accents from Ranger.  I love this stuff too - pour it over, spread it out, burst any air bubbles with a pin, let it set, and you have a gorgeous glossy dimensional finish to your image.

The other 'balloons' bouncing round the big top are my altered beer bottle tops.  I flattened out the edges as much as I could with a French wrench, and then (whispering invocations to the goddess of the BigShot not to let it break) ran it through with the TH Gears embossing folder.  I really didn't expect it to work (and there is a little bit of scratching on the inside of the folder, be warned!), but I love the result.  I added an extra coat of gold acrylic, as the beer bottle lid was a slightly dull gold, and I didn't want anything dull in my circus!

The part I really wasn't sure whether I would be able to realise from the pictures in my head was the 'tent' itself.  I knew the shape I needed (and if I hadn't been sure, I had the stamp right there to remind me!), and the woven frame was a big help with that.

But I knew trying to get the right shape to the papers, the right number, and trying to get them to stay in place wasn't going to be easy.

I also wanted the 'walls' at different lengths, but I wasn't sure how that would look.  I was delighted when I came up with the brainwave of rolling the strips - like canvas rolled up, but also creating a whole extra set of circles in the edges of the rolled parts (you can see what I mean in some of the photos above - particularly the acrobatic clown).  It also meant I could get each strip to the right length to reveal whatever lay behind or to either side.

I'm really over the moon with the result - although again I've created a project it's pretty difficult to capture in photographs!

The bunting is made from more of the handmade papers (the turquoise numbers paper from K&Co is the only one I didn't create myself), stamped with the Artistic Outpost bunting stamp from their Whimsical Melange set. All the stamping is done is done in Cobalt Archival ink from Ranger.

So, I'll leave you with one final view - from below, where you get lots of those lovely circles, including the main one on which the whole thing hangs... literally!

Long, loooong post today, and many, many pictures, but I really wanted to share this one fully - "give'em the whole three-ring circus", as they (almost) say in the musical!  It wasn't in any way easy, but I stayed in pursuit of the idea my imagination had conjured up and I really hope you've enjoyed the razzle-dazzle of it.
Thank you so much for dropping in today and, if you've lasted this long, a huge thank you for sticking with it!  And if you'd like to leave a comment letting me know what you think, there won't be room on the page for the size of the thanks!!

Do hope to see you here again some time soon, and in the meanwhile have a glorious time, whatever it is you're doing.

I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge this week: No Rules
The Artistic Stamper, where the July challenge is Circles
It's All About Circles over at Top Tip Tuesday too
The Stamp Man is on an Anything Goes with Summer Colours challenge
Frilly and Funkie would like to see some Altered Metal
I think that That Craft Place will allow me one more entry to their Anything Goes challenge
Creative Inspirations would like Altered Art/Anything but a Card... I think this qualifies!
And one more for LEJ Designs and their Anything Goes challenge

Keep the circus going inside you, keep it going, don't take anything too seriously, it'll all work out in the end.
David Niven

Just 'cause you got the monkey off your back, doesn't mean the circus has left town.
George Carlin


...the yorkshire fox... said...

...OMGosh!!! an incredible piece of work, I've not seen anything quite like this, it's absolutely stunning, your attention to detail is amazing, the colours, the inky techniques, the baubles & characters all simply fabulous...an outstanding piece of work Alison I loVe it...Mel :)

catherine said...

This is an absolutely stunning piece of work and so much lovely details going on. love reading about it and all the different techniques you have used. very creative piece. You will love playing with alcohol inks when you get some. Have a good weekend
x catherine

NGCARDS said...

A fabulous creation hun! Thanks for playing along at Wednesday's Creative Inspirations this week! xxx

Kim Dellow said...

Oh amazing, so many beautiful details. Kim

Pia said...

wauuuuw what a wonderful projects, like the colours
hugs Pia

Victoria said...

What an amazing original project! Your lightbulb moment in the early hours has been executed beautifully! I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this - it is a stunning work of art! Gosh, I bet you keep looking at it with a proud beaming smile - I would be if I made something half as good as this!!

Sandra said...

Wow! This is one amazing looking project! Love how you've created it and that you shared that with us! So cool! Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs, Sandra

Terry said...

Mayhem never looked so good! This is way out there cool and so detailed! Love how you created your own papers! Fabulous project! Thank you for joining us at Frilly and Funkie!

Heather said...

This is FABULOUS Alison! SO many fun details!! LOVE all your pieces, and the whole process looks fun!!! I love UTEE :0). Look at all those little pennants!! Fabulous!!

Thank you for visiting my blog :0)

Unknown said...

I absolutely, totally love this!!! G45 is one of my fave companies and you've done an extraordinary job with this project. This is over the top! ;) {pun intended}

Thank you for joining us at Top Tip Tuesday and I do hope you will enter 2 more projects and tips are always welcome. I love {really love} your work. I'm totally inspired by this post so I'm a new follower now. Keep 'em coming!
Lisa xx

Inkypinkycraft said...

Fantastic is what it is!! Wow this is stunning,the details, the colours and the original idea..simply fab!! Love it! Trace x

Caroline said...

Such a crazy but wonderful idea and it turned out stunning! It must have been fun to create all the different elements hanging from this circus chime :)

Dianne said...

Love it....so creative

Cestina said...

Circus souvenirs! Hats, masks, flags, clowns' noses!


NGCARDS said...

A gorgeous creation hun! xxx

Candy C said...

This is awesome! Don't you love it when those ideas keep spinning around in your head and then it comes out so beautifully when you finish it! Great design and use of color and stamps. Your big top is truly a work of art! Thanks for sharing your beautiful work with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Andrea Small said...

OK - second attempt at posting a comment. I think I said something like - oh oh oh this sublime! I found myself almost turning my computer round to see it from different angles - wish I could see it in the flesh, so to speak x

Heather Jacob said...

wow this is totally exquisite .. so much fabulous detail and colors xoxo

Claudia N. said...

So fantastic and gorgeous, Alison! Love it, love it, love it!!!!!

die amelie xxx

Marjie Kemper said...

I'm gobsmacked! And trust me, I don't use that word lightly. This is such a stunning project with more creative elements than I can count. Love the colors, the stamping, the metals... all of it. Adore it! Thanks loads for sharing it with us at Frilly and Funkie this week. I've just become your newest follower.

Anna-Karin said...

Wow I am totally amazed! What a wonderful idea and all the details, the inky papers, stamps and everything look absolutely fabulous together. I wish I could see this in real life! Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

Unknown said...

Wow, what an entry, stunning .... Thanks for joining in with us at LEJ Designs xx

Valerie-Jael said...

This is a really fantastic piece, and love all the photos, too! Valerie

Lisa Minckler said...

I'll take 10 of them!!!! :D I hope your hand reaches to your back because you should be patting yourself on the back...this is OUTSTANDING!! :)

Kim x said...

WOW what more can I say, this really was a labour of love.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for leaving all of your lovely comments they are very much appreciated.
hugs Kimx

Anonymous said...

Oh my!! This must of taken you ages!! I love it!! All the different circle ellements even your handmade papers too! Fabulous creation and it's great to have you joining us this time at Top Tip Tueaday, hugs Samantha xx

Caroljenks said...

Alison this is just GORGEOUS! I can't stop looking at it - the work you've obviously put into this masterpiece is amazing!

Thanks so much for joining in with Top Tip Tuesday for this challenge - I love how many circles you have used ;)

Carol x

Gerrie Johnnic said...

Wow GF, what a fabby "thing a ma jig" or many fabby's! I do really think you need to take it easier, you are making us all look bad! lol After watching a couple of CRAFT WARS on TV...and seeing this piece(s)....you really need to get on the show.........way to go.

mark gould said...

Wow. Beautiful and so creative. Stunning piece of art. Mark x

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

So I'm trying to figure you out...you are not at home but on the road for quite some time now...how in the world do you have so many supplies with you??? This piece is so intricate and so AMAZING!!!! WOW!!!! What a design and what an imagination! This is a showpiece! And oh yeah...thank you for playing along with us at Frilly & Funkie this fortnight!!!!

Sarah said...

What a fun, creative work of art! I love the colors and all of the incredible details.

Anonymous said...

GASP!!!! WOW!!!! LOVE this! The Simon Says Stamp & Show design team thanks you for participating in this week's challenge! - Ashli

Neet said...

Never mind "Thank You" in larger letters from you for me having read every step along the way. It's a BIG THANK YOU for creating such a spectacular piece of art that I have savoured from the first word and picture to the last.
WOW! WOW! and WOW! again.
Neet xx

Shelby said...

Wowzer! you are one talented crafter. This is just an absolutely stunning piece of art. Beautiful work


Anonymous said...

OMG this is so stunning very detailed and very gorgeously put together, just love it. Thank you so much for joining us at LEJ this week. Abbie DT xx

Sue said...

All the above and a big WOW from me too!! This is absolutely amazing. Not only is is constructed perfectly, but the think I admire most is your imagination to come up with this in the first place. Brilliant!! x

Annie said...

Wow!! What a fabulous creation. Clearly thinking out of the box x this is a spectacular piece and I love all the elements. Good luck in the challenges from your newest follower Annie x

Anonymous said...

WOW! That is the only work I can think off!! WOW! Thanks for joining it at LEJ Designs Challenge Blog. Good luck xx

Netty said...

oh wow this is so fabulous, so much work but oh so worth it. Brilliant, x

Christine said...

What a wonderful piece of work! Thank you for taking to trouble to do so many photos, I have really enjoyed looking at them.

Thank you for commenting on my blog. I do appreciate it!

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

I have to say this is a fabulous idea beautifully executed, I often have ideas and then it takes me weeks to think how to make them lol . I love this mobile, beautifully embellished. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challlenge. Tracy x

Lindsay Craftymonster81 said...

Wow! This is amazing, thank you so much for joining in with the LEJ Designs challenge
Lindsay xx

Trish Latimer said...

What a fab idea!! How totally brilliant, love it!!

Zuzu's Blog said...

Oooooo this is so cool. so much work and a ton of detail... and very "circley" indeedy.
Z x

Brenda Brown said...

Oh my gosh Alison, this is one amazing project, fabulous photos and wonderful, creative talent. I love it.
Thanks for linking it to the Stamp Man challenge.
Hugs {brenda} xox

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

i am absolutely speechless. You have created an absolute masterpiece here. So many intricate and well-thought-out details! I love all the handmade elements you have created. The stamped images are incredible and your handmade paper is fantastic. This is definitely a art piece to be cherished. So great to have you joining in the fun with us this week at Frilly and Funkie.


Alison said...

This is such a fantasic, inspiring creation Alison!
Thanks for sharing your art with us at The Artistic Stamper Challenge.
Alison x

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison. Wow! What an amazing project. Inspiring. tfs all the lovely photos.
Regards Florence x

Chrissy said...

How on earth did I miss this masterpiece..absolutely wonderful Alison..brilliant.