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 28 August 2012

Postcard from Prague

Hello again!  I'm back to share another of the pieces I prepared for my uncle's 60th birthday - this one is the giftcard I made for him.  It's on 4mm board, so that it can be framed and hung as a picture.

Longtime followers will know that I started blogging while in the Czech Republic, where I hope to spend more time from now on - and that's because it's where my forebears are from.  So I was delighted, shortly before my uncle's birthday, to win an Ebay auction for some Darkroom Door stamps of Prague.  They are fantastic stamps, and they're what I used to make this birthday giftcard.

Evening Street, 1906
Jakub Schikaneder
There's a Czech painter called Jakub Schikaneder (1855 - 1924) who, amongst other things, painted many dusk and night-time scenes, with streetlamps and glowing lights in windows.  

It wasn't until my mother looked at this card and said - 'Oh, it's like a Schikaneder!', that I realised that I probably had been influenced by his colourways, unconsciously.  

But then, Prague has always seemed to me a city of mystery and learning - a centre of alchemical, musical, and intellectual studies for centuries, so there's also something of that in it for me.

Anyway, I had tremendous fun just allowing the stamps to merge onto the card, and blending blues, browns and golds into the mix.

I was working on a very thick A5 cream board, so it has a real solidity to it.  I later mounted it onto folded dark blue A4 card so it could be displayed like a conventional card.

The images are stamped in Archival Black, as I knew I'd be inking and spritzing and didn't want any of them to end up blurring in this particular piece.  

I started with the image of Charles Bridge, stamped onto one of the Prima Printery sheets of 8x8, and backed onto another paper from the same collection.  Both were attacked with the Tim Holtz Paper Distresser and a number of Distress Inks - Vintage Photo and Stormy Sky prime amongst them. 

The sentiment I stamped in Versamark Watermark and embossed with Detail Black powder to give it some gloss and dimensionality.  

Around the edge of the board, I used the Tim Holtz cracked glass stamp from the Ultimate Grunge set, stamped in Cobalt Archival.  It has a lovely quality somewhere between cracked ice and spiders' webs.   

In the centre I added my much-loved TH Postcard stamp, and the little Prague description from the DD set.  Just off camera is the Prague postage stamp done in Cobalt Archival.

I love this stamp with the street of houses and cobblestones.  There is more to the picture but I wanted it curving round behind the main image, to give it a half-hidden intriguing look... like all the little streets and alleyways you get tempted to walk up as you walk around Prague.  

I needed more cobble stones to fill the space, so I repeated that little bit of the stamp to go further down the card.  

I also adore this stamp of the astronomical clock you can find on the City Hall on the Old Town Square.  

The clock dates back to 1410, making it the oldest astronomical clock still working.  It was made by two men: clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, a professor of mathematics and astronomy. It's an absolute must on the sightseeing itinerary if you're visiting Prague!

I used it again on some more of the Prima paper, inked up and distressed at the edges, to make a panel for the interior of the card so that we could write inside.

In the top left corner, I added one of the splendid wrought iron curlicue stamps from the set, and the ghostly PRAHA (Prague in Czech) letters are embossed in Weathered White.  

I love this spooky, cobwebby corner, drifting into twilight!

The whole thing got a spritz of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist for the lustrous gleam it gives.

Last of all, here's a shot of it lying on top of the large white envelope I distressed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  

It also makes quite a nice frame to the whole thing as it turns out!

Thank you so much for dropping in to Words and Pictures today (especially if this is your second visit... certainly the first time I've posted twice in a day!).  It means so much to have your company and your comments along the way.

Prague isn't just a city, but an entity of some kind.
Sezin Koehler

The ancient splendor and beauty of Prague, a city beyond compare, left an impression on my imagination that will never fade. 
Richard Wagner

I'd like to enter this for:
The Try It On Tuesday challenge this fortnight, which is Travel
Top Tip Tuesday are celebrating their second birthday with a Birthday Gift challenge
My Time to Craft are, by lucky chance, having a Milestone Birthdays challenge this week
Papercrafting Journey are having an Anything Goes challenge - lasting SIX weeks!!


Jenny Marples said...

This is just beautiful - your passion for Prague shines through! Love the fact that you have kept the colours simple to let the images stand out. Thanks for the info about the artist too. Love the painting you showed and will now look up more. Hugs, Buttons x

cbee said...

This is so beautiful!! I love the colors you used - so vintage!
Thank you so much for your nice comments on my blog - I'm so happy that you like my work!! :)

Mrs.B said...

Alison this is so beautiful. The colours you have used make it look like a cold winters day - or is that because I visited Prague in January! Love the stamping for the background layers too.
I see that you have joined our Travel Challenge at TioT, Thanks You.
Avril xx

Redanne said...

Hi Alison, this is so very beautiful, very vintage looking with wonderful muted colours. Took me back to my one and only trip to Prague, many years ago, we spent a lot of time on Charles Bridge and the stamps capture it beautifully. Love your description of TH's cracked glass stamp and also Richard Wagner's quote - it really sums the place up. Beautiful, wonderful work as always. Crafty hugs, Anne x

Carol Q said...

gorgeous Alison, great atmosphere you have created and a very interesting background story too.

Angelica said...

This ís a stunning card, love it!!
Beautiful stamps.

Princess Judy Palmer said...

What a great piece! I truly enjoyed the lessons-both about Prague and how you made this card. All the work, thought, and detail that went into it are simply marvelous!

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Absolutely gorgeos, love love the colour palette and the image and sentiment are fantastic and you have used them beautifully. Tracy x

Barb said...

Fantastic, what beautiful work. Ü

Annie said...

Wow Alison !! I absolutely love this. The images are stunning and I just love the colour palette. Crafty Hugs Annie xx

Unknown said...

There is so much content on this piece that I'm grateful you walked us through it. This is really a stellar creation and I'm sure it will be cherished forever. I am in love with those stamps and you have put them to excellent use. Thanks so much for joining us at Top Tip Tuesday for our Birthday challenge.

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

...a stunning piece Alison, so many techniques executed to perfection, the cracked glass stamp is so effective and how perfect for you to win the Prague stamp set, you have created a masterpiece with them! there is a haunting, moodiness to this atmospheric piece Alison, superb as ever and loVe the shimmer...Mel :)
Thank you for your always encouraging comments xx

Sarah said...

This is a piece to treasure! It draws you in and takes you far away. Beautifully done, Alison!!

Evil Edna said...

wow this is stunningand has so much meaning, thank you for sharing it with us at TIOT.EE

Rita said...

This is such a stunning card Alison. I have fallen in love with the Darkroom door stamps I'm afraid. Hugs Rita xx

Inkypinkycraft said...

A beautiful piece with beautiful images , details and fab clue choice!! Trace x

Deborah said...

Stunning! Never been to Prague but from seeing your gift card I want to visit.

House of Bears said...

We love darkroom door stamps. You have a very lucky uncle who will have some really treasured keepsakes for his special day.

Silvia(Barnie) said...

That's a wonderful card.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely stunning work Alison ! I love the stamps you've used and the colours really add to the mood of the project. Sue C x

Claudia N. said...

Oh my gosh, Alison!

I so love Prague and therefore so love how you put all of the essence of this lovely "Venice of the North" into one single card!!! Absolutely wonderful and heart-warming!!!! I had seen the great stamps from Darkroom Door already, but did not know what to do with them. You showed me in the most possible brilliant way! Love love love!


die amelie xxx

Anonymous said...

I have this amazing set (both and also the Venice sets) and recently made a card for my cousin and guess what .... forgot to photograph it!
This is stunning and your colours are perfection. I love how you brought so many stamps together onto one card, a positive stamping dream.

Sophie said...

Was für eine herrliche Karte, und die Farben sind perfekt.
Man spürt förmlich die kühle klar Luft auf der Brücke.
Eine fantastische Arbeit.

Liebe Grüße

Patti P. said...

Alison, this may be my very fave of yours...love the many shades of blue and your artistic way of merging the stamps. Always enjoy seeing your works of art.
Thanks for sharing your love of this city, I am sure your Uncle loved this!

Gerrie Johnnic said...

First time here, wow! I just love your postcard, and so will your uncle and everyone else that views it! Fantastic piece!

Suzie's Card Den said...

Hello, what an amazing piece of work, I recognise the bridge, such a beautiful place, I spent 10 days there a couple of years ago and would love to go back one day
Suzie xx

Anonymous said...

Wow! Stunning work Alison. Love the stamps you have used. Fab post and a great read tfs. Going back for another look.
Regards Florence x

Shell Shearer Swinscoe said...

Just stunning, love the way you have laid it out looks fab!

Thank you for sharing with us at My Time To Craft this week, good luck!
Hugs Shell xx

Anonymous said...

So moody and so beautiful and yes i can see the influence. Love the way you blend too
hugs June x

Chrissy said...

So beautiful Alison,what gorgeous stamps and so beautifully coloured in soft muted tones.Gorgeous.


Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Simply sensational! The color palette with the washed out blues and sepia tones is so perfect for your subject. Love how you have layered one scene over another and the way you used the cracked stamp is inspired. Another wonderful ice of work, Alison!


Neet said...

Alison, your talent shines through with everything you do and this is no exception. Gorgeous stamps but in your hands they are even better.
Lovely work.
Hugs, Neet xx

Nicecrane Designs said...

Absolutely stunning my friend,,,,the vintage style is perfect,,and the color combo is so amazing,,,,you are talented.Thanks for your comments to Alice mini album at Lisa S. blog so fee free to ask me your favo product from my stuff on except save-packs , email me to nicecrane@yahoo.com

Janny Jager said...

WOWWWWWWWWWW great card Alison.
Love all the details on it.

Greetings Janny

Kim said...

Oh, here it is! I do love the look of those stamps; haven't aquired any yet though...

Lisa Minckler said...

Not only am I enthralled with the depth of work involved with this gift, but there is so much wonderful history that I've now learned about Prague. You've done a sensational job on this project and truly I hope it will be mounted on a wall for many more to see. Nicely done ;)

Thank you so much for playing along with us at Top Tip Tuesday!
Remember you can enter up to 3 projects and 3 tips.
Have a great one!
Lisa xx

Bärbel said...

Das ist ein großartiges Werk, Alison, wie aus einem ganz alten Fotoalbum. Ich bewundere Sie und Ihre Kunst!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

It's gorgeous Alison! Love the images and the vintagey feel! He should love this!

Terry said...

What a spectactular gift for your uncle's birthday! I can see why you were thrilled to win that auction! Beautiful use of stamps! Love this!

Victoria said...

Another incredible work of art! You have such talent!

Gale said...

WOW! Such a beautiful piece of work. Love the vintage feel and all the different stamps you used. Your uncle will love it. Thanks for sharing with us at PCJ and good luck in the challenge. Hugs, Gale

snazzyoriginal said...

Really beautiful, so much detail and lovely soft colours. xx

Ana K. said...

Amazing art Alison!

Lucy said...

This is so evocative, Alison! We had a wonderful long weekend in Prague a few years ago,

Lucy x

Shelby said...

Love how you've tailored this card for the receiver! Beautiful representation and love the sentiment.


Paula Whittaker said...

wow love this...gorgeous

Unknown said...

What a fabulous card, very vintage. Good luck with the MTTC challenge. MTTC Helen xx

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic gift card lOve all the blending of colours and the overall effect you have captured too! & love your blog post! Thanks for playing TTT this week, hugs Samantha xx

Hettie said...

Stunning giftcard. I just love what you have done. I saw the title on your archive list so had to pop over. I too love those DD stamps and use them often. Hubby and I have spent many a happy hour on Charles Bridge as we go to Prague often. Our favourite little hideaway place. So beautiful and romantic.

Dorte said...

So much work- and love- you have put into making this wonderful giftcard. Lovely colour scheme and beautiful details.
Thanks for joining the birthday challenge at Top Tip Tuesday this time.

Cazro said...

I admire this card very much. A great artistic creation. Good luck in all your entries. Caz

Bettina L. said...

I really love the look of this distressed look of this birthday giftcard. Love the combo of colourd and those fabolous stamps you've used for this one. Thanks for playing at Top Tip Tuesday and good luck. Hope to see you back tuesday for a new challenge. Bettina xx

Unknown said...

Oh my this beauty made my eyes wet and gave me goosebumps, just brought me back some beautiful memories when I was there with my OH 6 yrs ago, we loved Prague very much and we hope one day we can go back again, thanks playing along with TioT this week hugs

Ellie Knol said...

LOVE it!