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...

Monday 22 October 2012

Companion Piece

Hello all, welcome to a brand new week here at Words and Pictures - thank you so much for stopping by!
A pair of tags for you today, companion pieces that "speak to" each other:

Okay, okay, yes... I succumbed: I gave in to the lure of the newly released Distress Colours!  But, you see, I wasn't even crafting last Autumn when the Fall Seasonal Release happened, and although you can still get hold of the other trios, the Fall one was nowhere to be found.  

And given that I've discovered I love autumnal crafting, and that I'm even (contrary to my expectations) starting to get sucked into Halloween-y things, the Gathered Twigs, Ripe Persimmon and Seedless Preserves were calling... loudly!  Okay, enough excuses - back to the tags.

Those are basically the colours used here, with some Archival Coffee used for the stamping.

I had a glorious time swiping the inks onto the craft mat, and then doing Tim Holtz's wrinkle-free distress technique.  I kept one tag quite delicate, but used more full-on colour on the second.

I also added some metallic Distress stain - the Tarnished Brass - to the mix for the second one, which gets you a touch more opacity and that delicious sheen.

For the second tag, I also blended some ink onto the tag to get that much richer combination - but other than the Tarnished Brass, it's exactly the same colours for both.  

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed playing with these vibrant intense colours... and as you blend them on the mat, you get whole new shades - just glorious.

I'd originally intended to use the second - let's call it Tag B - in the die-cutting machine to make flowers to go onto Tag A, but once they were both sitting there, I knew I wanted to keep both of them, and work them as a pair. So I had to make a whole new wrinkle-free distress sheet to cut the flowers out of!

I'm back to my musings on mortality, I'm afraid - well, that's pretty Halloween-y, isn't it?  31st October is the night of All Souls, after all, and a time for the contemplation of death.

So the journey is from youth and beauty to death and decay... and I tried to echo or mirror the images from one tag to the other.

And Shakespeare's back... another sonnet, this time number 65, asking whether or how it's possible for beauty to hold out against the inexorable passage of time.

(Shakespeare ends the sonnet by suggesting that the subject of the poem's beauty may live on through his, Shakespeare's, own verse... He wasn't short on a sense of self-worth, old Will!)

The main image on Tag A is one of Graphic 45's images from their Ladies' Diary stamps.  And her 'opposite number' is the skeleton from the Oxford Impressions set called Dr Coffin's Apothecary.

Generally I prefer to use mainly one make of stamp on a project, to keep to a specific style, but I felt these complemented each other well - they're both quite delicate.

They're both stamped in Coffee Archival, and then - to give a bit more zing against the background, I embossed them with Detail Clear embossing powder.

The point when I realised I might be onto something, was when I worked out they had their feet in the same position - so it really connected the two images.

As I've already mentioned, one of the early elements in the game were the flowers... that was really what I started out playing with.  Don't ask me how the whole thing ballooned into this - it just sort of happens!

You see handmade flowers everywhere in Craftyblogland, and while I've made the odd one or two, I thought it was time I got a bit braver.  These are cut using the Tattered Flower Garland decorative strip die.  

I'd coloured the card on both sides using the wrinkle-free distress technique, and then spent some time arranging the layers and tweaking petals into life.  They're attached with Idea-ology long attachers.  I think they were gold to start with, but they've had a little dab of alcohol ink (Ginger and Rust mixed).  

So with the flowers on the side of youth and beauty, I needed something on the side of time and decay. I remembered some skeleton leaves I've had for - oh, I don't know - certainly a decade or more.  

I got them just because they were lovely, with no idea what I might ever do with them!  Thankfully I was able to lay hands on them, and they also had a little brush of alcohol ink to deepen their creamy colour to a rustier tone.  

I applied the glue only at the base of the stems so that I could curl the tips of the leaves away from the tag for extra dimensionality.

The final pair of images has two of my current favourites - the haunting little girl from Artistic Outpost's Think and Wonder set, and Tim Holtz's fantastic skull from the Apothecary set.  

Could there be a starker contrast?!  

Bones are at the forefront of my mind at the moment, and not just because of Halloween.  On Saturday, I found myself at the most extraordinary little museum - the Grant Museum of Zoology, which is essentially a Victorian gallery of skeleton specimens, from dodos to chimpanzees, from dugongs to elephant skulls.  

My friends and I wandered around in state of spellbound wonder at the intricacies and variations of life displayed in these bones.  When you get down to the essence like that - we're all really very much alike!


A last little look at the ribbons - dyed with the same range of colours to tone in with the tags, except for the pale pink one which was a little freebie with an order from the Funkie Junkie Boutique.  

And I added two Idea-ology tassels to match the jump rings attaching the words at the foot of the tags.  I love the look of these divided tags - I picked the idea up a while ago from the hugely talented Redanne - and it pleases me greatly!

Thank you so much for your company today... every visit is truly appreciated, and I'm constantly blown away by your warmth and support.  Craftyblogland is a really special place.  

I'm entering this in the following:
Fashionable Stamping Challenges are playing with Halloween or Halloween Colours
Simon Says Stamp have some Eerie Inspiration in the form of a photo board - I'm playing mainly in the bottom row 
Art With No Boundaries are playing October and Halloween
The Anything Goes Challenge Blog would like us to Make Your Own Embellishments - that would be my flowers, and I hand-dyed the crinkle ribbon too
At Anything But a Card they'd like to see Autumn or Halloween themes and/or colours
And with the AO stamps and the metallic Distress Stain (not to mention the freebie ribbon!) all from the Funkie Junkie Boutique, I'd like to add this to the Sunday Share over at Frilly and Funkie

And I feel I should leave you with the chance to have a read of the whole of Sonnet 65, should you feel so minded...

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
   O, none, unless this miracle have might,
   That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
                                           William Shakespeare


Netty said...

Beautiful pair of tags full of magic and mystery. Annette x

annes paperfun said...

Oh..my!!! Your work is just gorgeous!
Lovely colors ♥
Hugs, Anne

Francesca said...

The autumn distress are my favs, tags look great. Franesca

Inkypinkycraft said...

Brilliant tags,
Love these yummy colours And superb stamping as always!
Love these and I love the autumn distress colours! Hugs trace x

Annie said...

Fabulous tags Alison. I love the colour palette and ghostly stamped images.

Good luck in all the challenges

Hugs Annie x

gayle said...

Your backgrounds are fab, I am all about those inky backgrounds! A lovely matching set :)

Claudia N. said...

A wonderful and totally new interpretation of the old "Death and the Maiden" subject, Alison!!!

And well done it is! The dialogue spun between the two lovely tags speaks of life's essence AND what belongs to life too...namely decay. As well as bloom.

The colours give an additional meaning to this message and make it even more intense!!!

I love art going philosophical!!!

Claudia xxxx

Pia S said...

WOW - great tags! Love the colors and combination of images - these tags are really something special!

Desire Fourie said...

This is so creative. Love everything about it. Hugs Desíre {Doing Life - my personal blog}

JoZart Designs said...

You really do macabre exquisitely beautifully (does that make sense?)
Jo x

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Two fantastic Halloween tags, great details. Thanks for joining us at Fashionable Stamping Challenge this fortnight.

Unknown said...

Wow Alison, love the way you knit the story together for us and made the connection between the two tags. I am loving the color combo you used and those flowers are gorgeous. You don't see skeleton leaves much anymore and I love them. Your pair of tags are terrific!!!

Janny Jager said...

Very special Tags you made Alison.
They are beautiful.

Greetings Janny

Jenny Marples said...

Love how your thoughts and creativity emerge from your work. Your ideas seem to flow so beautifully. What a clever use of these tag backgrounds and shadowing of images. Hugs, Buttons x

May said...

Gorgeous tags, Fabulous colours & stamping... your work is so inspiring... Hugs May x x x

Anonymous said...

So much of interest from the inking of the tags to create the sensational background, to the way you mirror the images and yes, how bizarre that their feet are in the same position, they do say that nothing in life is a coincidence!
Remarkable tag art Alison and I think it is exciting that you incorporated different stamp companies.
P.S. Adore the thought process behind the creation of this piece of art.

Redanne said...

Love Sonnet 65 and love your tags, so cleverly thought out - right down to the skeleton leaves to mirror the flowers. Your thoughts, ideas and finished pieces never fail to impress. A x

sam21ski said...

WOW two stunning tags, love how they have both evolved.

Sam xxx

Ink Art Designs said...

I love how you just let creativity take you to where you don't expect.
The colours and composition are beautiful and I find it hard to take my eyes off.
Dot x

Kate Yetter said...

A beautiful set, Alison. Those backgrounds and flowers are lovely!

Astrid Maclean said...

Wonderful colours and great stamping!! A very expressive pair indeed!

Hettie said...

Beautiful tags there Alison and great use of the skeleton leaves. I have some of those and may just dig them out now!

Karen McAlpine said...

I love this background technique too! It is so fun and your tags really knock my socks off!! Gorgeous!!

Anonymous said...

These are so interesting. Love all the layers!! xo Evie

Margaret said...

This is quite a journey you traveled making these fabulous tags! I love that when first viewing there is an immediate contrast, followed by the realization that there are so many similarities and a connecting thread for each element. Brilliant creation and I am so glad you joined us at ABAC this week!

cheiron said...

Wonderful tags and fabulous BG. Thanks for playing along with the Simon Says Stamp Eerie Inspiration Challenge over on the Simon Says Stamp Challenge Blog!

Chrissy said...

Fabulous tags Alison, and I love the colours on both..in a sense, the same but different..love the flowers..


chrissie said...

A great story wonderfully transferred onto the two tags. So much detail and great use of the autumn colours.

Love Chrissie xx

Andrea Small said...

How Very Very Clever. As Margaret says - contrast then connection. And seeing the tags either side of the text takes the piece to another level. Fab x

Julia S-W said...

Love both of these tags - the colours are stunning and I have also succumbed to the call of the fall distress inks!! I love reading how you arrived at your end piece and how you are inspired by Mr S's words. You description of the museum visit reminded me of a tiny museum we visited in Rome: it's completely full of skeletons in various poses but even more macabre are the individual bones which have been used to create decorative pieces - we were speechless as we viewed! They were all saved bones from a monastery and some people donated their loved ones - possibly the weirdest hour or so I have ever spent - thanks for reminding me of it (wish I could remember what it was called).
Creative, beautiful and full of wonderful touches Alison - love these tags. I'll stop writing now before you nod off.

Gio said...

Ahhhh , such a feast for eyes. My favourite is the sweetest one in pink, of course, I'm not fond of skulls and things like that!

You inspired me to use that fall palette in a different way, can't wait to play! Thanks for sharing , Alison.

mark gould said...

Stunning as always, I really love the wrinkle free distress style, a great way to put down colour and build it up, Like you I have just got those colours as they were gone by the time I started crafting as well.
I really love how the two tags work together, a great idea and they look stunning, great image choices.
Also I love the little flappy bits with the sentiments. Very cool all round. x

Daniele said...

stunning work, just love the backgrounds that you have created, love the rich colours

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison
I return with my FSC cap on.
As you know, I have enthused over your amazing stamped tags with the thought process behind their creation and the manner in which you followed through with the idea. I especially love the way the woman and the skeleton mirror their stance.
Thank you for sharing with us at FSC.

Lori said...

Beautiful tags - love how they mirror each other!

Meggymay said...

Two gorgeous tags, the backgrounds are stunning, the colours look magical, great design and stamping details. Thank you for joining us this time at FSC.

Bonnie Irvine said...

What a gorgeous pair of tags! The depth of colour and texture you have achieved in the many layers is stunning. The detail of your stamping and embellishments is so cool. Thanks so much for sharing your creative process with us. It's very inspiring. So glad you linked this up to our Art With No Boundaries challenge. Just delightful!

emma mitchell said...

Love your gorgeous flowers and these fabulous tags.
thanks for sharing them with us at anything goes challenge .
Hugs Emma xx

Mrs.B said...

Two fabulous tags, love the backgrounds and your choice of images for each one. Great job with the flowers.
Avril xx

Christy said...

These are so awesome!!! Thanks for joining us at Anything But a Card!!! :) :)

Kezzy said...

Genius I love the way the feet are the same, and I love the fact that one tag is lighter while the other tag is deeper toned for the skeleton, stunning creation. I remember in August I fell in love with seedless preserve and used it on a vintage tag, I use it quite often, as it is I bought it last year but only started using it this year lol. Hugs Kerry xxx

Bärbel said...

Auf jedem Ihrer Werke bewundere ich zuerst stets die tollen Hintergründe und ihre Gestaltung, anschließend die wunderbaren Stempel und was Sie damit zaubern, das ist großartig, Alison!

Marjie Kemper said...

Wow, these are so lovely! I really like your thought process as well as your amazing results. Adding the skeletal leaves to contrast the life in the flowers really moves me... beautiful work!

Lisa Minckler said...

A Halloween edge to this but the natural progression of life is wonderfully displayed on your dual tag presentation. The symmetry of elements on both are a wonderful mirror of life's natural progression. Really beautiful and the stamp imagery of both are perfect.

Claire said...

Wow what stunning tags, the colours are absolutely gorgeous! Really beautiful stamping. Thanks for joining us at Fashionable Stamping Challenges and good luck
Claire xx

Fliss said...

These are absolutely stunning Alison. The colours and background are amazing and love the concept behind your creations.
After seeing the use of the sonnets on another creation, I succumbed to a copy of them for inspiration!
Fabulous Halloween creation and thanks so much for sharing it with us at Fashionable Stamping Challenges.
Fliss x