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...

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Such Stuff...

Hello and welcome, and an especially big welcome to the new followers - I'm so thrilled you decided to come along for the ride.  You've arrived just in time for one of my trademark War and Peace length posts!!

I'm sharing a mixed media canvas today which has been a loooong time in the making - not necessarily in terms of time spent on it, but in terms of when I first started working on it (about a month ago) and when I finally finished it (a couple of days ago)... squeezing in a few minutes at a time whenever I could spare them from other activities!

This one was just for me (no DTs, no bloghops).  I love playing with mixed media - I love all the texture and dimension, as you may have noticed - and I really wanted to have a go at some of the amazing spritzing and spraying that Finnabair does to such great effect.

I love her new Prima range of bits and bobs for creating dimensional collages, but rather than use lots of expensive stuff on my first go, I decided to go with mainly recycled stuff and household bric-a-brac.

This was the point at which the quote from Shakespeare's The Tempest started rattling around my head - it's just some "stuff", you see.

And this wasn't originally intended for the current challenges, but it does fit rather beautifully into a couple of them...

The layers of recycled material, paint, sprays, ink and texture paste, along with the central word of the quote, make it a perfect fit for the current Frilly and Funkie challenge to Layer It On and Share a Word.

It's also the first outing for a stamp set I really love, and which has been patiently waiting for me to use it - the Grunge Font Alphabet from Kaisercraft.

I'm completely addicted to letters, fonts and alphabets, and I grabbed this glorious stamp set months ago, with great plans for it... and it's taken until now for it to make its way onto a project.  It's partly because of its size - for a whole quote in this font, you need a sizeable space.

So this also goes into Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge to ink up the Stamp You Love (But Don't Use).  Although now I've tried it once, I think you can look for it to be a regular from here on in!

Since I kept stopping and starting, I ended up taking photos of each stage - partly so that I would have a record of where I'd got to incase something happened to it while it waited for my return (like getting trodden on, for instance... this was my "floor" project for the duration).

So I can give you a pretty good idea of how the layers built up (and also come back myself and check out what on earth I did!).

It started, as so many of these things do, with some corrugated card, some book pages and some netting from a bag of apples (okay, not so much of that before now).

I arranged them around a large (for me - 10 x 12 inch) canvas board - canvas mounted on thin, hard wood, therefore good for stamping onto; and pretty cheap, therefore good for experimenting.

As you can see, the safety pins made a pretty early entrance too - and needed lots of glue and encouragement to stay in place!

Once that was all dry and secure, it all got a coat of gesso.  I used the mini-Antiquities mask from The Crafter's Workshop to apply some texture paste in various places. There was clearly some ink left on the mask, as the paste looks a slightly Vintage Photo colour... not to worry, it's all going to get covered up anyway.

Then I started playing with adding other bits and pieces - more "stuff": bubble wrap; some of the cheapo paper flowers from The Range (12 in a pack for £1 I think it is, plus they come attached to little wooden clothes pegs, so you get 12 of those too!); some bark hearts that were being sold off in the local plant nursery's Christmas sale; and some feathers I pulled off some other decorations bought for peanuts in the Czech Republic last summer.

As you can see in the photo above, the quote was already starting to take shape - I knew that dreams, as the most significant word in the phrase, would take centre stage - cut with the Tim Holtz WordPlay die - but I was still playing with how the rest of it would make an appearance.

Here is one experiment - which actually almost made it onto the finished piece - very jagged edged pieces of paper with the words stamped on in Archival Olive.  Obviously, I'd've inked and spritzed them rather than leaving them stark white.

Buttons are starting to gather now, you'll notice.

The final bit of "stuff" pre-spraying was some plastic roses bought in what I'd decided was an over-hasty moment... they were supposed to be ivory/cream coloured and turned up in this hideous peachy colour.

But I figured this was make it or break it time for them - a chance to prove themselves worthy of a continued place in my stash!

And yes, they started to disappear very nicely, thank you, under the next coat of gesso.

You'll see the flower's gone missing temporarily.  At this point, I was toying with leaving the flowers out of the spraying and having them stay white, as accents against my planned turquoise onslaught.

Another few days passed before I had a chance to come back to the piece... and, to be honest, I was a little afraid of the next step: colour!  And lots of it!

I'd gathered together all the spray, inks and paints I had which were in the turquoise, blue or green tones I was after, as well as some white ones to rescue me (especially excited about the new Dylusions White Linen - my passport to Dylusions sprays, as it offers a way to tone them down and give them opacity, while keeping all that amazing blendability and coverage).

But eventually, I had to bite the bullet - or this would have sat on my floor (honestly - you can see the blue rug in all the photos - although once the sprays kick in there's also a big wodge of cardboard underneath) for another month.

And I had a blast!!  As evidenced by the fact that I forgot to take any photos as I went along...  Pretty obviously the flowers made their way back in there, and I'm so glad they did.

The whole thing went through various stages of brightness, whiteness, shimmeriness and inkiness... and your next view of it is at the point when I'd just dribbled some white India ink all the way down it in various places and blown it everywhere with a straw to soften the effect!

I had decided by this point that I wanted my dreams letters basically in white... so they've had a coat of Picket Fence crackle paint, and then I rubbed Chipped Sapphire onto them, wiping away the ink on the surface with a baby wipe to leave it in the cracks.  In the photo r and e are inked, a and m aren't yet...

But I was still in two minds about my sharp-edged other words... everything else seemed suitably swirly and indirect...

I thought about stamping directly onto the canvas, but there's so much texture in the way.

Can't believe how long it took me to come up with one of my favourite things to do - stamping onto tissue paper...  I got nice and messy gluing them on, but it was worth it.

One element which I knew would have to wait until after the spritzing was the addition of the seed pearls I'd been hoarding.

Though I'm not one myself, there are some scrapbookers whose work I absolutely love - Kim Price of Inkognito (for pure beauty, and inky effects I'm still experimenting to emulate) and - from the school of glorious embellishment and inky/painty altering - Keren Tamir and Kelly Foster.

To be honest, I can't remember which of these latter two it was that gave me the seed pearl idea... but they're both worth a visit for sheer inspiration!

Anyway, I sourced myself some seed pearls (mainly turquoises, but I've got some white ones up my sleeve too) and I had a lovely time adding them to my little collections of stuff.

I'm also really happy with how those little peach roses have turned out!

I think the dreams letters are gorgeous - the Picket Fence crackle paint worked like a dream.

I had to smile when the Funkies released their inspiration projects for the Frilly and Funkie challenge on Wednesday, and there was Donna - with a canvas and white crackle painted letters right across the middle of it - great minds, you see!

There's also a good chance to see the texture paste script in this photo.

I can't quite work out at what stage of the proceedings I reversed the whole canvas, so that the texture paste writing is now upside-down... ah, well, it all adds to the "dreaminess" of it all!

Some of my favourite bits of texture come from the white netting.  Most of our fruit comes in those orange coloured nets (which would probably work out okay), but it was nice to start with white, knowing it wouldn't matter if it didn't quite absorb the inks.

Also it's a finer weave mesh than most of those nets, and pulled apart and frayed to give some really pleasing effects on the canvas.

And boy am I glad I decided to include the flowers in the spraying?!

Those cheap as chips white paper flowers look completely different - but that's the wonder of the heavy spritzing as Finnabair does it - transformation.

And in the end, only the feathers remain truly white and ethereal.

The other elements that, for me, really triumph in the transformative spritzing are the humblest of all - the safety pins, the bubble wrap and corrugated card.  

Now, regulars will know I love my corrugated card - and it really delights me in this project!

I'm also really delighted how, with the tissue paper stamping, you still get to enjoy all the texture underneath the letters.  

And most of all, I love how the rest of the quote hovers in and out of visibility, leaving the dreams holding centre stage.

Well, I have to apologise for another marathon post - but I hope those that needed to have just scrolled down looking at the pretty stuff; and I hope anyone who has ploughed through has done so because they were enjoying themselves!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time with me here today at Words and Pictures... I really am so grateful for your amazing support.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. 
From The Tempest by William Shakespeare

I'm entering this in the following:
Layer It On and Share a Word at Frilly and Funkie
Stamp You Love (but never use) at Simon Says Stamp and Show
Anything Goes at Simon Says Stamp with a touch of Tim Holtz in the Word Play die


Yvonne Garner said...

Oh Alison! You never cease to amaze me. This is just stunning and it is most evident that you enjoyed creating it. Have a great weekend. Yvonne

Keren Tamir said...

Omg spectacular Alison!! Love all the texture. You are amazing at building up. Love the layers!!

Krisha said...

Wonderful tutorial on the making of your canvas. The finihsed effects are awesome. I always forget to photograph as I go along, but such a good idea for recording what and how you did it. Guess I better get started on doing the same thing. Thanks for sharing. It really is a beautiful piece of art.

Ephemera said...

Beautiful work Alison, such gorgeous depth created with those luscious layers, lovely colours and love the addition of the seed pearls. XX

Inkypinkycraft said...

Gorgeous make, luscious layers andtextures ! Really great hugs trace x

Astrid Maclean said...

Well, as you probably know, this is one of my favourite styles of mixed media and you have done it proud. Great colour pallet too!

Anonymous said...

Wow Alison, what a feast for the eyes ! I love how you've captured the story behind your piece of art, the way it's built up over time. Gorgeous work as always !

Sue C

P.S. Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie too !

chrissie said...

Very beautiful and thank you for showing how you made it. I feel inspired for sure.

Have a lovely weekend

Best wishes Chrissie xx

Annie said...

Absolutely gorgeous Alison. Love the colours and textures.

Have a good weekend x

craftytrog said...

Thanks for sharing the process of this amazing canvas Alison! It's so wonderful to do something just for ourselves, that's why I love my journal.
Have a fab weekend,
Alison xxx

Brenda Brown said...

Beautifully done Alison. I love looking at how others construct their mixed media pieces, thanks for showing the steps. You have created a textural canvas that is wonderful to look at, wish I could feel it too lol.
Enjoy the weekend.
Hugs Brenda xxx

Lessa's Lacquers said...

Hi Alison, this is the one which inspired me to post a comment! Simply stunning! I'd love to see this irl as texturally it's fascinating, yet your stages make it look achievable . Don't ever apologise for lengthy posts as I love to see it unfold and your inspiration for each step. Fabulous! Xx

Helen said...

It was completely worth reading all the way to the end, and the step by step details and photographs explain the process so well. I would love to have a go at one of these styled pieces, I must clear some space somewhere around me to have a go. Beautiful beautiful work, Alison.

Jenny Marples said...

Magnificent work here Alison with so much to take in I've been up and down it for ages! You know I love layering and this is fantastic. Thanks for the links to those great websites. More suggestions for you include;
Irene Tan at http://scrapperlicious.blogspot.co.uk/
Michelle Grant at http://michellejbg.blogspot.co.uk/
Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie with this layering masterpiece.
Huge hugs, Jenny x

Rita said...

Wow, Alison, you never cease to amaze me with such great creations and the fabulous tutorials to match. This one is beautiful and maybe I could try something like this myself. Stunning canvas. Enjoy your Week-End. Hugs Rita xx

Anonymous said...

A fabulous mixed media canvas and I like so much that you have used items from around the house instead of opting for purchased products.
Perfect in every way.

Lisa Minckler said...

I must have zero patience when it comes to crackle as mine NEVER looks like this! I love seeing what you create and how it SHOULD look versus what I've made..LOL. Perhaps I should do an LO with techniques that require patience and hang it as my inspiration. Crackle being the first as I hate waiting...
Awesome make my friend..just love it!
Lisa xx

Nan G said...

A stunning masterpiece, Alison! So glad you took pics along the journey with this one. Really gives us some insight into how you work things out. A real inspiration, my dear. Hugs

Dianne said...

OMGOONESSSS!!!!!!!! You have me so excited I loooooove it and you are so funny, I loved your long post explaining your progress. I too love how you used the tissue paper for words perfect, the pins very kool. I love the words crackled sooooooo nice. You truly INSPIRE me my dear I LOOOOOVE your work, when I saw you book with the beer mats it blew me away I just had to try, try being the optimal word here hahaha.. Have a fabulous day my dear ans thanks foe all the inspiration....

Bonnie Irvine said...

I love the effect of the heavy spraying to untie all of these elements. It really highlights the texture with everything being in the same colour family. Gorgeous. Love the safety pins, the bubble wrap, the corrugated cardboard. The flowers are a magical addition and the letterin on tissue or crackled looks fabulous. I like your lengthy posts because they are full of great information, fun humour, and awesome links. It's always inspiring to read about the process.

Karen McAlpine said...

Love the results you achieve with the coat of gesso!! Totally cool project!

Redanne said...

Wonderful mixed media canvas Alison, I really enjoyed every word of your tutorial too, as ever. Hugs, Anne x

Martina said...

Alison, this is so fantastic!! I have no words enough to say how I love this! Beautifully created!

House of Bears said...

Oh my, there's so much to look at and all of it so beautiful. I hope this is gracing your wall somewhere in your house, if not it should be. We read and enjoyed every minute of your post, but have to admit to being a little perplexed at where you keep your seed beads, surely they're uncomfortable up your sleeve? ;)

Janny Jager said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWW Alison this is amazing.
Fabulous piece of art.
Thanks for showing us how to made it.

Greetings Janny

mytawnyinspirations said...

Alison, this is STUNNING!!!!!! Great sentiment, and I loved all of the layering effects achieved. Have't tried tissue paper stamping, but I will. Thank you so much for having a great tutorial, it always leaves me inspired when I read your posts.Have a greatweekend, cheers, Di

Meihsia Liu said...

Wow... such a gorgeous creation, Alison. I love the pretty colors and beautiful texture. Have a wonderful weekend! :)

Netty said...

Loving your gorgeous mixed media piece with all its wonderful texture and colours. Your quote from The Tempest bought back many happy memories for me as I played Trinculo in our Shakespeare Productions Theatre Group and loved every minute of it. Hugs Annette x

toni said...

love the layers appearing and disappearing and then magically reappearing...... if you know what i mean ! gorgeous colour and texture, I've recently discovered Finbair's work and really want to try this approach. you've done this beautifully x

Michelle said...

An inspiring piece! My favorite elements are the pins. They look so cool painted.

Tracey said...

WOZERS! This is over the moon GORGEOUS!!! LOVE It! Fabulous project, with so many awesome details to adore!
Thanks so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show :)

Kate Yetter said...

Wow! Love it, Alison! So full of texture and color. Love all the elements that you incorporated!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Love that the base is corrugated! So much texture here and so much going on! I know it does take time, and it is something you keep coming back to and adding on, but so worth the work! Beautiful BLUE!!! Amazing in all aspects!

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

Gorgeous mixed media Alison!

greetings, Alie :-)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous project Alison. So very creative. Great post as always.
Regards Florence x

Anonymous said...

Fabulous project Alison. So very creative. Great post as always.
Regards Florence x

Chris said...

A really beautiful project Alison and such gorgeous colours and textures! I think I'm really drawn to how the safety pins came out, they look fantastic. Chris xx

Unknown said...

So happy to see your talent spreading to mixed media Alison. This is a wonderful new beginning and I love all of the elements on this canvas!!! It's beautiful!

pearshapedcrafting said...

After squinting on my phone, at last chance to look properly! This is amazing and I love all the different elements and the way it's been transformed! Chrisx

gayle said...

Oh brilliant, lots of lovely layers and textures - love the colours! The flowers were definitely a good choice to spray, they look great :)

Paper Profusion said...

Incredibly stunning Alison. You could at stopped at several stages along the way and I still would have loved it! Amazing crafting. Nicola x

Kjersti said...

I have spent som time here now, just to enjoy all the gorgeous creations in here:) You make the most amazing crafting Alison, so beautiful - and so inspiring!
Have a nice week!
Hugs Kjersti:)

Hettie said...

This is wonderful Alison. Love these colours - not like you at all ey!!
Those safety pins look great as do all the buttons!

Marjie Kemper said...

Oh, hon... it's amazing! Love love LOVE all the texture!

Candy C said...

Alison...I think your canvas is amazing! I love all of the different textures and elements that you've incorporated into this canvas. Love the corrugated areas. Love the raised dots. Love the hearts adn the pins, flowers and buttons that you've added around them. Love the various colors you've added to the all white canvas. The blue and green hues are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your canvas and the step by step with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Anne-Elise said...

Wow, Alison! Your work is just amazing!! A stunning piece of art! Love it! Hugs

Lucy Edmondson said...

Beautiful! Glad you had a chance to play, just for fun. Hope you don't suddenly need a safety pin!

Lucy x

Jo Nevill said...

This is great ! I love all the different textures you used, fantastic !

Thank you for joining us at Simon Says Challenge this week


Jo x

Anna-Karin said...

Fantastic canvas Alison! I love all the details, layers and different textures. How clever to use those small safety pins! Thank you for sharing another wonderful project with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

Donna Gibson said...

What a completely breathtaking piece with all of those textural layers! I love the color and especially love your crackled letters!! I can't imagine them being finished off any other way!!!

Geraldine said...

stunningly gorgeous, love all the different elements you added to get such great textures, and the colours are beautiful

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Fantastic, love all the texture and details.

Bärbel said...

Das ist ganz großartig, liebe Alison!

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

This is totally sensational, Alison! I totally appreciate your long posts with all the details and photos. I love this right down to the tiniest detail. And for me it's so scary to apply the spray inks as a last step and risk messing up a piece that so much and care has been invested in. Kudos to you on a terrific piece. Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Frilly and Funkie!


Neet said...

I just wouod never have thought of adding pins at the start and coating with Gesso. This is so inspiring a canvas and I just love every single thing about it.

Thanks Alison for the inspiration to get in yj craft room.

Hugs, Neet xx