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...

Sunday, 12 March 2017


Hello again!  After my little play with one of Seth Apter's woodchips - generously given to me by Seth himself at the big trade fair, Stitches, the other week (thank you, Seth!), I've got another Stitches-related project for you, this one made with Tando greyboard, and it could scarcely be more different from those Windswept Grasses.

I was so happy to get a last-minute place on one of Andy Skinner's classes at the NEC show (thank you, Andy!), and I thought I'd share what we made with you.

As usual, I went slightly off the track we were supposed to be beating, but Andy's used to that with me by now, as you'll see.

The substrates are greyboard by Tando - and we got some bits to take home and play with in addition to what we were working with in the class.

I delayed putting mine all together so that I could add some of the takeaway pieces into the design when I got home.  In fact, all these photos are from my playtime at home - I didn't take any while at the NEC.

We used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Antiquing Creams to create the background, and it was lovely to play with some of Andy's new stamp releases.

This animal skull is not really my usual fare, but I do covet it... very cool, and so detailed.  I may have to indulge at some point..

 It works really well for a naturalist/collector/apothecary vibe, and that does crop up in my work every so often.

And the Specimen stamp is a must, I think (soon, soon).

I love these numerals too, but I do have some fairly similar ones (they've just been out to play in my Windswept Grasses, as it happens) so I really will try to exercise some willpower, at least temporarily.

The usual suspects - Transparent Yellow Oxide and Quinacridone Gold - give you the fabulous rusted look around the edges.

At home, I added some additional white to the image of the skull to make it stand out from the background.  Now you get a nice deep shadow in between his jaws!

Since the stamp set is called Skulldoggery, I'm guessing it's a dog's skull...

Andy was coming round showing people how to use Quinacridone Magenta to add colour to the white background.  I asked if that colour was compulsory and he said that he'd already been looking for some Prussian Blue for me to use instead... how well he knows me!

Since the Prussian Blue Hue seemed to have gone missing, I mixed some of the paints we had in front of us - Paynes Grey with some Cobalt Teal or Cobalt Turquoise (can't remember which of the two it was now) - to add the colour wash to my tag.

The small tag followed a similar process, but on both tags I went freelance again, adding fine vertical lines to give an impression of woodgrain somewhere underneath the paint layers.

We were given some rusty wire to attach the two tags but, as I say, I wasn't done yet, so I popped it all into my bag to carry on at home.

Once home, I used a wash of white to draw attention to the apothecary's skull.

And I also took one of the cogs from the takeaway bits and bobs and gave it the rusting treatment with some DecoArt Misters and some more Quinacridone Gold and dirty washes involving Payne's Grey and Raw Umber.

Then I cut the cog in half and used it to raise the smaller tag up nice and high to give me plenty of dimension.

I preferred the whole piece offset from centre, which meant the main tag hole got covered up.  Rather than try to thread anything through the smaller tag, I decided to "attach it" with one of the nail heads also included on our takeaway panel.

I thought the whole apothecary/specimen theme needed a little extra something, so I crackled up a brown glass jar and added it to the bottom of the tag.

There's another rusty bolt and screw for good measure.  See if you can spot the bonus skull, just slightly highlighted in white.

And of course there's plenty of white spatter to finish the whole thing off.

Huge thanks to Andy for another fabulous bit of inspiration and teaching, and my apologies for never sticking to the script!

Thanks to all of you for dropping in, and I hope you're all enjoying lovely weekends.

It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.
From The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they'd like us to Make Your Own Background
And at Emerald Creek Dares, the March dare is to Splatter Some Fun


Pawsitively Creative said...

Well this is right up my alley and what a wonderful class you must have had with Andy! That is on my bucket list to do. Fantabulous skull and the highlights and jaw tones really make it stand out beautifully. Awesome sauce details you added and the rusty bits are drool worthy! Wowzers! ~Niki

Valerie-Jael said...

Lovely tag, great colours and style. Hugs, Valerie

Annie said...

Stunning layout Alison and I love your take on Andy's style xx the skull stamp is amazing and the addition of the White really does add to the overall feel.
Sending my best wishes
Annie x

chrissie said...

You certainly made the best of everything Alison. Who would have thought to cut a cog in half--well you would and it is a great idea. Good that you used the white to highlight things you wanted to stand out. All clever stuff that makes this tag a winner.

Love Chrissie xx

Helen said...

I have another friend who goes off in tangents at classes, you'd probably get on very well... I have to say,the magenta would in no way work with your colours so I don't blame you at all! I don't really like the skull either,but the overall effect is fabulous, I especially love all the splatters.

Going to try and use some of those butterflies in a bit....

Nikki Acton said...

What a great tag! I didnt get to see Andy's class projects (no room for me!) but wow wish I had now! I love all your additions though. Happy Sunday x

froebelsternchen said...

Wow.. this is fantastic and the one below is brilliant as well Alison!
Amazing tags!

Amanda said...

What a super tag, you were lucky!
Amanda c

Candy C said...

This is amazing, Alison! LOVE the background color. The crackling and the rusting effects are perfection! I love how you've used Andy's stamps on this. The white highlights are really cool, too! I love that contrast.

Nan G said...

Wow lucky you! Looks like a fab class to get into! Love the tag and all of the rustiness and blues you've used. Quit Magenta, naw, glad you stuck to your blues. ;) Love the wild grasses below too! Hugs

Marci said...

I love the stamps used on the small tag and the way you crackled the little bottle.

Dorthe said...

Alison, I`m also not a "skull woman" - but it is a wonderful stamp, and you planted it in its right environment of rusted ,crackled , maybe musty pieces . I love the colors you used, and magenta would not at all fit in here !!
Your own amazing take on this great class ,dear friend.

Maura said...

Alison, this is one awesome tag!! I love the mix of elements you used from very different artists. The colors and textures are gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge this week! hugs, Maura

Redanne said...

I enjoyed Andy's class too and also used the skull - now a 'need to have' for me. I love how you went 'off piste' with yours and I the little white skull on the second tag looks amazing! Anne xx

Jackie PN said...

Totally Fabulous Alison!!!
I wait patiently for the day that you announce you will teach a class(hopefully online)
You rock each new product you try!
hugs,Jackie xx

Meggymay said...

This is a fantastic project and that skull stamp looks great among all the other details you added. You were so lucky to get to the class, but I'm sure no one minded in the least that you added your own touch to the piece.
Yvonne xx

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Wow loving this one Alison, your attention to all the little details always amazes me
Donna xx

Lucy said...

I didn't know I loved this skull until I saw your project - now I must have it. I like the hidden skull too. The colors are wonderful with so much depth. Great tag.

Inkypinkycraft said...

gorgeous colours and wonderful details as always - love all the textures too x hugs x

Brenda Brown said...

Divine, mine still needs finishing xxx

A Pink said...

Super tag Alison . Seth's woodchip tag looks great atop the base tag and the rusty cogs really draw your eye to it!Fab colours and love those splatters . x

SewPaperPaint said...

Oh how fun! Andy is teaching locally soon, but I won't be able to join. :( I loved reading your post and seeing how you made the techniques your own. Amazing outcome! Hugs, Autumn

pearshapedcrafting said...

How wonderful this is, and in your 'own' colours too! It's good to come away from a class and be inspired to carry on and what a carry on you had - this looks great with that skull! I must say skulls aren't my thing really but I was always fascinated as a child when walking in the fields near our home when I found an animal skull (sheep usually)Hugs, Chrisx

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Oh wow...I've never seen that skull before, and love it too. LOVE all the grunge and colors on this...oh so fun and fantastical!

Kirsten said...

Must admit, I would have been very surprised if you had used magenta paint, lol! This is absolutely stunning & I love the animal skull, it's on my wish list too.

Julia Aston said...

wonderful stampings and rusted bits! That scull is cool! what a fun class! Julia xx

sarascloset said...

Mmmmm! I love this, Alison from the painted background to the rusty bits and that crackled jar and "hardware". Your splatter is just perfect and as a whole I love your tag. BUT that skull is giving me the creeps! At first glance it looked to be a snake skull, and I HATE snakes! So I'll just look at all the other beauty and try not to look at the whatever it is. Would you mind sharing your product for the crackle on the jar...it is truly amazing! Oh, and thank you for sharing this at Emerald Creek Dares! Hugs!

Cassandra aka Scrap Savvy said...

This is sooo cool! Love the colours and the rust! Thanks for taking on the Emerald Creek Dare this month! :)

Hazel Agnew said...

Just spotted this Alison. I love the way that you balance the light and shade! Chiaroscuro! The rust looks amazing, don't have any qhinidrinidoodah yet though. A gave you a mention on my Cudillero piece as I tried your advised green mixes without using green! Thanks, it really helped. Xx

Claudia N. said...

An awesome tag, Alison!

The dogs skull is one of my favourite stamps of Andy's new sets too! And you have used it so brilliantly!

Claudia x

Cocofolies said...

WOO!!! I adore this tag, its colours, stamping, crackle, and all your personal work and touches on this!!! So FABULOUS!
Hugs, Coco xx