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 30 July 2017

Neutral Blues III

Today's blue and brown tag is a slight hop out of kin as far as this series of Neutral Blues goes, but I think it's definitely still part of the group.

There's no paper doll involved but we are continuing to play with the Oxides, as well as also using my PaperArtsy quote stamps again.

The nature collector of Neutral Blues I and the many pairings of Neutral Blues II were gently Oxided.  This tag is full on Oxide!

The background was part of some playtime right at the start of my time in New York, and then it sat like that for the whole three months before travelling home again with me.

I started out just playing with combinations of Distress Oxides and Distress Inks again, layering up a wrinkle-free distress background.

There's endless delight in the variations you can get from dripping and spritzing and dabbing the inks and water.

I also did some stamping in Walnut Stain DOX - love how the pigment component means it will layer over the top so beautifully.

And then that was that for three months...

It wasn't until I was back at my craft table that I worked out what to do with it next.

The inspiration really came from this Walt Whitman quote from EAB02 Darkness and Light.

There's already lots of light and dark to be found in the inky splotches and splashes, but I thought I could go a step further by adding a more substantial reference to light.

It took some heavy duty gel medium to get the lightbulbs to stay in place, but I'm very happy now they're there.

As well as artificial light, we have some starlight too... (another connection to the previous pair of tags, with their tiny metal star accents).

And the clock picks up the thought about the hours of light and dark.

I mounted it on some bits of cardboard to give it a bit more dimension and presence.  And it was originally one of the pewter coloured clocks, but I used Mushroom Alcohol Ink to help it tone in with the rest of the tag.

I glued a piece of white-washed vintage book page across the tag (covering up a previous quote-stamping which I decided I didn't really like!), and the quote itself is simply stamped in Potting Soil Archival.

Some rusty mesh (from the new supplies - yay!) sits behind the quote, adding a bit more interest and detail.  I do love my rusty mesh.

And a bit of rusty wire at the top (the rusty wire which was wound round the new rusty mesh as packaging - waste not, want not) finishes the whole thing off.

So that's today's blue and brown tag - I hope it pleases you as much as it pleases me.  Sometimes it's the simple things which make me happy!

Thanks so much for dropping in today.  There's one more tag in this Neutral Blues series (back to the Paper Dolls with the next one) before I offer you something completely different (and I do mean completely!).  Hope you're all enjoying a lovely weekend, and I'll see you again soon.

The dance between darkness and light will always remain— the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.
C. Joybell C.

Since we're still on my much-loved blue and brown combination, I'm going to share this with Tag Tuesday again, where the lovely Chrissie has chosen My Favourite Colour Combination as the theme.
At Mixed Media Monthly they would like to see Altered Embellishments this month.  My bulbs and the clock have all been altered with alcohol ink to get the colours to tone in.
And at Try It On Tuesday they would like us to Let It Shine - lightbulbs and starlight and the magic of light and dark should do the trick, I hope.

Friday 28 July 2017

Neutral Blues II

I'm back with my second post playing the (neutral) blues.  If you missed the first instalment, you can find it here.  Since it's post number two, it seems only right to share two tags, no?  And on each tag a twosome too!

This pair came about in the usual slightly unintentional way.  As I created the background for the first one, I found I was mopping up or printing onto a spare which rapidly became a pair to the first.

These also involve some more Oxide play, so as well as the blues, greys and browns, they have that in common with tag number one.  Same stencil in use, I notice - how repetitive of me!

But then the Neutral Blues I tag was made back in April, and the backgrounds of these were done in New York at least a month later, so I hope you'll forgive the repetition.

And of course all three tags so far use the wonderful Paper Dolls.  Another of those Tim Holtz ingredients that I find myself wondering how we managed without before they existed.

This time, though, I've been able to use my own quotes on the tags.  Since I had one dark tag and one light tag, it seemed the perfect time to break out EAB02 Darkness and Light!

For these two, I started by blending Oxides onto the first tag - Faded Jeans and Iced Spruce, I believe (sorry, I did the backgrounds quite early on in my stay in New York, and then finished them off once I got back home last week).  I think there may have been some Pumice Stone Distress Ink involved too.

I applied Walnut Stain DOX to the stencil, spritzed and printed it, before spritzing again to soften the whole thing.

On the second tag I mopped up some leftover droplets of inkiness, and then did the printing again, this time using Faded Jeans on the stencil.

I'm pretty sure the tag had had a coat of either gesso or white acrylic beforehand - that's why it's so pale underneath.

Sadly, I don't seem to have any photos of the next layer by itself.  I added text stamping - in white acrylic on the darker tag...

... and in Walnut Stain DOX on the paler tag (the Oxides stamp so beautifully!).

Time got tighter as work progressed in NYC, so I didn't get much further, and the two backgrounds travelled home with me in that state.

Once here I finished them off... selecting the Paper Dolls to go on each tag and the words to go with them.

I gave the dolls some of my carefully hoarded rusty mesh to stand on.  These were some of the very last snippets.

I'm prepared to use them now because I managed to get a fresh supply while I was away.  Expect to see more rusty mesh in action from here on in!

I created inky backgrounds to stamp the quotes on.  Whether on dark or light, the stamping is done in Potting Soil Archival and clear-embossed.

This starry one is from Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and source of many words of wisdom.

This quote, which I absolutely adore, is by Persian poet, Hafez (full name Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī, but thankfully generally known by his pen-name Hafez).

He lived in the fourteenth century, but his words speak so directly across the centuries.

I used some of the tiny Idea-ology star brads as metal accents...

... topped with white paint for the darker tag, of course.

And I mounted the tags on contrasting layers to give just that final touch of matching opposites.

Once again, combining words and pictures has given me great pleasure here... the words connect me to the people in the photographs, and stories start to unwind in my mind.

I felt as though I wanted to offer affirmation and assurance to both pairs of children and, through the quotes, I hope maybe I have done that - somewhere in the space/time continuum.  I certainly like the pair of tags just as tags, and maybe that's enough.

I hope you like them too, and I'll be back pretty soon with another study in blues and browns - a slight hop out of kin, the next one, but with plenty of Oxide action.  I hope you all have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon.

May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Oops, I forgot I was planning to link up at Tag Tuesday again, where the lovely Chrissie has chosen My Favourite Colour Combination as the theme. 
At Try It On Tuesday they would like us to Let It Shine - so with my tiny stars and the advice to all the children to let their own lights shine like starlight, I hope these will fit in.
And at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge the theme this week is You've Got The Edge.  I've got two of them!  And I'm using those edges to carry on the contrasts of the tags, even down to inking the white frame with brown and sanding the brown frame to reveal some white!

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Playing the (Neutral) Blues I

Hello all!  I doubt you'll be surprised to find that I've been playing with blues and browns (and greys) a lot since my return.  In fact, it started before I went away.  So, starting with a tag made back in April, here's the first of a series of posts scratching that old obsessive colour itch.

I meant this tag for the Vintage Journey Tag Friday in June.  In case I ended up with either no time or no mojo in NYC, I decided to get it made before I left the UK at the beginning of May.

But then my AVJ team-mate, the brilliant Nikki of Addicted to Art, who was also one of my wingmen for the PaperArtsy word stamp release, pointed out that Tag Friday was perfectly timed to share something made with the new quotes.

So instead I made a whole new tag for that (time and mojo both cooperating), and this one got left in the photo album for later.

Later has arrived!  And I'm delighted that this young woman is finally getting her day in the sun.

(More sun than was around when I left - she's had some more photos taken today, as the April ones were definitely suffering from the dreary showery weather which simply wouldn't lift in the days before I flew.)

Of course, being that it was made all that time ago, I can't be sure any longer exactly what ingredients were involved in the making...

I know it started with a mop-up tag (slightly taller than usual - a leftover piece from something else), and I'm fairly sure it's Golden Smalt Blue acrylic.

And then there were various layers of stencilling...

... stencil-printing...

... inky and watery splattering (my guess is that at least some of this is using the Oxides - Faded Jeans and Iced Spruce seem likely suspects)...

... and in the latter stages the dragonfly stamp, embossed in Weathered White, puts in an appearance, along with some text stamping and inky distressing around the edges.

I also mounted it on some cardboard for extra stability.

One of the Paper Dolls takes her place at the heart of things...

... standing on some strips of tissue tape...

... and with some lace and stained tea-bag strips in the background.

The lovely fronds of some Scrapiniec grasses wave in the wind behind her.

And she's been collecting old leaves and drying them too.

The oval frame tries to constrict her into some semblance of modest, ladylike appearance.  But you can tell from its rusty state of neglect that she's uninterested in being looked at, or fitting in.

Neither she nor her nature collections will be confined.  She doesn't fit in the family picture frame.  The dragonfly will always escape the net.

(She may remind you of a recent acquaintance.)

She won't be nailed down by society's expectations.

The rebellions at the moment may be small, but they are significant.  Her clothes are never quite neat enough.  There's always a splatter of mud or a loose thread from brushing through a hedgerow.

She'll continue to do what she loves, and there's no stopping her.

The lace and ribbons her mother and governesses have tried for years to encourage her to embroider, knit or crochet with, remain in a tangled bunch, as she heads back out to the garden, the fields and the woods.

The fresh breezes will ruffle her hair as well as the grasses, and she'll continue to wear whatever she's found on her travels as her corsage, be it flowers or leaves or grasses.

The dragonfly's wings will spread wide to carry her far away.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you've enjoyed meeting today's tag inhabitant.  As I say, the blue & brown tag theme is going to continue here over the next few days, so I hope you'll be able to pop in and meet whoever's next!

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
Rachel Carson

At Stamps and Stencils there's some beautiful photo inspiration from the amazing Ruth to inspire us to play with Colour, Texture and Shape.  The decorative lace with rusty metal accents are certainly in play here, as are some of those architectural lines, though mine are horizontal rather than vertical. 
I'd also like to share this at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where they are hoping that You've Got The Edge.  My dragonflies are heading over the edge in all directions, providing extra texture where they do, and the inky distressing provides a frame, as do the "rusty nails" in the corners (which are at the edge, after all).
At Tag Tuesday, the lovely Chrissie has chosen My Favourite Colour Combination as the theme.  As long as I've understood rightly and it's my favourite colour combination, not Chrissie's (!) then my blues and browns are right on the money.  And you already know there are some more blue and brown tags on the way soon!
Finally, at Mixed Media World they would like us to Use Natural Materials on a mixed media project.  The DT inspiration pieces are out of this world, but with my humble autumn leaves, I'd like to play along anyway!  (Thanks for the heads-up, Sara Emily.)