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...

Friday 5 October 2018

Autumn Splendour

Hello all!  It's new theme time at A Vintage Journey and the amazing Sara Emily, our host this month, is looking for lots of Autumn Splendour.

You can find all the challenge details as well as lots of inspiration from my brilliant fellow Creative Guides over at A Vintage Journey, and here's my offering for you.

Although I most often work in muted tones and soft neutrals, I adore the fiery rainbow of autumn when the trees start to turn, especially when those burnished golds and browns and rust colours are seen against a vivid blue sky.

That's what I was aiming to capture with this giant tag, and I don't mind saying the results make me very happy indeed.  There are just a few step-out pictures, but mostly just lots of eye candy to capture the splendour of autumn.

It's a huge tag and there's a lot to see... so grab yourself a pumpkin-spice latte (another of the splendours of autumn!) and enjoy the view...

I've been in the countryside in the Czech Republic for the last ten days or so, and the weather has been incredible.

Cloudless skies, beautiful sunshine (and pleasantly warm too, for the most part - just a couple of those really chilly autumn days), and just in the last few days the trees have properly started their colourful journey into autumn.

So everywhere I look I'm seeing elements of this tag in real life!

This is one of the Gigantags from That's Crafty.  It's huge - 15 x 7.5 inches.  If you saw my Curiouser and Curiouser tag, you'll recognise that this is a sort of partner piece to that one.

I'd had these Gigantags in my stash for ages, as well as some of Tim Holtz's large Etcetera tags, and could somehow never seem to get started with them... probably through worrying about messing up and wasting the tags.

So when we were deciding in advance what to work on, I requested the large tags as our substrate for the shared Skype craft session the other week with Brenda and Nikki (if you missed it, read all about it by visiting Curiouser and Curiouser) so that I could try to crack open my crafter's block about them.

But then as soon as I'd made that request, even before we Skyped, I knew what the first step had to be with this next Gigantag... it was to lay this fabulous twig wreath (it's been in my stash for ages - I probably found it in a cheapy shop) across the blank tag, add the acorns, and pop the seated boy into position.  And there it had to pause while I went off and did lots of other things.

But each time I walked past the MDF tag with its twiggy wreath, I got a clearer picture of how I wanted it all to be.  And it definitely found its way to where I wanted to go... and then went a few steps beyond that to somewhere even better than I'd originally imagined!

Here's a quick look at some of those background layers.  There's crackle, of course, and some Cobalt Teal Hue DecoArt Fluid Acrylic, applied randomly with lots of water.

Then some Distress Paints got involved - Broken China and Stormy Sky, I'm fairly sure, and maybe some Faded Jeans too.

And I think there may have been some Distress Sprays too, flicked on with a paintbrush or direct from the unscrewed nozzle.  I forget... it's quite a while ago now.

Next, I needed to create some autumn leaves in all their splendour.  I spent some happy inky messy time creating these pages of wrinkle-free distress technique with Distress Inks and Oxides.

I love how the formulation of the Oxides means you can continue to layer colours on and still keep them distinct... perfect for the mottled rainbow of a changing leaf.

You can get some really great contrasts of colour, and also contrasts between the translucent glow of the Inks and the chalky opacity of the Oxides.

Then it was time for lots of die-cutting.  I used the large Layered Leaf Bigz die...

... but without running it through its embossing folder.  I didn't feel the leaves needed it for this particular make.

There are some medium-sized leaves cut with the Mini Tattered Leaves Movers and Shapers dies...

... and some other shapes made with the Fall Foliage Thinlits.

The wheat stem was cut from some other card, spritzed with a couple of Distress Sprays - maybe Wild Honey and Scattered Straw? - for that ready-to-harvest look.

And by the end I'd also added some tiny leaves cut out of all the leftover bits of inky card using Tim's Maple Leaf punch.

Can you tell I make a habit of grabbing any foliage dies (and stamps) I happen to find on offer?!

At the heart of each of the two main leaf clusters are some glossy acorns.  This is definitely the only time of year you'll find me voluntarily using orange, but I love these!

I added some natural fibres in amongst the leaves too, for some added movement.

The irresistible cobwebs from Tim's new Tangled Webs set add some glistening detail to the background.

They're stamped in Hickory Smoke and clear-embossed, trying to get the look of morning dew glistening on the fibres.

With the wreath, the boy, the large leaves and the acorns, I thought I was almost there, but things were about to get a whole lot more interesting.

I wanted to add a little more structure, and also to ground the wreath somehow... a little tricky, given it's floating in the middle of the blue sky.

But I think I found the solution in some layered ephemera.

The straight lines and strong verticals and horizontals work in contrast to the circle of the wreath and the organic shapes of the leaves, and to my eye they give the whole piece a stronger, more focussed look.

And with those straight lines in place, I was able to find the perfect homes for the Quote Chips I wanted to use, both above and below the wreath.

I added the fibres, and it was getting better, but even with all that arranged on my giant tag, I still felt there was further to go.

So the pinecones came out to play...

... nestled in around the two main clusters of leaves, above and below.

And this is when I started punching the tiny leaves out of my leftover bits of inky card, and adding them both to the wreath, and to the cascade of leaves fluttering down through the sky.

I loved the extra movement and the additional colours, so we were definitely almost there.

The very final touches were some white spatter (of course), and some lovely blue-green seed beads...

... glued down in and around the ephemera layers...

.... glinting in the sun to draw the eye.

They give a lovely touch of additional texture, as well as catching the light.  And they lead the eye towards the Quote Chips. 

The words are optimistic overall, but they do have a touch of autumn melancholy underneath them.  After all, we wouldn't need that reassurance if we weren't feeling troubled.

The falling leaves are gathering in heaps at the foot of the tag - just right for shushling through on a crisp autumnal walk.

Some natural raffia and twine top things off at the other end.

And there had to be some inking around the edges - done with Archival for longevity - drawing the eye inward and catching all that scrumptious texture.

I do hope the rather solemn looking boy can take some joy from all the colours surrounding him, and find hope in the autumn sunshine.

I'm certainly enjoying a lift in the spirits from seeing the landscape changing colour under cloudless blue skies - and I'm grateful for every moment of it.

This delicious dimensional tag will have to find a home on a wall somewhere - probably next to the Curiouser and Curiouser tag.

And I've got a strong feeling that now I've broken my resistance to these large tags, there will be more coming to join the set.

I really love having the larger space to play with, and the sturdiness of the MDF allows for lots of dimensional structures.  Watch this space...

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  As I said, there's lots more Autumn Splendour inspiration for you over at A Vintage Journey, and we hope we'll see you on the journey somewhere down the road this month.  Happy crafting all!

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
Elizabeth Lawrence

I'd like to play along at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the theme is Tag It!
Tag Tuesday are playing Autumn/Halloween, so I'd like to join in there too
At Stamps and Stencils they are having Spooky Fun with an Autumnal Twist - if Halloween isn't your thing, then autumn colours are allowed 
At Country View Challenges things are looking Plant-tastic... who could resist?!
At More Mixed Media they're playing Anything Goes with an optional twist of Orange
I'd also like to join in at Creative Artiste where, as always, it's Anything Mixed Media Goes


S@ndy Diller said...

Always love your creations, such rich fall colors along with the bright blue. Love it!!

Brenda Brown said...

This is utterly delightful Alison and you have captured those gorgeous autumnal tones against a vivid blue sky perfectly. I love the textures, those beautiful leaves and that brilliantly found wreath that all add wonderful dimension to the finished project. You have created some amazing autumn splendour in this fabulous work of art, I love it xxx

Chrissy said...

Oh WoW Alison..FABulous project..your leaves are wonderful and I love the acorns and other details..brilliant.


Helen said...

What a totally beautiful tag! everything about your project is perfectly executed (of course!) and the autumnal colours are delightful.

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful tag and just perfect for autumn. Hugs, Valerie

Valerie-Jael said...

....And thanks so much for linking your beautiful tag to Tag Tuesday, much appreciated indeed! Hugs, Valerie

Jennie Atkinson said...

I really love this Alison! The stunning blue background is such a fabulous foil for those wonderfully autumnual toned leaves. And of course all beautifully executed around the wreath. A stunning tag! (as always!) Jennie x

Cestina said...

I just turn my head to look out of the window across the valley to the hills and can see this tag in real life! Splendid. Autumn is probably my favourite season and you have captured it perfectly. Xxx

My name is Erika. said...

This is gorgeous Alison. It makes me think of a walk or going apple picking on a beautiful autumn day. Happy weekend Hugs-Erika

froebelsternchen said...

This isn't just a wonderful tag this an assemblage art piece at it's finest Alison! AMAZING!!!!

Happy weekend!
Hugs, Susi

chrissie said...

Amazing tag Alison and so kind of you to show us how it was made step by step

Love Chrissie xx

Monika Gulyas said...

Gorgeous autumn tag, Alison!!! You created beautiful colours for the background and for the leaves!!! xx

Jackie PN said...

this tag absolutely is out of this world the best! This speaks to me so much! Not just the glorious colors and design,but the words...right now especially with all that is happening here. Very powerful! And then I look closer and see the January calendar and said- this was made for me! my birthday is in Jan.! Truly a gorgeous make and you never ever cease to amaze me! For not using such colors regularly- you totally rocked these out!
Thank you for such an inspiring and feel good creation you have shared!
Jackie xo

ps would love to see some photos of where you were recently!

Patty O'Malley said...

I love this fabulous tag, Alison!

Dorthe said...

Oh Alison, another masterpiece,- and I know how big that tag is, from my time with Laura,- and also have one in my stash :-)
It is a very beautiful tag- all so gorgeous,- the crackle, the leaves, oh my !! and the lovely wreath, with sweet boy sitting on, it.
And the quote is wonderful .
Hugs, Dorthe

Roosterhead Designs said...

Hello Alison,
This truly is Autumn Splendor! It is gorgeous in every way~
I appreciate you sharing your process 'step by step'; Very helpful
for me to 'see' how it was done : )Thank you for taking time for all the pics~
I am in awe and wonder. All these gorgeous layers of texture and color! Loving how you 'grounded' the boy and wreath with some layers of deep neutral color, and gave a perfect place for your quotes.
Also enjoyed the layers of paint & crackle, giving further subtle texture. Love it! (I'm guessing the tag is about 8" tall) Wishing you blessings for a nice weekend~ karen o

Roosterhead Designs said...

Oh my word Alison, the tag is near 15" tall?!
I am rethinking all the work involved is this beautiful artistic creation!! A labor of love and accomplishment~~ It is stunning. k.o.

Craftyfield said...

You've captured the splendour of the season perfectly, Alison! I don't like orange very much but it does come into its own in autumn and it's of course the best colour to contrast with blue, my favourite colour, so I find myself using it a lot more these days! The background texture is gorgeous and the wreath and cluster of leaves and acorns is fab. xx

Meggymay said...

A gorgeous Autumn tag Alison, the leaves and the other details look fabulous.
Yvonne xx

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

Gorgeous tag Alison. I love your choice of colours. The gorgeous blue with all it's texture reminds me of the lovely skies we've had recently and the leaves are just perfect. Happy creative weekend, Angela xXx

toni said...

This is a beautiful Autumn tag Alison! Gorgeous colours and textures. Thank you for joining us over at Stamps and Stencils. Toni x

Julia Aston said...

Your fall colored leaves are gorgeous against your wonderful blue inked background Alison! What a sweet wreath for your vintage fella to sit on! a beautiful fall tag! Julia xx

Astrid Maclean said...

A truly stunning project Alison! All those wonderful autumnal elements against that fabulous blue background, really give the feel of a gorgeous sunny Autumn day! I love those acorns, they look so real, and those ephemera definitely add the perfect finishing touch to anchor it all! Love this!!

Lace Age Girl said...

Hi Alison, I'm visiting you from Simply Neutrals. I loved your tags from last month! I've followed your links to here and this is stunning. I don't like orange much, but those acorns - is that natural colour or painted? Your wreath tag looks stupendous, and I enjoyed reading about your process too. Great sentiment.
Jesse (Lace Age Girl)

Margaret Mifsud said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! This is awesome Alison! Such beautiful autumn colours on a totally stunning blue background .. WOW!! I simply love everything about this tag! The crackle finish on the background, the gorgeous autumn leaves (love the master boards you created for these), that amazing wreath and those lovely little acorns!! Everything is so beautifully assembled and absolutely stunning!! hugs xx

Mrs.B said...

A fabulous Autumnal tag Alison, love the blue crackle background and wonderful autumn details.
Avril xx

Lys said...

I love how you arranged your autumnal composition, Alison. What a beautiful tribute to your last stay in Czech Republic! I love the details you added. I had bought some acorns and I didn't know how to use them... you inspired me (like always!)!
And thanks for sharing with us at Creative Artiste Mixed Media challenge!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Pinned this beauty! I LOVE every bit, and oh the wreath and the Autumn colors with the sweet boy! LOVE!

Margaret said...

Once again, I'm in awe of your ability to tell a story through your tag, and you've captured autumn perfectly with this one! The addition of the sparkling web was a nice touch. I am a bit nervous about spiders, however I love their beautiful webs covered in dew! Oh, and those gorgeous fall colored leaves... Another amazing creation!

craftytrog said...

It's a beauty Alison! A wonderful design, and I adore the colour combination!
Alison xx

Gio said...

You've really captured the esesnce of a firing Autumn. Such a beauty! I love to bits the garland and all the little details like the web!

Beulah Bee said...

Your piece imparts such good feelings--I am reminded of what it's like to look up into a bright blue sky from a forest dressed for fall. Mother Nature always gets it right and how lucky you are to have her as your muse.

Evelyn Walter said...

This giant tag is utterly gorgeous! The autumn colors and all these lovely colored leaves and autumn fruits are wonderfully put together.
Thank you so much for joining in with our challenge this month at Country View Challenges!
Have a good time!
Evelyn xxx

Meihsia Liu said...

Wow... this is such a gorgeous creation, Alison. All the embellishments and details on this tag are stunning. Great inspiration! :)

Paper Profusion said...

Oh my goodness, this is exceptional Alison! Love it all, (and you should use orange more often)! Nicola x

Kate Yetter said...

Such a pretty tag, Alison! Loving that Autumn foliage/wreath and that TH paperdoll.

Kath Stewart said...

this is just amazing Alison, love everything about it, thank you for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, hugs kath xxx

Sue said...

Wow this is absolutely beautiful Alison. From the colours, to the crackle to the ephemera (which I think is just perfect) this is a real joy to look at. It looks wonderful in a full shot, but even better in close up when you get to see all of the fabulous details. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Country View Crafts, and have a very happy week wherever you are now xx

Zoey | Scrapsaurus said...

Alison, this is hands down one of the best tag I've seen so far this year! So rich , so colorful, so amazing!!! Full of details, layers and texture!! I am impressed!
Thank you for playing along with us over Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, we all hope to see you playing again soon! xx Zoey

Redanne said...

The Autumn leaves you created are just gorgeous and they look wonderful adorning the wreath and the gorgeous crackled and cob-webbed background is such a beautiful colour... This just enhances the tag further. Your tag is truly gorgeous!! Anne xx

Mac Mable said...

So enjoyed reading your post...That's why I take a little while to comment as I love to read it, take it all in and soak it all up....And then maybe even read it again! All the wonderful elements have come together beautifully to make this thoughtful and amazing large tag. Love the colours, the splats, the glistening spiders web, the cracks, the wreath and those stunning leaves. Loved your thinking process and when you started to use the strong horizontals solved the next steps. Thank you as always for the stunning inspiration and I am sure the solemn little boy will find lots of Joy from his surroundings x.

Lenie said...

Alison, this is the most beautiful autumntag I've ever seen! Amazing! I love it!

SewPaperPaint said...

Oh Alison! This is such a beautiful display of autumn glory! I adore the pops of earthy color against the sky blue and the wreath adornments are fantastic! So beautiful and inspiring! Hugs, Autumn PS. Congrats on your double SSS spotlight. :)

pearshapedcrafting said...

This is beautiful Alison - the colours really are perfect for an Autumn day! I just love all of the different foliage you have used! Love the addition of the ephemera. Hugs, Chrisx

Etsuko said...

OMG my heart blew away!! This tag is ingenious superb and so gorgeous. I am staring at that wonderful detail for again and again. xx

A Pink said...

Autumn Splendour at its absolute best! . You have captured the season superbly and with great beauty and charm, Alison, creating a tag that warms the heart.

Apologies for my late arrival, time has been a little short of late and I knew I wanted to give your creation and post the time it deserved.

Thank you too for all the lovely comments you have been leaving for my recent TC makes and for your support . I really do sincerely appreciate.
hugs x

Sylvia/LittleTreasures said...

So much enjoying your autumn tones,wonderful layers and always the step by step. Playing catch up, but I love to visit and your inspiration thrills me. Enjoy a great week.

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Another treat for us all Alison, love those falling die cut leaves I can almost visualise them gently blowing and falling to the ground. Those bright pops of colour the season blesses us all with are so evident within your creation. So much to explore upon your project, it's almost frustrating that I can not hold it to take in more. Remarkable in every way Thank YOU.
Creative Hugs Tracey x

Tania said...

Stunning tag, just love all the details. Thanks for joining us at Creative Artiste Mixed Media Challenge Blog :)

Laura S. said...

Absolutely stunning, A work of art. Wow.

sarascloset said...

Oh, my goodness, Alison, was this ever worth the wait to get up close and see the details! What a magnificent display of Autumn Splendor here on your brilliant tag! Your leaves rival the display provided by mother nature herself, and the collaging is the perfect way to ground that gorgeous wreath! Wow! I just love every single detail, and of course reading your post with my cuppa pumpkin spice flavored coffee. Wish it WERE a latte! By the way, I totally get the resistance to using those oversized tags--I have the same block. What if I mess it up??? Sending hugs!

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, this is such a beautiful autumnal tag! I loved following along to see how you created it, thanks so much for all the inspiration πŸ˜€. The leaves you created look amazing and I love the way the seed beads glint and shimmer - so pretty! Happy and creative wishes! J 😊 x

Paper Wishes said...

I have been away for a while. What a treat for the eyes to return to. Your detailed information and photos really show how the attention to detail pays off. All those luscious inky textured papers for the leaves and the gorgeous cool blue crackle and the encrusted purple beads. it all creates that feel of rich abundance under the clear cool blue autumn sky. Delicious. xox

rachel said...

What a stunning tag Alison - I love all the elements - and that crackle is gorgeous!!! Thanks for joining my plantastic challenge at countryview challenges and good luck! Hugs rachel xx

Neet said...

I need to add your blog to my sidebar. I am hopeless at remembering to check out blogs and had I checked out this post earlier I would not have made such a silly stupid mistake as I have done.
I threw some acorns - a bag full of them - away the other day. Acorns I had kept for a couple of years just because I like them. Now I see what I could have done with them I am so beside myself.
This tag is beautiful, the colours are fantastic and the acorns - well they just blew me away.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Neet xx