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 12 August 2019

A Midsummer Day and Night's Dream

Hello all!  I'm very happy to be back with this week's project in the the Designer Spotlight at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.  It's an honour to be creating alongside the amazing SSS Design Team for the month of August, and this week's theme is a beauty.

The challenge is Midsummer Blues.  It's another lengthy post, taking us through a whole midsummer day and night, so pack up your favourite beverage and maybe some snacks, ready for the moonlit forest path ahead!

I honestly set out on this one with no very clear plan in mind.  In the early stages of thinking I felt a bit stumped, but gradually two elements floating in my imagination started to merge and, without really knowing where I was going, this diptych is where I ended up.

The first of the imaginative prompts was A Midsummer Night's Dream.  With my Shakespeare connections you can't say the word "midsummer" to me without that play popping into my head.

 So that's where the fairy connection came from.

And I also had a thought about the summer solstice floating around... that midsummer date when day and night shade mystically into one another...

... so the idea of a double tag with day darkening into night was born.  But the whole creative process took days to progress from that very early inspiration to the finished piece.

I thought I'd work with a pair of the Etcetera tags, so that their sturdiness would allow my diptych to stand tall.  These are the size #8 tags, so the whole thing is just over six inches wide and six-and-a-half inches tall.

I knew things had to be blue to fulfil the challenge title, so having stuck some book script paper onto them, I dipped the tags into Stormy Sky and Chipped Sapphire Distress Inks, keeping the dark tones towards the bottom right and trying to leave the upper left as pale and light as possible.

Over that I positioned Tim Holtz's lovely Clockwork stencil and did some sponging of Midnight Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic in the night time corner and Snowflake in the daylight regions.

In the play most of the action takes place in the forest, so I had to have some tangled branches.

This is a Hero Arts stamp, embossed in Wow Primary Bark.  (SSS has lots of Wow embossing powders but not this earthy dark brown as far as I can see - I'd recommend it to them!)

Central to my thinking were the sun and the moon and these came courtesy of the glorious Stars & Moons mould by Prima.

The round moon is playing the role of the sun for me... we're all about the imagination and playing parts in the theatre here!

I didn't happen to have any Paperclay around, and I couldn't be bothered to get my Melt Pot out, so I thought I'd try melting some beeswax pellets directly into the moulds using my heat tool.

It worked, but from then on I had to keep reminding myself not to use the heat tool to dry anything anywhere near them, or they'd revert to being a puddle of wax!

A quick coat of gesso gave me a better idea of how they might look in the long run so that I could work on what else would be involved.

There were some straw fibres hanging around on the craft table and in an idle moment I tried out what they looked like behind the moulds... sold!

The wild tangles were perfect to echo the gnarled branches of the trees, as well as the twists and turns and chaos of the farcical knots of the play's plot.

From there things happened slowly over the next couple of days.  I'd have an idea, try something out on the tags, leave it for a bit, come back to see if I liked it... if so then onwards, if not then back to the drawing board.

Two of the tiniest Paper Dolls put in an appearance as some of Titania's fairies.

Perhaps Peaseblossom or Mustard-Seed... or Cobweb.  Whichever they are, they were allowed to stay (contrary to Titania's instruction: Fairies, skip hence!).

They have Transparent Wings to fly with, though I've made them slightly less transparent with some gesso.

The butterfly, however, still has his fully transparent wings, stapled over a punched lower layer for double dimension.

It's gorgeous how the acetate catches the light and gleams at certain angles.

The butterfly lights up the daytime...

... while the night is given a glimmer of extra light by the Idea-ology Mirrored Stars.

I love how they glisten and twinkle amidst the tree branches.

And there's even a morning star creeping over onto the daylight tag.

The light allows the plants of the forest to flourish, diecut from the Wildflower Thinlits and smooshed in various shades of green Distress Inks and Oxides.

Time to add a bit more detail to the Sun and the Moon, ready for their starring roles.

I used Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics by PaperArtsy in Snowflake and Chalk to give a bit more opacity, and I brushed on Frayed Burlap Distress Ink for dimensional shading.  Tiny touches of Midnight Fresco paint bring the eyes to life.

The moon is a strong presence in A Midsummer Night's Dream... as marker of time - they're waiting for the new moon to hold the royal wedding; as the light by which the fairies meet; and also as a character.

One of the Mechanicals or working men in the play actually plays the role of the moon in their play-within-a-play at the end.

This is Words and Pictures, so of course we need to have some words.  These are fragments from the play text, handwritten with my dipping pen and some grey ink.

Tiny snippets of Crochet Thinlits decorate the phrases, and the daylight one is edged with Stormy Sky, while "night and silence" (yes, please!) has Chipped Sapphire shadows drawing in.

They're attached to the tags with hinge clips (as well as a bit of glue).  Mine are non-branded old-gold versions of these Idea-ology Hinge Clips.

They've had a touch of Mushroom Alcohol Ink as well as catching the white spatter of glimmering stardust.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream all of the action takes place over about 24 hours, so the clocks, stencilled and ephemeral, are measuring the time ticking away.

The paper ones are from the Idea-ology Snippets and Ephemera packs, and you can still just see the shadows and highlights of the stencilled versions in the background.

Some scraps of Idea-ology Linen Ribbon top the tags off.

I like the rustic feel of it, especially when you loosen the weave a little - perfect for my woodland world.

Around the back, I've kept things very simple... who wants to spend time looking at the back of this diptych when there's a magical twilit forest to wander through on the other side?!

Just some woodgrain design paper, gently inked around the edges.  Really it's mostly there to cover up the brown tape which provides the hinges for the diptych.

Having started out on this project by wandering around lost in the dark, I'm thrilled to have made my way to this enchanted world.

From night's darkest shadows...

... to the soft light of early dawn...

... and especially when you catch those glimmers and sparkles of light, this diptych makes my heart sing.

I hope you've enjoyed dreaming along with me, and that you'll be inspired to play along with the Midsummer Blues theme at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week.

As always, there's amazing inspiration from the full-time team, who are looking forward to choosing their favourites, and the usual $50 voucher is on offer for one lucky winner to go shopping at Simon Says Stamp.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you all have a magical week!

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms. Fairies, be gone, and be all ways away.

Are you sure
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream...

All from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

I'd like to play along at Moo-Mania and More where they are having a Butterflies challenge
At Try It On Tuesday the theme is Wish You Were Here - I'd love to visit this enchanted forest!
At Country View Challenges they are looking for Texture this month
It's Anything Goes (as long as it's a tag of course!) over at Tag Tuesday
The More Mixed Media Challenge is an Anything Goes with optional Bright - I've got light rather than bright
And it's also Anything Mixed Media Goes at the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog


Dorthe said...

So very beautiful, dear Alison, love the idea of both night and day in this , telling the story, and the beautiful tones of blue, and white - your sun with -for me- the sunlight in form of the tangles, (even you thought them as something else :-) ) and the branches , all so wonderful . Love it all !! xoxo

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

Brilliant work Alison! Fabulous detail. Happy creative week, Angela xXx

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful piece, love everything about it, a dream indeed. Thanks for linking to us at More Mixed Media. You would also make me very happy if you link to my new challenge at Tag Tuesday, anything goes. Hugs, Valerie

Valerie-Jael said...

Hi again, thanks so much for linking your wonderful tags to Tag Tuesday, much appreciated indeed! Hugs, Valerie

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I was in total AWE of these tags. I confess, I'm a scientist and didn't get into Shakespeare, so reading about Midsummer Night's Dream through your eyes and your lovely tags have me thinking I should learn more about this play.

The first things I noticed were the sun and moon. I have those molds and thought you must have used polymer clay to make them. I was totally surprised when I read you used beeswax pellets. That was an excellent job and a great choice, too. I'm an advocate for using what you have on hand.

Your use of the paper dolls and the different sized clock faces was genius. The way you brought the nighttime sky into the light with the morning star was impressive. I also like how you balanced the butterfly in the light. This was an amazing entry and most inspirational, Alison. You put SO much into your work and it shows.

Helen said...

Both tags are beautiful, they work together or separately so well.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Of course it had to be Midsummer Nights Dream and what a magical pair of tags you have created! I love the depth in the background and those fairies in waiting! Each tag has it's own unique kind of light and I adore those other special touches this make these tags work their magic! Thank you very much for joining us at Try It On Tuesday - it would be lovely place to visit! Hugs, Chrisx

Sue said...

Wow Alison, what absolutely stunning tags. The colours are perfect and what fabulous stamping and stencilling. I love the fibres too, in fact it all just wonderful. Have a very happy week, Sue x

Redanne said...

I do love a Midsummer Night's Dream and you really have captured so much of the essence with your diptych Alison. The day and night theme is wonderful, the colours are so beautiful, the sun and moon look fantastic but my favourite bit is the gorgeous translucent butterfly. So, so dreamy and to think you started off without a clear plan - just genius! Anne xx

Meggymay said...

A gorgeous project and your connection to the play you chose for inspiration can be seen in these beautiful tags. Amazing magical details ans lovely colours.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

You captured the magic of the Shakespeare play in these fabulous tags Alison. Love the blues and all the magical bits. Hugs-Erika

froebelsternchen said...

This is simply stunning Alison. I am totally in awe of this amazing project.
Great to see you linking to Moo Mania again. Much appreciated !
Susi xxx

froebelsternchen said...

And thanks bunches for joining Try it on Tuesday as well. MUCH Appreciated!

craftytrog said...

Such an enchanting creation Alison! I love it! Xx

sarascloset said...

Really fabulous representation of Midsummer Night's Dream in your gorgeous, moody diptych. I love the way you have blended light into dark on your background--that clockwork stenciling is genius! I love the fairy girl with her semi-opaque wings and the butterfly with shimmery transparent pair. Everything about this project inspires me, Alison! A real winner!

Ann Chuang Crafts said...

So beautiful project, Alison. I seem to be in the midsummer night’s dream⋯

Patty O'Malley said...

Oh my gosh, Alison! This is absolutely fantastic! I can't take my eyes off it looking at all the wonderful details. Truly a treasure!

Cath Wilson said...

Delightful in every tiny detail, Alison - your love of the text shines through in each one. So pleased you played in our 'Wish you were Here' Challenge at Try it on Tuesday.
Cath x

experiments in paper said...

What a fabulous visual synopsis of this wonderful play..... so much gorgeous detail and depth - absolutely brilliant! I love how you've created the colors and shadows, and that butterfly - swoon! Wonderful interpretation of this challenge, Alison - xxx Lynn

Chrissy said...

Wonderful double tag Alison, and I love to see how it all came together..beautiful colours and details and that butterfly with those gorgeous wings is so pretty..


Cestina said...

This is "A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy...." (and a challenge to identify, no cheating!)

Delightful work xxx

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wow, both of these are fantastic and magical. I love the celestial themes and deep blue night skies. Gorgeous artwork.

Crafting Queen said...

Stunning tags!!!

rachel said...

Oh my Alison - this is so stunning - so many different elements that all work together so beautifully! Stunning! Hugs Rachel xx

Craftyfield said...

I find it fascinating to read how your piece got there, Alison. My creations also tend to wander off from the initial idea but, in my case, it isn't usually for the better! Your diptych is wonderful in textures, colours and details. I like that bark EP too, I'm going to need it for trees...

Miriam said...

Lovely project. Thanks for joining in with my challenge over at Country View Crafts

Maura said...

Alison, this is just delightful!! I can see we were both inspired by a Midsummer Night's Dream this week, and like you, I thought it was the perfect blend with the blues. Love those moon faces shining down on your delightful fairy scene! Beautiful blue background! hugs, Maura

Ina G said...

Wow Alison what an in depth tutorial you have here explaining every little detail and I so LOVE that. Amazing tags with so much depth and textures. Simply stunning Such talent you have for Mixed Media. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us at Creative Artiste Mixed Media Challenge.
PS Thanks also for the lovely comments on my blog. (I am so new to MM and so much to learn)and you showed me a new Challenge I had not heard of. Hope to play there in the coming months.

Mrs.B said...

A fabulous project Alison, there's so much attention to detail and I enjoyed reading how these tags progressed. Love the blending of day into night and the sun and moon molds look fantastic.
Thanks so much for sharing these with us at Try it on Tuesday.
Avril xx

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

I read your comment over at mine and it inspired me to have a clear up on my desk so the next time you see it there should be more room to work so thanks for that Alison. Have a great weekend, Angela xxx

Paper Profusion said...

Love your imagination Alison! The diptych is completely magical. Tis lovely to be transported off to another world, no-one's ever too old for fairies! Nicola x
ps Use of the beeswax is very clever and worked a treat.

Evelyn Walter said...

Dear Alison, this is absolutely adorable! I love the idea behind this piece. The background is brilliant!

Sorry for commenting that rarely here! I browsed through your blog - I always love your work! I´ll try to come back here more often again <3
Evelyn xxx

Etsuko said...

Marvelous Alison.
This beautiful tags are amazing because your Shakespeare world has been expanded. xx

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Both so beautiful Alison and in those trademark blues which I have come to recognise as colours within your heart and bring everything together so perfectly. I love creations that take time almost days to complete, like story creating everything needs more than a moment to evolve. Those Butterfly wings really do glisten and shine.. Stunning adaptation of both day and night.
Creative Hugs Tracey xx

Anke said...

Oh Alison your tags are so beautiful, lovely and amazing, I love your work.


Margaret Mifsud said...

A totally enchanting creation and so fascinating being able to follow your processess Alison!! You have perfectly captured the Midsummer Night's Theme with this diptych. A stunning and totally magical creation and I love the story of how it came to be.
Thank you so much for your visit to my blog. I find it difficult to get around to visit people's blogs as well and I so appreciate your lovely comments. Have a wonderful day! hugs xx

maj. said...

Wowowow, what a great and gorgeous project Alison!!!

Neet said...

I fell in love with that mould last December and just had to buy it - it still sits in the cellophane. Not for much longer, you have inspired me to use it. I love the effect you got from using beeswax pellets.
In fact your diptych is pure inspiration from start to finish. I just love the shades of blue you have created for the backcloth of your production and as the curtains unfold to reveal the tangled branches and time pieces we are certainly transported to Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
Wonderful work as always Alison.
Hugs, Neet xx

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, what a stunning make! I love the colours and Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite Shakespeare play, I read it at school and just fell in love with it 😁. You captured the enchanted forest beautifully and I would love to visit it too! Thanks so much for joining in the fun at Try it on Tuesday! Hugs, Jo x

WendyK said...

Wow, absolutely amazing, I love all your gorgeous textured pieces. Thank you for sharing it with us on Tag Tuesday.

Monika Gulyas said...

Wonderful pair of tags with a great concept!!! With your creation you perfectly visualised Shakespeare’s story. Your blues are magical and I love all the elements, ephemera pieces you attached!!! Great textures too!!! Thank you for joining the August challenge of the Country View Challenges! xx

A Pink said...

Fabulous Creativity , Alison and such a wonderful way of translating your iniitial inspiration on to the page -or in this case tags . Love the idea of using 2 tags to represent day and night and how your thoughtful creativity on each tag enhances that sense of day and night.

Good idea to use the wax pellets in the moulds . I've melted wax crayons in moulds before for a quick win and a good result.

Thats for sharing your creativity journey with us . Good to know its now only me that dwells on a projects for days , months .....

Hugs x