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, 18 January 2020

Rusted Hope

Hello all and welcome.  I've been sorting papers for my taxes as well as starting a new theatre job, so time has been a little on the short side.  But when you're procrastinating over actually filling out the tax return, the craft table is a pretty good place to hide!

I'm still in an ageing/weathering/distressing/decaying sort of a mood, prompted I'm sure by this month's We're All Getting Older! challenge which I'm hosting at A Vintage Journey.  I'm looking for projects using techniques and products to make something new look old.

Yesterday, I shared some of the how-to details for my aged parchment tags over at the Vintage Journey blog, and today I'm here at Words and Pictures with a project full of crackled, rusted decay - so there's a whole different batch of ageing techniques and products on show.

In other words, stick around for lots more inspiration for the challenge - you still have nearly three weeks to play (it's a long challenge month this time around), so there's plenty of time to do some ageing, weathering, distressing or decaying of your own.

I was also inspired by the Rust It Up theme at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, and a new die which had just arrived.  And this jumbo MDF tag also plays another line of Tic Tac Toe at the Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog - this time on the diagonal with Die Cuts, Sentiment, Heat Embossing.

This is one of those creations which looks quite different when the sunlight hits it and when it's in less direct light, so forgive me for having two main photos!

It's a tag which carries ideas from deep inside.  I wasn't really conscious of them as I was making it, but I can "read" them pretty clearly now it's here!

There's a lot of rusted decay going on...

... as well as worn and weathered crackle.  It all linked in my imagination with the damage we are doing to the planet and each other.

There seems to be something badly broken in mankind's relationship with the natural world around him.  We seem to have reached a point where disaster and decay is almost inevitable.

But somewhere underneath it all, there has to be the hope of regrowth, of beauty and harmony somehow finding a way to survive and flourish again.

Otherwise, without hope, we might as well just give up now.

I started with a large MDF tag (8 x 4 inches) and gave it a rough coat of white chalk paint.  It really was very rough - I wanted as worn a look as possible (reflecting my general exhaustion with all the bad news around at the moment).

Over that I scraped some DecoArt Media Crackle Paint.  I'm at the bottom of a pot, so it's dried out a bit - it's more the texture of the Crackle Paste these days, but you still get a great crackle effect from it.

I used Distress Crayons in Pumice Stone and Walnut Stain to add some shadows and grime.  It also highlights the cracks nicely!

Some of the flakes flaked right off which gives it an even more weathered look.

I painted on washes of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey, Raw Umber and Quinacridone Gold - to add some rusted decay in various places around the edges, or where the crackle was thickest in the middle.

While I was happy with a few flaked flakes, I didn't want too many to go, so I gave the whole thing a coat of Ultra Matte Varnish to keep it all in place.

My other main rusted element is some chicken wire, courtesy of a fabulous new die by Tim Holtz and lots of powder and paint.

There's some of Seth Apter's Chunky Rust Baked Texture powder as a first layer.  That gives lots of rusty texture as well as colour.

Then I used some more of the Media Fluid Acrylics to get the exact shades of rusted decay that I wanted (a little darker and more ominous than the cheery orange red tones of the powder).

I broke the die-cut apart so that my chicken wire could trail a little further across the tag.

And with the addition of the Idea-ology word plaque, I was able to separate the chicken wire pieces even further, and started layering up some cogs and gears - the technology and machinery we continue to use without fully considering its impact on the Earth.

It was all looking a bit bleak at this point, and I felt an urgent need for some greenery to lighten the mood.  Rubber Dance's Weed Love to the rescue...

... but the tendrils and vines are so delicate that they were barely noticeable until you got close up, so I decided to give them a bit more presence by painting on some flower heads.

I began by using Stormy Sky Oxide - knowing I could wipe it away with water if I hated the look.  But I didn't hate it at all... quite the opposite!

So I decided to be bolder and added in some Fresco paints to the floral action - Lavender and Wisteria, but both mixed with the Stormy Sky which was still on the craft mat.

And of course I added some spatter with the leftover paints once I was done.

I really like the delicate flowers contrasting with the decayed metal.

They seem to share a similar spidery fragility, but a web of decaying wire which will eventually rust away to nothing is very different from a web of tangled stems and tendrils getting stronger by the day.

Despite the decay everywhere, the plants are finding a way around it, fighting for survival. 

The lettering of the Quote Band has been filled with Picket Fence Distress Crayon and I burnished the top with Sepia Archival, applied direct from the ink pad.

The ink gives a warm rusty tone to match everything else that's going on.  The original silvery pewter wouldn't have worked.

Some actual rusty wire holds the plaque in place.  (There's some padded tape and glue helping out too.)

(Just a quick warning courtesy of the lovely Bleubeard and Elizabeth... when working with real rust it's advisable to wear gloves.  You don't want it getting into the bloodstream.)

I thought about rusting up the gears too, but in the end I decided that might upstage the chicken wire.  They are already a good coppery colour, so I left them alone.

Some more rusty wire is tangled around the top of the tag, and that's about that.

Things have been a bit sluggish at the craft table lately.  Even when I have found time, there have been a lot of unsatisfactory tag backgrounds ending up in the bin - so I'm very happy that this creation made its way to the end without mishap.

I really love the decaying weathered crackle...

... the tendrils twining behind the rusted chicken wire trellis...

... the textural details of the rusty elements...

... the tiny flower heads emerging from the decay...

... the grime and the grunge...

... and those hidden stories and ideas which emerge from the subconscious and arrive on the craft table in front of you - unbidden, unplanned, but perhaps all the more powerful because of that.

I really hope you like the tag, and I hope there are some more ideas there which might send you off to your craft table to create something aged, weathered and distressed for the We're All Getting Older! challenge at A Vintage Journey this month.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.  Have a great weekend, everyone.

In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.
Ernst Fischer

I'm playing the diagonal Tic Tac Toe line of Die Cuts, Sentiment, Heat Embossing for the Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog
I'd like to play along at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where they want us to Rust It Up
I'd also like to share this at the Bleeding Art Challenge where it's Anything Mixed Media Goes, as always

Friday, 17 January 2020

Weathered, aged and generally worn out!

Hello all!  I won't keep you here at Words and Pictures for long.  This is just a reminder that today's the day I'm sharing some of the techniques I used to create my aged parchment tags for this month's Vintage Journey challenge theme, We're All Getting Older!  I'm looking for projects using techniques and products to make something new look old... weathered, aged, antiqued and worn.

If you hop over to A Vintage Journey, you'll find how-to details and step-out photos guiding you through my parchment process (or if you missed them, and just want to look at pretty close-ups of the finished tags, then visit Parchment and Pressed Flowers right here at Words and Pictures).  I hope you'll be inspired to come and join in with the challenge this month by making something look older too.

Thanks for stopping and hopping, and I'll see you again soon.  In fact, if you come back tomorrow, you'll find another project with lots more ageing, weathering and distressing going on!

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw

Friday, 10 January 2020

A Winter's Night

Hello all, and welcome.  It's another grey, damp day here as I write this, and it's not even chilly, so I'm having to get my fix of proper winter weather via the craft table.

I've been playing with the brand new Curio Box just released by Tim Holtz.  I couldn't resist it.  I can see it being useful in all sorts of ways.

Given it's brand new, it fits in well with the Something New theme at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.

And the Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog are playing a Tic Tac Toe challenge so I chose to play the line across the top to fill up my shadow box - Layers, Winter, Heat Embossing.

Unfortunately, I'd already been experimenting with the Curio Box die before I decided what was going inside.  I tried it out with some Idea-ology papers - working out which side of the paper the creases for the folds would turn up so that I could get the side of the paper I wanted either on the inner box or the outer frame.

The die comes with a number of Thinlits frames so that you can cut different apertures for the opening of the shadow box.  This is the largest of the apertures.  There's a smaller one also this shape, and a couple of ovals which will give the shadow box a very different look.

When it turned out I needed to add some layers for my night sky, I had to snip open the tissue tape fastening the inner box together so that I could lay it out flat again for the paint sponging...

... and then the star-stencilling.  Next time, I'll work out what I'm doing before building the box!

The night sky is sponged in PaperArtsy Fresco Blueberry, and the snowy landscape in Snowflake (of course).  And the star stencil is one of Tim Holtz's.

I sponged some more Snowflake through the stencil and applied some ancient Ranger Silver Pearl powder which was hiding in my stash.

It has a lovely shimmer to it - just right for starlight.  And the top layer is, of course, a spattering of snowy white paint droplets.

I cut one of the houses and a couple of trees from the Thinlits Ghost Town set (also new to me - picked up at a bargain price) from the same paper as the outer box frame.  But I then gave the trees a coat of my favourite Wow Primary Bark embossing powder to darken their silhouettes.

This is the house with the reverse side of the paper showing, but my camera seems to have decided I didn't need the photos I took of the before and after with the trees.  It does that annoyingly often at the moment.  Hopefully I just need a new SD card rather than a whole new camera.

I glued the house down onto some plain card - right way up this time - and added some Antique Linen Distress Ink to the windows with a water brush, to give the illusion of warm glowing lights within.

I then had great fun adding snow to the roof and windowsills with some heavy body white acrylic paint.  I'm very happy with the dimension of those heaps of snow!

This fence is part of a set intended for a Christmas model village.  I spotted them on sale and I thought they looked useful!

Of course, I had to do a bit of weathering... PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze to create my flaky paint, and in the long run a bit of extra Pumice Stone shading and "dirt".

It was easy to cut the railings with scissors so that I could put a couple of posts the other side of the frame, creating a gateway to walk through.

The Paper Doll was a slight afterthought... the scene still needed a little something even with all that lovely snowy texture around.  I think she's exactly right standing just inside the gate there.

She seems to have trodden in a pretty deep snowdrift (a.k.a. a mound of White-tac - same as Blu-tac only white!

I also added extra heavy body white acrylic to the mound, to blend it into the ground.

There's plenty of snowy splatter...

... both inside and out.

And I used the cut-out from the frame to add a little interest to the back of the box.  It's not that anyone's likely to be looking at that side, but you never know.

It was, yet again, a tricky photographic job.  The shadow box casts shadows - of course! - so from some angles the sky looks really dark...

... but then from others, with a slight tilt, you can get a much better look at that lovely Blueberry blue and the twinkling stars.

You simply can't catch all the angles at once!

Nonetheless, I hope you've enjoyed stepping into the winter night garden with me - and I hope you are wrapped up warm and snug like the little girl.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.

Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.
Mary Oliver

I'd like to play along at the Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog where the challenge is Let's Play Tic Tac Toe - and I'm playing the top line across... Layers, Winter, Heat Embossing
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they want to see Something New