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 26 January 2024

January Joy in Fodder School

January in Fodder School has been glorious... and that's not an adjective I often apply to January!  The wonderful Megan Quinlan shared some classes which were definitely up my street, and I had a fabulous time shopping my stash for stencils and stamps which had been neglected for far too long, as well as current favourites.  Here's the inspirational deck that emerged on my craft table...

Amongst other things, Megan encouraged us to create a deck whose theme would have personal meaning for us.  

You won't be surprised to learn that I dived straight into nature.

These cards will be a reminder to me of how important it is to keep sacred the moments of stillness, solitude, and heart-opening beauty which nature offers. 

Time spent in nature is what allows my creativity to breathe and flow, despite the troubled times we are living through.

These were the backgrounds, created in the Make Fodder sessions, before adding the Use Fodder detailing which came later.

There are 32 cards in total in my deck, so here they are broken down into groups of eight so that you can see them more clearly...

You'll spot plenty of my own PaperArtsy quotes in action, as well as some of my botanical stamps, mostly from the Fodder Berry and Rosemary Editions.

There are other PaperArtsy stamp sets, as well as some by Seth Apter for Impression Obsession, and lots of Donna Downey stencils, as well as some of her stamp designs for Unity Stamp Co.  

The paints used are almost all PaperArtsy too - mostly from my Background Blues collection - with some added Daniel Smith Moonglow providing those haunting purple tones. 

If you want to see individual close-ups, I'm afraid you are going to have to visit me on Instagram for that.  It would be a massively photo-heavy blogpost!

It really has been an extraordinary month in terms of creativity - with phenomenal inspiration decks appearing from my fellow Fodder School teachers as well as the participants... so much beauty on Instagram and in the Fodder School FB group, which is a really supportive and informative environment (hate to say nice things about FB - but this is down to the people in there!).  I offered up a little bonus session to add to Megan's classes, as did several other teachers.

If all this tempts you to join in the fun (there's still so much more to come, including my own teaching month!!), then just follow this link to find out everything you need to know about joining up for Fodder School.

I hope January has brought you some joy too.  I know it can be a hard month, but I have found real solace in creating my deck, and I know it will continue to bring me a sense of calm and beauty throughout the years.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

Feeling a little blue in January is normal.
Marilu Henner

January is the month for dreaming.
Jean Hersey

January, the first month of the year. A perfect time to start all over again, changing energies and deserting old moods, new beginnings, new attitudes.
Charmaine J. Ford

Thursday 4 January 2024

Farewell 2023

Happy New Year, all!  I know I haven't got around to sharing any December Fodder School creativity yet... stamp releases and Christmas got in the way!  I'm already in the middle of January's classes, so I will catch you up with all of that soon.  But for now, here's a little look back at last year's journey.

I like to take the time each December to see where my creative journey has taken me over the course of the year, identifying new directions as well as continuing passions. 

Obviously Fodder School has loomed large, but I have also done three PaperArtsy stamp releases this year - Spring Botanicals, Summer Botanicals and the Festive Minis, six full size sets and eight minis in total.  Those PaperArtsy designs have been a real creative engine underlying my year, and you'll see how they play a huge part in my work now.  All in all, it has been quite an eventful year so I gathered together several "collections" of highlights rather than trying to whittle it down too far.


So the first batch is Dimensionality and Watercolours... 3D projects, including plenty of recycling (Camembert cheese boxes for the win!), and some glimpses inside my watercolour journals.  Lots of my stamps in action here too.

Nature is the linking theme in all of it, as well as in my ongoing watercolour explorations. Texture, dimension, recycling, and organic inclusions all continue to be core elements, but I can see that the colour palette is expanding.


The second collection is Tags (of course!). I don't think I'll ever stop creating tags, and looking over the year I can see more continuing passions than new directions as far as tags go.  I still love working in duos and trios, balancing the composition, and the colour palette is as you would expect. (There were other colours in my tags - even some yellow ones - but they didn't make the favourites list!)

Nature is the linking theme here too, along with texture, dimension and natural elements. And of course as well as my own PaperArtsy stamps, there are always heaps of Tim Holtz products - Idea-ology, Stampers Anonymous stamps and stencils and, above all, Ranger Ink Distress products.


Next up, Botanical Panels - a whole new category for 2023!  I found great joy this year in combining my PaperArtsy botanical and ephemera stamps with the Tim Holtz 3D embossing folders... so much joy, in fact, that I found I had a whole grid of nine just with these projects!  The Tree Rings, Brickwork and Pine Branches folders by @sizzix make the perfect backdrop for my botanical sketches and ephemera labels.

In some of these panels the botanicals are layered over old book covers or real bark backgrounds, but in almost all cases they're all combined with plenty of Idea-ology ephemera and Sizzix diecuts, as well as natural elements - twigs, moss, pinecones and so on.  Nature is absolutely at the heart of these makes, of course, along with texture, dimension and the natural elements. And they make me happy, so I'm making no apologies for having a whole extra grid dedicated to them!


The fourth collection (appropriately for number four) is Quartets and Sets.  This remains one of my favourite ways to create - in sets and collections and quartets. Some of my favourite works of the year are here - minimal collages on watercolour and mixed media backgrounds. Backgrounds are at the heart of my creative process, and sometimes I just don't want to cover them up much!

Lots of my PaperArtsy stamps are in action here, with Tim Holtz dies, stamps, stencils, and Idea-ology elements of all kinds, and as always texture and natural elements are a vital part of the creative process.


And finally, here's grid number five, Journalling and Journals.  As you might expect from someone who calls herself "Words and Pictures", books continue to play a huge part in my creative journey, whether that's art journalling, altered books or handmade ones.

Most of the journalling here is done in an old hardback book - and where would my page spreads be without the Tim Holtz Paper Dolls and Photobooth snapshots?! The tag books are based on the fabulous class shared by Megan Quinlan in the Fodder Challenge back in July; and I had to include the Coptic bound, handpainted book with my PaperArtsy stamps, made in the first month of Fodder School thanks to the lovely October sessions with Di Venter. 

I think you've probably got the idea about the recurring themes and elements in my work by now - nature, texture, and I'm going to add storytelling to the list too... this grid really captures it all, I think.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope 2024 will bring a little more peace and compassion into the world (though I'm not holding my breath), and that all of you will enjoy a creative year ahead, full of whatever gives you joy.  Happy crafting, all!

And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.
Meister Eckhart

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Albert Einstein