Saturday, September 29, 2012

Internet dating

Having met my sweetie in those dark pre-internet days, I have never experienced the strange phenomenon of meeting someone in person who you've only known on-line.

Until this year.

I've made so many art and blogging friends in the last 12 months, and I have now had the joy of meeting, in person, Corrine, Amy, and, as of last weekend, Mandy.

You may have read my excitement about going to the South Shore Snail Mail Social that Mandy was hosting.  I'd had the pleasure of swapping art with Mandy for a while now, and I was excited to meet her and a group of other mail art lovers from around the state of Massachusetts.

The only problem?  I was the only one who signed up!
Not to be daunted, Mandy officially cancelled the event and invited me to her house for a blind date.

I dressed up in my best paint-encrusted jeans, bribed her affections with homemade food, and hoped for the best.

It was a HUGE success.
I was immediately comfortable and we spent 8 hours talking, laughing, making art, talking, digging through ephemera, talking, eating, talking....

Our first project was fusing plastic bags.
Mandy had saved an impressive variety of bags and we stood at a big table, cutting bags at random and laying them down willy-nilly and then ironing them.  Some fused better than others (tutorial, shmutorial - we learn on the job!), but we ended up with two awesome crazy quilts.  Here's Mandy modeling one of them:

She immediately cut them up, took them to the sewing machine, and made some really cool postcards.  Mandy sews the way I drive - pedal to the floor and without hesitation.  I wish I could sew like that.  I couldn't create on the spot, but I took home a bag full of fused pieces for further contemplation.

While she sewed, I had a blast pawing through a stack of old board games and playing cards that were stashed in her sewing room.
I have not yet mentioned Mandy's  amazing collection of antiques, artfully displayed throughout her very cool house.  Did I take any pictures of the vintage advertising signs, or staggering collection of old tins, or really cool wooden board games?  No.
I took a picture of this:
 The "Make it fun" game of library research skills.

Because if I hadn't taken a picture, you wouldn't have believed me.
I love that they put "make it fun" in quotes.  Implying that it's not really fun at all.  I'm not sure who this was marketed toward, but this former library employee and life-long library geek actually wanted to play this game.  Fortunately, Mandy let me take home a few of the cards that came with it:
(Answer:  d)
Grab the kids for a night of family fun!

Another totally fun project we did last weekend was creating this fabric:
We raided Mandy's collection of fabric, yarn and ribbon scraps, sandwiched it randomly between two pieces of this stuff called Super Solvey, stitched it all together, and then dissolved the super solvey in water.  The result is a cohesive piece of fabric made from all those tiny bits.  Mandy explains it waaaaay better in the tutorial on her blog.

We left the wet fabric to dry in the sun, and walked a few doors down the street to the oldest town-maintained cemetery in the US. I love old cemeteries.  The one in my town is pretty impressive, with graves of revolutionary war veterans, but the town of Duxbury cemetery is where pilgrims are buried.  And by pilgrims, I mean the big ones you learned about in second grade - the Mayflower pilgrims - John and Priscilla Alden, and Miles Standish among others.
But it's not really the history I geek out on, it's the tombstone carvings.  I took a million pictures of the angels and skulls on the gravestones so that I could carve some similar images as stamps

 Now, a week later, I finally sat down to play with the things I made last weekend.  
Here are a few stamps I carved:

Here is the worlds lumpiest postcard, featuring several pieces of fused plastic and a big pieces of the fabric (as well as some cool sparkly painted paper from Corrine and other scraps from my table)

It was the best first date I've ever been on.
Can't wait to play again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

More fun with 4-from-1

A new batch of postcards:

They started as 8"x12" collages with a central image and I added to them after they'd been cut into four pieces.

(forgot to take a picture of these collages before I started embellishing)

The original inspiration for this came from a swap hosted by the fabulous Steph Dodson.
I received one of the pieces of this awesome collage in the mail yesterday.
(thanks for the ongoing inspiration and challenges, Steph!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

back in the studio

I'm back in creation mode after a 5-day hiatus in which my art room was converted into a guest room for my dear, dear friend.

It was a fabulous five days.
There was loads of art inspiration (museums, street fairs, Boston architecture) 
and treasure hunting (flea market!  IKEA!)
and talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking
but no actual art-making.

I'm making up for lost time.
Here's what I created today.

Another of the round robin mail-art zines:

A file-folder envelope for a swap


 Four postcards for a swap:


The idea of the swap was to create a single piece of art and cut it into 4 pieces and mail the pieces to 4 different people.  The pieces have to have a unifying element.  Here's the collage before I chopped it up.  This was tons of fun.  I'm going to do this more often.

And while I didn't do this one today, I figured I'd show you one of the other round robin zines I did last week:

It felt great to be gluey.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inspiration deck - part four

If you're just tuning in,
go back to part one to see what the heck I'm talking about.

Now that I've got 52 painted, glued and dried cards, it's time to add the inspiration.

I keep a file of quotes on my computer (that I started during last year's inspiration deck) so I had plenty of good quotes, affirmations and inspiring phrases to choose from.
I tried a few different ways of putting the words on paper

I hand stamped letters on paper, cut out the individual words and glued them on the card (adding some rubber stamps for good measure)

this one was stamped straight on the card (but had some spacing issues as you can see.  and I was gentle with myself about it.)
This one is handwritten with a sharpie: 

 This one is computer generated, printed, cut and glued:

All of those things are somewhat time/labor intensive,
so in the interest of efficiency, I settled on this technique.
I printed all my quotes on tracing paper:
and cut them and glued them on the cards:
 since the paper is transparent, the background shows through:
 Then it was time to embellish them a bit.
To help the tracing paper blend into the card better, I colored with my neo-color watercolor crayons and smudged them with my fingers
 I used various bottle caps as stamps:


I used my favorite thrift store find as a stamp:

 I used regular rubber stamps and an ink pad:
 This one already seemed to have enough going on, so I added nothing.

So there you have it.
A full deck done in two sittings.
It could also easily be done in 5-10 minutes a day for a few weeks if that's what your schedule allows.
(roll one layer of paint, come back tomorrow.  roll another layer of paint, come back tomorrow)

This is such a fun project and I hope you see from my photo-intensive posts that it can be really easy to complete.

and to quote our swap hostess, Jessica,

Go here for all the details on how to sign up.
Hope to see one of your cards in the deck I get back!