Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Valley Of The Dolls - My First Challenge Blog Entry

A challenge blog is what it says really - a blog that sets challenges at regular intervals, usually with a prize for the winner. There are loads to choose from on every subject imaginable, so go explore!

I was plunged into the world of challenge blogs this year when Artist Trading Post, (one of my fave shops), sponsored Alter It Monthly, (an altered art challenge blog), in June.

The theme at Alter It Monthly in July was "Valley of the Dolls".  The idea was to alter a doll/doll's head or feature dolls in your art somehow. Initially I was stumped but then I had a couple of ideas. I only managed to complete one in time to enter it, the other I shall complete at a later date.
My completed  Canvas - "Valley Of The Dolls"
My entry was a canvas depicting my vision of what the "Valley of the Dolls" might look like. Nature distorted and slightly creepy. A twisted, gnarly, copper tree from which hang the heads of dolls growing upon its branches, its leaves bearing ominous warning messages to any passer by, broken miniature dolls with butterfly wings, and a row of paper dolls, like flowers growing beneath the tree.

The Raw Materials ( didn't use everything in the end)
For the sky I used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Sailboat Blue and mixed it with Perfect Pearls in Forever Blue. I used wet wipes to blend it until I got a colour I like and then sprayed Perfect Pearl Mist in Turquoise over the top.
For the Sun I  used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Sunset Orange and Perfect Pearl Mist in Sunflower Sparkle and mixed them together and blotted until I was happy with the look.
For the grass I used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Lettuce and Meadow and blended with wet wipes. Then sprayed Perfect Pearl Mist in Sunflower Sparkle over the top.

Tip for beginners, cover the rest of the canvas while you spray, otherwise you end up with droplets of colour all over your canvas and not just in the areas you intended.
Sky, Sun, Clouds and Grass

For the clouds I used the circles stamp from Tim Holtz's Psychedelic Grunge plate and Ranger Dabber paint in Pearl. I used different parts of the stamp and grouped it together to make my stylized clouds.
To add more detail to the grass I used the "squiggly" stamp from Tim Holtz's Rockstar plate and Pine Needles Distress Ink, and stamped it along the bottom of the canvas.
Tip: stamps come out less defined on canvas unless you use paint.
Twisted Metal
The tree I made from twisting together several strands of  copper wire to make branches. The branches were then twisted together to form the actual tree,with the ends of the branches untwisted to form twigs.
I did this using my bare hands as pliers removed some of the copper from the wire and I really wanted the copper effect intact.
Combining to build the tree
However, I would recommend using gloves as I got lots of metal splinters embedded in my hands and plenty of scratches.
Plus do it in stages, as I spent a whole day continuously twisting metal wire together and my hands totally cramped up and wouldn't uncurl. Never let it be said I don't suffer for my art lol!

Doll Heads Before Hair
 The doll heads were large wooden beads that I altered. I painted them all over with Ranger's Pearl Dabber paint. Then using the Pitch Black Dabber paint and Cranberry Dabber paint I painted on little faces. I used embroidery thread for the hair. I used Tiger Tail jewellery wire, (not actually made from the tails of tigers in case you were wondering), to hang the heads on the tree.

Creepy Message Leaves
I used Tim Holtz Adage Tickets and Journaling Tickets and Tim Holtz Lost And Found Salvage Stickers, to create my creepy leaves. I cut them to look like leaves and inked them with Shabby Shutters Distress Ink.
Doll Picture
I also used an image of a doll from a sheet of Graphic 45 paper Playtimes Past Alphabet Games.

I cut out a chain of paper dolls. I then covered their bodies using lots of different pieces of Tim Holtz Tissue Paper Tapes. This was quite fiddly and time consuming but provided an interesting end result. I then inked them with Distress Inks to add colour.
Paperdolls Inked and Mounted
I cut out the word Paperdolls from the Graphic 45 sheet Playtimes Past Alphabet Games, inked it with Distress Ink and then glued it over the legs of the middle two dolls.
I inked the dolls' faces and drew on eyes nose and mouth, then used some of the left over embroidery thread for hair.

Frozen Charlotte Butterfly Dolls
The butterfly dolls were made using Tim Holtz Frozen Charlotte Dolls and The Tim Holtz Sizzix Movers and Shapers Mini Butterflies Die. The butterflies were cut from a sheet of Tim Holz Vintage Shabby Paper Stack. I used two sets of butterflies for each doll to add dimension and to emphasize how distorted nature is here. I covered the dolls in Perfect Pearls in Forever Blue and sprayed with Perfect Pearl Mist in Turquoise and Perfect Copper. I also sprayed some of these mists onto the butterfly wings.

Finally I added some funky button flowers to add to the distorted nature effect.

Monday, 22 August 2011

My First Creative Journey Workshop...."Mini Holtz Holiday"

The whole gang hard at work.
Arty chaos :)

This was a mixed media art workshop run by Anneliese Bates of Creative Journey Workshops. It took place in a pretty little village called Clifton in Derbyshire on Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd May 2011. 

This was my first mixed media art workshop and I was the only newbie. Everyone was so patient and helpful that this wasn't a problem. I had lots of fun with some really cool people! 

The workshop centred around a range of products designed by a man called Tim Holtz and some of the techniques Anneliese learned from Tim Holtz himself, in America! 

We made 9 big tags, designed by Anneliese. Each tag demonstrated a different technique. We had a kit for each tag containing the elements we would need. Anneliese led us through each tag and technique step by step. We chose which colour inks we used, which stamps we used and where. 

 To house our 9 beautiful tags we each designed our own pages upon which the tags would be mounted.  We each had several card pages and four pieces of canvas.

At Anneliese's suggestion I used the Vagabond Die Cutting and Embossing machine to emboss designs into my sheets of canvas, I chose clocks and cogs, very steampunk!! I didn't have time to complete my pages and mini book during the workshop so will do this at home. Photos of the completed pages and mini book to follow soon, till then enjoy what I did at the workshop :)

 We also folded a sheet of paper from the Tim Holtz range into a "mini pocket book" to house some mini tags we made. We had complete free creative reign on the mini tags, to do whatever our hearts desired! 
Mmmm lunch! Square pizza day!
Creative fuel, chocolate biscuits :)

We had plates of yummy chocolate biscuits on the table while we worked, fab music to listen to and for lunch each day we were greeted by a magnificent spread!! Anneliese's daughter Saskia kept us all supplied with hot drinks. We were very well looked after!
Anneliese and Saskia Bates, and myself.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My Journey Begins...

I've always enjoyed being creative, so one of my favourite websites was Hobbycraft. One day, as I was browsing, I came across some new product ranges I'd not seen before. One of these was by Tim Holtz, distressed/altered/grunged guru to many who enjoy altered / mixed media art. I fell in love with the edgy style of his products, so scoured the web for more.

I came across a great art and craft supplies website Artist Trading Post . They had a section featuring workshops they were running, lead by a lovely lady called Anneliese Bates.

Anneliese is Ranger certified, which means she went to America and trained under Tim Holtz, Suze Weinberg and Claudine Helmuth directly. When she's not running them for Artist Trading Post, Anneliese runs her own workshops under the name Creative Journey Workshops.

In May of this year Anneliese ran a workshop based purely on all things Tim Holtz. When I saw this I had to book a place on that weekend workshop! I'm glad I did, it was so much fun. Very friendly and relaxed. Regardless of how experienced or artistic you are, all are welcomed, encouraged and supported. So began my love affair with altered art / mixed media art, I was hooked!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Welcome To My Dream

I have recently entered the world of altered art/mixed media art and challenge blogs, thus it has become necessary to create a home for my projects. This dear reader is that home, so dream with me as you browse my humble creations :)