Last week I was mentioning that I was stuck. I had looming homework deadlines and I was trying to create a valentine piece for “Valentine for Aids” hosted for the last 18 years by a funky, artsy coffee house downtown. I’ve been invited the last 4 years to submit. I should have said no, passed on this opportunity. But I feel that I have given up a lot of things I really love in order to juggle my family, job, and school.
Here is my final piece:
I had this collection of things sitting on my work table for nearly a week, moving them, stacking them, unable to break my need to use them!
The photo is one of my great uncle and his wife and is part of a stash of photos I found in the box that my grandma had given me before she died. What’s remarkable is the obvious affection there is between these two people, these are no staged, grim looking poses. These are candids of two people who loved each other. The story of them was a bit of a scandal and a mystery in the family I was told. I only have pieces of the story but she was nearly 20 years older than him and he was barely over 20. As I worked on this piece I thought about making a book about them and creating my own “memories” of them. This is an idea that I’m working on even now.
The coin purse is from a collection my father in law gave me when he was helping to clean out the house of an elderly neighbor who had no children.
Found items: memories made, and so memories found kept coming to my mind, these things were telling me the story of a couple on a special day and I could imagine the woman saving the leaves she found and pressing them in a book, saving his letters.
I could imagine it sitting on her dresser slowly aging as she remembered the time of this picture. I scratched in the wet top layers of the paint imagined memories she might have had of him, of their time together.
Overall, I really loved this piece. It’s a love story. As I went to the artist reception this week I had butterflies in my stomach, worried that my piece would be less art and more “craft”, or that it would stand out as so obviously bad compared to all of the other pieces.
But I went, alone as my husband had to take the girl to ballet and do something with the boy.
Even though I felt isolated and lonely, I wandered the shop to see all of the art displayed. And there, on the main wall at eye level was my piece, it looked lovely, and I got the same little thrill when I’ve seen something I’ve created on walls other than my own house.
It was unique, the colors were soft, and no other piece had a coin purse on it.
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Posted in vintage photos on January 28, 2011|
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I’m working on piece right now that is for a Valentines Art Auction for Aids at a local coffee shop that I have been invited to the last five years.
I’ve painted, I’ve gathered little bits of this and that. And I’m still stuck. But I really want to assemble something with this group of things: I like the idea of love found, like finding a favorite leaf or an old letter.
It’s due tomorrow.
And I know I should have turned this done when I received the invite, but this is the one thing I haven’t given up while I’m working, being a mommy, and graduate student.
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I have many, many old family photos. Somehow I became the un-official family historian. Partly because I enjoy old photos and the stories they contain, and partly because I enjoy scrap booking. I spent many hours with my grandma, listening to her tell stories from when she was in the military, about history about everything. When she passed away right after Christmas last year at the age of 93 I was entrusted with the task of writing her obituary and life sketch for her funeral. Long before she passed away she gave me boxes of old photos and scrapbooks that I have been going through slowly, scanning and sharing with my family. For some time I have wanted to start scrap booking these to record these stories that she told me. Here are a a couple.
Joining the WAC (Women’s Auxiliary Corp)
With old photos, especially military I find that keeping it simple is best. For this photo that tells a little of the story about why she joined up, I used a scrap from an American flag that had been distressed.
Next, I kept the same kraft base, added this scrap of green and kraft paper along with a scanned copy of an article from her hometown newspaper that published a story about her commendation and a letter she wrote home to her mother. It’s a beautiful letter, and it shows the love she had for this country and how thankful she was to be born an American.
A very lovely lady, and my personal hero.
Thanks for letting me share a bit about her.
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Recently I have put aside my card making to pick up my brushes and start painting again. I’ve been inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts and the journal style of Teesha Moore who I just recently discovered. On her site she has a great tutorial for making a handmade art journal with great instructions and images. I’ve always wanted to take a book making class and I’ve attempted handmade books in the past with varying degrees of success but this tutorial looked like something I could do. Whenever I find something new I want to try (like a sewing project) I tend to scan through the pics and instructions and think yeah, I can do that but I don’t need to follow step by step instructions 🙂 This may be why my sewing projects don’t turn out like they should! Anyway, I liked the idea of the string binding with the stings coming though the spine (this has technique a name?) and I liked using watercolor paper since I have a lot. I didn’t have some of the other items so I thought I’d start with the string binding and see how it evolved. I used one large watercolor paper sheet that I just ripped until I got a size I wanted, I ended up with 8 pieces.
My instructions are very loosely based on Teesha’s and a few other sites I found online. I make no claims that these are the most original or best instructions out there. And I admit it’s pretty red-neck to use masking tape but hey, I was out of duct tape!
Here’s the supplies:
-Watercolor paper 11 x 7.5 in, folded in half
-Foam core board: 2 pieces 7.5 x 5.5, and one piece 1/2 x 7.5 in (or any other stiff material, this is what I had)
-liquid adhesive, I used a bottle of PVA bookbinding glue that was a gift from a friend (gotta love a gift like that!)
-scrapbook, wrapping, or other paper for cover
-ribbon and other favorite embellishments
1) rip or cut interior pages to size, fold in half
2) space our 5 holes with a pencil, hold with clips and punch holes in folded pages
3) Measure and cut w/knife and ruler foam core board pieces
4) Lay foam core pieces together with small space in between each space. Next tape pieces together.
5) cut a strip of paper 1.5 x 8.5 glue strip to outer spine, wrapping around the inside
6) cut cover pieces, glue to front and back covers, and inside if you want.
7) cut a 1/2 in strip to cover the tape of the inside spine
Now to assemble pages:
-disclaimer, I tried Teesha’s instructions and looked at a few other sites, sort of followed, but kind of made up my own technique based very loosely on a blanket stitch. I also learned that a “signature” is a bundle of a few pages that are bound together before being bound into the whole book.
1) place two folded pages together with the holes lined up, start a blanket stitch, leaving a long tail if you don’t it’s a pain to fix it later, trust me
2) continue to stitch pages together, tie off a knot at the end and leave a a long tail
3) punch two small holes in the top and bottom of the book spine
4) stack all the pages, take half of the strings though one hole, and then the other. Tie off in a knot on outside of book. Repeat for other end. Here you could add some beads or something.
Now finish embellishing your cover.
Here’s my finished journal.
I used a printed collage sheet (by Rusty Pickle) that I’ve held onto for a few years, I added a strip of “wish” tickets, a saying printed on vellum, a book plate with the word passion, a metal photo turn type thing used to close my journal with ribbon, and a wire heart that I made.
I admit it’s pretty rough, and not the prettiest thing I’ve made, but I’m pretty happy with it. Now if only I could get inspired enough to use it!
Thanks for looking!
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