Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Altered books........I just can't stop

I have been busy working on the studio. I can't decide what the workstations should be like so I am stumbling along slowly. I know I need to have at least three stations. I am going to use my desk for my jewelry bench because it is sturdier than any workbench and has those nice deep drawers to hold tools and metal and such. For my collage and altered books I will have a 4 foot table along one wall but I am not sure what to do for the painting station. I just might set up a square table with my table easel on it and use a rolling cart for supplies. I want to have at least 1/2 of the room for shelves but I don't know what half.
I thought by the time we started putting the wall boards up I would have a plan..think again.
Oh well......
Here are a few pages from the altered books I am working on now. I am trying to stay within a theme for September for each book but I may break out into a ramble at any moment.
The themes I am working on are facing my monsters past and present. That is the page with the "Get a move on" with the crow. I carved the crow stamps yesterday and I am really happy with the way they came out.
The other is the one with "We are the choices we make" and that is examining community and what we are and are not to each other.
The book with the designs and the veiled beauty is one that will just showcase women. It will show them in all their roles. I have decided to use just photos and decorative scroll work in that one and no words. It is kind of a departure for me because I usually start a project by picking out words that move me from my stash of cut up magazines and newspapers.
It is a great way to mine for treasure. I try to sort through the pile at first without any idea what direction I am going in.Then I will notice certain words and phrases from the stash will catch my eye and start me thinking in a new way about something.
This is one of the techniques I use to get my creative juices bubbling. stay tuned for more workshop info. I plan to have at least two a month.
Creating art in a vacuum is much harder and less satisfying. When people come together to create it is a win win situation. I always leave a workshop with far more ideas than I brought with me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Studio Progress

Well the studio is up and running even though it is not complete yet. The insulation is almost complete there is just a bit of the ceiling left to finish.
Of course the electric and air have been running for a few months or I would not be able to work out there at all. It is hot in Texas..even hotter than usual this summer. I usually get out there by 7 or 8 in the morning and then work until lunch. It gets really hot about 1 in the afternoon so I do the inside work then like jewelry and photography of the stuff I need to list.
This weekend they put up 1/2 the wall boards. I got a gallon of paint at the hardware store to paint it so I can put up the shelves. I really won't be able to judge how much room I will have for what until all the shelves are up.
Right now I am making jewelry in my kitchen because I have not set up my workbench out there yet. I have been dabbling with steampunk for years but I have been collecting the parts more than creating the pieces. Now that I am going through all my supplies trying to get some kind of a system to organize it with i just can't resist stopping to make a piece or two every once in a while. I do use gears but I am trying to do less of the gear stuff and more the kind of jewelry that would go with a steam punk look. I like my stuff to have the look that would appeal to the Victorian adventurer types.
I envision a Victorian female Indiana Jones wearing my stuff. I like the reliquaryary and amulet type of pieces and that is what I am aiming toward for the fall. Lots of mixed dark metals with a touch of mystery.
So this is a sampling of what I have made and listed this week. I have made the eye bead amulets before. They are such fun and I always get comments when I wear mine. I don't know if they really scare away the stupid but they do attract the curious....LOL

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I have been making collages for over 30 years I realized the other day. That is a seriously long time. I make them for a while and then like a lot of artists I will set them aside and go on to other mediums like printmaking and painting. But I always go back to it.
I believe the reason I always go back to it is that it brings back that sense of wonder I had as a child. I used to walk around and every where I looked there were interesting shells and magical rocks and all manner of precious ephemera that I would collect in a shoe box I kept under my bed. It seemed like there were treasures everywhere I looked. When you start doing collage you get back that feeling that there is treasure and magic out there everywhere and all you have to do is look.

I realized the other day that I had been altering books long before it was popular. When I was a child we would fold down one side of the pages of an old phone books and spray paint them green to make Christmas trees and when I was in my early teens my brother and I cut the middle out of a couple of books to make a hiding place for our transistor radios so we could smuggle them into school. Yes we were not the nicest little darlings......

One of the reasons I love altered books is that collage works very nicely with it. I like that I can print, paint or use my collage in it and also put all my thoughts in one place. I make sure I finish at least a page a day. I started with board books a quite few years ago but I have done a few altered hardcovers. The hardbacks are a little trickier and keeping the pages from buckling is a chore. But there are so many things you can do with them that it is really worth the trouble.

I have been doing a page a day for the last few months and I ma still amazed at all the options out there to alter the pages. Like I said this kind of creating brings out that sense of wonder that you seem to lose just by growing up. I am in heaven when I am creating collage and altered books.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Art Workshop
The Altered Book
Saturday September 17th, 2011

This is a one day workshop in a small studio in La Porte Texas. We will be exploring the many ways you can transform an old book into a work of art or a personal journal to contain your thoughts, dreams and artwork. The class size is very small so there will be plenty of one on one assistance to start you on your way to create your one of a kind art piece.

We will explore collage, texture, painting, drawing and printing. We will also touch on choosing paper, words, images and assorted ephemera to express yourself. This workshop will provide you with the techniques and inspiration you need to explore the world of altered books. You should at the end of the day have a started book with many ideas for completing it.

This workshop is designed to work for the complete beginner or to spark the creativity of the experienced artist. I have a degree in art and have taught and attended quite a few workshops and found I was never so empowered and inspired as I was right after attending a creative workshop.

Date: Saturday September 17th, 2011
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Location: La Porte Texas

Message me for information about attending the Workshop. Space is very limited so let me know soon.

I am listing items on etsy and artfire again. I love the steampunk look and have been trying to design jewelry that would work well as accessories to that style but not use the ever popular gears and wings in them. I had to pair down my first two designs and then I scrapped them completely. While looking through my bead stash I came across a small package of 6 beads that I picked up at the bead show. they were iridescent almost opal with a black net over them. I just adored them and I realized they would look great for the project I was working on. They give that touch of Victorian mourning look that melds with the antiqued copper to give the steam punk accessory look I am looking for.
I love the designs and they would look great as accessories for Steam punk, Goth or Victorian and also add just the touch of funk to a modern outfit.