Category Archives: collage

Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain

I’ve been working steadily throughout the first 12th of the year and just want to let you know that the art-making has been continual and fairly serious, but there hasn’t really been much to show, for various reasons.  One newly finished mixed media piece was a belated (okay, seriously freaking belated) Christmas present for my mother, which has finally gone out in the mail but which will remain, for the moment, mostly private. The little bit above is a detail from the piece. Here’s another:

The very fetching child in the bottom row is yours truly at about three years of age.  See? I am still working.



Glass ornament on tree

Glass ornament on tree by floating inkI can now show you some of the things I made to give as holiday presents.  Here are some I feel somewhat guilty about, because the first one was heavily inspired by one I saw in a shop. I say only somewhat guilty, because what usually happens when I’m inspired by the work of someone else is that I try hard to reproduce it–figuring out the materials that were used and what techniques were employed to put it together and so on. And then I might make one or two such things–never to sell, but perhaps to give away.

What happens next is that I make yet another of whatever the thing is, but now the thing begins to take on a quite different form. What if I do this instead of that? What if I employed a radically different material that makes the old thing a new thing, or takes it in an unexpected direction? By this point my mind is happily racing ahead and within a few hours I’m off making something that was definitely inspired by the original thing, but which is now something completely new.

Like this:

Glass ornament on tree, a photo by floating ink on Flickr.

Encaustic collage

One minute I’m on a roll, making lots of art and posting pretty often, then–yikes!–there are earthquakes and trips and hurricanes and big bad booms in the middle of the night and . . . STUFF.

And more stuff is coming–travels, work, more travels–so in this wee little interval between one thing and another I thought I’d put up a quick post.

Going visiting tomorrow and hate to show up empty-handed, so this morning I dragged out toys and tools and made a quick encaustic collage to take to my mother. First, though, I took a look at one I made some time ago and don’t think I ever posted (these suckers are freaking hard to photograph, let me tell you–click here to get a better look at it).

I liked what I saw, but this one is a little too dark for Mom, I think. So I plunged in to making a new one, making use, as always, of saved up bits of paper, stamped images from the ones I’ve made, and pretty much whatever was handy. Lately I’ve been saving and printing on tea bag papers, and several of those made their way into this collage (you can also see one under the Ikkyu poem above). That’s especially fitting, I think, since this one is really about tea (again, here for a closer look).

So here ’tis:

Whaddya think? And will the TSA folks let me through security with a piece of art?

That thing that I made you that you don’t know what it is–I don’t know what it is either, but isn’t it awesome?

About this time last year I bought a gigantic plastic storage container at Goodwill. It was filled to the brim with those wonderful plain wooden building blocks for kids.  The old school kind that last forever. Rectangles, squares, cylinders, arches, and those cool wedge-of-cheese shaped blocks. I stowed them in the way-back of my 14 year old Subaru wagon, and didn’t really think of them again until the fates decided about 6 weeks ago that the Subaru’s time had come (I can’t complain: it hit the 250,000 thousand mile mark in June and had never, but never let me down). But it had to be cleaned out in preparation for moving to its new home, and the blocks came to light again and started nagging at me.

And then I needed a present for someone special.  And this was born:

Inspired by a number of different projects, I pulled together various tools and decorated papers–monoprinted, stamped, brush painted, watercolored and so on.  You can actually get a better look at the kind of things that ended up papering the block in these shots. I quite like the little green bit of paper with the fish and tadpoles on it–it has a wonderful (IIDSSM) 3-D look to it, but I assure you, it’s perfectly flat.

And these–the stamp of the little person in the hat was made for another project, but it makes a credible appearance here, I think.

On this block printed strip, which ended up on the front of the bridge, a recently carved fish stamp and a poem by Issa:

fish frolicking
on foot…

I assembled it all with Golden semigloss gel, let it dry (hurrying it along a bit with a heat gun) then covered the whole with a layer of natural colored encaustic medium.  Then I sat watching Top Gear (British version, of course) while I buffed all the surfaces to a nice low-level gloss, kissed it goodbye, and packed it for shipping to the birthday girl.

It’s called Chrysanthemum bridge, but I  still don’t know what it us. Maybe she will.

Wheeee–and a giveaway!

Years ago I received my first ever payment for something I’d written, launching me on my career as a freelance writer, something that still brings in much of the bread that finds its way here. These days I don’t get wildly excited about seeing my name in print unless it’s on the front of a check, but that day, the first day–I actually shook as I opened the envelope and took out real money. Not only was it a godsend for someone who at that time was living hand-to-mouth on a graduate student’s stipend, it was validation that I was a real writer. I think the Tin Woodsman who got a watch in the shape of a big heart from the Wizard of Oz must have felt a lot like I felt that day.

But a few days ago I got a whole new kind of validation: the first ever of my art/craft/right brain efforts to be bought and published in a book came over my doorstep. We’re not quite hand-to-mouth (not often, anyway) any more, but seeing my art projects in a book–a beautiful, clever, realio trulio published craft book (and having a little check to deposit!) offered a whole new kind of validation.

Whipup’s Kathreen Ricketson has brought out two more fantastic books (if you follow Whipup, you’ve seen them there), and was kind enough to include two of my projects in the one on paper crafts. Here’s the book (don’t you love those owls?):

It’s chock full of fantastic crafts for kids, ranging from simple do-it-now crafts that take a few minutes, to more elaborate projects that might take an afternoon. One of my favorites is this two-dimensional alien bookmark–don’t you just want to sit down and make dozens of these?

Or make one of these beautiful-in-their-simplicity stitch bound books?

But the best part is that you can! The publisher, Hardie Grant, has given us contributors some copies to give away to blog readers.

I’ve got two books from this series to give away–one is the Kids’ Crafternoon Papercraft book, and the other is an equally fabulous book full of simple and whimsical sewing projects, Kid’s Crafternoon Sewing.

This one offers 25 kid-do-able tutorials for things like a bunny ears hat for your favorite stuffed animal (or yourself-I have days when I’d love to rock some bunny ears as I go about my errands), a simple but stunning patchwork scarf, an easy pillow version of your favorite pet–any kid who’s handy with (or eager to become handy with) a needle and thread would love this book.

On Tuesday, August 22nd, Kathreen Ricketson, editor of these wonderful books (and others) will be my guest blogger here on Floating Ink, and to celebrate that, I’m giving away a copy of each of these books. I’ll put all the entrant’s names in a hat (actually, one of two hats–one for each Kids’ Crafternoon book) and draw one name from each, then ship the books to the lucky winners. Fine print–I’m afraid I  can only ship to addresses in the continental U.S.

Just leave a comment on this blog between now and August 1, telling me which of the two books you’d like to try to win, and I’ll announce the two winners on August 2 with Kathreen’s blog post. Be sure to include a way for me to get in touch with you in your comment.

For more chances to win, visit the blogs of other contributors to these books who are participating in the blog party to celebrate the books’ publication:

  1. 22 July Poppytalk
  2. 23 July Picklebums
  3. 24 July Little Eco Footprints
  4. 25 July Beaspoke quilts
  5. 26 July Maya Made
  6. 27 July Checkout girl
  7. 28 July The red thread
  8. 29 July We Wilsons
  9. 30 July Maggie Makes
  10. 31 July Mmm Crafts
  11. 1 August Domesticali
  12. 2 August Floating Ink–Me!
  13. 3 August Elizabeth Abernathy
  14. 4 August Mommy Coddle
  15. 5 August The Long Thread
  16. 6 August Hannah Fletcher
  17. 7 August Between the lines
  18. 8 August Go Make Me

And, finally, can I offer a little peek at one of my critters that you’ll find in the Papercraft book? Comic Cat (and her friend Map Pup) make up the Paper Menagerie you’ll find in the book. Wheeee!

Semi-tutorial: Spiffy quick birthday banner

Second child celebrated a birthday recently, and invited 46,342 45 friends to her party (ok, not even quite that many, but several brought dates and possibly several wandered in off the street, so that’s more or less the actual head count). Given the square footage of our house, that’s . . . well, by my calculation, that was about 5 teenagers per square foot.

Happily, they were all reasonably well behaved, and polite, and most of them brought something yummy to eat to add to what we’d prepared (I’d show you pictures, but . . . 46,342 kids versus a number of pans of pasta and chili and ravioli and mac and cheese and pie and cookies and cupcakes and so on, not to mention an ocean of soda and enough chips and candies to pave the way to the moon and . . .the math will clearly demonstrate why there’s nothing left to photograph).

Anyway, about 2 hours before the party I got it into my head that there should be some kind of birthday souvenir for the guest of honor to keep, so I whipped up the banner you see above–neatly hung across the stone face of the kitchen fireplace. Yeah, it gets a little messy over to the right, when it has to pass by and over a hanging bag of onions and a big box of cat food.

I grabbed a yard of lightweight canvas and laid it out across the washer and dryer in the mud room (after pinning a note on the door warning her highness to keep out). I folded it as you see here, so that there would be two fold edges from which to cut pennant shapes.

I quickly gathered up some gesso and several tubes of cheap watercolor, a brayer, a big old paintbrush, and some odds and ends (soda bottle caps, some of those fake credit cards they send you in the mail, a paper plate) and set about painting the canvas in broad strokes, adding some imprints in contrasting colors of the bottle caps and making lines and squiggles with the cards. This is what I got–you can see it here having a quick dry on the clothesline (hint: a windy day is a boon)

Now back to the cutting table (aka the washer and dryer), where I cut the canvas into pennants. The more geometry savvy among you will have figured out that this left me with a bunch of triangles with an edge fold that would drape nicely over the 5 yards of cotton cording I bought for hanging them up but also with some pizza slice shaped pieces with no backs, and some backs with no painted fronts.

Remember, though, this was a quick-and-dirty operation–a few deft moves with a stapler connected the pizza slices to their backs, and I was able to drape all of the pennant shapes over the line. Where they looked like the top photo above.

I brought out markers and pens and crayons and interrupted the din merriment several times to ask everyone to–at some point in the evening–come and leave their mark–a message, a piece of art, a scribbled birthday greeting–and spread the banner on the kitchen table. Kids wandered in and out all night and had a great time signing and drawing and writing poems and advice and loving words, and the birthday girl had a great time the next morning reading and oohing and ahhing over all that love.

I knew I would not be allowed to photograph the thus-embellished banner after it was done, so I was glad I got a few detail shots of the painted fabric before I cut it up. Here are a couple–you can see more (and slightly more detail about making the banner) on my flickr site.

Now, what can we celebrate next so I have an excuse to make another one?

Take heed

This guy (why do we always assume that bare bones folks are all guys?) didn’t quite make it in time to be the Halloween greeting I was counting on, but he was fun to whip up.

The vintage skeleton image came from The Graphics Fairy‘s wonderful blog. You want treasures? She’s got you covered–free vintage and antique images (copyright free!) of everything you can imagine. So that’s that part.

The background is a page from a discarded book on which I’d done some brush paintings of a tea bowl. The painting didn’t really work out, so it went into the scrap pile. At the wonderful ATC party I attended a couple of weeks ago, the pieces all came together.