Category Archives: The frugal artist

Bean Bag Book

Bean bag book

Recently I spent a day traveling. By mid-day I had eaten nothing but the  17 peanuts that the airline offered me, so during a 3 hour layover I set out to find something resembling actual food and ended up with a pretty darn good food court Mexican lunch of a tasty bean and chicken burrito and some reasonably  good chips and salsa.

Detail of bean bag book

Detail of bean bag book

Bean bag book detail

Bean bag book back0001

As I was about to crumple up and toss the paper bag in which my lunch had been served, I saw the polite admonition on the bag to recycle, and instead tucked it between the pages of The Interestings, my travel book of choice that day.

Back at home yesterday I pulled the brown bag from my carry-on and started piddling with it, and by afternoon I had turned the take-out bag into a spur -of- the-moment  journal. I added only odds and ends already in my stash: some blank brown kraft paper pages, a bamboo chopstick, some black rubber bands, a date stamp just for fun, and some color accents from an old gouache paint set of my dad’s.

I’m giving a book-making class a month or so from now. While this one wasn’t completely perfect, I may use it as an example of how to create a nifty little book out of just a few odds and ends.

 

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A belated bit of show and tell–New years greeting

After wrestling with a complicated New Year’s greeting project, a scrap of paper on my work table turned it all into something much simpler, and somehow more satisfying. And who doesn’t need another nice bookmark?

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String of hearts

And a last minute Valentine quickie from a paint chip, pink embroidery thread, a needle and some scissors:

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“Look at me making art!”

Monoprint van gogh's baby by floating ink
Quoth a friend of Second Child’s, who had come over to spend the weekend with us.  On Saturday I made large sheet of gelatin and brought out the watercolors, but the girls came nosing around and I turned the place over to them. SC’s friend, who was not having a good day, really got into making monoprints, and at one point threw her arms up in the air and shouted “Look at me making art!”
Made my whole weekend.
Just over a week later, I suddenly realized I’d stored the gelatin sheet out on the porch inside the gas grill, intending to go back to it on Sunday. Then I forgot it. By the time I retrieved it, the gelatin had frozen and thawed maybe 4 times. and it was really in bad shape. Sort of crumbly. Not good. But before throwing it out,  I got out some sheets of paper and the paints–nothing to lose, right? I ended up with some nice pieces–they’ll be perfect for backgrounds for . . . something. That’s one of them at the top of this post, and another that’s become my current header.

Another stab at organization

Magazine holder close-ups by floating ink
Magazine holder close-ups, a photo by floating ink on Flickr.

The art supplies are taking over the house. In an effort to corral some of the papers and paints, tools, brushes, books, and so on, I spent a little check I got for Christmas on some Ikea shelving. While I was there I also grabbed some of these easy to assemble cardboard magazine holders:

This afternoon I pulled out a huge roll of heavy brown kraft paper, some of my hand carved stamps and some Stayz-on stamp ink, and started working up some covers for the plain white boxes. You can see I used my official weights to hold the curled up paper in place, and the very correct pizza boxes that I use to transport my stamps:*
Within an hour or so I had three neatly covered boxes, the ones you see at the top of this post. I’m pretty chuffed about them.  I’m especially pleased with the scissors stamps, which I made by photocopying my two favorite pairs of scissors, cutting out their paper images, then tracing them onto kids’ craft Foamies (is that what those sheets are called?), cutting them out (with their original real-life counterparts), then using a dead ball point pen to make impressions of their details before stamping with them.

Anyway, I think they look great in the new shelves. If only they didn’t show up the way-overdue-for-fresh-paint walls behind them!

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*Thanks to a generous donation from a friend, I may soon have a much classier way to store and transport the stamps–stay tuned.

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.

 

Don we now our winter apparel

It’s that time of year. After a lovely run of warm fall weather (interrupted by that freakish October snowstorm), the thermostat is creeping down and my collar is creeping up. Time for winter duds. This is me, right this minute, sitting in front of the kitchen fire working at my computer:

Warm hands, warm heart, right?

But I took a look at my kitchen Buddha last night and decided he looked a little chilly, still in his summer robes, bare shouldered and all. I couldn’t do much about the shoulders, but I could at least give him a more seasonal backdrop. So I switched out the playful pink he was wearing in his little nook (an antique sewing machine drawer in which he fits perfectly) backed by a rather frivolous pink and dotty paste paper I made last spring–here, see:

For this more seasonal attire. This is part of a gelatin monoprint I made a few weeks ago. As we slip out of our fall Ango season into the quieter days of winter, it seemed to suit him better. And, you know, since he doesn’t have any mittens . . .

Here’s a little closeup:

By the way, I made this print at an art party you can see more about at my Floating Ink’s Wandering School of Art facebook page.  Be sure to take a look at the photos from that fabulous night.

And stay warm.