Thursday, March 27, 2008

Catherine Feeny

OMG... a non art-related post! *gasp*

I've been haunted by a musical artist. Catherine Feeny's voice has been haunting my thoughts, and i feel a pull every time i hear her song 'Mr. Blue.' This is my shout out to all of you that you should totally check out her myspace page here. Her songs 'Mr. Blue' (from the soundtrack to the amazing movie 'Running with Scissors') and 'The Shape You're In' are fabulous :). Here is the link to her youtube video.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A soft, fuzzy purchase :)

So, on a whim, i went to a store here called Golden Willow Natural Fiber. I saw from their window display they had bright bright colours of dyed fuzzy fibery soft stuff... how could i resist? I swear, i love picking up supplies as much (maybe more?) than i love using them! I am building up quite the collection!

So, i wandered in. What do i see but fiber arts magazine, with back issues? I have seen others discussing this magazine, or tooting being published within, and i simply had to pick up a copy :).

After wandering around some, i saw that the majority of what they had was yarn. Now, yarn is all very nice and whatnot, and theirs did look to be of VERY high quality, but it just didn't call to me (i have tried knitting... it wasn't pretty). However, the bins, bags and jars of the soft fluffy unspun wool immediately shouted my name. After going for a fabulous tactile experience of burying my hand in many different bins of unspun wool, i knew i had to have some. The lady there showed me around, and talked to me about dyes and such. In the end, i walked out with a bunch of unspun wool, emerald green dye and a fabric arts magazine. I thought i was also walking out with a felting needle, but apparently i was mistaken and that was left at the store. I think i will try out dying the wool, and maybe do a bit of research into felting before i go back to buy the needle, since i can see me needing other things from there in the future anyways.

So, to end off this post, here are pictures of me 'voguing' with my new wool, and other purchases from the store. Thanks to Ray for taking the shots :) I do believe this is the first pic i have posted here (since making it an art blog) that is of more than just my hands, so this may help you to put a face to the blog lol.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another ATC finished

So, a quick break from soldering... back to photo editing. In return for a totally gorgeous ATC of hers, a fellow atc'er asked me to make her an atc using photo manipulation, similar to my 'scratched door' atc i'd made previously.

So i went for a walk, taking some pics. My favorite ones were of the trees, stark and bare from the winter, reaching towards the sky. I took a bunch of pics of this, and choose my favorite.

I used photoshop to brighten the colours, edit out the other tree's branches that invaded the shot, and then played with the filters. The ending result was a very stark tree, against a blue white background with black ground. I loved it :)

After printing it off (assuring the print shop that no, they didn't mess up the colours and yes, i only wanted it to fill 2.5 by 3.5 of the photo and leave the rest blank) I played with bleach. Bleach does really neat things with photos. All the red and yellow ground here, and the red and yellow on the tree, were done with bleach. After bleaching, i sanded the sky, painted it fiery colours and sanded again. Voila! My ATC is done :). I wonder which of these three she will choose, and like best? One of them will be going to a good home with her, one of them i am keeping and the third is going to the Mackenzie Art Gallery for my submission of 6 ATC's for ATC day next month :) How exciting!

One committed swap down... only two more to go! Just got to (finally) finish off the altered domino. Waiting on the print shop on that one :) I'll show pics of it when i am finished. Also just signed up for an altered matchbox swap using swapbot. Need to make a spring themed matchbox.... How fun :) Now i just got to somehow find a 32 count matchbox. Ray said he'd pick me one up today.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

First Soldering Charm Success :)

Yay! I finally have a charm that turned out like it should. I have experienced soldering success :)

I learned a number of lessons from my last experience soldering:

1. It is important to burnish down the copper tape or it will just peel back and crispify and such

2. The blow torch is too strong. It turns the tape into a burnt, discoloured crisp and makes the glass smoky.

3. It is important to not only wrap the two pieces with copper tape individually, but to also wrap them together with another layer. Otherwise they are too difficult to hold with pliers, they move when you don't want them to and the image inside gets burnt to a crisp.

4. 'Soldering irons' that cost 2.50 are not sufficient. A glue gun gets hotter than that piece of crap :p

So, I kept all these lessons in mind. I went out and bought a soldering iron that works today. I burnished down the copper tape, used the new soldering iron, wrapped the two pieces together and checked it out.

As you can see by the pictures along the side, this turned out FAR better than the burnt mess i tossed out from my previous experience. I really like the picture i have inside here. I clipped the pic from a book at an ATC meeting. The bg is a piece of map that i also grabbed from the meeting. They have the most wonderful stuff to look through at the meetings! I feel so blessed to have a great group like this here in my hometown. I am also fairly pleased with the texture to the solder. It is not perfectly smooth, but it is fairly smooth, and definitely a pleasure to touch :)

So, I have remedied the problems from the previous time, but still have some more lessons i learned through this time:

1. I suck at cutting glass straight. The pieces were not even. This did not RUIN the piece, but it would have been better with even sides. I think i need a better glass cutting tool (better than my 7$ one...) but don't want to spend a bunch of money on it.

2. When wrapping the individual pieces with copper tape, make sure you know which side is the inside, and which is the outside. Make sure the inside is not longer than the outside, unless you want a bunch of copper tape showing inside. Best to make the inside far thinner than the outside. A little is ok, but i think this one had too much copper tape showing.

3. Do not leave soldering iron in one place for too long. The glass will crack. (see photo with red circle marking crack. I was so sad when this happened. I glued the hook on top of part of it, but the rest of it is still visible. I don't think it highly affects the integrity of the piece, as it seems to be holding together fine. However, i don't like the look of the crack along the back there.

4. Gel medium does not glue copper to glass. Crazy glue works far better. Luckily, no damaging results or lowered quality from this one, just had to redo the gluing.

So, all in all, i would call this a success! The end result shows my newb status, but still is something i can be proud of. I will only get better from here (I hope...).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First large work finished!!!

This is an accomplishment for me... i have just recently finished my first art piece that was larger than an ATC! Just a couple days ago, i finished a mixed media piece that was 8 by 8 inches :).

I just recently got hold of Sally Jean Alexander's book "Pretty Little Things". I am really enjoying her work. I am slowly working my way through, savoring each page as i go. So far, i have especially enjoyed her discussion of a collage creation technique. In this, she said to have 10 different techniques ready at hand. You then choose techniques at random from these 10, and do them in the order chosen.

So, for this, my 10 techniques i chose were slightly different than the ones she suggested. Mine were: acrylic, ink, oil pastel, sandpaper, collaged text, collaged image (photo, clipped etc), collaged paper, charcoal, watercolour and glaze. I cut a piece of watercolour paper to an 8 by 8 size. I then wrote all 10 techniques on a journaling page. I chose the techniques using the 'close your eyes and point' method.

Here is the order i ended up with:

1. Stamp (added faces and umbrella stamps)
2. Ink (splattered blue ink all over bg, didn't like how it turned out)
3. Acrylic (added a variety of colour spots in the background, added brown around face and three umbrella stamps. Didn't like colour spots)
4. Acrylic (painted over colour spots with a dark teal colour, much better in my mind)
5. Ink (used india ink to make lines and outlines on the page)
6. Glaze (added glaze of blue over green in bg
7. Oil pastel (added brown colour splotch)
8. Oil pastel (added word 'rain?' on brown splotch)
9. Text (ripped and glued paper frame around umbrella stamp)
10. Watercolour (added blue colour in white spots on canvas where stamps are.

So, there you have it. My first (somewhat) larger piece. I'm not saying it's huge or anything, it's only 8". But for me, that's a big step in the right direction :).

I'm not sure i would use this technique as a regular means of creating art, what with the media usage being so random. I don't like the way that you can't really plan as effectively where you are going with the piece, in some ways it somewhat distances you. However, as an exercise for playing with how different media go together, i find it perfect. The options for different media are endless. You could do this with a larger photo bg, and use things like 'bleach' or 'sand' and such instead of other methods. Although i do feel it distances you from your art and lessens the possibilities for both planning and creativity, it is also an enjoyable way of creating art where there is less pressure of the 'blank canvas' and less wondering what to do.

Wouldn't it be fun to try something like this, where a bunch of people make a collaborative list of different techniques/media and create art in this way for a swap or even simply a challenge? I'd love to try something like this. Maybe i will host something like this here on my blog? I wonder what kind of response i'd get? :) I think i'll just throw the idea out there now, and if you would be interested in something like this drop me a quick comment or something. :) If you are interested, would you want to do this as a challenge, with a prize for the a random participator, with maybe something small for each person who participates? Or would you prefer to have this as a swap, where we trade art? Let me know what you are thinking.

Come on, don't be shy :) :) :) I don't bite.... hard....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

'Get your butt in gear and finish the darn work' challenge

While this is not the official title for the challenge, this is how i view Jen Worden's challenge for this week. And even with the poke in the butt by the challenge, i was still a day late hahaha. Oh well. Luckily for me, her challenge was running late too so i was able to submit my piece for the challenge.

I have just recently stumbled upon DJ Pettit's blog. I find her work to be fabulously inspiring. She is absolutely fantastic at incorporating sewing into her art. I was in awe especially of her one painting of a woman posted on March 5th. If you're having trouble finding the post or something (though it is quite easy to find), here is a link to the pic.

I started this piece some time ago... i would say that i started it about 4 or 5 months ago, if not more. Then life happened. However, with my fresh reminder and inspiration by DJ, i decided to finish this one for the challenge.

This piece was created with watercolours on watercolour paper, and then stitched with my sewing machine. I believe the original inspiration came from a cloth paper scissors magazine?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Soldering Screw-ups

So, another gorgeous day today. Decided to try my hand at soldering my newly created charms from last night. All the glass was carefully and neatly cut (spraying little glass chips all over...oops sorry ray). The images for inside were carefully selected and cropped out. The glass pieces were individually wrapped in copper tape... i was ready to go.

Here is an example of how it looked pre-soldering, in all it's cuteness:

So i took everything outside and got set up. Got the blowtorch going with no problems, was a simple matter of using the bbq lighter instead of matches. So i tried holding the two halves together with needle nose pliers. Which is where i met with my first problem. I couldn't hold them in the middle of the charm because of the pliers angles. And if i held to the left or right, it would hold that side lower down than the other and they weren't even. After wrestling for a while with the charm halves and the pliers, we met with a very precarious equilibrium.

So, it took some time but the copper tape heated up nicely enough for the solder to melt... ooops forgot the flux! Had to turn off the torch and paint the flux on, which sizzled satisfyingly. Then got going. But the problem now is that the inside of the glass, especially where the paper butterfly was glued on with glue stick, turned black, smoked a lot and crumbled. Guess even with it held together it didn't work out. And then in the end the glass went kind of black, the copper tape crisped up and the stained glass cracked. Ok... this didn't go so well. Here are the results. It was terrible.

I think i will give myself a day to relax, and then try again tomorrow. but next time, i will tape the two pieces TOGETHER so the flame/smoke/heat can't get inside as easily and so that i won't have the pliers problem. If you look at the pics above, you will see i have also copper taped them together now. But now I'm not sure why the solder is necessary, since the tape is adequately holding them together. However, i love the look of solder...

I see that Sally Jean Alexander's book 'Pretty Little Things' that i have been drooling over at Chapters is in the library. That works well for my limited budget. I'll tie myself over with the library copy, and then ask for it for my birthday :). That's a good plan... or just to love it so much that i go out and buy it anyways. hahaha. We'll see how much i NEED it after borrowing it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Post number three

This is the third (or first, from your perspective on the blog order) post for today, since i had a huge amount of things to talk about and just decided it would be better to split it up into three posts of focused topics. I finally have time to get caught up here on my blog, since i had the afternoon off work today (no subbing needed this afternoon :) ). Relaxing, blogging and art fun for me this afternoon instead of work!!

A couple posts ago i promised to post pics of the journal i finished off for a Swapbot swap. This journal is the pictures you see along side this post. I was to alter a journal, adding a cover and a number of inside pages but leaving most of it blank for the recipient to use as they deem fit. After a number of failed attempts at other ideas, i decided to have a collage type, Roy Lichtenstein themed journal for them. For the front and back cover, i first collaged strips of newspaper. I then used a water slide transfer of squares of Lichtenstein's art. The back cover, i added a wash of gold ink under the transfer.

On the inside, i collaged strips of ripped velum onto cardstock. I then pasted a print of a Lichtenstein piece on each cardstock piece.

I really hope that the recipient enjoys my journal i made then :). I can't wait to recieve mine from the swap.

Soldering Experience

As you can see, i am posting a lot today. I guess i just feel like i have a lot to say today. Haha. The previous post was getting too long, and i had a new topic, so i thought I'd just make a new post. Along the sides here, as i post, are the soldering project i started.
A couple days ago, the weather was simply beautiful out (it is again today :) ). The sky was blue, it was above 0 degrees (0 degrees Celsius is just above freezing, for my american friends) and there wasn't a breath of wind. I decided it was finally time to try out my new soldering iron, various metals, solder kit and blow torch. I had bend my copper pipe into a square type shape (very loose definition of square here lol) and needed to solder the two ends together.

At first, since i had never used any of the tools, i decided to start with mine 'nice' small little soldering iron. I was sorely disappointed. I swear, my glue gun gets hotter than this thing does! I could fully grab the tip with my hand after it has been plugged in for 20 minutes already (while i frequently burn myself with my glue gun). The thing was no where NEAR the temperatures it would need to melt the solder. Sigh.

Next I tried the blow torch, since the iron was a bust. 2 packs of matches later, i still couldn't get the stupid thing lit hahha. I asked for the help of my extreemely handy landlord, and he was able to show me how to light the torch (a match just doesn't cut it, apparantly) and he showed me the technique and such.

So the two pictures you've seen along the way are of the copper pipe Todd and I soldered together. I first bend the 'flexible' (but still so very hard and rigid!) copper pipe into shape. I then pounded on it a bunch with my huge wrench (thanks again uncle bob haha) to somewhat flatten it and add interest to the texture. We then heated it with the blow torch, and soldered the two together. I am fairly pleased with how this is going so far. Next i need to glue on wire mesh, as a backing. I am following the inspiration from the frame from Summerset Studios magazine, shown a couple posts back.

All over the map? Need to somehow connect these dots.

I feel lately like i've been pulled in a million directions. I am absolutely loving creating art lately in the past couple months, to the extend that i feel like i can't decide even where to start. I would say 'mixed-media artists' would be the best way to describe me, emphasis on the 'mixed'. I can't seem to choose or focus on any area. The list of diferent media i would love to do seems so long and varied.

List of those i've tried:

Textile art, using stitching both by machine and by hand
Acrylic painting
Oil pastels
Coloured pencils
Paper folding/paper craft
Wreath making/weaving
Photography/photo altering
Digital art
Image transfering
Altered books and journaling
Wire art

(... and these are just the ones i've tried already, not all the ones that catch my fancy. I'm sure encaustic art is not that far off from joining this list either, nor is feltmaking or paper making. Both are facinating to me as well.)

And the latest addition: glass art. Specifically, stained glass and clear glass. This is my latest interest now, i just went to this FABULOUS stained glass store and found myself completely enchanted. I loved touching the bumpy, bubbled glass...looking through all the different colours and textures available... it was wonderful. I couldn't resist buying a glass cutter, some copper tape (my entire reason for going there, for soldering purposes), and some small pieces of glass. The man there was so very nice too. I walked in, and was immediately reminded of being back in the midevil (sp?) towns i toured with my parents in germany. Wood and glass, everywhere, with classical music in the background. Two old men speaking german/hungarian/polish/? (sorry... don't know but something from that region) at the front of the store. One was so very helpful. He helped me find a glass cutter i could affort, the best copper tape for my project and gave me space to just look around. The other did not speak english, but was generous enough to share his chocolate easter eggs. I was completely enchanted by the store. The owner was kind enough to show me how to use the glass cutter and everything. This was a shopping experience walmart couldn't ever provide in my wildest dreams. The convenience of big box stores is alluring, but the experience is highly lacking. They were even nice enough to throw in a couple pieces of extra clear glass and mirror to practice on before using my nicer, harder to cut glass. The pic shows the stained glass and copper tape i picked out :)

So, now that i have this glass, what on earth will i do with it? I have a couple ideas perculating in my mind... maybe making charms with stained glass backing and clear glass front, with a picture of some kind inside? Soldered together using the copper tape? I can just see it now :). Now if only i can get the hang of soldering well enough to do this project. Or even lighting the torch. But will the torch mar the glass? I hope not. My soldering iron is completely useless... my glue gun gets hotter than it does. I guess that's what you get when you buy a 4$ soldering iron hahaha.

As i was saying earlier, i have what i see as fairly varied interests in mediums. What i need to do is find projects that tie together a couple of the interests. Projects such as the frame i found in Summerset Studios magazine a couple posts ago. I need to find a way to 'connect the dots' from my projects from all over the map. I think one way to do this may be to begin creating 'charms' and such using a couple of the different techniques. The idea of charms have always fascinated me, with the beautiful pictures/objects sandwiched between two pieces of glass. I guess i will just wait and see where this takes me? I find myself quite excited.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Busy week

How time flies! I look at the last date here, and i see that it was a full week ago! This week seems to have gone by so quickly. I have been keeping very busy with work, and my art as well.

Have created two new ATC's this week. I am a little behind in my trades, owe a couple people atc's so these will go directly to them. I am pleased with how they both turned out.

This one was started a couple months ago. I saw this really cool art project where the artist nailed a bunch of hearts to a board. It looked so cool that i had to try the nailing myself. I went out and bought some cool blue nails, and i 'nailed' a paper heart to the paper bg (essentially, i poked the nail through both of them). I like the way the heart sort of spins on the nail. I then left it for a couple months, knowing that i needed to do something more with the bg before it could be done. After trying pastels at the ATC swap meeting, i figured that would be a cool medium to use.

So, yesterday i finally went to the only professional artist store in town. 'Colours' is wonderful, as it has great customer service, good selection and top quality suplies. They do tend more towards the 'fine arts' perspective, but that is to be expected. I can't imagine there are much for 'mixed media art' stores in existance, especially because you can usually find everything you need at the fine art type combined with a hardware or antique store (for me that is). Still haven't been able to find walnut ink anywhere.... hmmm. I'll have to look deeper into that one.

But i did find a variety of other fun things at the store. Bought myself a set of oil pastels i'd had my eye on, a new brush, some watercolour paper and some foam board (cheap for 50 cents!). I came home and played with my new pastels, and this atc is what came of it :)

This is another one that started from an inspiration of a work by Bridgette Guerzon Mills. I love her work, with all the colours blended yet present and distinct, and the awesome texture she uses. I'd love to try using wax like she does for her encaustic art. Just another project perculating that i will one day spend a bunch of money on suplies :). Can't wait hahah.

In this one, i created the texture with a really clumpy, bumpy coat of gesso mixed in with the first layer of paints. I really like the texture that this gives... even poor quality gesso is good for something hahaha. I had created this earlier with muted pastel tones, and then i took it to be critiqued with the artist guild i have joined. The main thing that she said was that the pastels were too light, especially if i wanted to add a bold red with the cape (in the end the cape wasn't as bold as i'd hoped but i still like it). I added more layers of bolder greens and blues, and i much prefer the final product there.

As for future projects, i am still working on making an altered domino. They have asked for it to follow a Marilyn Monroe theme. I think i will go with a warhol style. His exhibit is in town right now. I am looking forward to seeing it tommorow. Will blog about it most likely :).

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Haul is what my boyfriend calls it when he find a really good action figure thingy (he is a collector). Well, today i had my own haul. I went shopping today! (pic from I have really been enjoying the book "Altered Curiousities" that i briefly mentioned in the last post. May of the things are relating to making shrines and jewlery there, and almost all of them involve soldering. It just seemed like too much fun.... how could i continue to miss out on all this?? :) I went out and checkout her blog. It's facinating... a tattoo gun as art suplies. How awesome is that??? Check it out here.

I went through the book and made a wish list of things i wanted from there. Here was my list after i was done:

copper pipes and pipe cutter
soldering set - screen, stand, torch, solder and flux
resin - Envirotex lite
patina solution
thin pieces of metal, easily cut with scissors? (if such things exist)

So, i was talking with a friend of mine Colin about this last night. I was bemoaning the fact that i was without soldering equipment and didn't even know where to start about getting it. Being a heavy duty mechanic training to be a technician, Colin is fairly familiar with tools. True that he usually works with car tools, but he definitely knows his way around a hardware store, unlike me. So off we go to Princess Auto. We there bought a blow torch and mini pipe cutters. Then off to Rona, where we bought solder, flux and copper pipe. All together, things came to about 40$ for everything. Am a little short on money lately, but luckily i still have 'birthday' money left. Happy birthday to me. My grandmother may have a heart attack when she discovers i used my birthday money to buy a blowtorch. Oh well. AT least i didn't use it for a tattoo like my sister did hahaha.

So i can't wait to go try this stuff out. However, i need to somehow jimmy together some kind of a stand for this (so the item i am soldering isn't just sitting out on the snow). I could use the flexible copper pipe for legs, but what could i use for the base? In the book they used wire screening, but i didn't find any that wasn't 24 feet long ( i need more like 24 centimenters hahaha).

I will post pics of how this is going as soon as i get a chance to try out my new 'toys' :). I'll be sure to take manly pictures of me in safety goggles and a blowtorch. hahaha

And yes Ray, any family that are reading this, or overly anxious friends... i will be careful :).

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Translation of previous post


"This is my post on a broken keyboard. Sigh. A sad accident between a keyboard and a glass of milk."

As you can see from the legibility of this post, i went out and bought myself a new keyboard. But every cloud is not without it's silver lining: I scavenged the pieces of my old keyboard. Check out my 'haul' hahah.

I am totally psyched to start using some of these pieces! There are letter tiles, worded tiles (things like 'shift' and 'home'. As well, there are cool patterned plastic translucent sheets, the chip thingy, mini green light bulbs, cool wires... so much there! Now what to do with it all.... :) I just got this book from the library "Altered Curiosities" by Jane Ann Wynn. Hopefully i find some great ideas in here. I might use the M for the Marilyn Monroe domino i am making for a trade. We'll see :)

I tried an idea for the journal i was working on, and it went absolutely terrible :(. How discouraging. I tried collaging newspaper strips to journal pages, but it just turned into a gummy, gluey, torn mess. Gah! I have since gone a new direction, using wide strips of tissue paper and a gluestick. This is going much better. I forgot to take pics. I'll show you how it is going as soon as i get the pics.

I do have other pics for you. I have finished off 2 ATCs. These were inspired byLinda McCanaughy's tripych as shown in the nov/dec issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. I really like the way she did the colour theme and the niche within lined with newspaper. I took the two ideas and used them in my own way. One was made for a 'surprise' trade, the three barred one i am keeping and using on monday for my piece of art that the artist guild i am part of will critique. Hopefully, they'll have some awesome suggestions and such :) Wish me luck.

Well, my stomach calls me to go eat supper finally. More to come about journal later.

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