2.27.2013

Spring fever

I don't know what it is about this year...winter just seems so long...its not as if we've had a tough time...
really no snow to speak of...but cold...and gray...and damp...

I've been working on new vintage art card designs...some with a fresh, springlike view...like these...






































A high-res reproduction of one of my collages...combining vintage ephemera with found objects...4 flat notecards in a set...perfect to mail in the enclosed envelope...send as a postcard...use as a gift tag...frame as a mini art print...so versatile!

Pop over to my etsy shop, fourcornersdesign, to get all the details...and place an order...use the code SPRINGFEVER when you check-out to get 20% off your order until March 20 (the first day of spring!)

And now there's a link to my etsy shop on my four corners design Facebook page...just look for the "SHOP" button at the top of the page, right underneath my picture banner...





Sending a hand written note...to let someone know that you're thinking about them...a simple gesture...spread a little sun while we wait for spring...do it today...

2.25.2013

Anatomy of a collage



While I was cleaning up from my Valentine Art Party two weeks ago, there were a few snippets that caught my eye...so I gathered a small collection of scraps...and was inspired to make a collage...and thought that I would, in essence, document the steps so you could see my creative process.  Of course, all I can show is what I physically put together...I can't put a finger on the intuitive end...it usually starts with a color...which I find is a good common element to use when composing.  The other common element that wound itself into this piece is numbers...and so it begins...





I painted a 5"x 5" piece of wood a very light pink/gray tone...and then layered a page from an old accounting journal...adding a miniature reproduction of a french envelope (leftover from the art party detritus!)
that aligns with the pale lines of the journal page...

Next were two strips that intersected...a section of a bingo throwaway sheet and a sliver of a paris street map...the map strip was just a little short...so to extend the line to the edge of the wood, I added in another red number from the bingo sheet...repetition always makes for good composition...
Coffee is one of my favorite instant aging techniques...not only did I pour some coffee over the entire surface, but I dipped the bottom of my mug into a plate of coffee and then set the mug on the collage to leave a ring...already the "story" of the collage was forming...the piece from a french language book pulls the theme together...writing a letter to a dear friend (cher ami)...
 
The number 7 is a small sticker that was adhered to the label of the t-shirt I recently bought...you just never know where you might find art inspiration!
 
I always like to add found objects to my collage...giving additional interest and character...a remnant of pink embroidery thread and an old steel pen point are perfect...
 



With the front panel complete, I turned to the sides...a cloth belt from a vintage cotton dress matched the color scheme and replicated the intersecting line pattern...I thought it would be fitting as a finishing edge to the collage...as well as a hanger for display...I nailed the belt around the edge with small metal brads...
 
And here it is..."a letter to my french friend"...
 bit by bit, a tale is told...how do you tell your creative story?...

2.22.2013

The best intentions

Did you ever have a project...with a plan...and the best intentions...
of what you would do...and how it all would turn out...







































And then it starts...one thing goes astray...which leads to another mishap...and still another detour...






































Such is the story of changing up the master bedroom at home...and the reason why I've been mum all week...
what I thought would be a quick re-do/refresh...has turned into a larger ordeal...and sapped most of my free time this week...

But I'm optimistic that all will turn out right...I'll keep you posted...

2.15.2013

I've gotta crow...

I am thrilled...so don't mind me as I crow a little bit...
 
I have my first byline in a national publication...in the past I have had articles written about me or my work...and photographs taken by others to accompany said article...but this time, the byline is all mine - words and pictures...
 











It started back in September 2012 when WhisperWood Cottage was hosting a month long link-up on Organizing Solutions...with 6 winners choosen to be featured in Cottages and Bungalows magazine...

I entered my wire baskets made from hardware cloth...and was selected as one of the winners.  When I was contacted by the magazine editor, she mentioned that she wanted to do a little bit larger feature on my project...

On Tuesday, the April issue finally hit the stands...






































and on pages 19-20, is my article...with my photographs and my words...here's a teaser...






































A true confession here...I've been working on honing my photography skills over the last year...without a fancy camera...using my Canon point and shoot...so the affirmation that my photos were good enough to be published is a great boost for me...

I have to thank Amy at WhisperWood Cottage for her support...and Jicki Torres, editor at Cottages and Bungalows who decided to shine a little spotlight on me...

ok...crowing over...now to get back to work...

2.14.2013

love to you

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

by e. e. cummings 1894–1962


 
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)



2.12.2013

Creativity unleashed

Early in January, I had a eureka moment...As I was reading Cate Prato on the ClothPaperScissors blog describing having a Valentine party...I thought what a brilliant idea...so right then & there, I began my planning...






And on Saturday, I had a Valentine Art Party with 10 of my friends, all of whom are quite talented, creative and inspiring...

My other motivation for hosting a party was that I realized I have a ton of art supplies...and having an art party is a good way to use up a bunch of stuff and send it out the door with good souls...










Gathering up the supplies...






































and turning my living room into the supply station...



























Setting up the work tables in the dining room...and providing the necessary tools.  I added ambiance with paper hearts cut from scrap paper, stitched together into streamers and hung from the dining room light.  I also made a folder for each friend...a kraft paper folder was stitched up on one side to form a pocket to hold valentines securely on the way home and a name tag, made from chalk paint applied to a piece of paper packing tape, was the finishing touch...






































Of course no party would be complete without treats...including chocolate fudge brownies. 
My weary amaryllis was in full bloom for the day...
Once everyone arrived, there was a flurry of activity and plenty of creative buzz...
I love to see what bubbles up from the creativity pool when a diverse group of individuals are presented with the same supplies...
Shelley of From the Alley to the Gallery made a bracelet while Kate of Full Circle Studio made a beeline for the vintage photos...Jody of Latitude Studios took the cover off one of the books I had supplied...I was thinking people would want to use the vintage pages...never occurred to me that someone would use the book cover for the foundation of their valentine...Stacie of Bailey's Bliss brought along a couple of blank canvases...which were quickly transformed with layers of paper and paint...
and in the end...many interpretations...but all special valentines...
 
We had so much fun we're thinking of meeting up on a regular basis...
to create...to support...to encourage...to enjoy...and isn't that what art is all about...


 

my heart photo was edited with kk texture edith at multiply 30% opacity...

2.08.2013

Metal mania

If you've been following my blog, you know that I have a fondness for metal...and not just any metal...rusted, corroded, dilapidated...is really the best.  Falling in line right behind rusted metal...beaten up wire...its all steel...just in a more malleable form!

In January I was being so good about getting organized...I went through a mountain of magazines to pull out pics/recipes/ideas and toss the rest in the recycling bin...this picture caught my eye...















and got me thinking...I could make a wire cloche...I got to work...





















In my basement, I had a large piece of steel fencing...I don't even remember where this came from since I know that its sold in BIG rolls and I don't have the rest of the 100' roll...but this piece would be perfect for this project...









First I had to cut it down to a managable size...this is heavy gauge steel...my lineman's pliers would be too tedious for this job...time to get out the Dremel drill...












I cut out a section that would work for the wire cloche...






































and then began the task of eliminating the wire pieces I didn't need...
my Dremel with the cut-off disc attachment was a lifesaver...






































I have all of these smaller wire pieces I removed...of course I'm saving them...they could be useful some day!

Next it was time to shape the wire...you'll notice that I left the wire extending on one end, while on the other end, I cut the wire flush...I bent hooks in the extended wire end, that would connect and wrap around the flush end and hold the cloche together.
Next I had to deal with the top portion...after eliminating the horizontal wire from the top tier, I was able to bend the wire to meet at an apex...giving a slight angle to each end ensured that the pieces fit nicely together...and see all those sharp nubs...where I cut off the cross wires...I used my Dremel, this time with the grinding tool attachment, to smooth the wire surface...
 




Using a rubber band to bind the ends together worked well...and acted as a rubber gasket to firmly hold the finishing knob in place...

 
Finding some sort of knob to finish off the top was a challenge...the bound wires were too large in diameter to fit inside of the opening of an old doorknob, my first choice of a suitable top...


Scrounging around my studio, I found these metal knobs that were mostly likely a machine part...the diameter was perfect to slip over the top and the rubber band held the knob firmly in place...






But there was a gaping hole on the top...initially I thought of finding a large button to cover the hole...








I happened to pick up a metal bottle cap from my junk pile...not only did it fit the hole perfectly...but it snapped into place as snug as could be...





And with a little spray paint, it was ideal!


Luckily, there was a sunny day this week...which makes it so much easier to take pictures...
its about this time of year that I get very itchy for spring...which I have nothing to complain about since we've had minimal snow this year...but plenty of gray...
eggs and feathers...the promise of spring and life re-awakening...
Also high on my metal love list...along with tarnished silverplate...metal knitting needles...all the jewel tones...they make great plant stakes...and sign holders...I guess someday I could even learn to knit...
Linking up to Funky Junk Interiors SNS...what else can I find to inspire me...

2.05.2013

I have a thing...about string

Yes...I have a thing about string...I don't know what it is...
the  texture of the fiber...the symmetry of the wrapped roll...the practicality of its use...


























































My friend Sue gave me this black and white string as part of my christmas present...it was in "the box" that we pass back and forth each year, filled with special delights for the recipient...as I opened the box, I appreciated the french hand creme and the charming hedgehog eraser...but I swooned over the string...onlookers thought I was nuts...but Sue knew...a sign of a true friend!

There is something so simple...so sublime about it...and since I abhor using a glue gun, most of the found objects that I incorporate into my vintage collages are either screwed into the collage base...or tied on in some manner...often with string...so I need a variety of choices...one needs options...

The prompt for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday was "pop of color"...I knew that the amaryllis Sue gave me for christmas would bloom soon...
edited with kk texture minus45, soft light at 48% opacity








































(an aside...I am not a plant person...Sue told me when she gave the pot to me not to water it...so I didn't...what she meant was not to water it immediately since the soil was plenty moist when she gave it to me...when I mentioned to her that the shoot had only grown an inch or two in the weeks since, she asked if I had watered it...oh...that made a difference...now I have a beautiful red flower for valentine's day...)


The ball of red string is my other "pop of color"...a small remainder of vintage postal twine...I'm hording it...
edited with kk texture minus45 overlay at 50% opacity


2.03.2013

Finding my essence

As I stated in January...my word for the year is "essence"...
to succinctly define my art and the style I want to pursue...





Cleaning off my work table inspired me to begin seeking this essence now (I learned from my word in 2012, begin, to just start and not delay...fending off procrastination...)  I am not a fan of expensive art supplies nor involved creative procedures...I do admire the collage artists who can take the most ordinary of scrap papers and turn them into a layered provocative work...I began...




Years ago...when I decided that I was going to take my art seriously, I focused on four main principles...
these guideposts seemed a good place to start...












































I let the pieces of paper tell me where they wanted to go...I know this sounds odd...but I can't explain it any other way...there is something innate about it...

I worked in silence that afternoon...as I often do...I have so much going on in my head, I don't need additional noise or distraction...

and in the end...
Quiet Afternoon #1   Amy Duncan   2013








































At the time, there was a Quiet Afternoon #2 and #3...with #2, I tried doing some painting over the surface...it didn't go well...I chopped it in half, threw away the painted portion...the other half may resurface at some point.  With #3, I have a good start...and thinking of incorporating some stitches with my sewing machine as texture...the idea of using my sewing machine to marry paper with thread and cloth is an idea that has been nudging at my edges of my consciousness, so best to listen...



Today I'm one of 10 artists included in The Altered Page's section of The Pulse, Tell All...where artists share what they wished they knew when they started...this is the last installment of this edition of The Pulse...can't thank Seth Apter enough for both including me and my work as well as giving support and encouragement to many other artists...I encourage you to hop over to his blog to read all about it...

worth a look...

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