Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I work for an adult basic education program, and volunteers are very important to our work. We have volunteers who work directly with students one-on-one or in groups; we also have a special volunteer who does all kinds of mundane clerical tasks. Every year, those in charge of our volunteer program organize an event to thank the volunteers for all they do. A special day is planned, and the staff works very hard to come up with a theme, decorate, and find/buy inexpensive gifts.
For this year's theme, we had to incorporate butterflies. They've been a symbol for us this year, as we've gone through a major change. After 50+ years, it was time for a name change and a new logo. I enjoyed being a part of the committee that worked on choosing the logo and new colors. The timing was perfect, as we wanted to celebrate the remarkable ways our program has improved. Just a few short years ago, we were at the bottom of the state "report card" for programs of our size (we're the fourth largest in the state). Thanks to the gifted leadership of a new director, lots of hard work from clerical staff and teachers, and plenty of innovative thinking, we've moved to the very top. That's an incredible turnaround, and we are quite proud! (I think it's so funny that the only area we missed being #1 is in the area of student retention. State Corrections beat us on that one!)
Anyway, I was asked for advice about a way to incorporate butterflies into this year's gift. The volunteer coordinator had scoured the internet and Pinterest, looking for interesting ideas, and she showed those to me. I was especially drawn to a couple of examples that used collage. We talked about trying to mass produce something original for each person, but that was overwhelming. Then we had the idea to have one original "something" which could be reproduced via color copier as a card. I timidly volunteered to take a stab at creating a piece of art, and she took me up on it. Yikes! I get myself into all kinds of pickles this way! I was nervous, but excited to get started.
The inspiration was a poem she had chosen that would be printed inside the cards. I won't include it here since I don't know the author, but it's about the migration of monarch butterflies and their difficult journey. Two important words in the poem are "believe" and "achieve".
I decided to use a quality piece of watercolor paper for this, and began as I love to do by creating a messy background. I used paint, gesso & spray ink, and included a few pieces of cheesecloth for texture. The butterfly I drew the way I learned in grade school: fold a piece of paper in half, draw & open. Easy peasy. I traced the shape onto another piece of watercolor paper which I cut out. I pulled out an assortment of papers and created a collage, adding some ink & paint over that. The words in the center are too small to see here, but they are words that came to my mind when I thought of volunteering. I cut them out of an old dictionary and glued them down.
Once the butterfly was finished, I glued it to the background. I made antennae out of some copper wire I had, running it through a paper crimper for texture. I stamped the words believe & achieve, and added a few fun touches. Voila! All done!
I'm going to be excited to see this up when it's time for display, and I'm happy to have had an opportunity to do something I love to make a positive contribution at work.
Till next time,
Thursday, November 15, 2012
After this much time had passed, though, I began to wonder if I should contact them to be sure I could get my original back. It was a complete surprise to me yesterday when I received an advance copy of the Winter 2013 edition of Somerset Studio Gallery. At first I couldn't figure out why it had come in the mail until I looked more closely at the cover sheet packaged with it. I was quite excited then, and quickly paged through until I found it! Wow! It had my name and everything!! The magazine will be on the stands beginning December 1.
I have received so many encouraging comments from family, friends and coworkers as I've shared this news. Everyone has been so kind, and many have suggested that I consider other venues for sharing my work. Thank you, everyone for such great support! And thanks to Stampington for including my work!
Till next time,
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
So, next my thoughts turn to art projects I could do. These don't take up a lot of room, and I don't spend much on supplies. Now if I can just think of something...
A few months back, I saw a call for art based on the color chartruese. Thinking I might submit something, I got out one of my old book covers, and glued down odds and ends of paper. Next came layers of paint and spray ink. This has become my favorite way to create a background. There is no way to ruin it, because another layer of paint or glaze will fix anything. I also enjoy creating the look of texture by using a material called sequin waste. It's what's left after the sequins are punched out. It's available with a variety of hole sizes, and works really well as a stencil.
I ended up with a background with a lot of pink and green, and a little blue as an accent color. I didn't achieve chartreuse, but I loved the way it looked. Perfect for spring! The board sat tucked away until I came across it last week.
I decided I wanted something three dimensional, using a bouquet of flowers. I went to the craft store and bought three small sprigs. After I brought them home, I cut them apart and arranged them in a single bunch. I wrapped strips of dictionary pages around the stem ends to create a neat bundle. I had a piece of green polka-dot ribbon I'd saved from a gift, and there was just barely enough to tie a bow.
Next I found a spring quote somewhere online, and printed it in a font that I thought fit the theme. A little ink helped the white paper blend into the whole.
Finally, I used some heavy-duty adhesive to glue my bouquet down, and left everything to dry. I took the completed project to work to enjoy on my desk. Every day when I walk in, I enjoy seeing it there to greet me!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
If you'd like to see these for yourself, click here, sit back and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I heard about a couple of new iphone apps for photos recently and decided to try them out. I took a boring photo of a large crock in the living room. Very unremarkable! I started by adding a filter with Filter Mania and saved the change. Then I opened the photo in 100 Cameras and added another effect. It was really fun and easy! The 100 Cameras app I got is the free version, but I may have to upgrade to the full version to have access to everything.
Have a great day!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I downloaded and printed off the calendar pages, and went to town with inks and stamps to decorate them a little. I had the beaded dangle from a purse I'd used a couple of summers ago. After the purse was tired and worn out, I kept the dangle thinking I'd use it for something some day. I tried it out draped across the top, and liked the idea, but I was stumped for a while trying to figure out how to attach it at the top. I dug through a box of odds & ends and came across some old cubic zirconia earrings that I no longer wear. I used a Japanese screw punch (a book binding tool) with the smallest size drill to make holes, and poked the earrings through, catching links in the chain. I put a plastic earring back behind the board, and cut off the excess earring post with some strong snips. Then I put in a drop of strong adhesive and let it sit to harden for several hours. It did the trick!
Since the hard work of creating the calendar pages was already done for me, this project didn't take too much time to complete. I love quick projects like this! It didn't cost much to do, and I get a little happy thrill of satisfaction each time I look at it. It's a small way to add beauty to my day.
Monday, January 16, 2012
After enjoying a short drive, I wanted to get some photos before we had to leave again for the next leg of our journey. We positioned ourselves in front of the tree, and I was surprised to get a big, strong hug! He's still amazingly strong for someone who is 94! I love this photo and thought it would be perfect to use with this cute new frame I bought recently. It's made by Seven Gypsies (love their products), and is designed to stand alone without any support.
The three small sections were just right to spell "joy". I took my cue from the blue I'm wearing and the purple he's wearing. I inked up some chipboard letters, and coated them with a crackle glaze. I used gold pigment ink and embossing powder around the edges of the three blue squares and the frame itself. Then, just for fun, I tried a new product called Bronzed Fragments on the photo. I put down some liquid glue and pressed the fragments on top. I'm going to take this to work and enjoy having it on my desk.
Photographs are so great for reliving memories!