11/16/17

Colorful Magazine Cloud - Pin Project Version 3



This is the third time round for this frenzied installation. I've reconfigured it to fit wherever I've needed a little pop of texture and color. What a fun way to recycle magazines or junk mail and you can easily incorporate bits of personal meaning, like letters or special books or images. The options are endless!
            





I was inspired to create this chaos cloud by a visit to a Chicago neighborhood restaurant. My eyes were drawn to a wonderful wall covered with pinback buttons stuck into the drywall. The feeling of chaotic beauty was arresting and I began humming with ideas about how to replicate that sense of visual excitement.

  

My version is inexpensive and flexible. You'll need as many wooden disks or wooden craft coins as you'd like to add to your installation. My first version was based on 200 collaged disks. This new, expanded version makes use of 375 individual coins. I've used a variety between 1" and 4", with most of them 1.5" to 2". You can find these at the craft store or online. I prefer the slightly thicker ones to the very thin disks, but both will work. For each disk, you'll need a thin panel nail. Mine were 1 5/8" long and I used the white painted ones. Magazine pages, gel medium and Dorland's wax medium  (opt.) will complete the list of supplies.

  

Begin by inserting a nail into the center of each disk. Hammer it all the way through so that the head is flush with the disk. If you want to get crazy, you could countersink your nail heads so the face of your disk is smoother and the nail doesn't poke through the paper when hammered, but I didn't do this. Don't fret if some of the disks break when you insert the nail. You could, optionally, drill a hole to prevent this. Or buy some extra wood coins and let the broken disks fall where they may.

Cut rounds out of magazine pages to fit the front of your disks. I create templates by tracing the coins  onto cardstock and then use these to draw circles on the magazine pages before cutting them out. Coat each nailed wooden coin front with gel medium and glue the magazine circle to the face.

  

To give my disks a nice finish, I file the edges of the glued magazine images with a cardboard nail file so they're a little bit distressed. If you'd like, finish the rounds by rubbing on a little bit of wax medium. This is not required, but I don't like the glossy finish of the paper and feel the wax imparts a nice texture and the matte feeling I prefer. At this point they look more like abstract paintings than magazine page cutouts.

         

Now just nail them into the wall. You can place a soft cloth over the disk so the nail head doesn't poke through the paper. I don't worry about it too much and use a colored pencil to fill in any areas where the paper has lost its color. Have fun creating a shape for your pin installation. It can be anything you'd like. There is no wrong or right way to install your recycled magazine rounds. Just remember that once you pound them in the wall, there's really no going back unless you're prepared to spackle and paint. (Renters, don't try this at home!)



Enjoy!


1/2/16

Felty Holiday Bowls


Since I'm still enamored with needle felting, the challenge was on to find a new small gift or ornament to share with co-workers and friends this holiday season. I love the inspiration of working on small, handwork goodies while listening to audiobooks or just relaxing in the evening. If there can be a kitty on my lap at the same time: bonus!


Last year's gifts were felted Lake Superior stones and the year before, fairy sparkle felted acorns nestled in hand-gathered Canadian forest caps. They were all hard to part with. 
Many years ago I saw a tiny felted ring bowl for a wedding gift. It was signed with the couple's initials and a little heart. I never forgot it, and since I have a general bowl/container obsession anyway, I researched how to make needle felted bowls. 





Several people mentioned using styrofoam balls to get the shape started, so that's what I did. Worked like a charm. It's important to keep flipping the roving  as you work it, so it doesn't become permanently attached to the ball. Some of the styrofoam will crumble and attach to your work, but I found that if I kept felting, it fell off or disappeared into the wool. Once the bowl shape was somewhat established, I just worked it in my hand, particularly around the rim.





Near the end I added angelina fibers and embroidery, plus beads to add some bling. The felted bowls are lovely just plain, soft and warm, but I can't help myself.


What will next year's felting bring? There's a new yarn shop in town, so it seems likely that roving will continue to make its way into my supply stash. Hoping 2016 will be the most creative year ever.



12/15/15

Coloring Pages and Urban Sketching


This Fall I had fun trying my hand at some coloring book pages. Cloth Paper Scissors has just released a magazine-version coloring book with some of that artwork, plus an article I contributed. You can find it here. This whole coloring renaissance has been fun to watch, particularly for those of us who find joy in creativity. The world has gone make-happy and that is delightful to see.



Here are some additional pages I enjoyed drawing while having coffee downtown. Feel free to print, color, or share my images. I've included links to pdf versions which should print full page. Cheers!