Saturday, January 24, 2009

Working with Teens Making Altered Books

This is Eli Zucker; he is 12 and a wonderful artist. Eli first came to work with me after I met his family at their garage sale last summer. His mom and I got to talking and one thing led to another. Eli had a background in pottery, so we first worked with Precious Metal Clay (PMC). He actually made some of the charms for his altered book from the PMC. He decided to do an altered book because he wanted to explore mixed media art. His book is all about his life, what he does in school, and his favorite things. We have been working on it just about once a week for 2 hours at a time.

I suggested some ideas, like when he wanted to do a page on his favorite foods and got stumped about how to set the page up. I threw out several ideas such as a menu page. He liked that idea and took off on his own from there. We also looked at the many books and magazines I have and got inspiration from there too. Eli doesn’t know how to use a lot of the different materials and a lot of what I have taught him is about how to set eyelets, or how to use the heat gun and emboss areas, what kind of glue to use with metals versus papers, how to layer different colors and build up a texture. I believe he will be able to use this knowledge in all areas of his art in the future.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How I Created A Really Special Memory Book with a Twist!

The base structure of this book was a large piece of wood (covered with handmade paper) that had small wooden feet screwed into the bottom of it. A leather book (whose pages were all taken out) was screwed into the wood from the top. This gave the book a solid base. I placed eyelets into the book's spine. I created a spine for each page by sewing fabric paper strips to each side and folding them in half; I attached the eyelets at the fold of the fabric paper, aligning everything up nicely with the book's spine.

The middle eyelets were sewn through the spine with wire but the top and bottom of the pages were kept in place with jump rings. That was something I came up with as I realized I had made a blunder... still it looked really good in the end.

The top of the book has this little photo book attached to it. I just covered over the original design with thick modeling paste so you couldn't see the embossing. Then I painted and embellished it after drying overnight. This was attached so that Karen, who I made this book for, would be able to add some of her own photos giving her the opportunity to add a personal touch. The tins were filled with mementos of the event that was the culmination of a year's worth of top notch organizational skills that would put the White House staff to shame. Karen Gordon did such a great job on this event that I was commissioned to make this book for her!

These are the seven pages inside the book, the last page with the medal on it is the back cover of the leather book.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Plastic Nozzle Doll

Recently, I found this plastic nozzle at a recycle center and brought it home. The thing sat around on my workspace for about a month and then it hit me... this would make a great doll body. I also had a liquid polymer clay image transfer of a beautiful Japanese woman sitting on my workspace for awhile before I thought to put the two items together.

Here is what I did; I rolled the transfer up evenly from both sides so the face would be in the middle. I then glued it into the top of the nozzle using hot glue. I had some organza fabric with embroidered dragonflies on it, so I cut an 8 inch strip of the fabric without any of the dragonflies and wrapped it around the middle of the nozzle several times to build up layers. I kept them loose and glued here and there as I went along. I glued brass leaves into the fabric folds where arms and legs would naturally be; I glued a wooden stick into the middle to use as part of the base so the doll would stand up, and the other end of the stick was glued into the hole of a large piece of aquarium hose (the type that you would use to bring air through your pump). Finally, I attached one of the dragonflies to the front of the doll to hide the glue from the arms being put into the fabric folds.

To help the doll from moving too much, I wrapped wire around the stick and secured it with glue as well. The base is a metal plate with a piece of chipboard wrapped in a page from a book glued behind the doll. An elephant was glued in front of the hose with the stick in it. A print out of older ancestors was glued to the front of the plate just below a feather. I added some ribbons to the back of the doll and let them hang down wherever they fell. Lastly, I added a stamped crown to the head of the image.

So you see, there really is no trash, just creative art materials waiting to be put together by your imagination!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lids Stay Loose - A Little Tip for You

This is a little tip from me to you. When you buy new supplies that have a lid, put a little bit of Petroleum Jelly on your finger. Run it around the rim of the new lid and then screw the lid around a few times. Your paints, gel mediums, and even gesso won't stick in the grooves and you will be able to unscrew that lid the next time you want to use it!

I guess you could call this a...Lube & Screw Tip.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This was a fun project!

You know how you are about to throw something away and at the last minute you think, "I like this. I could make SOMETHING out of this!" I do this a lot, which is why I have so much stuff in my basement. Anyway, I saved the top from an Amaretto bottle because I liked its shape.

I wanted to try something new and I had been doing a lot of soldering; I read somewhere that if you put copper foil tape around a matt board and treated it just like a piece of glass, you could solder pieces together. So here is a picture of the first piece I did using this method. It is a Fairy Princess!

The head, body, and wings are all made with a matt board base. I used stamps on white matt board then very slowly cut the board out with a very sharp X-ACTO blade - taking each layer down just a little bit at a time so I didn't cut myself. After all the pieces were cut out, I colorized them in different ways. The face was painted, the wings were embossed, and the body had a piece of copper sheet glued in place before I embossed over the whole belly area. I painted the back one solid color. Then I started to apply the copper foil tape to all the edges, connecting them together as I went. My tape wasn't very wide so I had to double up and go over some parts to make the tape cover more areas. I used my soldering iron with liquid flux and found that it was very easy to attach all the parts.

I didn't want the silver edges to show, so I painted over the silver solder with paint or more embossing powders. Sometimes keeping the silver solder edges is wonderful but in this case, I just wanted to cover them up. I rolled up a small piece of copper sheet to make the wand stick, and I actually went back in and dropped a few dots of hot solder on the top part to make it stay in place.

After I had this cute little princess, I wanted her to stand up... Oh yeah! That Amaretto bottle top would do! I covered it in Model Magic, stuck in a few embellishments, coated the white Model Magic with gesso, and painted over the gesso with Lumiere paints. The bottle top was turned upside down so the flat part was actually at the bottom, and where the bottle neck would normally screw down is where the Fairy Princess is. While the clay was still damp, I just pressed her into the divot and let it dry with her body in place. To add the corners and feet, I just balled up some clay and stuck a long head pin through all the layers eight times. I didn't mean to smash the feet down more than the top corners, gravity did that. I liked it that way though.

So try a new technique and if you have a soldering iron, give this one a whirl and let me know how yours turns out.

Monday, February 11, 2008

So many uses for Resin; How about a Family Tree!

I don't know about anyone else, but I just love to use RESIN! I can think of so many different art forms to use this stuff in, from jewelry applications to collage, as a thick sealer over anything, and even as a super duper glue. The first time I ever used resin was with bottle caps. This was an art project done with a whole group of children who all belonged to the same Sunday school. They wanted to make a Family Tree of sorts for the whole school. Everyone got to put in some family pictures as well as individual leaves with sayings written on them. The project turned out just wonderful!

I think this would be a wonderful way to create a personal Family Tree, if done on a smaller scale. I started with a piece of clear Plexiglas cut out in the shape of a tree. I used a Sharpie to draw the tree on the plastic and then used a Roto Zip tool to cut out all the shapes. It was very messy, with all the plastic flying all around. Don't do this in your kitchen like I did; take it to the garage and wear safety glasses and a mask. Silly me... of course on a smaller scale, it wouldn't be as hard either! After the tree was cut out, I used sandpaper to smooth out all the edges. Since my piece of Plexiglas was so large, I did have to buy it from a local specialty business that does glass replacement, but you could buy yours from a hardware store.

The students were given acrylic paints in many different shades of greens, yellows, browns, and orange; they randomly painted one sheet of typing paper in each color scheme, trying to create some areas of texture in each piece. These papers were then left to dry and later, all of the paper was torn into small pieces according to the colors. We put each color into a bucket so everyone's papers were all combined. They turned the tree to the backside and everyone collaged the paper to the tree. The greens, yellows, and oranges went towards the top of the tree and the browns went on the trunk and limbs of the tree. The backside was sealed with a thick coat of Mod Podge, because it was less expensive and still did a great job of sealing the collaged side.

I printed out a whole bunch of leaves, all the same shape and size. I cut them all out so the size would be all the same. I cut up a whole bunch of inexpensive craft wire, all the same length. Using wide, clear packing tape, we adhered the wire to one side of the leaves right down the middle, like a vein would be on a real leaf. The children used colored pencils to write or draw anything they wanted on the other side of the leaves, then another piece of tape was put on the top and bottom (so the bottoms actually had two layers of tape), sticky sides together... it was like laminating the leaves with the wire in place. I trimmed away the excess tape, but left the wire sticking out as if it were a stem.

Every family was allowed to submit three photos to me. I took them all home and scanned them into my computer. I photo cropped them into circles, (Make sure that you have everything you want inside the circle and that it is centered.) then sized them to fit inside a bottle cap. (During the sizing process it shrinks the whole circle, making everything smaller and smaller until it is just the right size.) I had to print out a few in different sizes to get just what I needed, but after I had the correct size for one, the rest were easy. I just eyeballed them to the same size as the one I kept on the workspace as my guide. The steps were: scan and save each picture into a folder; insert each picture into the flyer; crop each picture; size each picture; and move each picture into a line, creating rows of little circle pictures. That way I could print a lot of them on one sheet of photo paper.

The bottle caps were then filled with RESIN!
You mix the resin and the hardener in equal parts, then gently stir so you don't get too many air bubbles. It is very important that you use exactly the same amount of each or it will not dry. Then you pour the mixed resin into the bottle cap and set them aside to dry overnight on a level surface. Work in a well ventilated area.

I drilled small holes into the tree to insert the leaves. Then mixed up another big batch of resin and poured it all over the front side; in doing so, I attached all the leaves and filled any gaps left from the drilled holes. The bottle caps were already attached in place with E600 glue, but this last coat of resin also strengthened everything. Be sure to cover the area below so drips won't damage your work surface, and raise your tree up on shoe boxes or a similar item so it won't sit flat while curing. If anyone has any questions just write to me and I will help you with them. Good Luck and Have fun! - Edie.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Art Club

One of the things I've recently organized is an Art Club. We do different projects each month and usually one of the group's member volunteers to teach all of us something that they know how to do. The group is very relaxed and we really don't have many rules. So far we have had 4 months worth of meetings and we have worked on a Coin Wrappers Tag Book, ATCs, and PMC demo with a make and take. This picture was taken when Terri Rossman taught the group how to make a beaded bracelet.

The room we use is one that I get to use for free from where I work (very nice perk)! It is located in Oak Park, Michigan.

I am hoping to gain more members as time goes on, but so far it's just a few of us that come on a regular basis. Maybe it's because the one rule that we have is: You have to teach something to all of us when it's your turn. So if anyone out there lives in the Detroit, Michigan area and is looking to join a great group of creative gals, contact me through this blog. It is a FUN evening of eating and sharing talents!

We meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. February 13 is just around the corner! While so many of my design team members are at CHA, I will console myself with the next project we are doing this time: Booklaces (a small book that doubles as a necklace). I'll take some pictures for next post.

This is what the beaded bracelet looked like.