I'm sure many of you visited Annette (Voodoo Vixen) last Tuesday when she broke the silence of a swap I am hosting. I've kept it under wraps until I knew we were all on the same page, so to speak.
This is an international players swap, with three European players and three US players. It all started several months ago when Annette suggested she and I think about swapping again. That's when I came up with the idea of a six player swap, rather than just Annette and me.
If you have hung around my blog at all, you will know four of the five other players I invited to join me, and how diverse they are. I did that because I wanted very different players bringing different skill sets to the table.
The first month, which was February, we each made our own pages. As I share these pages, I will also introduce you to these fabulous artists who are all different, yet still similar, in that they all create fabulous mixed media art.
Let me begin with what I call the "Dead Letter Department." Have you heard the phrase first attributed to the German born American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that “God is in the details?”
Well I took van der Rohe at his word and snapped a ton of photos of this piece. If you've been following along with me, you know I rusted the fabric using green tea bags. The embellishment was created from an old metal AOL tin, the kind that we (at least in the US) used to get in our mailboxes that held a CD when AOL wanted us to join their web services.
In hindsight, I should have written "Dead Letter OFFICE," but my brain was stuck somewhere else when I created this tag that I covered with faux rust wonder under.
You can see I sewed the fabric to the page, because machine sewing has become an integral part of what I'm about.
I covered the tin in a brown paper bag, then heard Julie Andrews in my head singing
Brown paper packages tied up with string;I bet you are singing along now, too.
These are a few of my favorite things!
I dribbled a tiny bit of black India ink on the label I carefully printed out,
then watched in horror as the ink took on a life of its own.
There wasn't much else I could do, except scrunch the paper up, straighten it back out, and hope it would affix to the brown paper I also crumpled a bit.
Because the tin was hollow on the back, I added some paper so it would be easy to attach using heavy duty adhesive.
Before the ink was completely dry, I also ran the cord through it. The ink colored the cord just enough to give it that grunge look I was going for.
I cut the tag on my guillotine cutter, but didn't measure it too well. I ended up making the angles a bit harsh. I did remember to add a hole reinforcer and to ensure it stuck (they have a tendency to not stick well), I applied the wonder under after I attached the hole reinforcer.
My one request was that there be nothing dangling (from the bottom) because most of my altered books sit on the floor and dangles are cat magnets. I showed that the strings or the tag didn't dangle, to give my fellow players an idea of what I was (and was not) looking for.
I rusted some paper and fabric, but have not shown it on my blog. I will do that soon, though. I call this one "Queen of the Dance."
Speaking of Queens, I've picked a few for this swap, beginning with Annette whose blog is Scrap Happens Here. Annette is the Queen of Embellishments, and the Queen of paper engineering. She is famous for adding bling that she has picked up in one of the countries she's lived in. I've known her since she lived in India, but have followed her to Canada, Scotland, Australia, and back to Scotland where she now lives. She loves scrapbooking and has more scrapbook paper than any one human being should be allowed (JOKING). She is one of the original Bind-it-all girls.
My Queen of the Dance is wearing a crown made from wonder under, but it's a bit hard to see in the scan.
The next Queen is Chris of Pear Shaped Crafting, who lives in England. She is in my opinion, first and foremost a stamper and art journeler. Her art is always over the top, filled with texture, while staying relatively flat in order to mail it easily. She also works with wood and canvas, but that probably won't come into play for this swap. She's a DT for TioT and this month's guest artist at AJJ.
My Queen is also the star of the show. Her star shines bright, although it was hard to capture in the scan.
Speaking of stars, the next artist is Dianne of Art Beneath the Cottonwoods who lives in Ohio in the US. You may have seen the rusty pages she created for me. She is our artist and watercolorist. She also loves collage and makes beautiful sewn art, too. She often includes some of her drawings, collages, and hand sewing on a page. I keep telling her she should submit some of her drawings to stamp companies, because they are that good. Detailed, too. However, recently she confessed to me that she and stamps don't get along too well together. That may be why you seldom see stamped images on her blog.
This page is called "The Life CIRCLE of rust." I always love a play on words, but seldom include words on my pages. Note that the fabric doesn't extend all the way to the edge of the 8.5 X 11 inch page because I didn't tear the fabric wide enough when I rusted it, not because I needed to leave an edge.
Filling out the circle of artists you know is Valerie of Bastelmania who lives in Germany. Valerie makes lovely art and over the top tags. She uses digital, hybrid, and traditional art on her pages, and she draws faces that are out of this world. She, like Annette, is well traveled and often uses her own photos in her art. Valerie likes to include words on the page, so I think of her as a journaler, too. But much of her skill comes from her digital and hybrid work where she incorporates many of her own photos.
When I created this "R" I had to piece it together from the stencil I used (see photo below this one). I accidentally got some of the wonder under on my backing sheet, so to not waste it, I ironed it on the fabric. I thought it went well with the life theme because it was beginning to degrade.
For those of you new to my blog, I have no way to drop my feed dogs, so I have to guide the fabric or paper by hand.
I had no idea the wonder under was going to "seep" through to fabric, so that was a genuine lesson learned.
I learned another valuable lesson, too. I removed the backing sheet from the first circle, only to realize the paint stuck as much to the wonder under as it did to the backing sheet. You can see where I added the top circle that still had the backing paper on it when I ironed it to the fabric.
Speaking of valuable lessons, I want to introduce you to the final artist who is my dear friend Norma who lives in CA. in the US. I've learned so much from Norma whose art is far superior to mine. I met Norma in 2005 while I was visiting CA. I learned the people I was visiting only lived a few miles from her, so we set it up to meet. I spent the day with her and her husband. I had the most wonderful time. Her art is drop dead gorgeous, so it's unfortunate she doesn't have a blog.
Norma is a collagist and a seamstress. Unlike me, she sews straight or precise lines and uses a rotary cutter instead of a guillotine cutter (or tearing) to cut her fabric. Her sewing area is bigger than her paper crafting area, if that tells you anything. And her paper area is HUGE. Between Norma and her husband, they each have half the basement of their huge and gorgeous home. His space has lots of machinery, including a sand blaster I would die to use, as well as a CNC (among other machines, of course). They are both very serious and passionate about their "art" and "play" areas.
Many of you saw this on my Second Thursday Tutorial
Dianne's theme is Word and Number play as inspired by Alphabetica. This was how I depicted it.
Chris's theme is "In the garden." That's supposed to be a tulip, but it looks a bit phoney to me.
Annette's theme is proverbs and sayings. This is how I depicted her theme.
Valerie's theme is birds and I think it's quite appropriate, too. Her bird's beak is holding Norma's childhood memories, which are slowing slipping away.