For the past few months I have been working on a very exciting Stampin’ Up! project. I’m not ready to tell you anything about it just yet, but one of the unexpected benefits is that I’ve been spending more time thinking about papercrafting in general. Recently it occurred to me that when I sit down to craft I generally have an end product in mind. It might be a card, a tag, a bookmark, a box or something else ‘useful’. But I began to wonder what would happen if I just sat down to create for the sake of it? Would I become an ‘artist’? Could I become an ‘artist’? Today I decided to give it a try.
While flicking through Pinterest recently I discovered little pieces of art on playing cards. At 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, these were large enough to provide room to experiment, but small enough not to be intimidating. So I thought that could be a good place to start. I went and found a pack of playing cards, pulled out the ace of spades and just started creating. Before I knew it my inner artist had taken over.
Every mixed media artist I’d seen used a product called gesso to prepare the base of their project. It’s Sunday morning, I don’t have gesso and I don’t feel like a drive into town to see if I can get some. So today I would have to find something else to cover the face of my card. I considered a page from a magazine but came across some maps that were out of date and destined for the recycling. That could be interesting…
I settled on one of Florida and cut out a section covering Orlando, that included the name. I thought that might be fun to incorporate into my finished design. I didn’t have any specialist glue so I fixed the map piece to the front of the card using Multipurpose Liquid Glue (Tombow).
To add a little texture I tore a couple of pieces of Pool Party tissue paper that lined a Paper Pumpkin kit box. Then with more liquid glue I attached the pieces down the sides of the card.
As I was pressing the tissue into place I deliberately let it crease a little. My sticky fingers also made me realise that the glue was sort of seeping through the tissue. I decided to take advantage of this by immediately sprinkling the tissue with Gold Stampin’ Emboss Powder. Then I tapped off the excess and melted the rest with my Heat Tool set on 2 (high).
Now the base was done I went looking for a stamp set. But this is where I started thinking too hard. I thought that a compass image would go well with the map and so pulled out the Sailing Home Stamp Set.
The funny thing was that the compass was incredibly detailed and I suspected that it would get ‘lost’. But it wasn’t a total waste. When I looked at the sentiments in the stamp set I realised that they would be perfect, or at least portions of them would be.
So using Tuxedo Black ink I stamped the bottom half of “Set sail in the direction of your dreams” onto some Very Vanilla Card. Next I stamped the top part of “Let hope be your anchor through the storms of life”. Then I simply tore off the words ‘dream’ and ‘hope’.
But what of the other images in the set? Using Merry Merlot ink I stamped the birds image onto the map. Then with Cinnamon Cider ink I stamped the anchor across the bottom left corner. To make sure the ink didn’t smudge on the tissue I used my Heat Tool set on 1 to dry and heat set it. Then I removed any remaining ink from the surface of the embossing with a paper tissue.
Going back to the card base I decided that the map was a little too new looking and needed toning down. For this I used a Sponge Dauber to lightly add a layer of Crumb Cake ink over the surface. Then I sponged around the edges of the card too. As I did this I found that I hadn’t glued the map right up to some of the edges. The action of the sponging was pushing the unglued portions over and revealing parts of the playing card underneath. In other circumstances I might have been tempted to re-glue them, but my inner artist decided to let that be a part of the design. To brighten up the card a bit I chose Bumblebee ink and sponged some of that around the edges too.
All I had left to add were my ‘hope’ and ‘dream’ pieces. But like the map, they were too clean. So I grabbed my Sponge Dauber again and sponged some Crumb Cake ink around the edges. With that done I fixed them onto the card with liquid glue and my altered playing card was complete.
Looking at the finished piece I must say it’s a real departure for me, both in style and function. Unlike a lot of mixed media pieces I’ve seen there aren’t many layers or embellishments. That said I’m actually pretty satisfied with it. As for the process? There was something quite liberating about focusing on creating rather than having to worry about the finished product. I may just have revealed a little of my inner artist and quite like what I see.