Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Texutre and Patterns

Summer is winding down and Autumn is just around the corner. Soon my quick dashes to the mail box in sunglasses & flip flops will be made with a rain jacket and umbrella.


Sumi Senthi sent me a beautifully textured package full of flowers and delicate patterns. She took a crack at making her own envelope and it turned out really well. Another typed letter greeted me and explained a bit about all the items. I'll be adding the stamps to my collection and I hope to use her fabric and lace in a mixed media shadowbox I'm working on. The hard to see item on the right are panda bandages. Those will be stuck on one of my daughters next time they have a scrape.


My first package to Kye Sangha was a thank you for the large package I received during the June Swap. A handmade bug envelope housed a variety of stamps, tags, paper, ephemera as well as a silhouette, a leaf texture drawing and a special thank you from my daughter for the cards & stickers Kye sent just her. She scribbled on the card and then specifically told me it said "Please come to my house for a big family party." I'm slowly starting to outsource my mail art to the little ones.

My package to Jessica Mack of Brown Paper Bunny included stamps, tags, ephemera as well as a few quick sketches and a coneflower silhouette print. As I was going through the photos I took of her package I realized I didn't take a picture of all the components. Good thing Jessica did!

My studio time lately has been lacking so my replies have slowed down. I've been playing hooky in the last few weeks of really warm sunshine before the rain. If all goes well this week, there should be several packages on their way to some lucky people.

Until next week...

... J

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Crafty

I've never been much of a crafter. I know that may seem odd given my art background, but crafts have rarely given me much satisfaction. I've tried many different projects and perhaps the lack of enthusiasm in the past has a lot to do with the projects I've chosen. After hunting and gathering many expensive materials I discover that either a) I'm not good at said craft or b) no one has much use for the 500 wine glass tags I've just made.

Now that I'm using more social media, I'm seeing a wider range of projects that appeal to me. They are often a nice way to reuse material I may already have on hand or the number of materials are very limited and the instructions are much more detailed.

My first renewed craft attempt was the Craftberry Bush Blue Glass Mason Jar tutorial. This appealed to me because I had a couple of interestingly shaped jars on hand, the materials were few & easy to gather and I loved the look of the finished product.

It turned out pretty well. She is absolutely right when she says that the thicker or darker the application the more it will streak. Even though I read this, I still went ahead and globbed paint onto the larger jar. It's easy enough to wash and start again, but I think I'll wait until I have more jars to paint and do them all at once.

My next project is going to be Plaster Cast Leaves. There is a maple tree with leaves the size of my head which should be perfect for this. I promise to blog my success or failure on this one. You'll either be amazed or laugh along with me.

Do you have any interesting craft projects on the go or something you'd like to try?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Pressed Flowers and Paper Bugs

Three wonderful packages arrived in my mailbox this week. Each one was as unique and wonderful as the sender.

Kimi Kobashi's package arrived early in the week and its combination of found items and unique art made me swoon. A nature walk pamphlet held several pressed flowers and leaves which I think I will add to a shadowbox design to house Jessica Gowling's bee. Also included were two clay magnets (a butterfly and swirls), frog stickers, a chocolate postcard, two frustration word cards (as a reply to my blarg sheets), paper straws, two butterfly illustrations and a really lovely personal letter.

My first package from Anna Jane Searle has set the bar incredibly high. I am blown away by the imagination and intricacy. A 'hello' curtain ring greeted me and inside the card was a thoughtful letter. There were two origami boxes; one will be perfect for holding stamps on my desk and the other had an illustrated Cabbage Bug specimen. It's a perfect and timely gift. I've been looking up all the insects and animals I'm discovering since this is my first summer in a new (to me) part of Canada.

Three vintage Snow White stamps (which I think I'll tuck away for my oldest daughter's first stamp collection) and a tiny scroll with one of my favourite words cut out. Last, but certainly not least, is an original illustration in blues and greens. It reminds me of jewelry or crystalline deposits in caves. I've placed it on my shelf right at eye level so I can see it while I'm working in my studio.

I've really been enjoying Anna's blog lately which has been showcasing some of her wonderful collections of jewelry & accessories. It's as though I'm peeking into her closet and admiring all her sparkling items. As well as her illustration shop, she also just opened up her second Etsy shop.

My sweet friend, Russelle at Heedless Ceramics sent me three oval pendants. Two cityscapes and one pretty flower. I love all of the rich texture and the muted colours in her ceramics.

While I've been enamored with her ceramic work for quite a while, I've been blown away by her linocuts as well. This one in particular looks like it's going to be an amazing print.

I was spoiled rotten by these packages last week and now I will be setting aside time to create replies with new ideas, a stack of fantastic magazines and inspiration gathered from around my little city.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Matching Birds

I was beginning to think that there wasn't going to be a post this week when Ashley Gaia let me know that my envelope to her arrived.

The Oyster catcher on the envelope matches her bird friend peeps who would get along well here as he apparently loves coffee. I had a good laugh when Ashely sent me a picture of her holding my envelope while wearing a T-shirt that matched almost perfectly. It was a strange and wonderful coincidence that I picked the most perfect envelope.

I included a bird stamp, a feather mixed media and a coloured feather, an origami crane, a coneflower silhouette and a 'tweet' tag. I also took some time to write and decorate a personal letter.

My last package to her contained mostly clippings and I wanted to create a little something original for her this time. I found a bunch of great bird pictures in magazines so I cut them out and glued them to a little booklet with various natural textures done in marker.

I am having a lot of fun finding paper for and making my own envelopes. I can see this becoming a constant step in my future mail art packages.

... J

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mail Art Monday: Silhouettes and Seeds

Not a single piece of mail art arrived in my box this week but I was happy to hear that several packages made their way to their new home.

On my second round exchanges with Sumi, I stuffed a bunch of items into a fish illustration page from an encyclopedia. In this envelope was a Phlox and Frond silhouette, stamps print, a kitty illustration on shiny paper, a snowflake tag, a seed illustration and a small brown envelope full of sparkly bits and bots.

Sumi was the first to receive something new I came up with. I thought I'd try something different with my clippings from magazines and so I elevated them by framing them. I illustrated a frame on some thick paper, cut out the center and glued down my found clipping. A tiny bit of French text to finish it off.

I sent Russelle at Heedless Ceramics a thank you for the lovely cityscape magnet she sent me recently. I found a beautiful image of a spiderweb in an evergreen for an envelope and I filled it with a horse clipping (one in a frame and one on its own), a stamp print, a Phlox and Frond silhouette an "oh shiitake mushrooms" card, a "you are important" rolodex card and a note inside a custom made card.

 I was so excited and a touch intimidated to kick-off the first exchange with Anna Jane Searle. I really admire her work so I put together a package I thought might fit her style. A picture of two lizards formed the perfect envelope and I added speech bubbles for the addresses. I got the idea for that detail from an envelope Jessica Gowling sent to me. I forgot to take a picture of it, but luckily Anna remembered. Stuffed inside was a Coneflower and camera silhouette, a stamp print, a Kon'nichiwa clipping frame, "blarg" card, rolodex card and a handwritten note.


As an admirer of Emily Orpin's blog I jumped at the chance to exchange mail art. I created a bird envelope and stuffed it with Coneflower & Frond silhouettes, a bird inspired clipping frame, a "blarg" card, stamp prints, fuzzy initials, googly eyes a pencil sketch of a maple seed on a watercolour wash and a letter written on a handmade card.

I often like to create something original in my mail art packages. Emily had written about maple trees in her neighbourhood and I have at least three different kinds around my house. I have quite the collection of found items, including maple seeds, on my desk so I took this opportunity to sketch the seed. I penciled in the sketch with the intention of going back into it with ink. The more detail I gave it with the pencil the more I liked it as it was, soft and delicate.

I'm hoping to find a little mail art love in my mailbox this week but if I don't, I don't mind. I have three more fat envelopes to send away this week and I can't wait for them to reach their new home and make someone's day a little happier.

... J

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Creatures: The Moth

The second in my series of watercolour paintings depicting the creatures my Dad finds around his property is a moth. I loved the texture of this insect and knew it would make a challenging but nice painting. This time I also took a couple of work-in-progress shots, which are a rarity for me.

Background complete and the pencil lines of the moth are still visible.

Nearly done (see, told you I was terrible at WIP pictures)


I'm really happy with how this painting turned out. I took my time and studied the picture, layered the lighter shades of colour on then went back several times to add the stipple in shades of grey. There is a small Fall Fair in town and I think I might enter this little piece into their watercolour category.

Dad's original photograph. The moth was hiding in a dark corner of his fence.

A few more creatures wound up in my inbox the other day. A spider and an amazing close-up of a fly! I'm so excited to paint both of them. They'll also be a challenge, but it's incredibly rewarding to push myself to slow down, plan ahead and study the subject matter.

... J
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