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Month: September 2016

My Latest Mixed Media Assemblage – a Sneak Peek!

My Latest Mixed Media Assemblage – a Sneak Peek!

sneakpeekBy necessity, I have taken the last two weeks off. And it was just as I was ready to place the finishing touches on my latest work – a “two canvases make one” sort of Mixed Media Assemblage project. I am really excited as this one has felt good every step of the way even though it represents many hours of work.

sneakpeek1I’m still adding a few embellishments to balance it all out. But the background will be the larger task as I plan to tone it down, remove the drips I purposefully included (and now feel must be removed) and cover up the deep red. I want the central design to be the focus without the background battling for attention.

So, time for a sneak peek! I hope to have the final product by Friday.


New Gourd Project Underway

New Gourd Project Underway

There is a new gourd project at my gourd work station and I’m excited to be creating gourd art once again after concentrating on Mixed Media Assemblage the past few months. In an effort to simplify my gourd designs, I’ve decided this time to concentrate on a rim design and the eventual color. Even with my goal of simplifying, I’m facing challenges. But it’s all part of the learning process, right?!



My favorite gourd shape is the canteen gourd. My woodburning technique has improved greatly and the wavering lines in the design are due more to the bumps in the gourd shape than an uncertain hand. Not that my woodburning is perfect – only improved.







I plan on embedding cabochons around the rim. The two you see are only loosely adhered to the gourd at this time to check on the overall look. I like it.






And now for the bigger challenges! See the natural discoloration on the left? To my way of thinking, I’ll need to paint the gourd with acrylics rather than dye as dyeing will leave the pattern uneven since it is transparent. Also, notice the scarring at the bottom left of the gourd? It is natural therefore it is beautiful – or at least that’s how I’ve been advised to consider such imperfections.

And finally, see how the lines seem to slant downward to the left? That is an even line from the rim which was measured evenly from the top of the gourd before I removed it. Sigh.






This remains one of those gourd mysteries as I have used the “pencil on the stick” (gourd compass) to measure up from the bottom on previous projects and felt the same sense of unevenness with the top cut of the gourd going one way and the lines going another.

So next time, I’ll try cutting the top of the gourd off by measuring from the bottom up with the gourd compass. I’ve tried that too with mixed results but I’m hoping it improves with experience.

Regardless of these challenges, I believe this will be one beautiful piece of gourd art once I’m done. More later!


Finding Those Treasures to Turn into Little Bits

Finding Those Treasures to Turn into Little Bits

Last week I wrote about Little Bits of Bigger Things – turning big items into unique embellishments for your Mixed Media or Assemblage work. It’s my favorite type of hunt – finding objects that will be so much more useful if only cut up a bit or taken apart.

This past weekend, I discovered a new-to-me flea market/vintage marketplace (it is now on my list of favorite haunts) and brought home a number of these large items that I immediately turned into little bits. Two were necklaces – no big secret on how to dissemble those but the results may surprise you. But first, let me start with the picture frame.




A resin frame for a 4″ x 6″ picture, it drew my eye. If I used frames, it would be a possibility for our cabin. Second, it was priced for only a few dollars. But I passed it by and kept up my hunt. However, I returned to it twice before convincing myself that it would be perfect for Mixed Media Assemblage work if only it was… broken. Yep, it now sits in my Art Room in delightful pieces.





So, guess what I did first when I arrived home? Took it apart.








Then, it was time for the fun. Placing padding beneath and over the frame, I let my mallet do the work.







Now I have these wonderfully 3D pieces with a flat back – perfect for adhering to a canvas. I consider this a definite win as I just can’t find embellishments like this anywhere and as I slowly blend them into a number of art pieces, each will add yet another bit of uniqueness to its piece.







Next is the belt. A pretty belt for sure but not one I’d use in my wardrobe. Plus those pieces of silver are closer to tin and the belt was not well made. But that center silver piece? Around 4″ across – a perfect focal point for a larger work of art. And all of those other silver adornments – perfect embellishments!






It’s not a silver finish I’d use in a Mixed Media Assemblage piece, but that is easily changed. I’ll either antique the silver or paint it with Ranger’s Vintaj Patina. Just look at the yield when I finished disassembling!







Now the necklaces – the first was sweet for sure but hung in an indiscernible mess. And the price was right.







Disassembled, look at the number of embellishments. I love working with hearts so they are a welcome addition to my stash any time.









The second necklace is sort of a no brainer for disassembling but the yield looks different once in pieces.










The beads are large and unusual and, most importantly, will require no painting as I work with these colors often and they are aged ever so perfectly. I don’t find beads of this nature sold individually for anywhere close to this cost. Their width is approximately .75″ and they cost me $.20 per bead. Definite score.



I encourage you to go on the hunt next time you see a flea market or vintage marketplace. Going in, know that prices in these markets vary greatly – the first market you enter may price their items three times as much as the second market a few miles down the street. I usually find the least fancy looking markets carry the best finds.



Little Bits of Bigger Things

Little Bits of Bigger Things

Version 2My art room is filled with objects to include in my Mixed Media Assemblage work. Most are found objects – little items I discover while on one of my flea market or estate sale hunts. I also use a good percentage of new objects found at hobby stores or online. But there’s another type of found object that I value even more which provides me with numerous uses – the larger item that I take apart to use bit by bit.

The possibilities are endless as there are so many objects that are actually more interesting once taken apart. I may move on after seeing a beaded purse at a flea market because I have no interest in paying $15.00 for a single item. But as I continue shopping, my mind may return to that purse as I think about the treasures waiting to be uncovered if only I’d buy it. Its unattractive colors are of little consequence since I can always paint a piece to coordinate with whatever color scheme I have in a particular design. As I walk over to take a second look, I realize that the purse would yield at least 50 bits of beaded design to include in my art work. That means each piece would cost me a quarter. Now, looking at it that way, the purse is quite affordable!





To the right is a perfect example. It is, in fact, that very purse. I wish I had snapped a picture of it before cutting into pieces. It had a shoulder strap (completely usable) and a sixties look to it. And to my eye – an unappealing color combination.






And here’s a close up of all that beaded action. Excellent for mixed media!








But look at it when used as an element in a work of art. You see the light blue and green beads highlighted with gold on the lower right? It extends up the center to close to the top. That’s the same black fabric with its red, yellow, blue, and white beads. Its look is completely transformed. Even the texture of the backing fabric adds interest.

That close up detail is taken from Tree of Hearts where you’ll find even more use of the former beaded purse.







And then there is this little pearl purse with the broken zipper that I have been reducing in size little by little as I have used it over and over as an embellishment. Cost – under $5.00. Yield – beautiful enhancements to at least 20 Mixed Media Assemblage pieces.



Version 2





You can find bits of this little pearl purse in the image that is the header to Art Creations by Vicky. At the upper and lower edges of this closeup, do you see the orange backing topped with a turquoise pearl? Yep – one and the same. Take a look at Sun Central to see this entire piece.











Repurposing old crocheted doilies works well too, especially if they are ruffled around the edges. In this case, the thicker the thread used to make the doily, the better the design for Mixed Media Assemblage purposes. I have been taking pieces from this ruffled doily for some time now.










Here’s a piece of that same doily ruffle in one of my earlier pieces. It’s stretched from the right of the straw basket to below it. Magnificent effect.







It’s Not Limited to Fiber or Fabric

Using bits of larger pieces is certainly not limited to fabric or fiber. What about a really old clock missing so many pieces that it is priced for a song? Steampunk is big and clock pieces thoroughly fit into that look. Bingo – your $5.00 salvage just turned into at least 10 pieces that provide distinction to your artwork.




Here I used an old clock face for the focal point of a steampunk piece. You’ll notice that its frame is broken. For Mixed Media and especially steampunk? All the better! I have the gears and other pieces to use at a later time. To view the entire piece, take a look at Steampunk Time.





Remember – when hunting for a piece to disassemble or cut apart, don’t consider the colors or even the type of metal. If the metal is too shiny, you can age it. If it is silver, you can paint it bronze without risking peeling if you have the right type of product. If you don’t care for the color of the fabric/fiber, paint it first with gesso then the paint color of your choice. The possibilities are endless.

I’ll be talking later in more detail about how to change the colors or age an item. There is a lot to learn but it is well worth the time!