Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #19--Wee Pandas

For this challenge, we were allowed a do-over or a Mulligan. I had several projects in mind but I decided to combine several projects into one. Last challenge, I did Pandas. So I did Pandas again. Since these are cutouts, this also qualifies for the Paper Challenge. To add some interest and challenge to the challenge, I decided to re-visit the "Wee Challenge" or miniatures.

Each of the above images is 2" by 3". Although, you really can't tell, each one is attached to the back of my business card. I purposely didn't crop the image because all eight of the cutouts are attached to a single sheet of 8.5" by 11" piece of paper.

All of the images are from a Chinese Cutout Book by Dover. Some of them are more successful than others but I am very pleased with the results. I will say--working within these parameters was more difficult than I anticipated. This took me the full two weeks and there were many discarded attempts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #18--Pandas

For Challenge #18, we were asked to be inspired by animals. With things getting busy with the upcoming holiday season, I needed to (1) either do a quick and easy project or (2) do something that I could combine with one of my other commitments. I chose the latter.

My dentist has been asking me for some artwork for this office. He just finished repainting and re-designing his work space and wanted some artwork. The walls are an tan/beige color and he needed something that was visually approachable to all of his clients.

When this challenge came along, I decided to do something to meet both needs. I had done a postcard based on pandas (the middle image) so I decided to revisit this artwork. The images are traditional Chinese Cutout Designs. I decided to do a triptych of pandas that will be mounted and framed in a single frame. I haven't quite decided how to mount them on paper and the matting color. I was thinking about putting the cutouts on green bamboo paper and then mounting them with fern green mat. The other thought would be to mount them on white paper and wrap the mat in the green bamboo paper. The frame will be a thin metallic dark green.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Yet Even More Wrapping Paper

It's a Boy
This time it was a baby shower for a friend from the theater. She is obviously having a boy and it is her first child. Guys weren't invited to the baby shower so I made my presence felt in other ways. Two of my friends were invited so I guaranteed that they presents would be remembered by everyone there.

Poodle Large
My friend has a toy poodle that has been her love and joy and we don't know how Dex (the poodle) is going to react to not being the center of attention. So we decided to make fun of the situation with this gift wrap. I did this in two formats--one for larger gifts and one for medium to smaller gifts.

Poodle Small
The paper was definitely the hit of the party.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Even More Wrapping Paper

Here is another in a series of wrapping paper that I made. This was made for one of the actors in the show at my theater. I found two Star Wars Commemorative mugs and decided to wrap them in handmade wrapping paper. The first design is a leaf and berry design. It is a basic stencil that is repeated three times across the sheet. 

When I work on these projects, I work on the stenciled image first and then work on the backgrounds. I usually like to offset negative and positive space. In the above paper, in the first and third group, I decided to concentrate on the positive space. To add a little interest, I colored the berries in different colors.  In the center group, I decided to highlight the negative space. The background is a red, white and blue plaid.

The second pattern uses a vine and leaf design. The stencil is the same for both sides. On the left side, I decided to highlight the positive space and doodled the leaves and colored the vines. The background is done in a Columbia blue in a pattern that I call lazy diamonds. It is accomplished by drawing horizontal lines and then diagonal lines. The right side of the paper highlights the negative space by filling in the background with horizontal lines. in complimentary green color.

Left side detail
Right side detail

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

More Wrapping Paper

I wanted to share with you some of the projects that I have been working on between the Iron Craft Challenges. I have been making a lot of handmade wrapping paper since August is always a busy month for birthdays and celebrations.

I am also developing a line of wrapping papers to sell through Spoonflower and I will share those designs a little bit later once the proof copies arrive and we settle some issues with the paper sources they are using.

These papers were simply designed on brown craft paper. For these, I used a stencil and then I doodled and detailed the background. These are all done by hand and are usually very appreciated by the recipients.

Pattern One
Pattern One is a collection of circles and onion dome shapes. Originally, I made an error when I repeated the pattern. Notice in the above picture, one of the circles has a line through it. It DROVE ME CRAZY. Someone told me that you learn more when correcting mistakes than when you originally design something. In the final wrap below, you can see that the solution was to bisect both the domes and the circles (in opposite directions)--an easy fix. I always forget to take pictures of the wrapped gift when I do these projects so I was pleased that I remembered to do so. Since this was for a teenage boy, I decided to use raffia instead of ribbon. This is a new type of raffia that is made from recycled plastic bags.

Final gift.
I called Pattern Two--Shoe Prints because that is what it looked like to me. I decided to use a pattern on pattern effect in that the shoes were vertical and horizontal lines and the background was a diagonal plaid.

Pattern Two
Pattern Three
Pattern Three was called Asteroids because I had a bunch of rough drawn circles emanating from a single source. The curved lines in the background were made with my new collection of large French curves. I have never seen plastic curves this size before and just happened across them at a new art supply store called DaVinci Artist Supply. I was visiting the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan and ran across this store.

Wrapped Gifts
For these books, I decided to combine them and tie a burlap ribbon (although, I hate working with burlap--I am still itching from working with it). These books went to the twin brother of the Pattern One gift.

Many people ask me how I can concentrate and detail the backgrounds for these papers. It really is a Zen exercise for me. I usually plug into music, gather my guides, stencils, rulers and markers and just start. Before I know it, I am either (1) late for an appointment, (2) finished, or (3) have to stop to eat. And that ain't a bad way to spend some time alone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #17--Felt Tip Markers

For this challenge, we where given the letter "F" as a guideline. I thought about a felting project. The catalyst for my project was my newly acquired Copic Markers sets. So I decided to play with them and decided that my F would be "felt tip markers."

I have been busily designing some new gift wrap options for my upcoming store on Spoonflower. I hope to release the designs within the next week. These are hand designed papers that you will be able to order directly from them. We hit a snag in that the matte paper they were using is being discontinued. There are some designs that I will be able to release in the interim but others will have to be placed on hold until the replacement paper is chosen.

Here is the basic Happy Birthday Wrapping Paper. The basic paper comes with the letters "pre-doodled" so all that you have to do is color in the letters and/or the background if you choose. This was done with Sharpie Markers.

Basic Happy Birthday Paper

Here is the paper colored in with Copic Markers. These markers are alcohol based markers so they blend easily together. I have chosen to leave the background blank on this sample.

Happy Birthday Reds
The second sample is a Thank You wrapping paper that has designed with a background and then reproduced. The background was done with Sharpie Markers. This is definitely fine on its own OR

Basic Thank You Paper

you can color in the words yourself. I used the Copic Markers for the words on this sample.

Thank you in Blues

I am still tweeking the designs and they will be available in my Spoonflower shop under nystarcards.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #16--Cabin Lampshade

Moose Scene

For Challenge #16, we were asked to contribute to the Minnesota State Fair. After much internal debate (not), I knew that I wanted to enter the Decorative Crafts Division--Paper Cutting competition. Somehow, my eyes immediately locked to that entry in the official rules and divisions.

The only difficulty was deciding exactly what to enter. I knew that I wanted to do something from the area but didn't quite know what to do. I was planning on doing a cut out of a grizzly bear face. My motivation came from the theater once again. One of the actors was redecorating his dressing room and he wanted a Maine Cabin decor.

I decided to contribute a lampshade to his room. This actor is in love with moose (I didn't know the plural of moose was moose--why not mooses or meese?). I started with craft paper lampshade with black trim. I knew that I wanted to do a moose silhouette that would only appear when the light was turned on. I glued the silhouette to the interior of the shade. The shade has 8" slanted sides. The top opening is 5 inches in diameter. The bottom opening is about 9" in diameter.

I then had several options--to repeat the pattern or to create different silhouettes to fill the space. I made each silhouette 6" in height so that the images wouldn't be too close to the bulb. I  treated each of the silhouettes with a heat retardant spray so there wouldn't be any problems with the heat.

I decided to do three different scenes. The shade is an Empire shape with a slip UNO fitting. This means that the light bulb holds the lampshade in place. More importantly, it allows the shade to rotate easily. I chose the three different scenes so the actor could rotate the shade as his preferences changed.

Bear Scene
Elk Scene
 I am very happy with the way this turned out. Everyone that has seen it seems to be pleased as well.