Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #23--Paper Holiday Decorations

Playbill Tree Topper
For Challenge #23 we were asked to use materials that we already have--to take something old and make it new. I have a collection of Playbills from most of the shows that come to our theater. The Playbill is the free program that is given out to all of the audience members. Many times, the Playbills get updated and become obsolete so I usually will snag a bundle or two to recycle. I am always looking for ways to repurpose these materials.

So for the current show, I decided to make a tree topper made from the cover of the Playbill. As you can see above, the show is prominently displaced in the center of the star.

Never to be satisfied with only one project, I decided to try and use the Playbills for other purposes. I made two paper bows with can feature any of the small pictures featured in the Playbill. Once uses the cover artwork and the other uses the black and white pages of the book's interior.

Playbill Bow (Cover)
Playbill Bow (Pages)
Finally, since I had so much material left over, I decided to try and miniaturize the tree topper star and make an ornament. The ornament below is made from two 2 inch squares of paper.

Playbill Star Ornament

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #22--Fall Flowers

This is going to be a bit of a strange post. For this challenge, we were tasked to create something dedicated to Fall colors. Orange has always been one of my favorite colors so I knew which direction I was headed. I love color and color theory and people are always asking me what inspires me and affects my color sense. After reading the posted challenge, I was walking by one of the Manhattan bodegas. In Manhattan, we always have flowers and foliage available for last minute gifts. As I was walking past, I noticed the above flower arrangement and decided to immediately do a floral arrangement for this challenge.

What many of you might not know is that I have always loved flowers. One of my only regrets about living in NYC is not being able to garden. I would love to have a plot of land to grow flowers for arrangements. If I had the chance to redo my life, I would have been a gardener and/or florist.

There were so many beautiful blooms available. I found these yellow and yellow/brown Calla Lilies.

Yellow Calla Lilies
There were also Dahlias in yellows, golds and oranges.

I fell in love with these Pumpkin Trees which I had never seen before. I found out that they were actually ornamental eggplants. Unfortunately, they were out-of-stock when I went back to the store.

Pumpkin Tree/Pumpkin on a stick
These Lantern Flowers have always intrigued me. They apparently intrigued everyone else because they were gone when I went back to buy them.

Chinese Lantern Flowers
And you can't have a Fall arrangement without berries and buds. I don't know this specific variety but they definitely fit the theme.
Berries & Buds
As I was deciding what to use for my arrangement, I decided on the Dahlias and Calla Lilies as my main flowers. For height, I added curly willow and cattails. I used lemon leaves, berries and some buds to fill out the arrangement.
Raw Materials
Below is the result. I am very happy with the result and gave it to a friend who needed some cheering up.
The Final Arrangement
I am always amazed at the overhead in flower arrangements. I really don't think that a simple arrangement like this is very difficult to do. If I had purchased this arrangement from a florist it would have been between $80 to $100. I already had the vase and the flowers totaled $25.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #21--Butterfly Mask--Part 2

A couple of people asked me to provide a pic of the Butterfly Mask in action. This is me at work guarding the Stage Door during broad daylight. To say that I caused a stir would be an understatement.  Since our show deals with Shakespeare we were asked to dressed as a character from a Shakespearean show or to dress as one of the characters from a musical referenced during the show.

I knew that most people would take the easy way out and dress as musical character. Oh no, not me. I chose to dress up as Oberon, King of the Faeries, from A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Victorian times, faeries where always represented by butterflies. Also, Oberon is a larger than life kind of character is usually tall and statuesque.

The costume is made from several pieces some of which were handmade, some purchased, and some from my stash. The leather corset and boots were from previous years' costumes. The skirt is made from an extra piece of tie dyed fabric from my stash. It is simply tied at the waist. I made the mesh tank top from material that I had around the apartment. It is a double layer of material with holes torn into both layers for effect. The butterflies were purchased and placed through the mesh tank top and through the laces of the corset.

By the end of the night, the only butterflies remaining were the ones in the mask. I gave the rest of them away before returning back stage.

I will have to say that many people stopped and took pictures and asked if they could pose with me. I worked this door for two hours before moving backstage.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #21--Butterfly Mask

For Challenge Number 21 were tasked with another color challenge--The Color black. I struggled with this challenge because I always work with the color black due of my cutouts. I also wanted to do something for Halloween. So, I decided to do a Masquerade Mask with cutouts.

For Halloween at the theater, we arecasked to dress up as a Shakespearean character (our current show features a Shakespeare references) so I decided to go as Oberon, King of the Fairies, from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I started off with a white masquerade mask that can be purchased at any craft store during this time of year. I chose the mask that simply covers your nose and eyes (as opposed to the full face mask) and is affixed with an elastic band.

The first step was to pain the mask black with gesso. I applied two coats and then treated it with a blue mica powder to give it a sheen.

The second step was to apply the butterflies. I had these store bought butterflies that I was planning on using but the scale was too small. So I decided to make three butterfly cutouts. I would crease the butterfly down the center of the cutout to give dimension and then mount the store bought butterfly to the cutout. For the center of the mask, I took the third cutout and mounted rhinestones to give it some sparkle.

One side of the butterfly mask.

I will probably make another one of the these and put red and yellow rhinestones on the center butterfly. I will also cut the bottom part of the butterfly abdomen so that the wings have more motion and lie flat against the bridge of the nose.
The second side of the butterfly mask.

I am very happy with the way that it turned out (although the picture below doesn't seem like it).
Me modeling the mask*

* this is my "it's 2 AM and the Mets lost and I need to take a picture and go to bed" face.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Iron Craft 2015 Challenge #20--Scary Lampshade

For this challenge, we were asked to create something for Halloween. One of the actors at the theater is a big fan of Halloween so I decided to make something for his dressing room. Since another actor received the moose lampshade, I decided to decorate another lampshade.

This lampshade has two faces--an evil skill and a Keith Ledger Joker face. The faces are facing opposite directions so that both of the actors sharing the dressing room can each be facing an image. Or, the lampshade can be turned forward towards the door as people enter.

Evil Skull

Joker Face

The project turned out really well and everyone at the theater seems to enjoy it.

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.