Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #21--Paper Cut Sugar Skulls

Challenge 21 was designed to bring out our best Halloween. I had so many ideas and I finally just had to commit to a project and then just do it. I have been tossing this idea out for a while but just didn't find the right images. I visited my friends over at shutterstock for some inspiration. I found these images from the artist Dmitry (amid999) and decided to commit them to paper. I still don't know how I will use these cutouts but I have several ideas now that I know they can be done.

The first image is my favorite because it can be used as is. In other words, there are no hanging/unattached pieces. Each of these pieces is about 11 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide. I always try to cut new pieces in larger sizes so I can get a feel for the image. Afterwards, I try and miniaturize the image to see how small I can get it before it starts losing details.

I like this image but it has two floating areas. The black eye sockets have to be glued down because they are not connected to anything else. Also the center dot of the daisy in the forehead is a floater as well. In future editions, I will probably just not use the dot on the daisy and will connect the eye sockets with a horizontal connector to the flames. Also, you will notice the error that I made in the daisy. I forgot to cut out the left most petal. The daisy is supposed to be symmetrical.

This is my second most favorite image. I think that I like the fatter border on the skulls. This has a limited number of floaters. Just the dots in the forehead cross have to be glued down. I probably could not use them but it does look empty without them.

I  like this image too mainly because it uses one of the most common themes of sugar skulls--the use of hearts. The only floaters on this one are the eye sockets and I could easily use a vertical connect to connect them to the sun cutout.

I think that I will redesign these and cut them out to show you what I meant about the connectors. I would like to try and miniaturize these and try and turn them into cupcake toppers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #20--Cross Stitch Fail

This was what it was supposed
to look like.
For this Challenge, we were tasked with attempting a craft that was new for us. I have always wanted to try my hand at cross stitch. For me, this should have been a match made in heaven for someone with OCD. Counting stitches, duplicating bottom left to top right under bottom right to top left. The repetition should have been comforting and relaxing--but it wasn't.

For some reason, I just couldn't get my head wrapped around it. Maybe I should have started with a larger hole Aida cloth but I used the cloth that was in the package. The biggest frustration was separating the strands of thread. I only needed three strands and it took me forever to separate the strands of thread. What I should have done was take a length of 6 strand thread, cut it, and then separate it. Instead, I tried to separate an entire bobbin of thread which was a complete disaster.

I finally got the hang of one color but when it came time to add the second of five colors, I got totally discombobulated. Somehow, two colors of thread sharing the same holes sent my OCD mind reeling. What I really should have done was to stick to a single color.

This is my unmitigated disaster

I might try this project again but start with a plastic canvas or an 6 or 8 count cloth. I haven't totally given up yet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #19--Leopard Print Coloring Book

For Challenge #19 we were asked to prepare something based on current fashion trends. I had some leftover coloring book blanks that I needed to work on so I decided to do the covers in velvet and leopard print papers.

One of the difficulties with accordion books is that it is difficult to know from which side to open the book. To alleviate this problem, I decided to give the covers a standard quarter binding appearance so that it would resemble a regular book. The title of the binding refers to the dimensions of the covering material. The spine material (in this case, the velvet paper) covers one quarter of the surface. The decorative paper (the leopard print paper) then covers the remaining three quarters of the surface. I chose the velvet paper for the spine material because it has a nice feel against the hand.

To finish the book, I simply mounted the pages to the inside front and back covers. The fly sheet/end sheet is left blank so you can write something special for the recipient.

Overall, I like the book and especially like the matte surface of the velvet paper against the slight sheen of the decorative paper.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #18--Leftover Stained Glass

Challenge #18 was a UFO challenge--Unfinished Object Challenge. I had so many options but I decided to do something with the leftover paper stained glass pieces that I had from challenge #17.

To be able to assemble a stained glass project, there needs to be seven identical cutouts made of the same design. One design is done in black (to resemble the lead lines) and one design for each of the colors used. So in essence, if I am careful, I can obtain six pieces from each set of patterns (if I cut out an additional black design). In other words, if I cut out six individual black pieces, and one pattern for each of the six colors, I will have six total pieces by alternating the color patterns for each individual piece.

By using each of the pieces, I have the unused colored outlines. The color palette chosen for these pieces are usually two color groups divided into a light, medium and dark shade of the same color. So, I decided to mount three of the color outlines using the purple family.

Here I mounted the dark color on bottom, the light shade in the middle and the medium shade on top. I staggered them so it gives the design a shadow effect. I then mounted them on white paper.

I made a paper mat with black paper. The frame is 18 by 18 which is the outer dimension of the paper mat. I usually make paper mats at home to decide how I want to mat a project. Once I have decided, I then take it to a framer to cut the real mats if I am selling or giving the piece away. If I keep it for myself, I will usually just keep the paper mat.

All that is left is to put it in a frame.

I always find it hard to take a picture of a framed item.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #17--Paper Stained Glass

For Challenge #17 we were asked to contribute to the State Fair. I decided to do category 697--Paper Cutting. The basis of the entry is a paper stained glass project. These are stained glass patterns found in the Moorish castles in Spain. They are are a mix of Christian and Muslim iconography.

I have re-created them in paper. Each piece must be cut out and then must be glued in place like a jigsaw puzzle. I am using traditional color palettes of the Mediterranean.

Hopefully, between the two entries I will be awarded a ribbon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #16--H is for Horse

For Challenge #16 we were given the theme "H". I really struggled with this challenge and was succumbing to the heat wave that has hit New York City. Finally, with no ideas of a project, I decided to do a Google Search for "H Crafts" and voila--the first entry was horse.

After having an idea, I need to do a quick project so I went to my comfort zone and did a cutout.  I still haven't glued down the image because I still don't know quite how I want to finish it. I might cut out a duplicate and mount the second layer on top with spacers between the layers to give it some dimension.

For now, this will have to do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #15--Cool Water Sea Horse

For Challenge #15 we were prompted with the word "Cool." When I think of cool, there are two thoughts that come to mind--snow/snowflakes and water. I decided to work with the second option. So I thought that I would do a cut out of a sea horse in a sea of cool water.

To begin, I started with the cut out. This is another in my series of Paper Stained Glass. I designed this particular pattern using an image from shutterstock. I tweeked the image a little and added the "lead lines" to the background.

Step One
The second step is to design the stained glass panels. I thought about adding color to the sea horse using the background colors or even adding a contrasting color. In the end, I decided that to keep the sea horse with just the background paper (white) showing through.

The third step is to apply the first color. To be able to add color to the background, you must cut the identical pattern for each separate color. After cutting the pieces, you glue them to the background paper similar to fitting a jigsaw puzzle. You will know immediately if your cutting is offline.

First color
 You keep on cutting and adding colors.

Second color
Third color
Fourth color
The colors in the background were supposed to replicate the color of the water from the surface to the deep sea blue.

I then double matted the artwork and placed it in a frame.