Month: October 2014

Visual Journal Page 1: Creating Yourself

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It had been three years since I started my first visual journal, and here I was, once again staring at a blank canvas. The first page in a book is the most overwhelming. Thinking about filling all of the pages, trying to decide where to start, and realizing I was once again at stage one, momentarily distracted me from the excitement of the beginning of something new. After allowing the doubts and fears to momentarily wash over, I began brainstorming my first page and the tone of this new book.

I like to start my visual journals off with a quote. The quote becomes my theme for the book and mantra for the year. I already had a concrete idea for the theme after completing my cover, and I decided to continue the imagery into the first page. New growth, change, setting and accomplishing big goals, became the core of this book. For years I have loved the quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself,” and this was the perfect book and year to use that quote. It was going to be the year that I create myself and develop my future. It was my personal challenge for the year.

The tree imagery and quote became so inspirational to me, I continued to use them in my classes and art club. I designed art club t-shirts using the quote on the back, and designed the “create” tree for the front. Creating is the foundation of my life. Creating helps me express myself, explore new avenues, and grow as an artist and person. After creating the t-shirt design, I decided it was the perfect tie to the first page of my book. I grabbed one of the test screen prints, which was on a lovely blue color construction paper, and began formatting my design.

In the end I was very satisfied with the way the quote and image came together. This was going to be the year of change for me, and this page truly reflected that intent.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto Knife
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page, I started with the screen print tester. I carefully cut around the tree branches using scissors, and in between the word “create” using an Xacto knife. Once the tree was ready, I began brainstorming how everything would come together.

I loved the pattern on the page, and didn’t want to cover it up, but still wanted to include some color. Since I was already reflecting the cover of the book in the imagery, I decided to go ahead and use some of the same materials. I had leftover bleeding tissue paper strips from the cover, and knew it would be the perfect addition. I glued a strip of the green bleeding tissue paper to the bottom, to create a ground. I decided to leave a little space, to show the pattern in the actual book, then glued three bleeding tissue paper strips down to create a sense of a sky.

Next, I glued my tree print cut out on the right side page. I love the look of overlapping layers, and decided to add another strip of green bleeding tissue paper on top of the tree. This created a nice space to include my quote. To help the quote stand out I glued down ripped up pieces of old, discolored book pages. Finally, I added the quote on top using a sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your mantra for the year. What do you want to accomplish? What quote best represents that?

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Visual Journal #3: Between the Lines, Year 2011-2012

Between the Lines Cover

Once upon a time I became inspired to share my visual journals with the world, via a blog. It was a bit overwhelming at first, learning how to design, post, and attract readers. Here I am,still blogging, still sharing, and still creating. I can’t believe three years have gone by, two visual journals blogged, and another on the brink. I remember typing up my first post, hitting the send button, and thinking to myself… “Who am I talking to? Who is going to read this?” Now, a few years later, I have picked up 420 subscribers along the way, and had numerous people around the world stumble upon my blog and send me a quick note about them and their creations. Starting this new book I hope I can continue to keep my pace up and continue to share my pages. Hopefully, someone new will stumble upon my posts and be inspired to go on the hunt for their own book, and start their own visual journal.

I have poured my heart, aches and pains, good and bad into the pages of these books; and I’m so glad I decided years ago to share them with the world. Although my original goal of completing a book every year has fallen to the wayside, new jobs, hobbies, and artistic endeavors have filled much of the space, I hope I always continue to add to my books, discover new techniques, and share my findings.

Between the Lines reflects a book of change. I had many plans for the coming year. I had my goals tucked in the back of my mind, and I was determined to record my journey between the pages of this book. To date, this was my favorite book to work in and I am most proud of my creations. I carefully selected this book from the dusty shelves of my local antique store, and fell in love with the decorating tips, vintage styles, and red and black ink that filled the pages.

Typically, when I begin a new book I work on a few pages, decide what the tone will be, then create a cover to align with my plans. However, going into this book I already knew what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to reflect the growth and change I was determined to experience in the next 12 months. I decided the cover needed to come first.

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Since I wanted to visually represent an idea of growth, I chose a tree. For a long time I have experienced a slight obsession with the shape of a tree silhouette. Someone once told me if they could choose any object to represent me, they would choose a tree. And it stuck. I admire the long branches, the constant change. Over the years trees grow larger, extending their branches like fingertips. Every season they show change, rebirth, new growth, and a shedding of the old. Trees are interesting and metaphorical in so many ways. Perhaps I also strive to be interesting and metaphorical.

While creating the cover I continuously brainstormed title ideas. Nothing seemed to fit, until one day, while listening to NPR on my daily comment home, a program came on called “Between the Lines.” My ears immediately perked, I liked the ring of it. Everything seems normal, predictable, same old, same old on the surface, but when you look a little closer, you discover something else. This visual journal and title are what inspired me to try something new and different, share my stories and techniques with the world, and finally enter into the ever-popular blogging universe.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Large, white paper
  • Old book pages
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • India ink
  • Sharpie
  • Paint brush
  • Red details from the book
  • Laser printed images
  • Packaging tape
  • Laminator

HOW TO

I took a large, white sheet of drawing paper, and wrapped it around the book. I trimmed off the edges, leaving the flaps to hold the cover onto my journal. I then ripped up discolored book pages from antique books and layered them over the white sheet of paper. I trimmed off the extra book pages around the edges, and began on the next layer.

Because I loved the way the discolored book pages looked, I knew I didn’t want to completely cover them up with the trees. To allow the text to still show through I decided to paint my tree forms using India ink, on white tissue paper. While I love the end product, the process was excruciating. The tissue paper fought my intent the entire time. As I placed the brush on the paper, it would try to wrinkle up. As I used an Xacto knife to cut out the branches, the tissue paper would rip, and threaten to loose limbs from my trees. Once I had all of my trees cut out, showing the transition from sapling to full grown, I glued them down in order, going from left to right.

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Next, I added color to the background. I stacked yellow and green bleeding tissue paper and dripped water on top. I wanted a light tie dye effect, and using analogous colors allowed me to get the results I wanted. I let the paper dry, then cut it into strips. I began gluing the strips to the background, but carefully ripped the green tissue paper around the tree shapes. I wanted to still be able to see the book pages in the background and the shape of the trees. In the end, it almost looked like the book pages were the canopy of the trees.

After the background was complete I began on the border. I painted a circular pattern on old book pages, cut them out, then layered them on white tissue paper. I cut them out again, leaving a thin white border around the design, then glued it to the edge of the book.

I felt the background still looked a little empty after adding all of my planned elements, and I began brainstorming things I could add. In the end, I decided the perfect addition would be tape transfer frames (read how to do a tape transfer here). The empty frames helped reinforce my idea of growth, change, and trying to accomplish future goals. I chose a range of shapes and sizes, and added them to the back of the cover. I chose a decorative oval frame to add to the front, overlapping the largest tree, to bring even more focus to it.

Once I was satisfied with the overall design I began adding the details. I cut out red ink designs from inside the book, and added them to the trunks of the trees. I did a tape transfer of my book title, Between the Lines, on top of the red detail on the front of the cover. Last but not least, I added a framed seed just beginning to sprout to the front, inside flap.

Between the Lines Cover Shots

After my cover was complete I had it laminated, and covered my book with it. It was no longer an antique, interior design book, it was now my book. For the next year every page would slowly be transformed to something new, different, and so very personal.

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Handmade Ceramics: Wood Grain Mugs and Vases

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In the spring of last year a new, local shop reached out to me about including my pottery in their store. I was excited about a new opportunity to sell my artwork, but tentative about the required year long commitment, and monthly rent. Despite my concerns I decided to jump in with both feet, and commit to Crafted Westside.

Since I signed my contract I have been hard at work, creating, producing, and filling my space at Crafted. The store has been a huge success, and after a short 5 months of being open, they have already expanded into the space next door. I’m looking forward to the  upcoming holiday season, and am keeping my fingers crossed that I will set my personal best sales months.

One of my favorite things about my commitment to Crafted is it has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have had to develop new designs, techniques, and products. I have had to chart what is selling, and what is collecting dust and taking up space on my shelves. I have had the opportunity to experiment, and experienced a great deal of trial and error.

A few weeks ago, while brainstorming new ideas, I decided I want to try my hand at hand building with slabs. Up to this point all of my products had been thrown on the pottery wheel, and I needed a change of pace. I went to my local ceramic store, perused their shelves, and fell in love with a wood grain stamp. An idea immediately hit me, I would hand build a few sets of mugs and vases, using slabs, and this beautiful patter.

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Keeping with the look and feel of my pottery, I decided to keep the exterior simple, with the white body of the clay, and a quick layer of clear on top. For the interior I used blues and greens, to stick with the earthy feel of the wood. I also decided to experiment with gloss and matte finishes. Rather than coat the entire exterior with clear, I left a section at the bottom unglazed.

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I was really excited about my finished products. They have been delivered to Crafted Westside, and are sitting on the shelves, waiting to find a happy home. I hope they do well, so I can continue to play around with my beautiful new stamp.

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In addition to my wood grain pieces, I also made a set of hydrangea inspired vases. Check out Crafted’s website here to look at more products! Check out my Etsy shop here to order your own set of wood grain mugs or vases.

IMG_8148Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read about my latest works of art. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others on your social networking site of choice! Thanks for stopping by.

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