Monday, August 31, 2009

Book review: The Quilting Arts Book

I’ve found that many mixed media artists become inspired to try art quilting, but do not have a traditional quilting background, thus, some of the basics of design, assembly, and finishing may be unknown to them. If you’ve ever wanted to just dive in and start, this is a good book for you to check out.

The Quilting Arts Book
Patricia Bolton, editor

I really enjoyed reading through the collected articles in this book: the tagline is “Techniques and inspiration for creating one-of-a-kind quilts”, and this book is full of exactly that. From composition to piecing, applique, embellishing, machine or hand stitching, The Quilting Arts Book covers it all.

Check out out The Bookshop for lots more links to books about art quilts in addition to this fine guide!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!


Cathie Filian
Cathie is holding a charity dog costume & book auction. All the costumes were handmade by Cathie and featured in her book Bow Wow WOW! The proceeds benifit the Humane Society.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has tutorials on how to make two punk rock scarves one with yarn and one with fabric, info on participating in the Good Mail Day Challenge, One Person's Oddity and a Polaroid Postcard design, a bunch of mixed element jewelry and tips on laying a pattern out on plaid fabric.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy talks about booth set ups for art shows as well as trade shows.

Cross Stitch at About.com
One of Connie's friends is really big into Egyptian history and culture, so she has some pattern ideas for gifts. If you like Egyptian-themed decor, you will love these charts!

Mixed Media Artist
Have you ever used an online publisher to create your own artist book?

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen shows how to transform old lace curtains and a cheap wooden embroidery hoop into a one of a kind earring holder.

The Artful Crafter
Eileen just took her new Zutter Bind-it-All out of the box. Woohoo! Look at what a bona fide binding newbie can create with the Bind-it-All.

The Impatient Crafter
Check out this Haute Couture inspired felt, ribbon and glass bib necklace Madge made for I Love to Create teens!

Vickie Howell-Craft.Rock.Love
Get a signed bookplate for your copy of Vickie's book, Pop Goes Crochet!

About Family Crafts
Who are your favorite popular characters? Are they included in this collection of free coloring book pages?



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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Design ideas for page layouts


Sometimes I get stuck in a rut when it comes to choosing the layout design for a mixed media collage or altered book page. I find myself recycling the same layouts that have worked for me before. Even if I start with a new idea, it just seems like my page elements creep towards comfortable spots of their own volition!

Well, I’ve found a wonderful site to help me get past that, and I hope it will help you too. It’s designed for scrapbookers, but you know what? The basic layouts archived here will work for any visual art form. It’s called Page Maps, and is owned by Becky Fleck. Thanks so much for so many great ideas, Becky!



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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A new critter at our house

My daughter fell in love over the summer while she was in Ithaca doing her summer theater internship. But not with a human. She fell in love with the hedgehog that belonged to one of the other girls there!

After doing the appropriate amount of research on the critters, and learning that there is a breeder only 15 minutes from our house, Dani is now the proud mommy of a baby girl.

Meet Thistle, as she meets Phoebe:




Don't worry...Phoebe the cat is a Ragdoll, and they don't hurt stuff :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

My favorite mixed media art magazines

There are so many magazines out there, covering every type of art form you can possibly think of. Still, there are two that are my absolute favorites, covering the broadest categories of mixed media arts.



If you can only get one, make it this one. A must for fabric lovers. Six issues a year, it covers types of fiber arts and collage work, including mixed media, assemblage, altered books, art dolls, visual art journals, rubber stamping, creative embroidery, and book arts.


This one is a close second. It is a lush magazine featuring paper arts, book arts, art stamping and the lettering arts. Includes how-to articles, an extensive paper-arts column, craft marketing tips, artist portfolios, artful journeys to exotic locales, and book reviews.


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Friday, August 21, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!


About Family Crafts:
Find out how to can make a story sack for the book, and soon to be movie, Cloudy With a Change of Meatballs.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen's created a quirky copper bird pin,,,,stop by and check it.

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa revisits and reconnects with a craft from her childhood

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a sneak peek into the soon to be released book; Who's Your Dada? Redefining The Doll Through Mixed Media, free graphics of good angel/bad angel birds with a tutorial for using them as T-shirt iron-ons, how-to's on bleaching and cutting photos to create windows, and a mosaic chicken project. The book and bobbin winder contest continues, leave a question on any topic and you are entered to win!

Crafty Princess Diaries
You'll find some big crochet fun in these new little books published by Leisure Arts and written by Drew, The Crochet Dude!

CraftyPod
Sister Diane's new podcast compares two ways to publish a craft book: the traditional print and publisher method, and the ebook method. If you dream of writing a craft book, this is useful information.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Sometimes, you've just gotta go against the grain. Find out when and share your comments about stitching against the grain.

Mixed Media Artist
Have you ever tried using heavy watercolor paper to make a peeled paper collage?

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Relax! A Toilet Paper Cozy never looked cuter then when embellished by embroidering with ribbons to make a plaid square on a recycled sweater using a tutorial from the book Ribbon Embroidery by Natalie Bellanger-Clement

The Artful Crafter
A reader asks, “What are the pros and cons of selling crafts online?” Eileen answers.

The Crochet Dude
Drew gives good advice on how to handle the non-crafty people (muggles) in your world.

The Impatient Crafter
It's time for back to school fashions and Madge has whipped up a fab tiny Moulin Rouge inspired top hat headband project for your discerning teen...or any gal who likes a little splash of whimsy in her accessories!


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Copyright and images


Every once in awhile, questions come up about the practical meaning of some of the terms that we use a lot in mixed media art, especially in altered books and collage. You’ll read that images are "royalty free" or sometimes that they are "copyright free". These two things don't happen to be the same at all. Just because someone offers you the use of an image for no fee (royalty free) does not mean that you can do whatever you want with it. Someone may still hold the copyright to that image and may set whatever restrictions he pleases. It’s confusing, because some copyright holders will let you use their image but not sell anything made with it. Others will let you sell an item that contains the image, but you may not resell the image itself to others. And there are lots more variations on this theme.

Basically, bottom line…the copyright holder has the right to set any restrictions he wants. Your best bet, if you are unsure how an image may be used, is to check with the company or individual artist who owns it. Do not think that just because an image is "out there" on the net that you may take it and use it. Same goes for books or artwork that you purchase. You own that copy, not the right to reproduce it and make more unless the owner says so.

In the United States, the government copyright site is the ONLY authority on what is and isn’t true about copyright. Don’t believe all those things you hear about only having to change the design X% and it’s ok to use. According to the government site, only works published before a certain date are considered public domain and only some of those published after are free for use. Notice that I’m not even going to state the date here. You need to read this info for yourself…I am not a lawyer and will not do the research for you. That would be practicing law without a license :-)

Still, there are a number of really good royalty-free and copyright-free sites with images available for your use. I prefer to take my own pictures and even make my own stamps for the most part, but there are times when a vintage drawing has just the right look, plus I also have an extensive collection of antique photos that I use. When you go to download any of the images off these sites that I’m going to list, it is up to you to read the rules and learn what you’re allowed and not allowed to do with them.

NOAA Photo Library
National Archives
NYPL Digital Gallery
Wikimedia Commons
US Government Photos and Graphics
Library of Congress: the commons on Flickr

You’re welcome to leave additional links to image sites in the comments. Remember, everyone is responsible for checking into the rules of each site and no one who leaves suggestions here may be held responsible for any copyright issues.


Image: Public Domain, US Dept of Agriculture



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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Online publishers for your artist books


Here’s a list of publishers who will do small runs (even just one copy, some of them). It’s like self-publishing without the huge cash outlay of having to have 10,000 copies printed…and pay for all of them yourself. This form of printing is called Print on Demand (POD), and many artists are using these services to produce books of their work.

I’d love to hear from anyone who’s actually used any of these companies: were you pleased? Were you treated well? How were the images? Did you have a lot of freedom to select what you wanted?

A collaborative art project that I was involved with recently, Ties That Bind, produced a book this way, using Blurb. I bought a copy of the resulting book, shown above, and I plan to buy more. Our mission was to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Research (my Mom is a survivor), and all the profit from the sale of this book goes towards that cause. I am very impressed with the quality of the resulting book.

Blurb
Lulu
MyPublisher
Snapfish
BookSurge
EditionOne Studios

Disclaimer: I have not personally used any of these publishers. I believe that in all cases, you retain complete copyright to your materials; these companies are just printers. I cannot personally vouch for the professionalism or quality of the experience you will have working with them! Buyer beware :-)


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Question of the Month: What's the best thing you've made so far this summer?

Over on Jewelry&Beading, the Question of the Month that's gotten the most enthusiastic response is this one: What’s the best thing you’ve made so far this summer? So, anybody want to play show and tell over here? Collage, altered books, digital art, wearables, polymer clay, metal or metal clay…we love it all here, and we get enthusiastic about seeing all of it! So come on, don’t be shy.

I’d love to share some of your summertime work right here on Mixed Media Artist! Just send me an email with an image of your favorite summertime creation so far and anything you want to say about it, and I’ll post it here with a link to your site or blog :-) Email cyndi @ mazeltovjewelry.com (remove the spaces) with the subject line "my favorite project"!

Here’s my fave so far, inspired by my mother’s flower garden. There is nothing this woman can’t grow:



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Antique moon image

Here is a copy of the antique moon that I used for my Bead Journal Project pages. It’s copyright free, so please help yourself.

If you’re not sure how to take this image for yourself, do this:
Right click on the image
Left click on the phrase “save image as”
Give the file a name, ending in .jpg
Make sure it’s saving to either your desktop or to whatever folder you desire (use the drop-down arrow at the top to change the destination if needed)
There! It’s yours to use :-)


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Monday, August 17, 2009

Peeled paper technique


I have a couple of young friends whose mother passed away from brain cancer a few years ago. I didn't know her as well as I know her sons, because I've traveled and worked with them on youth group trips for years. Knowing what fine young men she raised, I feel that she was an exceptional woman, one of the many whose legacy will live on through her children.

Her youngest son, Nick, founded a non-profit organization in his mother's memory, the mission of which is to help fund the basic needs of children in developing countries. He calls it Cling.

That story reminded me of one of my favorite psalms, which has a line about clinging to God. I've used that verse in this mixed media piece, and I'll share the peeled paper technique with you that I used to make this.

You've got to select very heavy paper for this technique: extra-heavy watercolor paper or hand made papers are generally best. If the paper is heavy enough, you can create multiple peeled layers in each spot. With the 300 lb watercolor paper I chose, only one peeled layer was possible without risking breaking through the backing.

Materials and Tools

Heavy watercolor paper
Silicone-based spray wax
Acrylic paints
Mulberry paper
Verse or poem
Polymer medium or white glue
Plastic straws
Assorted yarns
Heavy card stock, black

X-acto knife
Paint brushes or sponges
Scissors
Tapestry needle


1. Wet the watercolor paper thoroughly. Use the tip of an X-acto knife to gently lift layers of the paper, peeling them back with your fingers.

2. Spray the curled layers with silicone-based spray wax and manipulate them into place. Let them dry.



3. Sponge or brush on acrylic paints, and let it dry again.



4. Tear a piece of mulberry paper and a verse or poem to size, and adhere them in place with polymer medium.



5. Create some paper beads, rolling mulberry paper around plastic straws, adhering them with polymer medium. Cut the beads apart when dry. Wet the ends of the paper and fray to cover the straw cores.



6. Thread a couple of fibers onto a large tapestry needle and string on the paper beads.



7. Knot and fray the bottom ends of the fibers, and use the needle to thread them through the watercolor paper. Knot in the back.


Cling

8. Tear your watercolor paper to the shape you desire, and mount it on black card stock.

Psalm 63: 6-8
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!


The Impatient Crafter:
Madge transforms a Kraft paper lampshade from Target into a sophisticated accent piece for a teen's room in this post for I Love to Create.

About Family Crafts
Do you paper mache? Share your projects and stories!

Aileen's Musings
This week Aileen's been busy altering cabinet cards. Check out her newest funky cabinet cards and download more freebie images for you to alter yourself.

Cathie Filian
Cathie and Steve spoof their love of Mod Podge in their latest video.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a fun mixed-media cupcake jar topper project, a how-to on making bottle cap bookmarks, a tutorial on painting over a photo to create a multi frame effect, and a fun beaded fan design. And the tables are turned, leave a question and you are entered to not only win a free book but also a Wrights SideWinder bobbin winder!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Re-purposing crafting materials is a great way to make sure you don't waste your wonderful stash of supplies.

CraftyPod
Sister Diane shows you how to embroider on a perforated metal beading disc!

Cross Stitch at About.com
A saying from the Bard inspired Connie's latest free pattern. Stitch the saying alone or combine it with floral motifs for a larger sampler.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
The scissors are set aside this week and a vintage green marble gets re-purposed into a cool modern necklace with a technique from the book Contemporary Copper Jewelry by Sharilyn Miller

The Artful Crafter
Read some suggestions for preventing your polymer clay projects from cracking.



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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nina Katchadourian’s sorted books project

Tell me this doesn’t look like a lot of fun:

A Day at the Beach

Nina Katchadourian writes:

The Sorted Books project began in 1993 years ago and is ongoing. The project has taken place in many different places over the years, ranging form private homes to specialized public book collections. The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom.

Check out some of her other found poetry and stories on her website!


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun with BigHugeLabs


BigHugeLabs has a selection of fun online toys you can use to jazz up your photos. A couple that I particularly enjoyed are demonstrated below!

The Motivator: create your own motivational posters


The Warholizer: become a pop icon


The Hockneyizer: create a photo collage



Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

Combining cartoon and vintage imagery



I had a lot of fun putting together the series of digital postcards that became Jim's Story. If you missed them, the links are below. Following are the steps that I used with Photoshop to make these.

Part one
Part two
Part three

1. Scan copyright free cartoon or clip art images.

2. Convert the file into a stamp, following the directions in Making a Digital Stamp. Make sure that all interior "white" spaces are cut out.

3. Scan the background image (I used postcards) and increase the canvas size enough to add a thin black border. Adjust the colors to a more sepia tone if desired.

4. Stamp the clip art image in place. Enlarge it and clean up the edges if needed.

5. Choose a font for your message. Move the text box or rotate it to fit.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Friday, August 07, 2009

Books, books, and more books!


I've got a rather impressive birthday coming up next month. You know, one of the ones with a ZERO at the end? All my loved ones want to know what I want, and the answer is...not much! I'm a pretty content person overall. But I do have a special fondness and weakness for books.

So I'm asking you: what books should I buy? Please don't feel you have to confine yourself to suggesting mixed media art books...I'm really open to suggestions in most art fields. Maybe even open to books that have nothing much to do with art. But only maybe :-)

So far, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to ask for Ann Baldwin's Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed Media Artists, and Jacqueline Sullivan's dvd called Acrylics: Textures, layers and metallics. Anything I should add to my list?


Image: Stock.xchng

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Artsy blogging round-up!


The Artful Crafter:
Eileen blogs about learning photography - one frame at a time.

The Crochet Dude
Drew is giving away all his latest designs that are included in his new line of patterns that just launched nationwide! To enter you just leave a comment on his blog!

The Impatient Crafter
Make a super cute pair of flip flops with your kid or teen for your end of summer vacation! Madge shares the 411 in this post for I Love to Create

About Family Crafts
Hurry on over and submit your photos and ideas! Sherri is now accepting Halloween submissions. Share your costumes, haunted house ideas, more and browse through the photos everyone else has submitted.

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa shares 3 great photography tips for taking better photos of your crafts. You don't even have to have an expensive camera!

Cathie Filian
Join Cathie Filian on HSN August 17th where she will be showcasin the new formulas of Mod Podge, Chalkboard Paint and Texture Paint.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a how-to on making a Traveling Mail Art Kit from the soon to be released book-Good Mail Day, a tutorial on how to line a flap and step by step directions to make a painted fusible web postcard. Be sure to answer the week's questions to be entered to win free books while your getting your fill of crafty goodness.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has a bag full of fun crafting ideas for the crafter with a birthday.

CraftyPod
SisterDiane interviews a top Etsy seller who decided to downsize her business.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Help Connie decide a caption for her free Bat Cross Stitch pattern.

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen dishes up a recipe for making a pin cushion out of vintage tin.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Earrings made with something old, something new and a how-to from the new book- Simply Gemstones by Nancy Alden

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Calls for entries and submissions


2010 Niche Awards: deadline for professionals Aug 31, 2009; for students Sept 30, 2009

Altered Couture: deadline Sept 15, 2009; theme, altered suits

Art Doll Quarterly: deadline Sept 15, 2009



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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jim's postcards home - part three

Part one
Part two

Next week, I'll be showing you how to combine cartoon imagery with vintage pictures, digitally.



Really big news in town, Mom and Dad ~ the library started a new children's program. I think this would be a pretty good town to settle in.

Much love,
Jim



Dear Mom and Dad,
Some of the guys have come up with a new way to fish. I have been invited to go along next time!

Love you both,
Jim

Copyright 2005 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jim's postcards home - part two



We got an infestation of rocking horses this spring. This is how the animal control officer deals with it. I think I am ready to come back home.

Love, your son who misses you both,
Jim


Dear Mom and Dad,
The railroad boss has found a new way to deliver our pay each week. It's weird, but I guess it's efficient.

Love,
Jim




Every now and then the soldiers from Camp Devens do their drills in town.

Your loving son,
Jim

Copyright 2005 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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Monday, August 03, 2009

Jim's postcards home - part one

About four years ago, I became obsessed with a man I named Jim. As a young man, Jim moved to my town early in the 1900s, to take a job working for the railroad.



The thing is, Jim never existed. But that didn't stop me from coming up with an entire series of postcards that Jim sent home, telling his parents about his adventures in his new town. I'd like to share this time in Jim's life with you over the next few days, and then I'll show you how to combine cartoon imagery with vintage pictures, digitally.

Dear Mom and Dad,
The town of Ayer has hired me to work on the railroad. I would say it needs a lot of work.
Love,
Jim

Dear Mom and Dad,
Crazy stuff is always happening around Ayer. Miss you both.
Love,
Jim




There is lots of stuff to do for fun around Ayer, but sometimes it gets a little strange.
Your son,
Jim


Copyright 2005 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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