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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
The cutting goes high-tech by using a Cricut Die Cutting machine to make cool Locked & Loaded fabric patches that go great with a scissor image to make a rockin' jacket.

The Artful Crafter
Don’t toss useful items just because they don’t match. Look at what Eileen did with some freebie ceramic canisters and an old wooden cheese tray.

The Crochet Dude
Drew announces the winner of his Simplicity Rotary Cutting Maching giveaway and shares some cool vacation photos from New Mexico & Colorado!

About Family Crafts
If you are trying to find a unique gift to make and give, why not check out my free printable calendar pages? You can choose from a variety of styles for not only the current year, but also 2010, 2011, and 2012. There is so much you can do with these free calendar pages. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking creatively...

Aileen's Musings
Aileen has some new art posted for your view pleasure, along with some freebie silhouettes for you to download and use in your art!

Blisstree Arts
Cyndi has a copy of Susan Wasinger's new book "Fabricate" to give away. Learn how to make fabric the star of your projects!

Cathie Filian
Channel your inner diva as you create a dollar store altered tiara!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside there are some insights from Marc English from the book Good Design, designing with one word from The Crafter's Devotional and a snarky sign tutorial for good die cut letter placement, how to draw fabric characteristics, how to sew a puffy sleeve and a 10-minute tip on using crayons to fix a scratch in wood.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy finally got a copy of the book Doublestitch. Is this too over the top for the more mature crochet crowd?

Cross Stitch at About.com
What are your favorite shows and movies to "watch" when you are stitching? Connie lists hers - read other stitchers selections in the comments and add your own.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Assemblage and sculptural books

So maybe you are now wondering what else you can do with books besides alter them and make journals? Well, get a load of this:

This Into That
Contemporary fine art furniture from…books!

Susan Hensel
Exquisite literary sculptures

The Creative Zone
Judy and Michael Jacobs’s inspiring site. My personal favorites!

Sherrill Hunnibell
Mixed media altered books as wall sculptures

Karen’s Whimsy
Book sculptures, for people “who like hanging out with books!”

Brian Dettmer
Books like you've never seen 'em before!

Thomas Allen
Pulp fiction comes to life

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

¿¿¿ʎɐpsǝupǝʍ dn s,ʇɐɥʍ

LINK ǝɥʇ s,ǝɹǝɥ ˙˙˙llǝʍ ɥo ˙ʎɐp s,looɟ lıɹdɐ ɹoɟ sıɥʇ ʇnoqɐ uʍouʞ p,ı ɥsıʍ

What a great little online toy ;-)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Giveaway: Fabricate

by Susan Wasinger


I’ve got a copy of Interweave Press’s new fabric arts book to give away! Fabricate: 17 innovative sewing projects that make fabric the star can be yours just for leaving a comment over on Blisstree Arts.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Giveaway this week at Studio M.M.E!

Megan M Eckman is giving away one of her illustrations, Lover of a Star ( shown below), to celebrate 6 months in business! Visit her, sign up, and help make her anniversary special :-)

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More book arts groups to chat with

Besides the groups and forums where you can find lots of fans of altered books, there are a couple of Yahoo groups dedicated to other aspects of book arts and related fields:

Handmade Books
For all artists interested in the creation of original, handmade books

Assemblage Artists
Many of the mixed media artists in this group utilize books-as-sculpture and altered books

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen takes some of her favorite free embroidery patterns on the net and transforms them into plush dolls.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Check out a A Floral-tasticly good project from the new book- Kanzashi in Bloom

The Artful Crafter
Do you know what a bead board is? No, not the kind you nail to the wall. LOL.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares a couple of sneak peeks of some mixed media jewelry she's created to wear to the CHA Show!

About Family Crafts
Is it too early to start thinking about Halloween crafting? How early do you start your Halloween planning?

About.com Cross Stitch
Can You Stitch and Ride? Connie barely can and she wants to hear what your situation is - be sure to read the comments and add your own.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen has an exciting announcement! She's just finished creating a book for Project Ties That Bind benefiting Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). 100% of all proceeds from the book are going to OCRF. Stop by and take a sneak peek at this beautiful 68 page book filled with beautiful vivid pictures and inspirational quotes and stories.

Cathie Filian
Whip up a custom belt buckle with a little paper, creativity and Dimensional Magic.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to do recycled paper napkin casting, make a movable fighting girl element, an interview with Norma V. Toraya author of Paper Puppet Palooza, a video on how to die cut and needle felt a bookmark from a recycled wool sweater and how to create a window for pressed botanicals in your gathering journal.

Crafty Princess Diaries
If you have always wanted to make your own crafting video but didn't think you had the techie know-how, then you'll love this new free software the Crafty Princess recently discovered.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book review: 500 Handmade Books

500 Handmade Books
by Lark Publications

I am so unhappy that my own digital images weren’t good enough to get into this magnificent book, but I can see why as I leaf through the pages :-) I’d love to have even one quarter of the talent that these wonderful book artists have.

All of the Amazon reviews give it 5 starts…and I agree! If you have an interest in handmade books and bookbinding, or if you just like drooling over incredibly beautiful mixed media art, this is the book for you.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The best books on altered books

Maybe it seems funny to think about buying a book about how to alter another book, but there are so many wonderful techniques that book artists are sharing…why not learn something from their experiences?
Altered Books 101

The supplies are simple…discarded books, paper, glue and assorted embellishments. You’ll soon have books for every theme and season plus gifts for friends and special people. Turn old books into art!
Altered Books Workshop

Learn to apply collage and decorating techniques used in such nouveau arts as journaling and scrapbooking to transform unappreciated hard covers into display pieces. Included are the usual tools and materials, from painting to rubber-stamping, along with instructions for methods like stitching, glazing, and image transfers.

More Recommended Books
Links to more more more books on making altered books. Ideas galore, organized into categories such as collage, journaling, bookbinding, and fabric.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Artist profiles - part one

Fish by Joe Pogan

Starting back in early 2007, I began to post profiles of artists whose work I especially admired. All of those profiles are still available, but they are somewhat buried in a large portal site that doesn't have particularly good indexing. I figured that the best way to keep those wonderful profiles from vanishing into obscurity would be to index them here. So, here's the first batch! I'm going to post them chronologically, about five at a time so that you won't get overwhelmed by the sheer volume...there are 75 of them so far, and there will be more!

If you'd like to be a featured artist, please let me know. You can email me at cyndi @ mazeltovjewelry.com (remove the spaces), and I'll be glad to talk with you. Please don't hesitate because you're a beginner either...not all the folks you're going to see profiled here are "professionals", whatever that means!

Joe Pogan, metal assemblage

Derek Andrews, woodturner

Clark Sorensen, porcelain urinal sculptures

Laura Russell, artist books

Martin Waugh, macro-photography

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Robert Sabuda, the King of all things pop-up

Not only is Robert Sabuda a pop-up master, the author of a multitude of pop-up books, but he is also an extremely generous teacher! Robert’s website is just full of information: easy pop-ups that you can try in order to start to get the idea, archives of monthly lessons, lists of books on techniques.

Whether you want to make a full-fledged pop-up book, add pop-ups to your altered books or cards, or teach a small child, it’s all here. There’s also information on Robert’s speaking engagements and the books that he has authored.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Cross Stitch at About.com
Have fun trying out these new free Candlewicking patterns Connie's sharing. If you use one, send in a photo to show it off!

Mixed Media Artist
Using two very different book pages, you can create a found poem for an altered book...or just because!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen shares clever and crafty uses for suitcases that have nothing to do with holding clothing. Side tables, laptop cases and portable craft studios oh my!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Drink Mermaids take the plunge into some silver paint and get transformed into some swimmingly fun necklaces inspired by the wonderfully innovative book- A Charming Exchange.

The Artful Crafter
Eileen shows you how to make a multi-strand fiber bracelet.

The Crochet Dude
Drew reviews the new Simplicty Rotary Cutting Maching - offers up a free crocheted project using fabric strips - and he's giving away a Rotary Cutting Machine to one lucky commenter!

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shows you how to make a quick and easy Altered Chinese Paper Lantern in her first post on Kid/Teen Crafts for Duncan I Love to Create!

About Family Crafts
I need your help! Be the first to submit a photo of this completed craft and be featured on the Family Crafts site!

Aileen's Musings
Your help is needed...Please take a moment to help make a difference We have a chance to get our ovarian cancer charity project on the cover of a northern CA magazine. Your vote is needed! The project benefits the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Deadline for voting is July 23rd so hurry and cast your vote!

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa shares the mentall process behind creating a post on her swell craft blog

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a how-to's on bleaching photos and juxtaposing images, a mixed-media journal out of a wide variety of recycled materials and a video with Scatha G. Allison where she shows the incredible designs from her book Jean Therapy. Be sure to answer the day's questions to be entered to win a free book!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Have you thought about taking your craft hobby to a different level? Tammy has some thoughts to consider before crossing over the hobby/professional line.

SisterDiane is thrilled to unveil her new ebook, Weaving Un-Loomed: Simple Ways to Weave Cool Things.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who can I talk with about Altered Books?

OK, so now you’re hooked on the idea…who is out there that you can talk with? You know that most people nearby will think you’re nuts, but rest assured, there are plenty of others out there who understand your new obsession!

Yahoo Group: Altered Books
This group exchanges information, ideas, tips, and techniques about altered books. An incredible treasure trove of information is kept in archived files.

Delphi Forum: Mixed Media Art
All types of altered art are discussed in this friendly forum.

Wet Canvas: Mixed Media Forum
Altered books and other mixed media art forms are discussed, critiqued, and taught here.

International Society of Altered Book Artists. Yes, there is a professional association for this art form!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Altered books and artist journals

Sometimes there’s a very fine line of difference between an altered book and an artist journal. Rather than worrying about all the distinctions, I suggest that you just enjoy some of the work done by these prolific and creative artists!

Corinne Stubson’s fantastic work. There’s enough inspiration here to dive in and drown!

Outside the Margins
Aileen Roberts has a bold, fun, and funky style. It’s fabulous!

Lisa Vollrath
One of the most prolific artists in the field of altered books…and much more.

Karen Michel
Karen’s altered books and journals feature her marvelous altered photos. You won’t believe what you can do with old pictures…

Kelly Kilmer
Kelly takes old hardback books and guts them to create her stunning visual journals.

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Altered book artists

Queen’s Game by Karen Hatzigeorgiou

Here are some of the best of the best! These altered book artists are prolific, innovative, and just plain inspiring! Enjoy ~

Altered Arts Magazine
Providing inspiration for altered book and collage artists.

Karen’s Whimsy
A selection of altered books by a prolific book artist.

Identity Seven
Jen Osborn’s amazing books.

Jenny's Altered Books
Simple, straightforward, beautiful

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Monday, July 13, 2009

A found poem altered book page

For my page in the Altered Book group anniversary book, I decided to do a found poem. I've got an old novel called My Lady of the Fog (Ralph H Barbour, 1908) and another Russian text called Selected Stories (Daniil Kharms, 1919). Very different from each other in feel, I decided to use one of the illustrations from Kharms's book and do a found poem using a page from Barbour's.

Really, I couldn't do it the other way around: I can't read Russian!

Here's the instructions that I wrote two years ago for using tissue paper as a guide when creating found poems. This project was done in a similar fashion as the steps below will show.

Materials & Tools

Card stock paper
Pencil, colored pens
Plain white tissue paper
Cutting mat and ruler
Exacto knife
2 book pages, at least one with text
Glue stick

1. Collect your material, tools, and two book pages that you want to use for your found poem. Cut the pages and a piece of card stock to the same size.

2. Find the words and phrases that you want to use in your poem and put a box around them with pencil. Place a piece of tissue paper over the page, and mark the corners. Trace each word box onto the tissue paper.

3. Place the tissue paper over the other page. This page can be an illustration, photo, or more text...whatever you choose. Make sure the corners are lined up properly, and cut through each box with an Exacto knife. Discard the tissue paper.

4. Stack the pages with the card stock on the bottom, the text in the middle, and the page with cut outs on top. Adhere them all together with a glue stick or other low-moisture adhesive. Decorate the top page as you choose. I outlined each phrase with colored markers, and I think I'll probably add some more embellishments before I declare this page finished.
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, July 10, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Crafty Princess Diaries:
Have you thought of starting your own craft weblog? Here is why crafting rocks when it comes to niche blogging.

Cross Stitch at About.com
What do you do with odds and ends of embroidery floss? Read these ideas and share your own.

Mixed Media Artist
Do not fear...making altered books will not cause lightning to strike you!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Dada Mosaic, or is it surreal? You be the judge.

The Artful Crafter
If you’re a polymer clay beginner or just want a quick professional looking project, use molds!

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares the 411 on how she made a gorgeous crystal, rubber and exposed wire collar inspired by African jewelry.

Vickie Howell-Craft.Rock.Love
Vickie's 10 Craft Tips for Busy Parents!

About Family Crafts
As a parent, one of the biggest crafting dilemmas you may face is what to do with all the wonderful masterpieces your child creates. How do you display each piece so it gets the attention it deserves?

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is the latest episode of Look, Learn & Create featuring the fabulous cloth doll artist, Patti Medaris Culea, a fun vegan recipe for Frushi (fruit sushi), a how-to on making a tennis ball training tool, and an Illustrator tutorial to make a digital word ATC and as always a bunch of questions that if you answer you are entered to win a free book!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Altered books: how do I get started?

“What’s this all about and how do I get started?”

Glad you asked! Here are some great sites to give you more than you need to plunge into this exciting art form:

Techniques Book
Jennifer Minnis gives a great tutorial on how to get started in altered books ~ by creating a “techniques book”. Be sure to look at all of Jen’s great art, too.

The Altered Book
June Campbell’s site where she pulls together all the resources she wished she’d had in one place when she was first getting started.

The Creativity Portal
How to get started with altered books and other forms of altered art.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Artist profile on "The Artful Crafter"

In the Shadow

You'll find Eileen Bergen's links here regularly in my weekly artsy link round-ups. This week, Eileen (aka The Artful Crafter) has posted a two part artist profile with me on her blog! I was extremely flattered to have Eileen ask me to do this.

Here are the links: Part one and Part two

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Altered books: waiting for the lightning to strike!

Cut, glue, and paint! Why would anyone want to treat a book that way? Didn’t we get punished for doing that when we were children?

Come and see what can be done with books that were destined for the landfill…

Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how many books end up in landfills each year. As long as you are not altering a priceless one-of-a-kind, you will not be struck by lightning…well, probably not anyway.

One of the hardest things about altered books as an art form is that there are no rules. That can also be very freeing, but not if you are bothered by a big blank canvas. So here’s what I suggest:

1. Pick a book to alter. You probably want one with sewn pages instead of glued and with a good strong spine.

2. Rip out a few pages. Scribble on a few pages. Glue a few pages together. Wait for the lightning. Be surprised that it doesn’t come.

3. Start to add pictures, paint, sew, write, draw…do whatever you want. Since you have solved the problem of the blank canvas (see #2 above), you may find this is easier than you thought it would be!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Photoshop border with a burned edge

Once I get started messing around with Photoshop, I can't seem to stop. One idea leads to the next, to the next, to the next.

Recently I was playing around with ideas about borders that can be custom-made to suit the style of the digital work you need to "frame". One of those experiments was the glowing blurred border from a couple of weeks ago. Today, it's a border with an inner edge that looks burned. My example shown here is fairly simple and crude so that you can easily see the effects. With a bit more work and finesse, I think the burned edge could look crispy and flaking.

1. Open black background file. Make duplicate layer to work on.

2. Use lasso tool to create shape in middle. Fill with white to create "opening".

3. Keep selection. Apply Gaussian blur.

4. Select inverse and add an adjustment layer with a gray to black gradient fill. Adjust opacity.

5. Select background copy and Use burn tool with black to "burn" the edges of the opening.

6. Your desired image can now be digitally inserted "into" the frame. I would most likely select all the white, feathering the selection, and remove it, placing the image layer below the frame in the layers palette.

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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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Wonderful fireworks from PESfilm!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Artsy blogging round-up!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world:
At Craftside there is a bling-tastic video on hand lettering with Lisa Engelbrecht, from the new book The Crafter's Devotional a how to make a leather book cover and flag cuffs made from a book cover, an "actual size" silver heart using PMC, and a fun snack recipe.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shows off her cool new sewing cabinet that was surprisingly inexpensive.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Why no knots in Counted Cross Stitch? Find out why and how to secure your floss in alternate ways.

Naughty Secretary Club
Thinking about starting up your own craft business? Jen has a few suggestions of things you might consider first. Plus learn how you can take a Crafty Business Seminar with Jen from anywhere in the world!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Old plastic bead necklaces go under the knife (and in the toaster oven) to make Melted Plastic bead Star Earrings perfect for the patriotic holidays

The Artful Crafter
Eileen suggests you go shopping for craft supplies in your jewelry box and closet. Make an old accessory into something new and fresh.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares the clip from her recent appearance on Lifetime TV's The Balancing Act for Beadalon.

About Family Crafts
If you are looking for a creative way to celebrate every day during the month of July, check out this special events calendar!

Aileen's Musings
Ever wonder how to get that cute copyright symbol or better yet, how to put one on your artwork or photographs? Aileen offers a easy tutorial using PSP.

Cathie Filian
It is summer and that means beach & pool time! Visit Cathie Filian's blog to learn how to stotch up a terry beach throw.

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Firing and finishing CopprClay

Overall, when you’re working to form pieces, I’ve found CopprClay to be much more user-friendly than the PMC or SilverClay. When it’s time to fire them, that’s a bit of a different story. Copper will turn completely black if it oxidizes while firing. Therefore, it must be fired in a kiln, not by torch the way you can do with silver, and it must be buried in activated charcoal while firing too.

Nonetheless, I was still pretty darn please with the results. You can read all the details of the firing at Firing CopprClay.

When it comes to finishing the pieces, they all need to be brass brushed to remove any firescale, and then they can be buffed, polished, patinated, enameled, or a host of other treatments. Here’s a side-by-side of what the pieces look like before and after brass brushing. If you want to read more about my experiments in finishing, all the details are at Finishing CopprClay:

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

The new CopprClay

I’ve been playing with the new material called CopprClay for several weeks now. Although it may be of primary interest to jewelers, I’m sure a lot of folks who make non-wearable arts find it fascinating too.

Like its predecessors silver and gold clay, CopprClay has an organic binder mixed into pure micro-fine particles of real metal. Work it like clay and then fire it in a kiln…the results are all metal.

Here are few of my first experimental pieces. You can read more about them on CopprClay experiments and More CopprClay pieces.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

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