Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

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, August 30, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Crafty Creatures
Here's a little video that shows some adorable creatures you can craft.

Coffee Table Redo
Cherie tiles and paints a rummage sale table.

June is sharing lots of tips about how she gets text to show through the paint in her art.

Product Photography Tips from CreativeLive and Don Gianatti
 Have you ever drooled over some of the product photos on websites or in online catalogs? Did you assume they had a huge studio with fancy lights and several assistants? I'm sure many do, but ...

Beading Arts
To help celebrate "Metal Month", Cyndi has collected links to some amazing tutorials for you to try!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to create the perfect craft space

A guest post by Aimee Claire

A talent for craft can remain a hobby or be turned into a career, but whatever the level of commitment, craft needs a dedicated working space. For creative types, a workroom becomes a ‘playroom’, a place where imagination can work its magic.

What is needed to make a craft space

Storage is the first requirement of any craft room, a place to put all the tools of the trade or hobby, whichever it may be. This means plenty of cupboards or shelves. To make things even tidier, use storage boxes clearly labeled with the contents to make it as convenient as possible to access the items needed. Utilize space above and below permanent furniture and to avoid creating an eyesore, curtain off these areas with an attractive fabric drape.

A second requirement is somewhere to work. Now, this will vary, depending on the craft that is being worked on, but as large a work surface as possible is always desirable. Consider L-shaped worktops or stations such as those used in kitchens, to make the most of the available floor space. If a station cannot be placed permanently in one area, try a wheeled unit that can be pulled out and used as and when needed. Ensure chairs are comfortable and are adjustable for height, so that one chair can be used at a standard desk or adjusted to make them suitable for a higher worktop. Failing that, opt for a chair and a stool.

Smaller items of furniture necessary for a craft room include pin boards, where swatches can be pinned up and hanging storage options. Not only do these add extra storage space, they also make good use of otherwise wasted wall space.

Make the best use of light

There is nothing better than natural light for working in, so position work benches or desks near to windows to make the best use of it. Try to let as much light in as possible, so avoid heavy curtains that fall across the window. Blinds are a good option, but an even better choice would be customshutters, which create an unfussy, clean dressing for the window, whilst also allowing the amount of light entering the room to be controlled.

As craft work tends to be highly detailed, make space on a worktop for a desk lamp, preferably an angle-poise that can be positioned over the work to avoid strained eyes.

Wall colors for craft spaces

Imagination needs to feed on energy, so keep the colors on the walls bright and fresh. Colors inspire mood, so while dark colors, such as blacks and greys, can look streamlined and sophisticated, they may not provide as much inspiration as yellows, blues and greens. Try to avoid oppressive colors such as deep reds and purples. A good craft room should also be somewhere to relax and smaller rooms can be made to look bigger if they are painted in whites and creams. After all, the numerous supplies and products of craft labor will add accent colors to the room.

Aimee is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with a passion for Interior Design. She is fascinated at how different patterns, textures and lighting can completely change the look and atmosphere of a room.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Recent publications: August 2013

Imagery in the 21st Century by Oliver Grau and Thomas Veigl

Foundations of Digital Art and Design with the Adobe Creative Cloud (Voices That Matter) by xtine burrough

The Age of Collage: Contemporary Collage in Modern Art by D. Busch, R. Klanten and H. Hellige

The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone by Bob Weil and Nicki Fitz-Gerald

Collage Crafts Gone Wild: Mixed-Media Projects and Techniques by Kristy Conlin

Creative Photography Lab: 52 Fun Exercises for Developing Self-Expression with your Camera. Includes 6 Mixed-Media Projects by Steve Sonheim and Carla Sonheim

Encaustic Painting Techniques: The Whole Ball of Wax by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch

Resin Alchemy: Innovative Techniques for Mixed-Media and Jewelry Artists by Susan Lenart Kazmer

Box World Adventures: Building Crafty Cardboard Projects by Suzy Ultman

Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed by Laura Heyenga, Brian Dettmer and Alyson Kuhn

The Zentangle Untangled Workbook: A Tangle-a-Day to Draw Your Stress Away by Kass Hall

Date Keeper - 60 Quilted Masterpieces: Perpetual Weekly Calendar Featuring 60 Beautiful Quilts by C&T Publishing

Date Keeper - 60 Modern Quilts: Perpetual Weekly Calendar Featuring 60 Beautiful Quilts by C&T Publishing

Creative Quilts: Unlock Your Creativity with Design Classes and Techniques by Sandra Meech

Quilt Improv: Incredible Quilts from Everyday Inspirations by Lucie Summers

Quilting Happiness: Projects, Inspiration, and Ideas to Make Quilting More Joyful by Diane Gilleland and Christina Lane

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book review: Embroidered & Embellished

Embroidered & Embellished by Christen Brown became available from C&T Publishing on July 1 of this year.  It is a stunning book and will be especially helpful to anyone who wants to learn to embroider in different styles and who likes to learn from step-by-step directions.  The subtitle is 85 stitches using thread, floss, ribbon, beads & more, which shows you just how much information is packed into this book.

Christen starts out with the stitching techniques and terminology.  All the stitches in her book are considered "freehand" stitches, because they do not use a counted canvas or grid.  That makes them perfect to add to your patchwork, quilts, mixed media collages, and other fiber arts.  She then turns to the process of choosing foundational fabrics and trims, embroidery threads and ribbons; beads and similar embellishments like buttons, sequins, charms, and shisha mirrors.

Sampler piece by Christen Brown from
the class she teaches at Joggles

The main bulk of the book contains four sections of stitches and projects: traditional embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery, raised and textured embroidery, and bead embroidery.  Finishing and framing your pieces is included near the end for those who are interested in doing completed embroidery projects rather than adding these stitches as embellishments to other fiber works.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Baby Sweater Reveal! 
The Crafty Princess shows off the baby sweater she made as part of a Craftsy.com class project. 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi shares information on finishing metal clay pieces with a great patina. 

Unique Flap-Folded Card 
Look at the unusual way this card opens. Presto, chango! 

June has a tutorial for a mail art piece up, come see! 

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

South to Vancouver

Our last full day on our Alaska inner passage trip took us down to Vancouver.  It was the only day (and night) that was really misty and cooler, and since we were finally getting a bit further south, we actually got a real sunset and some darkness!

That was actually sort of sad, I guess.  But all things must eventually end.  Some of the passengers were calling it gloomy and sort of complaining about it.  I called it mystical and magical!  Isn't it lovely?  After a week of unseasonably warm and nice sunny weather in Alaska, how could we complain even for a moment?

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Contemporary art with traditional themes

The town of Ketchikan was the last stop on our Alaska inner passage cruise.  After our usual jaunt up and down the nearest mountain, we set off in search of some souvenirs to take home for friends (and for us!).  Yup, we waited until almost the last possible moment to go post card and magnet shopping!

On our travels through the town, I came across my new favorite contemporary artist, Evon Zerbetz.  Evon does wonderful hand colored linocuts which draw heavily on native images, icons, stories, and lore.  I bought several post cards and note cards featuring Evon's work (shown here).  I'm drooling over perhaps someday acquiring one of his full-sized prints.  In the meantime, I will continue to drool over my post cards and will probably visit his website so many times that I single-handedly crash it!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yay for Laura!

Laura, who writes L Thykeson's Mixed Media Art, won our Sweet & Simple Jewelry book giveaway!  Congratulations, Laura!

Quote of the week

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book review: Colorific

C&T Publishing has a wonderful new book out that will help you "Unlock the secrets of fabric selection for dynamic quilts."    It's Colorific, by Pam Goecke Dinndorf, and the really fun part is that she applies this knowledge to traditional quilts rather than "art quilts".  Now you all know that I don't make traditional quilts, but I do think there's a lot to be learned from them, and Pam makes such a great case for exploring traditional blocks...well, we'll see.

Whatever your own leanings, part one covers the secrets of selection, taking into account both color and print: color relationships, guidelines for selection, evaluating after the initial selection, and validating your choices.  Pam writes:

I have discovered a shortcut to achieving a solid, awe-inspiring color scheme. It is still necessary to try out many different possibilities and aim for variety in value, hue, and print; however, there are certain fabrics that speed up the process.  I refer to these as adhesives or validators. They are prints that pull together two or more of the disparate colors present in other fabrics in the quilt. They validate the pairing of those other colors by combining them in one print. Below are some examples of these validators, which can be dots, stripes, geometrics, and so on. (p 20)

Pam moves on in part two to exploring color schemes that work, like monochromatic, analogous, complementary, etc; using focus fabrics, and telling a story with color.  She cautions us to remember to vary the value and print when creating a monochromatic scheme to avoid having it end up flat and dull, with no story to tell.  Part three covers frequently asked questions about color selection, and I found this section particularly helpful.  Here is one of Pam's tips:

Q - How do I decide how much of a particular color to use?
A - It all depends on how that color is playing with the other colors. If your eye is drawn repeatedly to a certain color and you don’t want it to be, either eliminate the color or scatter small amounts of it in at least three fairly widely spaced places, in a somewhat random manner. Scattered in this way, it will keep the viewer’s eye moving around the quilt. It is usually high-intensity hues, warm colors, or drastically different values that advance and catch the eye. Be mindful of them and apportion them appropriately. Simply speaking, use smaller amounts of eye-catching colors.  (p 33)  

The book then turns to six complete quilt projects that you can use to try out different color combinations if you'd like, or you can make them exactly as Pam suggests.  The final section covers the basics of quilting, including finishing a quilt.  Even though these are just overviews, it's helpful to have all the information in one volume.  

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world 
This week at Craftside there is a video tutorial on how to make a recycled file folder book with Jeannine Stein, a giveaway of a copy of The Complete Photo Guide to Beading and a Kumihimo kit and how to write phrases in Sanskrit. 

Gold Glass and Solar Lights 
Cherie shares a glass project from last year. 

This has turned out to be a cat favorite in the Crafty Princess house. 

Are You Ready for Some Football - Mums? 
It's (get ready for) Homecoming time. Across much of the south, that means it's (get ready for) Homecoming Mums! 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi has been experimenting with CopprClay again! 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

We had a pretty decent amount of time in the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, so we spent some time in the touristy area of town and in a local museum, as well as our customary "find a mountain and climb it" routine.  Ketchikan is beautiful, and apparently it is almost always raining there, but we got lucky with a crystal clear warmish day!

The tourist area is built around and over the salmon creek, and is appropriately called Creek Street.  It used to be the red light district.

Salmonberry bushes line a lot of the paths.  They taste like very mild raspberries, and we saw a lot of local people out picking them as we headed up to hike.  But that came later!

Click the picture for a larger, more readable version

Near Creek Street is a small park and the Totem Heritage Center.  There's a larger collection outside of town, but that would have cut into our hiking time.  We enjoyed the smaller center, and I especially enjoyed seeing the beadwork, baskets, and carvings.

Then it was off to Deer Mountain.  It was quite a steep hike up out of town to even get to the trail head.  It's hard to imagine navigating some of these roads in the winter.  There were some signs stating that chains were required for certain roads.

Our third day in a row of hiking straight up was a bit slower than the previous two.  I wonder why?  We couldn't be getting older, could we?  Anyway, we met a young couple on the trail who were locals, and they told us about the spot on the trail (a little further on, of course!) where there had been a major rock and landslide back in March.  The trees were just scoured right off the mountainside.  It was pretty amazing.

As we stood there in the only gap on the entire trail, finally able to see out, we heard and saw a couple of bald eagles screaming by.  I was excited, but our young friends were like, "oh yeah.  wow.  another eagle.  yawn."  It all depends upon what you're used to, huh?  I know it looks like a jet with a contrail in my shot above, but it's really an eagle.  Honestly!

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fabric and yarn shopping in Alaska!

Some of the port towns in Alaska have these little fabric and fiber-lovers gems tucked away for you to discover.  Here are two that I found on our travels down the inner passage:

Rushin' Tailor's Quilt Alaska, Skagway
Alaska-themed prints, batiks, flannels, and all needed quilting supplies.  How could I not buy some Alaska stuff?  Could I come up with my own designs, print them and paint them?  Yes.  Could I resist the ones sitting in front of my face?  No!

Skeins, Juneau
Owner Nancy Fenton

No website, but well worth searching out.  This jam-packed store is on the second floor of a little "mall" on the main shopping street.  I bought this gorgeous hand dyed skein of merino and silk yarn.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book review and giveaway: Aimee Ray's Sweet & Simple Jewelry

I've written a review of Aimee Ray's Sweet & Simple Jewelry on Beading Arts (click to read the review), and now I'd like the share the information with you, because I've got an extra copy of the book to giveaway!!


Would you like to win a free copy of this book?  Here's what you need to do...please read this carefully.  Leave me a comment here and include your email address.  If I don't see your email address, I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  You are welcome to spell it out if you'd prefer, for example, cyndi at mazeltovjewelry dot com.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice! Deadline: August 19, 2013.

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Artsy blogging round-up!

Creative Planner Update 
Cherie finally finishes her Creative Planner project. 

Laminated Household Solutions Cards 
These are helpful and colorful kitchen tip charts clipped from magazines over the years. Eileen decided to make them decorative, durable, and always handy.

June has issued a mail art call! Come join in the fun! 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi has collected a wonderful group of resources and tutorials for those who want to try working in metal clay or who wish to expand their skills! 

Call for Entries - Jewelry Designers 
The Crafty Princess is still looking for entries to add to her jewelry book update. 

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Juneau, Alaska

Our next port stop in Alaska was Juneau.  I don't know how it has escaped me all these years that Juneau is completely isolated by car.  It's the capital of the state, and yet there are no roads running in or out of it.  Everything, including cars, arrives by water or air!

On the way into town, we passed the salmon processing plant which is a major employer.  This shows the freshly caught salmon ascending up the conveyor into the plant.

And this shows who is waiting patiently for something to fall!  I have never seen bald eagles that weren't in a zoo, so the constant eagle sitings never got old to me.  Did you know that they really do scream just like that clip that you hear in every tv show set in the west?

Our entertainment in town was the usual...we climbed the closest mountain, which in this case turned out to be Mount Roberts.  There was a tram, but we decided to climb up and perhaps take the tram back down if we were running out of time.  The stop in Juneau was the shortest of all the stops, unfortunately.  The shot above is from about halfway up the mountain, and the one below is from the top where the tram joins the trail.

On our way out of town, some not-so-bright person decided to ignore the coast guard and cut quickly in front of our cruise ship as it was pulling out and they were pulling in.  Not sure what their all-fired hurry was since it was still pretty early in the day (and it's day for practically 24 hours!), but maybe they just forgot that cruise ships can't stop or turn quickly.  The coast guard, including machine gun, was NOT amused, and escorted them back to the dock, yelling the entire way.

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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 06, 2013

Monday, August 05, 2013

Vulture quilt - part six, Finished!


So, it turns out that my fears about the stitching being visible when I tacked down the vultures was unfounded.  In fact, I had to desaturate the image and put a circle around the little stitch just to show it to you in the picture below!  First order of business was to finish the edges though.

Using some beautiful hand-dyed yarn that I bought in Alaska, I cut three pieces for each side and blanket stitched them along the edges.  I had a brief flirtation with the idea of making the final quilt shape oval, but I settled on the rectangle to avoid it being too gimmicky.

Once all the sides were stitched together (through front fabric, batting, and backing), I gathered them up at the corners and knotted them loosely in place.

Here is a shot of one of the tiny little stitches that hold the vultures in place.  I used black Nymo beading thread, doubled, and stitched each vulture in three places.  Knot the thread, tiny stitch, knot the thread, pull the knots through the backing to the inside.

Ta-da!  I've named the quilt Downdraft.  I was going to call it Downdraft at Sunset, but...duh, that's when downdrafts usually happen.

If you missed any of the construction tutorials, you can follow from the beginning at the links below.

Part one
Part two
Part three

Part four

Part five

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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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