Monthly Archives: February 2011

A few folks have asked how I did the shimmery oval for this card:

Rock'n'Roll Valentine


The following tutorial looks like a Tim Holtz ad, so I added in a Fiskars bonus at the end.  Materials:

Pink card stock
Adirondack Alcohol Inks: Pink Sherbet, Cranberry, Wild Plum, and Silver
Adirondack Alcohol Blending Solution
Applicator handle with felt pads


Apply a generous amount of your base color to the felt pad.  Mine was Pink Sherbet.

Add spots of your other colors, finishing with Silver (yeah, I cheated on the photos, realizing I didn't add enough ink on the first try.  The above pic is how your base color should look.  Below is a little sparse.)

Add a generous amount of Alcohol Blending Solution.  This makes the ink go further and blend better.

Apply ink to paper with a twist of the wrist.

Go over things more than once if you need to.

Now the Fiskars bonus. For those of us who don't have room for a Cuttlebug or similar machine, the Fiskars Shape Cutter and templates are a really nice option.  I just found mine a while ago, and I absolutely love it.  Here's the cutter and heart template:

I whip that puppy around the template, and I have a neat little shape.

I didn't do much while I was sick for the last two months, but here is what I managed:

Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox LTC, for Winter Wonderland swap. I wasn't very happy with this, but everyone else seemed to like it. *shrugs* Technique: Fox was stamped twice on acetate, slightly offset, first silver, then black. The acetate square was sewn to the gold paper with gold thread on three sides. In the open side went three scoops (I used a #3 gouge to scoop, hee) bluish glitter and one scoop mica flakes. Sewed up the third side, glued to blue paper. Applied paper tape to cover the worst of my sewing.


Rock'n'Roll Valentine

Rock 'n' Roll Valentine. Technique: Stamped on red paper, cut out with a swivel knife, and edge distressed with black ink. The oval was made using alcohol inks--I dropped three colors of red and one silver on the felt of a stamp handle, and added plenty of Perfect Medium (this is all Tim Holtz stuff). Applied to pink paper with a twisting motion. I made a bunch of sheets then cut out the ovals, and edge-distressed them. Stamp went on the oval, oval went on the pretty sparkly black paper.


Annabel Lee

Annabel Lee, based on art by Abigail Larson . Technique: Annabel was stamped in black on a vellum piece half the width of the card, then tape-gunned on to the background paper. Paper tape (oh, how I love paper tape) went over the seam for an accent.

Yesterday there was a big gathering of friends, all meeting to carve stamps and have fun. And I, as I have been for nearly two months, was too sick to manage it.  This left me unhappy, and feeling a fearsome need to make something.  I decided to use this tutorial from Tim Holz:

My result was this:

I'd never done anything like this before.  It was a lot of fun, and I think I ended up using every craft supply in the house.  The Spousal Unit said my craft table looked like an explosion at Jo-Ann's.

Now, I don't mean to say that an artist shouldn't make any damned thing they please.  Really, go on, do as you like.  Just don't expect me to think you aren't full of shit.

Caveat: I've had the flu for more than a month, so it's possible I'm just cranky.  Gonna rant anyway.

I look at a lot of art on the web.  This qualifies me for absolutely nothing, except knowing what I like.  That said, here are a few things I've become (mostly, I hedge) tired of:

Artistic appropriation of pop culture. Your stormtrooper collage no longer moves me.  Your serious examination of the pathos of Alfred E. Neuman, presented in a series of room-sized oils, neither thrills nor informs me.  Rather, it says you were late on an assignment in art class because you were busy reading MAD magazine.  I know, that's not fair.  What I'm criticizing is often serious work.  I have merely ceased to take it seriously.

Vulgarization of innocence. I admit this video of Miss Piggy singing "Fuck The Pain Away" is well-edited.  I even liked it for five minutes. But it's still low-hanging fruit. It's a small attempt to shock, maybe a try at humor through contrast. It doesn't work for me anymore.  Cynicism needn't stain every sincere thing. The teletubbies don't need to swear.  Leave it.

Finally, the one I'm sick to death of: Altering of classic works. Every time I see an altered Mona Lisa, The Scream, or American Gothic, my eyes roll up so far into my head that I'm afraid I'll be blinded for life.  Perhaps that would be a mercy.  There are a few dozen works that have become language on their own, and are re-used over and over again in our culture as expressive shortcuts.   For example, Warhol's use of repetition is often used as a shortcut for the idea of mass-production.  Grant Wood's American Gothic is altered for commentary on anything American. Neither use is inappropriate, merely lazy. Often, the artwork is altered, well, just because, with no real understanding of its use as a symbol. Oh, how my poor teeth grind.

I do realize that the artifacts of our culture are language.  There can be perfectly good reasons, other than the burning desire to be sued, to slip iconic mouse ears into a painting. Occasionally, appropriation is accomplished so well that it transcends imitation or homage, and becomes original.

Usually, it's just crap.