When is a Book Not a Book?

I know, I know…corny….but it was the first thing that came into my head.  Wanna know the answer to “When is a book not a book?”  When it is a canvas, that’s when.  This week, Simon Says Stamp and Show issued an irresistible challenge” Something Messy”.  (http://simonsaysstampandshow.blogspot.com/2013/02/challenge-something-messy.html.  At almost the same time, The Eclectic Paperie issued an altered book challenge.  http://eclecticpaperie.blogspot.com/2013/02/get-altered-challenge-altered-books.html

Now ,I love to alter books, so that challenge was right up my alley.  I’m not so big on getting messy, however.  I am a great lover of mixed media style (Anita Houston, Marjie Kemper, Sherry Cheever, Vicki Chrisman and May Flaum, Jim the Gentleman Crafter and of course Tim Holtz,  are some of my personal art heroes)  but I am really intimidated by all that blank canvas/paper and all that ink.  What if I do it wrong, what if it doesn’t turn out right, what if, what if, what if?  So, the perfect exercise to stretch my skills (which is my big goal for 2013) was to combine the two challenges into one.  At least in my little brain, that seemed like the right thing to do.

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(Sorry for the wonky photos.  It’s incredibly gloomy here in NC today, and I had the hardest time getting a shot of this!  Either the photo was bleached out, or it was shiny.  I took more than 2 dozen photographs all over the house and finally decided it was not going to get any better.)

This is one of the largest pieces I’ve done to date.  The canvas, which I covered with a sage green burlap, is sized 11 x14″.  I started with a vintage dictionary page, stamped an image from Stampin’ Up on it with Ranger Archival in Jet Black. This was covered  with black superfine embossing powder and heat set . Water pens were used  to color in the image, Distress Inks added color to the page the page. A harlequin stamp from Red Lead Studio added some more detail. I added some other images from Tim’s Lost and Found Stamp set (flimstrip and flying birds) to round things out.  The  dictionary page was placed between two sheets of brown packing paper and ironed  until the embossing powder melted off and only the silhouette remained.  (Faux batik technique…Sherry uses this a lot.) I then used a white Signo pen to outline the silhouette image because it looked a little lost on the page..

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The dictionary page was sewn onto a piece of Graphic 45 ABC Primer paper which was triple stitched around the perimeter.  Wonky stitching (yes, people, that is a professional term) was added to the distressed dictionary page. I splattered with ink, added distress stain, and used Studio Matte Medium to secure some dried ferns from my stash.  Picket fence Distress Stain was added to an Idea-ology word stick.  This was secured with twine.  Bits and bobs were added, taken away, changed out, added, taken away….and I left the piece overnight to think about it.  I really wasn’t sure if I liked it at all.  But I sent a photo to my daughter Liz, and she said although it’s very different from what I usually do, she liked it quite a lot.  OK. then we’ll finish it.  And let the chips fall where they may.

Here are a couple more photos: 007 (2) 016 (2) The edges were finished with Tim’s tissue tape, coated with Bronze Distress stain and overstamped with a leaf image.

I will tell you this, folks.  Mixed media is a lot harder than it looks.  I love watching online tutorials and I love the results these talented artists achieve, but until you give it a try, you have no idea how challenging it is to do a piece like this.  But, it was fun, too.  I felt like little locked doors in my mind were creaking open as I let go and just played with the inks and stains.  It was a change, and you know what they say about that…a change can be as good as a vacation.

Why not get out your supplies and enjoy some playtime?  Try something new, something different.  One of these challenges would be the perfect excuse.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Thursday’s Blog Candy.  Today, I’ve added some vintage sheet music to the mix.  Fun! Remember: you must be subscribed to this blog to be eligible for the blog candy.  Here are the deets, in case you just found me:http://www.kathybydesign.com/a-valentine-for-sophie-and-blog-candy-alert/

Thanks for stopping by to read my little blog.  Your comments never fail to make me smile!



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9 thoughts on “When is a Book Not a Book?

  1. Anita Houston

    WHATEVER!!! You are FABULOUS at mixed media! There are no rules…there are no set forms…you just do, and you just did! I love the faux batik! It’s one of my favorites! The large flower on this large canvas is gorgeous, and all the color and stamping and embellies are wonderful! This one is for the entry way darling! I am sure you were messy! LOVE this! Way to break out of your comfort zone…you do it quite well! Kudos to you, and thank you for playing along with our messes this week at Simon Says Stamp & Show!

  2. Sharon Y

    Kathy, I’m a fellow Gentleman Crafter fan. Decided to come over and have a look after you posted your blog on Jim’s. I think this mixed media piece is wonderful. Looks like you are mighty comfortable with the mixed media thing. Your art is great.

  3. ncguygirl

    Wow, this is really beautiful! Sounds like it was a very involved and complicated process, but I am blown away by the finished product. If this is what you can do when you think outside the box, you need to do it more often!

  4. Melody

    Whew, I’m impressed! Liz is right, it is different from your “norm,” and it’s quite good. I really love the way you outlined the silhouette in white and inked up the dictionary page. Beautiful!

  5. Tanya

    Loved the depth and richness of this piece. Yes very different feel….a bit more mature I would say but life is that way. Weightless dreams and deep realities. All needed to expand and refine who we are and our gifts. Beautiful.

  6. Marlene (cards4u)

    Way to go – great job stepping out of the box!! This is wonderful and I know what you mean when you say it is harder than it looks : ) Thanks for sharing your creative process with us!

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