Week One – Swatches

So I’m taking another wonderful class from artist Kelly Kilmer called “Swatches: Little Paper Books.”  The idea is to work small, to use bits of things, to work with recycled materials and explore doing things differently than you have done bookbefore.  I’m loving the class and the challenge faced with working small.  I’ve worked small in the past – created scads of Artist Trading Cards, but with my journals, I’ve always worked pretty large.  My typical journals are 8 1/2 x 11 pages.  So working in this little 5 x 5 inch book is quite different for me.  You will see I’ve come up with a few creative solutions so far.  As always, I’m learning alot.  I cannot say enough great things about Kelly’s classes.

In making my book, I decided to use a recycled street newspaper that is published here in Portland – The Mercury.  I picked it up one day because I liked the cover image and I have been saving it for a while.  I realized that I could cut the paper apart retaining only the top left corner and this would give me the headlines for all the pages with which to play with.  I bound the pages together by hand using Kelly’s instructions.  Here’s the resulting book.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to alter the cover yet;  I think I’m saving that for last.  Other things I decided to do is have curious tabs here and there and also try and have a paint swatch used on every page in some way.  The following are the pages I’ve completed within the last seven days – the first week of class.

Day1_Left  Day1_Right   Day2











Day6  Day7









Now some of the pages have special details worth mentioning.  The first is that the page for day 2 includes a transparency cover that may be lifted up so you can more clearly read the journaling beneath.








And day 4 is a set of doors which opens to reveal the rest of the page.






All the pages are individuals with the exception of day 1 – took a whole spread.  I’ve tried to keep the adjacent pages color themed similar so that visually the spreads look good except that they are for completely separate prompts.  Here are the spreads for the first seven days.









So far, the only combination/page I’m not completely happy with is day 7.  I am not too fond with the green along the bottom.  I’m thinking of a way to fix that.


“Spring” ATC

I started swapping art by making Artist Trading Cards (ATC).  There is something so inviting and so un-inhibiting about the 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 size.  Even my daughters got into making them at one point.  If ever you’re struggling to find your muse or re-energize your creativity, the ATC will certainly help realign you and re-center you with your creative spirit and path.

This particular ATC was made for a swap with a book page theme and needed to contain a part of a book page.  I used a book page as the background in my ATC.

Living in Oregon, where the winters are wet and dark, I get Spring fever worse and worse it seems as the years go on.  So around February and March, everything I am doing tends to involve greenery and flowers and bright and pastel colors.  I’ve been saving the image of the women cut from a fashion magazine for a while now and I decided to incorporate it into this piece.  It gives the piece some rhythm and adds an element of surprise because it’s unexpected.  It also reminds me of an army of women marching for a cause – in this case they’re unified in celebration of Spring – marching in honor of the returning goddess and transformation after a long Winter’s rest.

Halloween At Last!

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!  Ever since my grandmother let me pick out a card-table sized pumpkin when I was 3 1/2 years old, I’ve been absolutely IN LOVE with Halloween.  That year I was Raggedy Ann, my favorite buddy (I had one that was nearly life sized that was my companion til I became too big to sleep with dolls). 

My favorite book growing up was “The Littlest Witch” about a little witch who wanted to go out and fly around on a broom like her older sisters. 

Today I have more Halloween decorations than Christmas decorations.

So, I had to participate in at least one Halloween ATC swap.  I also wanted to do something special for my partners, so I came up with two hand-drawn ATCs to send off – one to each partner.  The witches remind me of that favorite book from my childhood.  Both are outlined with a Sharpie Pen and water colored.

Ghetto Love

I tried to keep from posting this, but hey, I need to catch up and hopefully my swap partner won’t peek. 

I’m in a great swap group on Swap-bot called Artist Trading Cards – Swap Your Art.  The group is dedicated to artistic ATCs – mostly hand drawn, definitely original, little works of art.  I am nearly always stunned by the ATCs that arrive from my partners.   More so than not, I’m pleased with how this group helps me get beyond my comfort zone.  This month we did a swap called “Shall We Collaborate!”  The first seven people to sign up had to list an element that must be present on the ATC.  Every ATC must include EACH element to meet the swap requirements and we ended up with quite a challenging list:

  1. Must contain 3 circles
  2. Something tactile (but not smooth)
  3. An element – Earth, Fire, Water
  4. Something metal or metallic
  5. Graffiti or Marks
  6. An element that moves
  7. Something ripped, torn, or shredded 

I’m proud to say that everything on my ATC is recycled, except for the gear (which spins!)

Zodiac Swap #3 – Pisces

This swap came right at the same time that I started exploring Zentangles.  I had never heard of this technique until I joined Swap-Bot.   I instantly felt that the Pisces ATC would be a great way to utilize the different designs and textures of pattern.  I really like how this ATC turned out.  I love the whimsical feel the Zentangle designs produced here as well as the simplicity of working in only black and white.

Sweet Girl ATC

I have regretfully gotten behind on my blogging so I am about to post a ton of short posts to catch up.

This ATC features one of the new products I’ve been playing with — Embossing Paste.  The kind I’ve been using is made by Dreamweaver Stencils.  It’s great stuff.  You place a stencil on the surface and using a pallet knife or other straight edge scraper, spread the paste so that it fills in the stencil design while scraping away the excess.  It dries in a few minutes.  The only color I’ve played with so far is gold, but the paste comes in lots of colors.

“H” is for “Heart”

This alphabet ATC went to Denmark.  I was shopping for materials to do a poster for my daughter’s school’s auction and I found this glittery foam.  I’ve been wanting to use fun foam in an atc and have purchased the adhesive backed dye cuts – but hadn’t considered using a sheet as the background for an ATC.  The heart was punched from mulberry paper and then adhered to the foam with Mod Podge.  One issue with the foam is that it doesn’t accept glue very well.   So to make sure that the heart and the “h” remained in place, I applied a transparency on top and secured with brads.  The stars were whimsical and went well with the fun theme of this ATC.  I added the gold for sparkle.  Finally, the word “heart” was applied using rub-ons.