"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ ILLUMINATING


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Stacey Merrill the prompt for this week's challenge is ILLUMINATING. Create a piece of mixed media art using this prompt as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Erin Leigh Butson is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of ILLUMINATING. Thanks so much !

Image © Erin Leigh Butson

Mixed Media/Collage Workshop IS BACK!



For those of you who missed it the first time, my Mixed Media/Collage Backgrounds Workshop is back at Creative Workshops commencing January 11, 2010.

This workshop is OPEN ENDED. You can join at any time and not miss a thing. Once you register you will have unlimited access to the instructions, video and teacher assistance and can take this course AT YOUR OWN PACE.

Why not while away those long, cold winter days immersed in a creative workshop experience. Hope to see you there.

~ Nancy Lefko

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ SECRETS


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Elizabeth Johnson the prompt for this week's challenge is SECRETS. Create a piece of mixed media art using this prompt as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Hanne of limogglitter is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of SECRETS. Thanks so much !

Image © Hanne

Artist Profile: Heidi Rand of GardenDelightsArts

 Hello and welcome to our December Artist Profile. This month we are featuring one of our newest Melange Team members Heidi Rand of GardenDelightsArts. Heidi has a very distinct and unique style encompassing her various interests in nature, textiles, and photography. Stay a while and learn a little more about this very distinctive artist.


Double Exposure Mixed Media & Transfer © Heidi Rand

Where do you call home? Are you married? Do you have children?

I live in El Cerrito, California, which is a small town a few miles north of Berkeley and east of San Francisco. I’m married to a wonderful man, George McRae.  We have no children, but we do have 2 cats, several turtles & tortoises (ask me about Woody, quite a character!), and various other critters living in or visiting our house and garden.

Have you had formal art or photography training? When and where? Do you feel conventional schooling is necessary for one to be a "true artist"?

No, I’ve had no formal art or photography training. I’m self-taught from books, online research and groups, and experimentation. I’ve taken a couple of workshops, one on inkjet transfer taught by Angela Silva, who people on the inkjet transfer yahoo group might know, and one on handmade books by Alisa Golden, who has written several wonderful books on the subject. If you need conventional schooling to be a true artist then I guess I’m not one.

Does your shop name "GardenDelights" allude to your wonderful butterfly garden?

I named our business “Garden Delights Arts & Crafts” to refer overall to my subject matter, which is nature, including a wide variety of animals and plants. Many of my photos are of the domestic animals we live with and the wildlife that we attract to our garden by providing habitat and protection (including the butterflies you mentioned). Similarly, many of the plants that I photograph are grown by my husband in our house and garden, including California natives, orchids, plants intended to be larval hosts or nectar/food sources for birds, butterflies and other animals, and anything else that takes his fancy!

What drew you into this type of "gardening"?

Actually, I don’t garden at all. My husband is the “Garden” part of Garden Delights Arts & Crafts because he has the green thumb and is also very knowledgeable about animals, both domestic and wild.

Is photography your "first love"?

In grade school and high school I was always looking for a creative outlet and did some writing, mostly short stories and poetry, but wasn’t ever fully fulfilled creatively.  An uncle and aunt gave me my first camera after college and that really clicked for me. I did darkroom work for years, including color printing, and really liked alternative darkroom processes like solarization.  I also loved unusual forms of photography such as infrared, light painting and double exposures.  The photograph I use as my avatar for some websites is a double exposure I took of myself years ago, which looks like I’m
reading my own palm.


You also print your own fabrics and do incredible textile work. How and when did you realize to mix all of your passions to become the artist you are today?

I have always enjoyed my solitude, so taking photographs of people didn’t appeal to me much.  I agreed to photograph a friend’s wedding once, which was a catastrophe!  For a period I attended a lot of political demonstrations and shot many rolls of film recording them. Now, having the nature subjects that my husband provides for me to photograph is ideal.  The images, colors, patterns and elements are endless and I find them very compelling.  The subject matter also gives me a target audience of animal and nature lovers with whom my husband and I have a lot in common politically and philosophically. The kaleidoscoped designs I create from my photos are ideal for fabric, and I get a bigger thrill designing and printing on fabric than doing anything else.  I feel very lucky to be working now, when the technology and products used to print on fabric and other unusual surfaces are evolving and becoming better and better.



Lavender Rust Art Quilt © Heidi Rand
(Tutorial on hanging technique can be found here.)

What role does your husband play in your endeavors?

See above!  As well as being an accomplished naturalist and gardener, George makes handmade soap from natural ingredients. We call this line of our business “Bubble Queen Soaps & Scents” which comes from one of our silly inside jokes.  He’s a professional actor and much more outgoing than I am, so I’m trying to persuade him to be my sales rep, but that hasn’t happened yet.  He’s my main cheerleader.  As the first person to see any work that I produce, I don’t feel it’s finished until I show it to him.  He also helps me a huge amount when I do local shows and sales, or exhibit in galleries.  I’m a member of a local art group, the Pinole Artisans, and I show my work in the gallery that we run (at this point we have two galleries, but one might shut down in January).  George usually does me the favor of dropping off my work for a new show or picking it up from the old show. The ladies doing intake love him because he’s cute and charming.  He also often works for me there, since when our art is in a show we’re required to work four hours a week sitting at the gallery.
 
What or whom would you say have been your greatest artistic influences?

Photographers I really admire include Diane Arbus , Andre Kertesz, Laszlo Moholy-Nagynd and Joseph Cornell. Big influences and inspiration in my exploration of alternative digital processes are Theresa Airey, who has written several books, and the members of the Digital Atelier, who wrote Digital Art Studio. Gloria Hansen, an expert in printing on fabric and a wonderful gracious person who is always helpful on the many Yahoo Groups of which she’s a member, including one on inkjet printing on fabric.  She has written several books, and her most recent, Digital Essentials, is incredibly helpful. I reviewed it on my blog. And of course, my husband, for educating me about nature and providing endless beautiful or intriguing subjects to photograph.

Do you strive to convey a specific message and/or theme within your work? What would that be?


Appreciation of nature, conservation and protection of wildlife and habitat. Innovation in techniques and materials. Incorporation of art into everyday things and making art accessible. I included the word “crafts” in the name of my business to acknowledge that many people might not consider what I do to be “Art.”  I love to make art quilts and mixed media art pieces, but have just as much fun putting my designs on light switch plates and making bookmarks for people to use everyday.

 
Egret in Flight on Lutrador © Heidi Rand


I know you give many lessons and workshops. How does this contribute to your "artistic life"? Is teaching something you truly enjoy and find a need to do, or is more of a way to financially sustain your artistic habits?

I was an English major in college, so people assumed I’d become a teacher, but at the time that was the last thing I wanted to do.  It was actually a shock when I realized about a year ago that it was time to start teaching art workshops.  I tried one and really loved it, so I’ve sought out several different places to teach locally and hopefully will soon be offering online workshops as well.  I find that getting ready to teach a class forces me to focus on the subject matter in a way that I hope improves my own artwork.  Teaching also has lead to me doing more writing.  After I wrote an extensive outline for my inkjet fabric printing class I realized that I could expand on it, spruce it up a bit, and offer it as an ebook for sale.  Given the slow economy, I have also used teaching to try to replace some of the income I had been getting from sales of my work.  It doesn’t bring in much, though. Let’s say that I definitely don’t do it for the money, but I probably wouldn’t do it for free unless I had a lot more free time.

You’ve received some great news recently regarding some of your fabric and a new clothing line. Could you share some more on that; how it came about, and what your hopes are for that endeavor in the future.


Etsy was the matchmaker in that partnership.  I posted about my first fabric printing class to my local SFetsy team, which led a dressmaker based in a nearby town, Michele Battise of Dress Maker In a Box  to my shop and websites.  My nature themed fabric really clicked with her.  She chose a few of my designs to incorporate into her garments and I printed several yards of fabric for her.  She has just released her winter line, which includes a dress, skirt and suit using some of my fabric on the collars and cuffs.  (Her blog post about it is here) This is truly a dream come true for me, and I have great hopes for my further partnership with Michele. She’s a very creative designer and gifted dressmaker.


As for the future, I would love to form partnerships with other textile and home decor designers.  One problem I am grappling with now is that the current technology doesn’t provide for economical printing of fabric for garments in small runs such as what Michele needs.  I would like to print the fabric myself, but am limited partly by the size of my printer and partly by the fact that the company that sells the best pre-treated washable fabric in rolls is totally unreliable. Many people have heard of Spoonflower or other companies that print fabric by the yard from your designs. Although the price is very reasonable, there are serious quality control and color matching problems with the companies I’ve tried.  I’m currently dealing with a San Francisco company, DPI, and hope that they will be able to do any fabric printing jobs that I can’t do myself.


Do you have an "outside/day job"? If so, when do you create? How do you balance both aspects of your life?

I do! I work full time at a court in San Francisco.  I do my creative work in almost all of my spare time, which aggravates my husband at times. As a homebody I rarely travel and haven’t taken a normal vacation in years.  I’m a very neglectful friend, and I’m sure my friends and family are tired of hearing my excuses about why I can’t make it their events and parties.  As for balance, my day job and creative work have little in common, although I believe that the writing I need to do for work has improved my writing skills overall.


Where and how does Etsy fit in? What advice would you share with other artists (and Etsyians) also caught in our difficult economic situation?

I started out using Etsy as a place to show my handmade work.  I don’t sell a lot, but now I use Etsy mostly to network and connect with artists and crafters doing what I do (the Melange Team being the prime example). It’s hard to give advice to others, especially because I’m not selling much, but I’d say that what successes I have had came from my participation on the forums and on teams.

What are your long term goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?

My long term goals are to continue creating and innovating with my photography, printing, and artwork.  I would like to write (and have published!) books and articles.  I would also like to expand my workshops to offer them online and on DVD.  I would love to be able to license my designs for fabric and home decor, and to forge partnerships with other businesses using my designs. This isn’t a goal, because I don’t think it’s ever going to happen, but my husband and I have always dreamed of having a brick and mortar store for Garden Delights Arts & Crafts.  We envision a shop with my artwork and crafts and with his orchids and the other wonderful plants that he cultivates.

What does a typical "art day" look like from the outside? Where do you create? What tools or supplies are always by your side?

My typical “art day” is cobbled together from hours here and there during evenings and weekends.  I create at my computer/printer and in my studio. I’m heavily dependent on my equipment, starting with my beloved camera and moving on to my computer, where I work with my images to make blended collages, kaleidoscopes or mandalas, and other types of designs.  The next step is usually my printer, where I produce either the fabric that I’m going to use in a piece, or I print on Lutradur, wood, metal, or onto some variety of transfer material. I rarely print on paper these days!  I do most of the sewing and assembly of my pieces in my studio (aka our laundry room). My camera is rarely far from me. I also have a small camera that I carry with me everywhere.

What, if any, music would we hear in the background. Do you have a view beyond your palette?

I would have music on for all of my waking hours if possible, usually folk, rock or blues, especially Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, Be Good Tanyas, etc. The view beyond my pallette is my husband’s wonderful garden, which I can see from the windows of both my studio and the room where I have my computer and printer.

Tell us something we don’t know about Heidi. Do you sing in the shower or avoid cracks in pavement or hate brussel sprouts?

I was painfully shy for much of my life, and am still emphatically introverted.  However, doing art has transformed me into more of a social butterfly because I’m not content to create something and keep it to myself.  I find I need the feedback and interaction with people who either appreciate my work or are doing the same kinds of things that I am, so in a way making art has freed my “inner showoff”.  For me, interacting online with members of the Melange Team and with people on other Etsy Forums and Yahoo Groups is perfect because I can control who I deal with and how much time I spend doing it. 


What simple little thing makes you smile? 

My husband always make me smile, although he is not a simple little thing. ; )

Heidi, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview, and for allowing us to get to know you a bit better. It's been a marvelous Monday morning treat!

To keep up with Heidi's adventures, you can follow her on her blog here, and her gorgeous artwork can be purchased directly from her Etsy shop here.

Our next Artist Profile will take place on Monday, January 4th, 2010. Yep, that's next year!

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ BLACK & WHITE


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Jodi Ohl the prompt for this week's challenge is BLACK & WHITE. Create a piece of mixed media art using this prompt as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Janet of Paper Dreamer is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of BLACK & WHITE. Thanks so much !

Image © Janet AKA Paper Dreamer

Thank you Karen!


http://www.byhand.me/component/option,com_content/Itemid,70/id,15470/task,view/


Thank you Karen, LemachiGallery, for putting this together for us. You always do an absolutely beautiful job and we appreciate it so much.

Visit Karen's shop at www.LemachiGallery.etsy.com

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~PRAYER


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Eva the prompt for this week's challenge is PRAYER. Create a piece of mixed media art using this word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Linda Beard is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of PRAYER. Thanks so much !

Image © Linda Beard

Melange slide show #6

Lavender and Rust Art Quilt-hanging and framing

Heidi, a member of the Melange street team just did a tutorial on how to hang a gorgeous art quilt that she had done. Hope you enjoy it; this is always such a hard thing to figure out--how to display these kinds of fabric art pieces.

From Heidi's Blog:
When last we met, I had printed and quilted an art quilt from a blended collage of my photographs of a lavender flower and a piece of rusted machinery. Here’s a photo of the quilt, and this is the post about the process:




Finishing and framing a piece is always a challenge for me. Since I used new techniques and products for the quilt (more about that later!), I wanted that novelty to be reflected in the way I framed it. Rooting around in my supply closet, I found wooden framing stretcher strips about the right size. When assembled, the frame was a bit larger than the quilt. To finish the plain wood in a manner that would reflect and honor the quilt, I printed some of the elements of the lavender and rust collage onto Transfer Artist Paper (see my earlier posts about TAP), and ironed them onto the front of the frame.



My next challenge was how to attach the quilt to the frame. I decided to use some kind of ribbon that I would sew to the quilt and thread through screw eyes attached to the inside edge of the frame. It’s not easy finding good screw eyes! My local fabric store didn’t have anything I liked, and I had to visit three hardware stores to find the size and color that I wanted. I put screw eyes in each of the four sides of the frame. This is the top right edge, showing the screw eye:



I decided that instead of using premade cord or ribbon, I would make it myself. I started with the image that I used for the quilt and designed ribbons, but rescaled to be much smaller because the ribbon would have to fit through the screw eyes. I printed it on the fabric that I had used for the quilt and doubled the fabric over so both sides would have a pattern. I cut thin strips and stitched down the center of each to hold the sides together. I threaded them through the eyes and tied knots, working with each to get the quilt centered in the frame. This is a closeup of the ribbon at the center right side of the frame:



And this is the quilt tied to the frame at the six eyes:


The last challenge: how to hang the framed quilt? I didn’t want to string a wire across the back because that would show through the gaps. I couldn’t use a sawtooth because the gallery that I show my work in (a plug here for the Pinole Artisan galleries) doesn’t allow those. I decided to echo the screw eyes used on the inside, and put two at the top of the frame. I made another long ribbon, threaded it through the eyes, doubled it over and stitched it together. The framed quilt now hangs flush against the wall from a hook or nail. This is it:


If you’re wondering about the back of the frame, it’s nothing fancy. I finished it by painting the plain wood with a few coats of white gesso. I solved the eternal question of how to sign an art quilt (many people print labels on fabric and sew them to the back), by signing the gessoed surface with a pigment ink pen. This is how the back looks:


If you’re wondering where the piece is now, it’s hanging in the new show at the second Pinole Artisans gallery, Pinole Art Center Too, 2814 Pinole Valley Road, Pinole California. Email me at heidirand@gmail.com if you would like to know when the Center is open, or when I’ll be working there.

Heidi
GardenDelightsArts.etsy.com

Melange slide show #5

Here is number 5 of the weekly utube slide shows of artwork from the members.

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ CHANGE


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Brenda Lynn the prompt for this week's challenge is CHANGE. Create a piece of mixed media art using this word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Stacey Merrill is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of CHANGE. Thanks so much !

Image © Stacey Merrill

November Artist Profile: Renee Gandy

Hello everyone. Bren here. I am happy to reintroduce Artist Profiles here on the Melange blog. This will be a recurring monthly event, so please join us on the first Monday of each month to learn a little more about our fellow artists and team members.

Here in our first interview I am so pleased to introduce Renee Gandy, curator of both FauveStudio and FauveBohemian on Etsy. Many of you are familiar with Renee by her participation on the Mixed Media Thread over at the Etsy forums. For those who don’t frequent the thread (and even for those who do) here is a little closer look at one of our talented members.

Thank you so much, Renee, for taking time here with us! Now, without further ado:


Let’s begin with some basics: Where do you call home? Are you married? Do you have any children?

Yes, I’ve been married to Jim Gandy for 39 years now. Jim’s job required frequent relocation, so we spent many years moving from coast to coast, but in the late 80s we settled just outside Holly Springs, Mississippi. Our home sits on a small lake. We have 3 children: Leafy, 37; Jesse, 23, and Savannah, 14. We also have three grandchildren ages 18, 16 and 5. And there’s also Little Man, our Dachshund.

When did your artistic life begin? Was this an innate ability, or did you happen upon the creative calling later in life?

I was encouraged from an early age to explore art and creative paths. My mother gave me watercolors at age 4, and set up cardboard and paper along the backyard fence then said, "Have fun". I did. By age 9 or 10 she had me oil painting and taking drawing lessons. I enjoyed it, but I can't say I had a passion for it. That came later in life. By age 15 or 16 I was creating collage works combined with painting. M artistic explorations have waxed and waned over the years as I became passionate and obsessed with some new technique or venture ranging from textile work, sculpting, to mixed media and oil painting. I tend to jump from one thing to another.

Have you had formal art training?

I've had no formal art training aside from art history classes in college. I've always had a passion for history and art history in particular. All of my early studies in drawing or painting were brought to me by my mother. She was a painter along the lines of the French Modernist.

When did you become interested in mixed media techniques? What about it appealed to you, and how is Renee, the mixed media and collage artist different from the painter of oils and watercolor?

I've worked in mixed media and collage since the late 60's. My interest in mixed media and collage has come and gone, but I have begun to create more in this area in the last few years. As the economy worsened and my gallery work diminished, I had more time to explore and create. Oil painting is a very disciplined medium, although I am very expressive with color and brushwork. But oils do require adherence to certain techniques and rules. In mixed media and collage there's more leeway and if it doesn't work... well, it was a learning process and fun along the way. I'm not a water colorist by any means. I only dabble and play with watercolors. It will be years before I master this medium. That's part of the attraction: the learning process.

Do you have specific pieces in oil and mixed media or collage that you feel showcase and embrace your ideals as a person and as an artist? How do the pieces differ, or do they? Is there a recurrent theme underlying all of your work regardless of the medium?

In oils I would say the opening painting on my website home page titled "Tropique" personifies my fauvist/expressionist work:



"Tropique"


Another oil painting:



"Valensole Fauve Lavender Landscape"



And a good example of my mixed media work:




"Shadow Archetype"


As you can see, they are as different as can be; very different styles and subject matters. I love color, form, and brushwork in my painting. In my mixed media I find an outlet of expression for things of a darker nature, often exploring themes of loss, nostalgia, ancestors, dreams, and even abuse. These all seem to need expression, even if part of me wants to quiet their voices. I've often "tried" to create work with a positive, affirmative theme as others do, but I can't. It just doesn't flow naturally.

You’ve mentioned the disparity between the need to create what the market wants versus creating what the artist wants; something every artist faces. How does this affect your artistic endeavors?

Admittedly it does stifle my creative expression when one has to create "for market", but then Céézanne painted store front windows to feed his family. He wasn't above this type of work to meet his family’s needs. Neither am I. I always found issue with Gauguin because he abandoned his family in order to pursue his artistic freedom. I love his work, but it's tempered by a disrespect for the man himself. Céézanne I can identify with.

What does a typical "art day" look like from the outside? Where do you create? What, if any, music would we hear in the background.

I have a studio just across my back yard. There are three little rooms: one for painting, another for stretching and priming canvases, and the last one is for shipping and packaging. A typical day? No, all my days are atypical unless I'm working on a commission, then I must be more structured. I often paint all night. This is my most creative time. Mornings are usually devoted to packing and shipping , paperwork, and working on the computer. The music I most often paint to would be Joni Mitchell and lately her "Night Ride Home" album. It speaks a lot about lost youth, regrets, mistakes made. It’s rather haunting. Joni has been my muse since the 60s. We share a birthday and have grown old together. I love her line, "I'm a lonely painter. I live in a box of paints." I’ve spent a lot of years painting with Joni.

Do you have an "outside job"? What advice would you share with other artists also caught in our difficult economic situation?

I am a retired registered nurse and I primarily worked in the psychiatric area for most of my career. In these economically challenging times I would advise artists to have a range of art works in different sizes and prices. When I was primarily doing gallery work this was strongly discouraged, but all things change. Now that I am promoting myself I find it is more economically feasible to have a variety of styles, sizes and prices. Not everyone can afford an expensive oil painting. The market is there, but the sales aren't as steady as they once were. Now one must diversify to survive.

What are your long term goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?

That’s a difficult question. My long term goal is to finally be able to express artistically that unknown thing that rests on the edge of consciousness; that nuance of things unseen, felt, half-remembered. I haven't captured it yet but seem to just skirt around the edges. Where do I see myself in 5 or 10 years? Still creating art, I hope. I've had a lot of issues with my eyesight over this past year due to diabetes, so I 'm hoping I will still be able to create art.

Tell us something we don’t know about Renee. Do you sing in the shower or avoid cracks in pavement or hate brussel sprouts?

I have a superstition that I simply can't shake that was passed along to me by my paternal grandmother: I won't tell a dream before breakfast or allow my family to either as it may come true. Ridiculous, I know, but ingrained and I can't seem to overcome it.

Thank you so much for your time, Renee. I’ve really enjoyed this more personal glimpse of someone I’ve come to respect as both an artist and a friend, and I'm sure our readers have, too.

To view more of Renee’s work, please visit her Etsy shops: FauveStudio for her original paintings and custom work, and FauveBohemian for collage and mixed media pieces. You can also find Renee at her website.

And thank you to all who stopped by and took the time for this little visit. I’d love to hear your feedback and even suggestions for upcoming profiles. Remember, this will be an ongoing monthly event. Our next Artist Profile is scheduled for Monday, December 7th. Please stop by and visit again.

Happy Creating!
Bren

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ DRAMA QUEEN


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Glenda Bailey the prompt for this week's challenge is DRAMA QUEEN. Create a piece of mixed media art using this phrase as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Maureen Tillman is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of DRAMA QUEEN. Thanks so much !

Image © Maureen Tillman

Melange Team slide show video number #4

Here is our slide show on utube for this week. Hope you all like it.

Tutorial on How to Use Magazine Pages in your collages

I wanted to write a tutorial on how to take magazines pages that you cannot use in your work due to copyright issues and make them usable. Finally, I am sitting down to get this done. It may not be new to some of you, I actually started doing this and wrote it up 5 years ago. There have been lots of people change it up a little and use it, and that is just a-okay with me. I am for finding ways to use what we have on hand. It does use up some of your dye inkpads and your chalk inkpads (or you can substitue regular pigment inkpads also), but you can control how much or how little that you apply.

The first picture is of a regular b/w and a little color magazine page. I did blur it out, it is not your computer. You can also use colored ads, but I didn't because they are too easily distinguishable.





The second picture is the very same magazine page slathered in gesso. You can do the whole page, leave some areas showing (especially if you use an ad that is full color) as long as it will not immediately be recognizable as somebody's ad. By the way, I used a yellow cheap sponge roller to put on the gesso. I usually just use a brush. It gave it a cool texture.



Next, I used an Adirondak latte dye inkpad and just smeared it all over the page. No heavy hand, but just skimmed it across the paper.



Next, after the first dye inkpad dries, you can add as many others as you want. I added a little Espresso by Adirondak and a little Mushroom Adirondak. Be sure to click and see the larger picture, I think this one looks dull. I am not crazy much about my choices of colors on this one.

I pulled out some old sheets that I had done which I will show you at the end. I do think that I do not like the effect that I got with the sponge roller nearly as much as when I applied the gesso with a brush. From now on, I will just be brushing my gesso on.

Once the dye inks that you have applied are dry, time to bring out the Chalk Inkpads (or any pigment inkpads). Chalk inkpads by Clearsnap are hybrids. You can if you want, emboss with them just like straight pigment pads, or not. For this, if you do not have chalk pads, use what you have. I used Chalkpads in Yellow Ochre, Creamy Brown, and then I used another pad at the very last to tone it all down--called VersaMagic in Cloud White. You don't have to use all these pads. If you want, you can use ONE dye inkpad, followed by one Chalk pad. When you are happy, stop.



Next, as you can see above, bring out your rubber stamps and black Stazon inkpads. Stamp all over randomly.

Here are some tiny pieces of other colors that I used and I did want to show you the differece on black magazine pages and also using a brush for the gesso.



Tear up your sheets and use them in your collages. A little piece or a larger piece.

Have Fun

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ BELIEVE


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Linda B. aka Midwestie Lady the prompt for this week's challenge is BELIEVE. Create a piece of mixed media art using this word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Meikoningin is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of BELIEVE. Thanks so much !

Image © Meikoningin

Crowabout Entry Week 56 "A Horse is a horse, is a horse..."


This week the crowabout page was all western, complete with a gun-totten cowgirl. While the cowgirl and the words "WANTED" appealed to me, I kept seeing the words "A horse is a horse, is a horse..." and a tune came to mind. Yes, of course, it was the tune for the TV show "Mr. Ed" that was so popular back in the 60's. So Mr. Ed's theme song became the focal point of this collage piece.



I enlarged the photo of the two kids in the vintage western clothes and added western elements. I completed the verse of the song and added "OF COURSE." The pairs of boots are dimensional. All the rest of the designs are paper. The backing is a 6' x 8" canvas covered board.

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ WANDER


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Maureen Tillman the prompt for this week's challenge is WANDER. Create a piece of mixed media art using this word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Aimee of Mazer Design is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of WANDER. Thanks so much !

Image © Mazer Design

A little something for my team members....


Hi Everybody! Stacey (ArtSnark) here. I recently had some good fortune & decided to share it with my fellow team members. 2 months ago I hosted a random drawing of 250 custom printed greeting cards from DigitalRoom.com on my blog. Well, that generous sponsor then gave me the same prize to thank me for hosting their giveaway.

I decided to print up some cards to promote the Melange Team & its amazingly talented members. The card shown above measures 3.5" x 5".(The pink edge in the photo is not on the card; it's just the background). There are no envelopes.

My intention is to distribute these cards among members who would be willing to include 1 when shipping items to a buyer. The insides are blank, so you can write whatever you want. If you are a Melange Team member & would like to participate, please leave your etsy shop name in the comment section of this post. Again, this is only open to Melange Team Members.

In 2 weeks (October 27th) I'll contact the members who have left a comment here. Once I know how many people are involved, I'll have a better idea how many cards each of you will get. Then I'll just contact you for your shipping info & send the cards.

I have gotten so much from this great team in the short time it has existed. This is a really special group of talented artists, who care about each other and are willing to share their knowledge. I have met some of the kindest people since joining this team & I just wanted to say thanks.

So, if you're a team member and want to share the team's info with your customers, please leave a comment. Thanks.

Utube slide show number 2

I am proud to show off the brand new utube video/slideshow of Melange team member's works of art. Hope you like it.

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ FALLING


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Elizabeth Johnson the prompt for this week's challenge is FALLING. Create a piece of mixed media art using these words as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

And Elizabeth Johnson is also our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of FALLING. Thanks so much !

Image © Elizabeth Johnson

Our first Utube slide show

This is our very first utube slide show. Needs a little work, but we will be doing better, and doing them regularly. Hope you like it
video

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ GATEWAY


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Stacey Merrill the prompt for this week's challenge is GATEWAY. Create a piece of mixed media art using these words as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Pat May is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of GATEWAY. Thanks so much !

Image © Pat May

Melange Team on ByHand.me Thank you Karen Lemachi!

And the winner is.......

The winner of the book by Gwen Diehl is ta da........Pat. Congratulations Pat! You work so hard for our team, and this is so exciting that you won the drawing. Send me your snail mail by convo and I will get your book right out to you.

This was a fun challenge.

To everybody who joined in the fun. Thank you so much, truly a team who jumps in and supports one another and I am so grateful that I got to see such lovely work from one and all.

Big art hugs, G

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ HEAVENLY


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Janet of Paper Dreamer the prompt for this week's challenge is HEAVENLY. Create a piece of mixed media art using these words as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Stacey Merrill is our featured artist with her wonderful interpretation of HEAVENLY. Thanks so much !

Image © Stacey Merrill

Melange Team Add Fabric challenge due 9/24


Today is the day! The "hey, add a little fabric to one of your art pieces" challenge is due today. I, for one, who am addicted to using fabric in my work, cannot wait to see what everyone has created. So, post your pieces in the comments section so that we can see. I will hot link if you are having problems with that, so not to worry. Just post where the piece is located, and I will catch up. If your piece is for sale on Etsy, tell us that also.

The showcase piece this time belongs to Maureen. It's gorgeous. I love the way she did the leaves and actually, the whole piece is fantastic. Way to go Maureen. Maureen's piece is located here on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=31251189

Interview with Loudlife-Laurie Blau-Marshall




1) Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed as an artist in the Melange Team on Etsy group. To start off, why don't you give us a little background information about yourself. When was it you discovered you wanted to be an artist?



I was one of those people who always wanted to be an artist, but tamped down the thought because I thought I needed to be “practical.” I thought I could take care of the artistic bent I had by becoming an interior designer and started college with that in mind. Unfortunately, my mother died during my second year and what with working full time, trying to take care of the family, and coping with my own loss, I had to quit school. Life just got in the way and I never went back. Then, in 1989, I made a pair of earrings at a bead store and a few months later someone asked me to make them a pair. I went back to the store, bought $40 in supplies and voila! A jewelry business was born. I sold jewelry at small craft fairs, in local boutiques, and - literally - out of my purse for the next 15 years. I used to have little impromptu jewelry trunk shows in bars while I was out with my friends! In 2000, while talking with my future husband and another friend we all decided that we wanted to take a painting class. We did, and I’ve never looked back. Painting is my first, and biggest, love. I take painting classes whenever I can.



2) What would you say has been one of your biggest influences on yourself as an artist. How has that changed you, and what you do?



I studied Interior Design - in school and out - from the time I was about 15 years old. I have a huge collection of interior design magazines, books about architecture and design, and I’ve freelanced as an interior design consultant infrequently over the years. I think the knowledge and visual input that I’ve absorbed over the years has left me with an innate sense for the principles of design and a love for simple shapes.



This can lead to a fairly simple, clean-lined pieces.




More recently, I’ve been hugely influenced by the people I’ve met online. I love the bold colors and inventive compositions of Suzan Buckner, the beautiful texture and depth that Pam Carriker creates, the whimsy of Kelley Rae Roberts, and the stunning imagery and symbolism achieved by both Judy Wilkenfeld and Michael DeMeng.



These people? Not so much into the simple and clean-lined. I’m learning to embrace texture, pattern, and symbolism. Scary stuff for a literal-minded control freak!



I’m constantly learning and experimenting. I thought I was still trying to find “my” style, but I think now that what I’m really doing is learning my “process.” What is it that motivates me not only to begin a piece, but to finish it? I have found that if I’m not being true to what I like and what my message is, then I am unable to finish the work. If I start thinking too much about what will “sell,” then I am unable to finish the work…”Be true to yourself.” is the best advice ever given.



3) What made you decide to start selling your work on Etsy? Can you give us any tips as far as what works well for you as far as selling online and getting your artwork "out there".



I decided to start selling on Etsy when I realized that all my sales on eBay were to other artists - so why not go to the marketplace where other artists hand out? As others have found, I think I am most successful on Etsy when I put myself out there on the forums and other social networking groups (ning.com, face book, flickr, etc.).



Right now I’m trying to work on my photography skills. I can nearly sell out my booth in a couple days at an art festival. I’m trying to capture whatever it is that people see in person that doesn’t translate into my photos.





4) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How do you plan on getting there?



In 5 years I would like to be working in both very large and small sizes. When I paint in oil, I love a super big canvas. I would like to do mixed media work on a large scale as well. I would like to be published more. I would like to find “my” niche. That thing that no one else does, so that I can begin teaching. I love interacting with people and I would love to do it in the art world. I would also like to enter and be active in my local art scene.



5) Enquiring minds want to know, what art supplies are on your studio table right now?

Are there any you can not live without?



Many tubes and bottles of acrylic paint, a big bottle of black gesso, and 3 containers of brushes. I can’t live without a medium sized filbert paintbrush.



6) If you could do anything artistically and you knew you would not fail, what would that be?



I would paint gigantic canvases; like, 6’ x 4’ - or larger!




Links to mixed media work on Etsy:





http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=28774050


http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_1&listing_id=28945032



Other Links:





My Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loudlife/



A work in progress: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loudlife/3664038983/

Interview by Jodi Ohl
posted by Glenda

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ WEE WITCHES



Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Kathy Maximo the prompt for this week's challenge is WEE WITCHES. Create a piece of mixed media art using these words as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Janet of Paper Dreamer is our featured artist with this wonderful interpretation of WEE WITCHES. Thanks so much, Janet!

Image © Paper Dreamer

Time……….what is that? Where the heck did it go?!

I could literally fill up 24 hours a day with something, if only I didn’t have to sleep! I can never relate to boredom or to people who retire and don’t know what to do with their time. So much to do... so little time.

I’ve tried to develop a bit of a routine as a Melange Team member, with resolutions that I’ll do better. Since I’m a list maker I thought I’d share some thoughts and perhaps others will add their own tips and tricks in the comments section for ways to invest little amounts of time and gain the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak!

1. “Hug” peeps when they are in a Treasury. I think we’re allowed 15 clicks, sock it to ‘em. The more clicks any Treasury receives the more attention it will get from buyers using the Treasuries to search.

2. Follow and visit your team peeps' blogs……..and leave comments as often as you can. Active comments can move a blog up in the search engines. Just say….."awesome piece” or “love this one” if you don’t have time to write a book. It not only lets the artists know you care…..it really helps them.

3. And to continue: bloggers...think about adding our team peeps' blogs or websites to your blog list. See item #2. When we comment in blog entries we're exposing advertising for our shops from the peeps’ lists to those who stay and look around, and most do.

4. Think about shooting a convo over to some of our team members who may not have time to chat in the forums. Just a “hi, I’m on the Melange Team and was checking out your shop and loved this……..”

5. Add a few of your peeps’ items to your etsy favorites.

6. Think about adding a team feature every once in awhile on your blog, Facebook, Twitter…….throw it out there. A couple sentences and a cut and paste photo about a fellow etsian/Melange peep will attract visitors and lead people to your blog.

7. Bop over and add a few words on the Teams and Events thread, bring it TTT (to the top)

The camaraderie we exhibit can produce positive results in multiple ways. Good will says a lot about our attitude as sellers and others will pick up on that. It’s not a goal to do it all, but a goal to catch a couple of minutes here and there and maximize results that benefit many, including ourselves.

Pat May.  Please visit my shop on etsy Whyte
Public Domain image from takeabreak at flickr

FABRIC ART COLLAGE ~ A Book Review


Fabric Art Collage by Rebekah Meier is a wonderful resource book with a wealth of over 40 mixed media techniques.

Divided into nine sections, this book is well-organized and reader-friendly. The full color photographs showcase not only finished projects and techniques, but also key steps along the way.

Beginning with the section entitled TOOLS AND SUPPLIES, Rebekah offers an extensive and thorough overview of a wide range of products including fabrics, paints, dyes, inks, adhesives, tools, accessories and more. There is truly something for everyone; Rebekah's vast experience with a wide array of products and materials is evident.

PAINTING AND STAMPING illustrates 13 techniques for adding design to fabric. Concise instructions are given for each technique.

Eight techniques for CREATING BASE MATERIAL show how to combine materials such as fusible web, paper, Lutradur (a non-woven translucent web) and more.

CREATING TEXTURE offers five methods, including needle-felting and machine stitchery, utilizing a wide variety of materials.

Sections entitled EMBELLISHMENTS and FIBERS AND HAND EMBROIDERY offer up ideas and approaches for adding extra “punch” to your fabric collages.

HOT TOOLS explains how using the Creative Textile Tool, an iron or a heat embossing tool can fuse, emboss or etch a variety of materials to be used in your collages.

Rebekah demonstrates DISTRESSING materials with tea, coffee, dye, ink and paint and she offers guidance in ASSEMBLING THE LAYERS. A focus on creating composition, balance and construction of the finished piece rounds out the techniques presented in this resource book.

Five different quilt projects are found at the close of Fabric Art Collage along with a gallery of 17 beautiful examples of mixed media/fabric projects. Finally, the materials referenced throughout the book are listed in the “resources section” with detailed source information.

The author suggests creating a “techniques swatch book” as you move through the book. I think this is a wonderful idea and would make for a handy reference.

Fabric Art Collage
will be a “go to” resource when you are looking to master a new technique for use in your mixed media projects. The techniques range from the simple to the more complex, thereby satisfying the novice or the experienced artist.

This book is available through C&T Publishing.

Image © C&T Publishing

Brand New Melange team challenge

Are you ready for another challenge? This one for Melange members this go round. Just pretty much like we did last time. Anybody who wants to be featured can write up a blog post (and then you can post it on your own blog also) or anybody who wants to just take part in the challenge can leave comments where your piece is located...Etsy, Flickr, web page, etc.

In honor of the fact that I have almost finished my project for ArtQuiltingStudio--you must use fabric somewhere in your pieces. Using fabric is getting more and more popular (hey, I am so glad) and it really does give a new dimension for mixed media art. You can use fabric, lace, trim, cheesecloth, etc. It will be due 9/24. That's two weeks. I will do another book giveaway, this book is called "The Decorated Page" by Gwen Diehn. Her emphasis is on decorated pages in journals, but the techniques work equally well on canvases, watercolor paper and other paper substrates.

Be thinking about it. Convo me if you are "in". I just want to know approximately how many will take part.

Remember it doesn't have to be elaborate. You could just use fabric for the background or part of the background to get your feet wet. Any type of projects will do, even bookmarks, tags, canvas, on wood, anything. Add fabric to a journal cover, notebook, on and on.

Glenda

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ SERENITY


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Jodi Ohl the prompt for this week's challenge is SERENITY. Create a piece of mixed media art using that word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Peggy Gatto is our featured artist with this wonderful interpretation of SERENITY. Thanks so much, Peggy!

Image © Peggy Gatto

"Mix It Up with Melange" Challenge ~ NAUGHTY


Welcome...everyone is invited to join in the challenge. You do not have to be on the team or an Etsy seller to create a piece of art with the week's theme and show it on this blog.

Thanks to Eva the prompt for this week's challenge is NAUGHTY. Create a piece of mixed media art using that word as inspiration. When you are finished follow these simple rules:

1) Post your finished piece on your blog, website, Flickr page, Etsy or elsewhere INCLUDING a link back to the Melange Team blog.

2) Comment to this blog post INCLUDING the link to where we can find your beautiful piece.

3) Please link to a static page

(What’s a static page? An example of a static link is http://www.melange.com/ticket/2009/04/22/mix-it-up-challenge/, whereas an example of a link to the main website is http://www.melange.com)

4) Come back often to check out all the terrific work that will be submitted. :)

Thanks for joining in the fun !

(Here is a great tutorial on CREATING HOT LINKS)

Stacey Merrill is our featured artist with this wonderful interpretation of NAUGHTY. Thanks so much, Stacey!

Image © Stacey Merrill

And the winner is.......

First, I again want to thank everyone who joined in this challenge. We even had two visitors, Silke and Abby. Who, by the way, did fantastic work. If you all didn't look at their pieces, do yourself a favor and do that.

I think what was so exciting for me was the participation that we had. It was phenomenal. So many of you, tried and tried and showed us your results. Thank you again for your time and your support. I want to do this again, when I figure out something suitable. So, send me or MidwestieLady, LB, your ideas.

And tada, the winner is none other than Janet, PaperDreamer. Janet, send me your snail mail on my convo and I will mail the book in next day or so. It's heavy, so I will mail media mail. I know you are going on vacation here to Texas anyway. Wave at me if you pass Dallas.

If you all have not, post your results and all on your own blog. It's great, and people who look really do love that. We have new followers and tons of hits on this blog with the challenge. I think it was great fun and I send big ole hugs to all ya'll. lol Okay, okay.

Glenda

When All Else Fails FORGET the Instructions

By now you’ve read several informative posts on various image transfer techniques and some of the trials and tribulations related to the different processes. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to try some of them yourself. I know it sure has helped me overcome my transfer phobia, and I now have oodles of tips and tricks to help me on my way.

Our little “challenge” was inspired by a book called Image Transfer Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques For Successful Transfers by Darlene Olivia McElroy & Sandra Duran Wilson, which Glenda of TwoCoolTexans reviewed for us not too long ago. Included in this very informative book were a few techniques that some us felt begged debate inasmuch as calling them true “image transfers”. One of these techniques is called Homemade Inkjet Fabric (found on page 38). As for myself, my interest quickly waned from debating the issue, to realizing that for those of us on very limited budgets, this technique might prove quite useful. I’ve been infatuated with the idea of fusing paper and fabric, and the integration of different textiles in my mixed media work. However, fabric sheets marketed for use in printers, like many artist supplies, can be quite costly. This technique just may help me realize a new endeavor, as well as save my pocketbook from further abuse.

Excitedly, I quickly gathered the noted supplies: natural fabric, freezer paper, iron, etc. I decided to use images scanned from old Needlework magazines from the 1920s, since I had in mind a “seamstress” type theme for another upcoming challenge. Using Gimp, I reduced, edited for color and saturation, then imported all the images into one 8x10 inch file. I test printed on plain paper, and decided I was ready to go. Following the directions, I cut my fabric and freezer paper to just under the standard 8 ½ x 11 inches while I let my iron heat on the suggested medium setting. Fully gung-ho now, I placed my fabric over the shiny side of the freezer paper, put my pressing sheet over that, and ironed... and ironed... and ironed. The edges and corners of the fabric just would not adhere to the freezer paper as well as it did in the center. I removed my thin pressing sheet and ironed directly on top of the fabric. This seemed to work!



Well, as you can see by this first photo, it didn’t. As the fabric/freezer paper cooled down from the ironing, it curled. In addition, the fabric corners came apart from the freezer paper. Even manually feeding it through my printer didn’t help the situation. As you can see, the sheet curled and caught as it was run through the printer.

Okay, so I’m a very headstrong, stubborn, and some say my-own-worst-enemy sort of gal. I just tried over. I re cut fabric, freezer paper, and went to ironing. This time, I forgo the pressing sheet altogether and ironed directly on top of the fabric. And I ironed. And ironed. And ironed some more. As soon as I was done, I placed a heavy book on top of the little “sandwich” so it would cool flat. Again I manually fed it through the printer. Again, warped corners and an inky mess:



Now, the book suggests taping the corners of the fabric/freezer paper, but I’ll be darned if I’ll run that through my new printer. There just has to be way, I told myself. There’s certainly a will, third time a charm, and all that. I set to cutting more fabric and freezer paper. This time, I cut the pieces much larger, approximately 10 x 12 inches on the fabric, and the freezer paper about an inch smaller on all sides. I left my fabric face down on my ironing board, laid the freezer paper shiny side down on top of that, and ironed directly on the paper. Low and behold, the fusing began almost immediately, even the corners and edges. Again I let it cool under a book. However, not wanting to go through the hassle of cleaning my printer yet again, nor ruining more fabric, I hesitated. Then I spied a can of light spray adhesive. Aha! I cut through both the fabric and the freezer paper using a straight edge and a brand new blade bringing it down to just under 8 ½ x 11 inches. I flipped over my little sandwich, lightly sprayed the freezer paper side, then adhered it to a piece of copy paper using my brayer to run out any air bubbles. As you can see, the firm adhesion of fabric to freezer paper, backed by a bit of rigidity from the copy paper produced a nice clean image.



Very happy girl indeed. My intentions are now to cut out the images, fray the sides, and utilize them along with old patterns and sewer’s notions on tags I plan to swap. Here’s hoping those come along with far fewer mishaps. My advice after this frustrating experiment: sometimes when all else fails, disregard the instructions and follow your own inclinations. After all, art is an act of discovery and only through trial and error are those discoveries realized.