I didn’t have a lot of time for artwork this summer. Reorganizing my sewing room took a while, as did traveling to Greece and spending time with my family. Summers are just like that — too many distractions! Sure, I did sneak into my sewing room every now and then to create somethings small, but all the projects I started before the school year ended had to wait, as did the many new ideas that kept popping up in my head.
After I returned home in mid-September from helping my daughters settle into college, I was eager to get back to art. Unfortunately, I found it hard to get going. For the first few days I just wandered around the now-emptier house, doing this and that. It was hard to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. So I decided to ease back into things slowly, by giving myself time and permission to just play. No big, important or meaningful projects, just fun, small creative tasks that I could do in-between other things, to get my creative juices flowing.
My sewing room has a white wall-to-wall carpet, which, until now, meant I couldn’t use paint indoors. As I learned the hard way, though, working outdoors wasn’t a good option, either. And so, when I reorganized my studio space, I moved the cutting table to the center of the room, and put a rug underneath, hoping to create an indoor space for some small messes. Now, I decided to test it for the first time.
By using a large cardboard piece that came with my IKEA furniture, and wrapping it with plastic and the packaging paper that also came with said furniture, I created a mess-proof surface to cover my cutting table with. Everything was ready.
Experimenting more with surface design has been one of my goals for this year and beyond. Painting, printing, mark making, collaging and such were all something I wanted to do more of. I decided to use the many papers I collected on my trip to Greece (tickets, brochures, wrapping paper, maps and more) as my experimental art materials. It’s surprising how much paper one accumulates on a trip!
I limited my pallet to blue and white, the colors of Greece. Later, I added gold as well, because I’ve seen a lot of gold in different museums and it felt right.
I started by scribbling on the different papers with oil pastels, crayons and markers.
Then I added marks with acrylic paint. I used some of the leftover blue paint on a small strip of white cotton fabric I found in my scrap pile.
Some of the marks I made were random, others less so.
Next, I took out my Gelli plate and started playing. To make the prints, I used a stencil that reminded me of the waves of the Mediterranean sea.
When I was done, I had a little pile of white and blue marked paper.
Courageously, I randomly tore these papers, and started playing with them. I arranged and rearranged them into different compositions. When I was happy with what I saw, I used a glue stick to glue the different pieces onto a sheet of brown packing paper I saved from my IKEA furniture.
I then took the little collages over to my sewing machine, and stitched them down. When I looked at the stitches later, they reminded me of tracks on a map. They were echoes of the many trails I left behind, after walking miles and miles in many Greek cities.
Only later did I realize how badly stitching paper can damage one’s machine needle! (I learned that the hard way, when I forgot to change the needle after this project, and tried to sew through fabric. My machine did NOT like this AT ALL!!).
Once everything was stitched down, I took another stencil to add some golden circles, and used some foam stamps to make even more circles. That’s when I learned that my new room arrangement worked as intended: some of my stamps fell down on the rug, paint and all, but did not soil the white carpet!
End Result: A Greece Inspired Art journal!
I ended up with eight collages, on both sides of two long sheets of paper. After some contemplation, I decided to turn them into a little book, a Greece inspired art journal!
I folded the sheets in two, put one on top of the other, and sewed them in the middle. Then I glued the strip of painted fabric onto the spine.
There is nothing precious about the end product. I made it out of materials I would have otherwise recycled, after all. I probably won’t even keep this Greece inspired art journal. But I enjoyed the process of making it, and got to experiment with new things. Most importantly, working on it got me back into a creative routine!