Thursday, 24 April 2014

Our Creative Corner - With a Song in your Heart.

Hello from Magpieheaven, where today I've a song in my heart! When I saw Alison's Challenge over at 'Our Creative Corner' , I had to join in! My problem - apart from time, of course - was choosing one song as my inspiration! Finally I opted for Stephen Sondheim's touching 'Send in the Clowns' from the musical, A Little Night Music. Sondheim, I think, has reached lyrical perfection with this incredible little song. I sang it all the time I was crafting, cleaning, cooking, going around the supermarket - I just managed not to while I was tutoring! I expect I am now known locally as 'that mad lady who sings about clowns!' Clowns scared me as a child, but discovering Pierrot and Harlequin as a teenager sparked a fascination and it's these theatrical, rather romantic clowns I imagine as I listen to this song! I heard so many versions on YouTube, but ultimately  I found Barbra Steisand's the most moving.What do you think? This is a link to the lyrics and Judi Dench's version And these are the lyrics from it that I included on my project...
Sondheim uses a series of simple questions to convey a heart-breaking situation. Desiree, a beautiful actress once had an affair with Fredrik. Years later she meets him again and he is in an unconsummated relationship with a young woman. Desiree proposes to him, but he rejects her offer, too in love with his young wife to leave her. The song is a blend of regret, anger and love. Desiree's wounded pride and disappointment are conveyed through the simplest of words and within quite a limited musical range: the result is just divine. Here is what I made inspired by this song.
My intention was to make a diptych, with a purpose that I will reveal later. I took two thin canvases from 'The Works.' I painted them with a couple of coats of 'Little Black Dress', PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paint and then some Crackle Glaze. While this was drying, I made my own Washi tape with masking tape, painted and stencilled then stamped with Ink and the Dog Mini 30.
I painted over my crackled boards with PaperArtsy Mermaid Fresco, used some Grunge Paste coloured with a little Spanish Mulberry through a Crafters Workshop Harlequin stencil and stamped in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival, again using the PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog Mini 30. The masking tape was then used to attach the canvasses so that they looked like the covers of a book.
Now it was time for some fun adding clownish elements. This was my initial layout, but I always spend lots of time arranging the pieces before I finally come up with a composition I like. For Fredrik and Desiree I used Lynne Perrella Collection 004 and 006 stamps by PaperArtsy. I die cut arched windows from linen, using a Tim Holtz die. I then painted these with layers of Fresco in Mermaid, Antarctic and Inky Pool edged with French Roast. Mixing the paint with some Fabric Medium really helped it to flow smoothly and enabled me to get some shaded effects. The Harlequin ribbon had been in my stash for a long time and I'd never quite known what to do with it. I love this bare tree ribbon and on this project I thought it could symbolize that it is now too late for Desiree and Fredrik: that old relationship will not bear fruit. The little hats are also painted on fabric and they come from LPC003.
As you can see, I finally changed my layout considerably and added some new elements including a tiny Shrink Plastic clown hat! The black and white seemed rather stark, so I stamped it with the medieval script from PaperArtsy Mini 26 in Potting Soil Archival ink. I changed the position of the Tim Holtz flower with the resin rose at its centre, accented in Treasure Gold in Sapphire and Florentine. The butterfly on the left is made from interfacing courtesy of Lesley Ebdon, painted and stamped and Frantaged! The sentiments on the theme of 'clowning' are from PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog stamped onto some beautiful tea-stained fabric all the way from my lovely Magpie Cousin, Dianne in Canada! I combined needlework with the other techniques on this project and here are some details - sorry for so many pictures!
I decided to leave Desiree with the hat she already had!
The fabric pieces in the top left-hand corner are the love-letters Fredrik might have written Desiree long ago! I used die-cut left-over baby wipes covered in Frantage for one layer of petals on the rose over to the right! I also over-stitched some gold mesh onto Desiree's gown.

Fredrik's hat had some wadding stitched under it to give dimension!
...And I almost forgot - a bunch of rusted keys, a lovely charm given me by my dear friend Lucy. Poor Desiree, just as she was ready to unlock the door to Fredrik, she found 'nobody there'. 
The diptych stands like an open book...
 and inside are Desiree's keepsakes and...
A home for Post-it notes that can stand on our dresser. The fairy Pierrette is one of Sandra Evertson's beautiful 'Petite Whimsy' stamps.
 An image transfer of a Picasso Harlequin from Altered Pages onto fabric; lots of stamped and painty layers and some Indian Mirror Work braid were added before the finishing touch - the lyrics!

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns...

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother - they're here.

So if you're still around, waiting for them to send in the clowns, thank you so much for your patience in looking at all those pictures. I should like to enter my diptych for the 'With a Song in your Heart' Our Creative Corner Challenge. Have a great week, full of music and songs!


  1. Love your clowns, the LP images work very well, great background and fab layout. No idea what the song is, but well done anyway xxx

  2. A wonderful diptych charting the bitter-sweet (but mostly bitter) affair between the two of them... and I completely agree, it's one of the most haunting Sondheim songs ever. Have to say I'm a fan of Judi's Less Is More version - that break in her voice breaks me every time. So many glorious details here - a real vision delivered in service of the song and its lyrics. Thank you so much for playing along with us at Our Creative Corner.
    Alison xx

  3. Hi Julie Ann, I know Barbara Streisands version of this song. Your textures on this along with your beautiful stitch detail and handmade washi tape make this such a wonderful individual piece. Gorgeous work. Julie x

  4. What a stunning interpretation of a beautiful song, every last detail of your piece is just perfect. Love it.

  5. Julie Anne what a beautiful post. From now on when I hear that song it will have new meaning for me. I love the art you have created, to showcase the words. Excellent! Xxx

  6. Wow, that's a breathtaking project.

  7. Absolutely stunning project Julie Ann. Judi Dench's version of the song always makes me cry.

  8. Wow! An amazing project! I know I will be going back to have another look! The Lynne Perrella stamps seem to be made for this! No! It's the way that you use them that is so apt! Love it! Hugs, Chrisx

  9. This was a song I never cared for yet reading your post, I found myself transfixed by the lyrics and the tale of the characters that I will now listen to the song with new ears, thank you for allowing me to do this.
    The details are astonishing such as that beautiful needlework and the sweet butterfly and the mixture of textures is quite sublime.
    This is so much more than a holder for post it notes, etc, this is art that opens the mind to new possibilities.

  10. I've always loved that song (even have a Barbara Streisand album with it on) but didn't know where it was from or the meaning behind it. Now I do and thank you very much for telling us the story as it will obviously mean much more to me next time I listen to the song. Your diptych is amazing Julie Ann with such a lot of work and detail lavished upon it. Fabulous work!

    Lesley Xx

  11. Stunning interpretation of such an iconic song, beautiful ArT Julie Ann:-) xxx

  12. AmAzing....Love the song choice I will be singing it now for the rest of the Your creation is a work of art...Beautiful stamps & design... Love it all... Hugs May x x

  13. Another one here who loves that song but didn't know the story behind it either. A lovely piece again Julie much detail and a great blog post xxx

  14. Wow, I read every word then went and played the song so you can tell what an impression it has made. This isn't just amazing in how you've made it, but also how you had the imagination to think of it in the first place. A true work of art Julie Ann x

  15. This creation is DENCH, I really wanted to do this challenge but no time, I'm going to do it anyway for my self, when I have a bit more time. You always amaze me how you make everything yourself and your attention to detail is impeccable, there is so many details to gaze upon, I just can't stop looking at it all, it's a beautiful some choice and you interpreted it perfectly, I agree this is truly a true work of art, Barbra does sing it the best, but I do love to hear Dame Judy singing it too, well I'm going to keep looking at it, it is healing my heart, things are going well with Deb, the kimo hasn't worked and she is so weak, they are going to give her kimo again, my heart is breaking, thanks for healing it a bit with you art, thanks my Friend hope you have a wonderful week..((( HUGE HUGS ))) Cuz....

  16. Incredibly beautiful! Love all the detail added to your amazing creation! It's full of poetry! Thank you for sharing it with us at Our Creative Corner!
    Claudia x

  17. Such wonderful detail! This is a real work of art Julie Ann!
    Alison xxx

  18. Julie Ann- Wow A stunning piece! Your attention to detail is just...sooo...I can't even think of words! I love this- Your art continues to enthrall me! TYFS hugs xoxox

  19. This is gorgeous, Julie Ann; one of my favourite pieces of yours so far! It is so textural and I love the gold mesh on her bodice. Perfect!

    Lucy x

  20. Wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing all those photos and details about your process with us!

  21. Fabulous inspiration Julie Ann! Great textures and handmade embellishments. I love the your tissue tape too. Especially your theme song "Send In The Clowns". It's a sad and beautiful song, Barbra Steisand's my favorite too but I can't sing. xx

  22. This is absolutely brilliant and so cleverly put together! I totally love how you used those LP stamps and how you coloured them too! Stunning!! Thanks so much for adding your song piece to Our Creative Corner challenge!

  23. Wowser Julie-Ann this is truly stunning, amazing and really unique. You have portrayed the song beautifully, I haven't heard the song, but I followed the lyrics and its so wonderful how your able to look into a story and produce art around it, extremely inspiring. Hugs :-) Kezzy xxxxx


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