Sunday, 22 June 2014

Flight from the Doll's House!

Hello and welcome to a sunny, Magpieheaven! Thank you so much for stopping by. You might want to pour yourself a long, cool drink to keep you refreshed, as this post goes on a bit - so sorry! This month two blogs are running challenges that really appeal to me with my Magpie nature! At 'That's Crafty' here the challenge is to include any kind of bird or birds on a project and at 'A Vintage Journey' here the theme is 'Wings and Things'. I should like to enter my shadow box for both these challenges. I really like the idea of wings on projects and I started to ask myself, Why do we long to fly like birds and butterflies? Why do songs and poems often use flying as a metaphor? Why do I love images that seem to merge human with bird or butterfly? As I worked away at my project, I thought about this, humming to myself 'One Day I'll Fly Away', the beautiful, Randy Crawford song. Here is the project and I'll try to answer some of those metaphysical questions along the way! Wish you could hear how the birds were singing in the background when I photographed this! I took some indoor shots too, but I did like the way the sunlight caught the Treasure Gold on this one.

It all began with a box that had contained 'Father's Day' goodies, given to Mr Magpie by our daughter!

The box was in 2 sections to display chutney, crisps and real ale, but it reminded me of windows opening out from a house onto the world! I reckoned that with some Tim Holtz dies I could transform the box into a stage-set, which play it was to represent became clear as I worked. Tim's dies are so adaptable, they really lend character to three-dimensional projects in lots of ways and my imagination was sparked by what I might do with them - especially the bird  one! I imagined the facade of a slightly faded grand house, so Distress Inks would be useful for creating that look too. I started to pick away at the card on the box to reveal the corrugations underneath.

I wanted to lose that bottle shape at the top too, so I covered it with an arch die shape also from a TH Bigz die, cut from corrugated card. You can see that I also started adding some creased masking tape to create the impression of cracked stucco on the facade.

Now it was time to play with a Tim Holtz trellis die. Before cutting, I stencilled some PaperArtsy Chatsworth paper with Grunge Paste through a Lin Brown PA Eclectica stencil. Lin uses this super technique on little tiles that she includes in backgrounds. The Grunge Paste then really stands out when you apply Treasure Gold.
I have Lucy Edmondson to thank for the idea of Stencilling Grunge Paste onto tissue. I cut these bricks and stuck them in those awkward places using PaperArtsy Satin Glaze.
For the interior of my box, I stencilled Grunge Paste through a Prima Flourish stencil and then painted with PaperArtsy Antarctic. I've learned when making shadow boxes that painting inside with a light colour makes that all-important glimpse through the window a little more visible.

Here's the facade with the die-cuts added along with some embellishments, including Tim's Jump rings, which I've used as door handles! I covered everything in a couple of coats of Gesso, which I buy in big tubs from The Works. A couple of little resin birds have made an appearance and a tiny birdcage charm.

My Big Shot was really working overtime! Here is some more stencilling with Lin Brown's lovely leaf, ready to cut up! Some greenery from the TH die (gifted me by my good friend Lucy); those little birds minus their cage and a dress form fixed to a half cotton reel as a base!

Time now to look at the finished project and a little bit of symbolism! I used PaperArtsy Haystack and Brown Shed to create the pinky bricks and stucco effect and then distressed using Tim Holtz Vintage Photo, Peacock Feathers and Walnut Stain ink pads on Cut and Dry foam. You can probably see that I used Tim's bird dies to create my own hybrid creatures! These bird-women created by collaging stamps from PaperArtsy Lynne Perrella and Lost Coast stamps onto the birds made me think of Nora in Ibsen's 1879 drama, 'The Doll's House'. Tired of her husband treating her like a plaything, Nora 'flies the nest' to live her own life. Although Ibsen insisted that the play was not a 'feminist tract', it did come to represent the liberation women were beginning to seek and to symbolise women's right to be the people they wanted to be. Those bird-women call Nora to fly from her crumbling 'doll's house' and join them, free from the old restrictions. The Tim Holtz fence in the foreground breaks off in the middle...
Nora is leaving behind the mannequin. She will no longer be a beautifully presented possession, but her own woman! Her lace underskirt is a Crafty Individuals stamp and I used Wendy Vecchi Cornflower Blue for it. Her tiny fan has been left behind in her haste to fly into the world and a wisp of lace curtain has caught over the door. The tiny rusty keys represent freedom from the old restrictive attitudes towards a woman's place! I used Treasure Gold in Sapphire, Green Amber and Rose Quartz as well as PaperArtsy Guacamole. The butterflies are swiped through misted TH Distress Inks before being punched from a Martha Stewart butterfly punch. 

Nora can be a queen, free to find true love if she wants to - or - who knows - one day she or her daughters might even make a career for themselves in a man's world.
Like many of you, I've been in awe of Alison Bomber's lovely dolls' house posts recently. She said that one of the joys of looking at dolls' houses is the glimpse of that mysterious world inside. I tried to create an impression of  rooms beyond the facade - hidden depths beyond the 'respectable' marriage of Nora and Torvald.

Sorry this was quite difficult to photograph, but it's a Victorian lady sprouting wings from a PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog plate called Wings. I liked to imagine Nora's rather staid portrait sprouting wings and fluttering from the wall!

In this Lynne Perrella image, Nora seems to long for the freedom of the Prima bird above her head or the butterflies that settle all around the house and then flutter off who knows where?
I really like the way that what is left behind after cutting the trellis can also be used. I enjoyed combining it with tea-stained lace.
Nora flutters away from the house she will never see again, no longer a clinging vine. If you've stayed the course for this mega blog post - many, many thanks! Have a wonderful week full of sunshine and the freedom to create!


27 comments:

  1. OMGosh, wow is all I really have to say!!! It's magical xxxx

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  2. Holy moly Julie Ann!!! you can really see how you've enjoyed Alison's dollshouses, and I love your story too, (very sophisticated, aren't you, much better read than I am!) A beautiful project.

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  3. Wow Julie Ann,this is stunning!! What a clever idea using that packaging as well. Love it,so detailed.

    Hugs
    Donna x

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  4. My dear Magpie Julie Ann ~ you have created a most wonderful and deep masterpiece here. Especially lovely to see the progression and lovely details! I can just imagine your delight in what was left from your Mr Magpie's gift!
    I admire you for what you create and for how beautifully you express yourself too!
    I am going back now to look at your photos again.
    oxo

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  5. Yes, I stayed the course Julie Ann, and yes, I think that you are deliciously a little bit barking. Yes, I loved all the imagery and would love to step into your little world of phantasmagoria from time to time. It has been a pleasure to witness the transformation of something which was quite mundane. Love the combination of different stamps and clever build up of detail. Wonderful. Xx

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  6. I love this julie Ann, and I love how you have woven the story into your artwork. I love the anthropomorphic Lynne perrella and how you have enhanced the dug out sections of the box. So clever! Thank you for mentioning me,

    Lucy x

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  7. this was shared to me by Miss Patty (Magpie's Nest). What a beautiful piece of art! VERY inspirational.

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  8. Great piece full of wonderful color, detail and texture. Love art work that tells a story. Thanks for traveling with us here at A Vintage Journey.

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  9. Wow! That is simply STUNNING! Thank you for entering it into the That's Crafty challenge.

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  10. So COOL, that's a breathtaking project.

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  11. Crafted poetry at its best! LOVE this!
    Claudia x

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  12. Wow! where do I start! A simply stunning project - I am amazed what you have done with the original box. So many individual details, textures and embellishments all beautifully created and placed. Thank you for joining us at A Vintage Journey for our Wings and Things Challenge this month. Jennie x

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  13. Just seen it on FB and followed your link, this is a fabulous project full of details like I love! Wow!!! Coco x

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  14. This is certainly a little piece of Treasure now. I love how it started off life as a piece of packaging. You are a very clever lady, its amazing.
    Julie x

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  15. Have you any idea of how exquisite a creation this is, from the transformation of something that others (not us) would view simply as heading for the rubbish bin to the actual storytelling quality. This makes my heart sing.
    Simply adore the peek inside and to how we imagine the interior to be and the precious elements such as the dressform with the lace skirt.
    An incredible piece which will remain in my mind for ever such a long time.
    Thank you for the privilege of being able to view Nora's home.
    Wishes
    Lynne

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  16. Wow. That is truly, spectacularly wonderful & so beautiful. I am in awe.

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  17. Sorry so late. What an amazing post Julie ann so full of information that is so interesting. I love how you have translated that into your house which is magnificent. An excellent little house full of charm and wonder xx

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  18. Hello you Brilliant little Magpie, I have my cup of tea, waiting for the production to begin, I'm so excited, my wings are flapping about, I have boxes like that siting waiting to be altered, I had to mention :O), that boxes was a treasure in deed. Too funny, chutney, crisps and real ale, that's sooo English, I love it, you couldn't find anything, like that here.. Mine are perfume boxes. eeekks what a wonderful mind you have, and you do have a flare for windows, great tip to lighten the inside, once you gessoed over everything, all that detail, texture , pure brilliance. Squawk love all the leaves, birds, I know this production is special to all of us birds. you have interpreted that story so brilliantly in all your details, Holy Moly Miss Magpie you are another Genius miniature maker, I can't wait to read Miss Alison's thought, and Miss Cestina too. I adore the tiny bit of laces hanging out side with Nora and the bird cage. Squawk, you have so inspired me to alter one of mine, I needed that, I have been at my desk in madness doing 2 projects, ended up I filed them away, didn't like them, decided to do some dreaming with the dragons, I'm almost done that, thanks So much for all this inspirations, " I'm so excited " as the pointer sisters would sing, another brilliant production,, Have a wonderful week, I'm going back to look, send it on to a few friends and FB this, ((( BIG HUGS ))) Cuz.....

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  19. I love those Lynne Perrella birds! A glorious piece of art Julie Ann! xxx

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  20. Absolutely Brilliant Julie Ann! I love the recycled box- perfect for your piece and I love that you took the time to share with us the steps!! Fabulous! xoxo

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  21. Julie Ann you are amazing and so is your creation! As always I have enjoyed every word and every single detail in the photos. What I wouldn't give for a mind half as knowledgeable and creative as yours. I was going to apologise for not stopping by yesterday evening as I promised but I'm actually glad I didn't because I was tired and this wonderful post would have been half wasted on me. Today I have been able to enjoy it in full and am now going back for a second helping.

    Hugs
    Lesley Xx

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  22. Well, you can probably guess I love this - with dollshouses and drama at the heart of it, how could I not? I love that you were at least partly inspired by that sense of peeking through windows, and the glimpses we catch of the life of the play are brilliant. Love those birds, ready to fly away, and the mannequin no longer allowed to confine Nora with the shallow requirements of fashion and etiquette. What a fabulous box, and I love how you've created art from its possibilities.
    Alison xx

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  23. Yup - and I forgot to thank you for joining us on A Vintage Journey while I was at it!
    Ax

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  24. LOVE LOVE LOVE this piece Julie Ann! LOVE the color combination. That little bird with the round face is just brilliant. He is sooooo cute! Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece and the step by step too. Karen.x

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  25. Wow wow wow truly out of this world creation, your work is so amazing, I wish I had your imagination. Love the colours, and the inside and outside is absolutely stunning. The way it comes together is awesome. WOWSER ☺Kezzy xxxxx

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