Monday, 22 May 2017

Anchovies Tin Icon

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm over at Calico Craft Parts Blog today with an altered anchovies tin shrine! If you would like to see how it came together, I'd be delighted if you could join me there.


Have a lovely, creative day.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

ATB Assemblage PaperArtsy Challenge.

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! It's ages since I've entered a challenge and this fortnight PaperArtsy have been challenging us to create an assemblage. 3D art has always captured my imagination and the inspirational projects on the blog have been sensational. A couple of summers ago I participated in an on line class with Mary Jane Chadbourne in which she gave an extra tutorial on making ATBs or Artist Trading Blocks. These are really mini assemblages with even more potential than the usual Artist Trading Card. I'd never got round to utilising the little blocks of MDF included in the kit that went with the course so I decided to give myself a treat and create a mini assemblage. I'd like to link up what I have created to the current PA Challenge, which you can learn all about here.


This challenge continues in a similar vein to the previous 'Found Objects' theme, which I never got round to entering! Never mind - there were some 'Found Objects' on this project including part of an old earring, a cylindrical Polymer clay bead from an old pendant  and a couple of wooden beads.


I have been using some drawings of animals, digitally reduced and given different bodies, on miniature houses, pegs etc, but for this project I decided to allow those faces to take 'centre stage'. This little cat was given a summery party hat from some floral design paper with a Dresden embellishment. The background is some tissue with text on it, gifted to me by a friend I met in an online crafting class. I have a supply of books from library sales and the text at the top was taken from one of these.


One of the first things I did with the block was to paint it with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paint in Turquoise. This set the tone for the whole assemblage, which evolved to have a Night and Day/Summer and Autumn theme. PaperArtsy produce a great Crackle Glaze, but for this project I particularly wanted a glaze that would produce tiny cracks so I went for a one-step crackle by DecoArt. 


It took me a while to discover how to get the best results with this product. Then about a year ago, after several failed attempts, a class-mate on a course suggested using a desk fan while the glaze was drying and it's worked a treat ever since!


Miss Flora, the kitten, faces each day wide-eyed and ready to discover all that blue skies and sunshine have to offer.


Miss Ava, the owl, on the other hand, awakens to moonlight. She resides in the ancient oak tree and especially loves the autumn when the acorns collect around the roots of her home.


She's on good terms with the Magpies who sometimes leave their calling cards in the form of a single feather outside her door while she sleeps.


A dear friend of my daughter who now lives in Australia once told us that she feels owls can see into our souls so I thought this Tim Holtz word band was appropriate! I decided to give this little assemblage to my daughter and her partner as 'Welcome to your New Home' project. Their flat is on the first floor of a Victorian house and they look out onto trees with a lively community of squirrels, woodpeckers, blackbirds and chattering magpies. I do hope their kitten, Roxie doesn't ruffle any feathers in this community!


It was such fun using scraps I found in the studio for this project. The tissue with an acorn design was from some packaging, and you can probably see that I used some doilies on the piece too.


Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope you'll have a go at creating an assemblage too because they are so much fun to create.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Through the Door at Calico!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm over at Calico Craft Parts - one of my favourite places to be - with a little hinged house! Please pop over if you have the time!


And find out what lies behind the door of dreams!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Travelling Pegs!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Have you ever found something at the back of your craft cupboard and been inspired to play? It might be a little box to alter or a collection of embellishments you had forgotten. In my case it was some plain, wooden memo pegs. I had so much fun creating 'art dolls' from these a couple of years ago - using techniques I had learned from a class with Mary Jane Chadbourne a couple of summers ago. They were great to swap and to give as little gifts. When I recently moved everything upstairs to my new craft room, I found I had some pegs left unaltered. As I've been playing with new animal characters, I decided to bring them to life on these substrates.




My theme is 'The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea...' Although I do recall the Owl in the poem was male and the Pussycat female, my owls are Elizabethan ladies and instead of an 'Elegant Fowl' I have a rather courtly cat who made an appearance here not so long ago. I've used my own art work, that of classic Old Masters, design papers, fragments of tissue napkin, bits of old maps, Dresden trim and even a little stamping on the pegs along with broken jewellery bits.



I wonder if these sophisticated owls and pussycats have travelled to faraway lands, or if they've merely dreamed of doing so?



Here you can see what the giant peg looks like before it's decorated. You might notice that I've given it a light sanding.



When I first made these pegs a couple of years back, I was afraid to remove the metal spring, but this time I took the plunge and it was so much easier to be able to paint, decorate and stamp the individual pieces. The spring was not too difficult to replace either.



I wanted to create the impression of aged wood and I chose colours that I hoped would evoke the oceans traversed by my intrepid animal travellers - real or imaginary!




Once my pegs were painted I could add collage to them.



I keep different sized scanned, cut-out pieces of my art work, scraps of napkin and papers in little containers on my desk and play around with them. It's great to have bits and bobs stored close at hand now that I have a craft room. I can just grab my water-colour pencils, markers or paints and enhance an image without having to rummage for hours through cupboards.



These Dresden suns were just a little too large so I replaced them with smaller ones with tiny gems taken from broken jewellery at the centre.



This courtly young cat will be travelling through the post soon as a gift for a friend. I wonder if he's dreaming of his new home? At least his 'Love' is on the reverse side of the peg, so they will not be separated!



This fine galleon is a detail from some map wrapping paper produced by 'The British Library'. I scan the maps and then print them out, so that I still have the originals.



Thank You so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to. I do hope that you're having a creative week of adventures like my little characters, whether you're at home and dreaming of your holidays or on your travels!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Calico Cat at Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I'm having fun with creating a rather elegant cat character over at Calico Craft Parts today.


Please pop across here if you would like to see more. Calico also have some amazingly detailed new craft parts available including beautiful doors and windows, which you can check out here. Have a creative week! 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Owl and The Pussycat

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Once again I've neglected my blog rather, so today I decided to create a post about a little diptych I recently finished.



I had some little MDF house shapes going spare and I had been playing with sketching a cat - something I'd not properly attempted before! Here is my original drawing...


 I played around with the size and shape. I knew I wanted to enhance my kitty, give him or her more character and a body and a costume! When I first draw a character I like to keep the gender fluid, giving them a costume and a identity with each new project. An Etsy customer had asked me if I ever included owls in my work and this also had inspired me to play with owl characters a while back. 


Wonderful memories of seeing owls, their wings touched by moonlight, came back to me as I researched these magnificent creatures. Owls, Pussycats - well, I just had to create an Owl and the Pussycat diptych!



For the last 3 summers, I've participated in wonderful classes on line, run by the gifted teacher and artist Mary Jane Chadbourne. The techniques I've learned from her and the inspiration she provides have influenced my work so much. She always assures her students that the project itself will tell us exactly what it wants to look like As I worked, the Owl became a Duke - Owlsino and the Pussycat Meowlia.


Was it in the back of my mind that my son gifted me a ticket for Twelfth Night on Mother's Day and that we'll be going to see it next week? I really don't know because it was just as if the Owl and the Pussycat told me their own story and I had very little say in the matter!



Owlsino told me how desperately in love he had been with the Lady Owlivia, from an ancient avian family. He thought he would die for love! He took on a young page who he intended to send to his 'Lady's' house with messages of love. Little did he know that the young cat he sent to plead with the indifferent Owlivia was Meowlia - a Pussycat incognito, searching for her brother who had been lost at sea. She fell hopelessly in love with him - an owl who would normally keep her well at wing's length, while his beloved Owlivia fell in love with Meowlia instead of him! The Lady Owlivia kept in her household a clown by the name of Feste, but in reality, both Owlsino  and Meowlia - and even the Lady Owlivia and her rather pompous steward, Miauwlio - were to become fools for Love - not understanding their true feelings, not seeing themselves or others for who they really were!



Happily, for most of the characters in Shakespeare's version of this comedy, all is resolved. And I suspect that my Owl and Pussycat too were able to work at that rather unconventional partnership, discovering eventually that Cupid's arrows don't always fall where we expect them to. Sadly, the same was not true for Edward Lear, the creator of the original Owl and Pussycat. He had an unhappy love life, falling into intense and unrequited passions. As a child I loved his nonsense verse, his tales of fantasy characters like 'Pobbles' with no toes and 'Jumblies' who sailed away in a sieve. He too travelled to distant lands, sketching flora and fauna with incredible skill. Musically gifted, amusing and imaginative, he was ashamed of his epilepsy and, although he had many social acquaintances, the romantic union enjoyed by The Owl and the Pussycat always seemed to evade him.

I hope you have enjoyed viewing my little diptych today. There is a link to my Etsy shop at the top of this blog in the right hand margin. I will be adding diptychs and pins on the theme of owls, pussycats and fantasy lands over the coming weeks, so do check out the shop if you can. Meanwhile, may all your dreams come true and may your days be filled with love and creativity.

Namaste - Calico Craft Parts Shrine

Hello Everyone from Magpieheaven! I'm so sorry that I forgot to blog my project at Calico Craft Parts this week! Here is a little peek. If you haven't already checked it out at Calico and you have time, please pop across. My memory has been like a sieve lately!


In an effort to be a better blogger I'm probably going to be blogging again later today with a new project for my Etsy shop. Thank you so much to my Followers and Friends for the support you give. Have a lovely spring day, full of peace.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Spring Forward at Calico Craft Parts!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I have a studio - at last! Much as I miss her, I'm very happy for our daughter, Matilda as she starts life in a new home with a lovely partner. Luckily for me, she is living only 10 minutes' from our home and her room has become my creative space!


I created this little shrine for Calico Craft Parts blog as my first project in my new space. If you would like to find out more about how I created it and my inspiration, the project is here.


Wherever you create, I hope your creativity is blossoming with the Springtime!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Doors, Windows and Architecture for PaperArtsy

Hello and Welcome again to Magpieheaven. Tonight I'm lucky enough to be over on the PaperArtsy blog sharing a post about Doors and Windows into the Past. Please join me there if you would like to see this project in a little more detail.


 I do hope you'll also be inspired to join in the Challenge and that you will create something on the theme. If you do, why not link up your own project for a chance to win a prize of £50.00 of PaperArtsy products? Wishing you Good Fortune, creativity and joy!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Wearable Art for Calico Craft Parts Blog

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Do you ever feel as if you could do with a friend perched in your hat or on your scarf, whispering words of wisdom to you? You might like to meet my friend Felicia, the wearable Barn Owl! She is making an appearance over on the Calico Craft Parts blog today! Please pop across and meet her if you have the chance.


Have a lovely, creative day wherever you are.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Very Modern Mid-Century Tea Time with Relics and Artifacts!

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Over at the Relics and Artifacts Tribe there's a fun challenge taking place - Mid Century Modern! It was certainly a challenge for me because I tend to associate Relics and Artifacts with either mysteriously beautiful antiques with a story to tell, or the vibrant folk art of Mexico. I wanted to keep up that New Year Resolution to blog more and to participate in some challenges, though, so I put on my Mid Century thinking cap with its geometric patterns and journeyed back to the 1950s!


Once I had researched - lots of fun on Pinterest - I gathered colours with what I thought had a 'Mid Century' mood. I grabbed some Harlequin napkins; a stencil and some musical manuscript paper, along with a few scraps of tea-bags - I was ready to paint and collage!


I used acrylics diluted with glazing fluid to paint over my collage so that the torn scraps would be visible. To create the blocks of colour, I used masking tape to help me keep to really straight lines.


Building up layers with collage, paint and stencils, reminded me of tattered posters after a carnival.


Now it was time to add the Relics and Artifacts to the composition. I wanted to carry through that Harlequin/Pierrot Mid Century style mood, so I grabbed the masking tape again for an asymmetrical look to the ex-voto flaming heart.


The Mid Century I recall from my childhood was a time of such hope and excitement as we embraced the 'Modern' and looked to Science and Technology to re-build our world torn apart by 2 World Wars. Yet there was fear too, at what the Modern World might do to itself with the Nuclear threat. Influenced by the exquisite Picasso drawings that I love, I added the pure white wing of Peace to my canvas. 


I leave the interpretation of the face to the viewer. Is it the Moon glimmering over Venice at Carnival time? Is it a Pierrot behind an enigmatic mask, the wing a fluttering white lace ruff; or is it the Spirit of Uncertainty, half facing the 'Brave New World' and half completely blank as to what the future might hold.


On a less serious note the colours of my canvas reminded me of my china collection, which I seldom use, so I thought it was time for a Very Mid Century Modern Tea Party!



Now all we need are some little Harlequin cakes with pastel icing and some Batten berg with its pink and blue squares of sponge cake and bright yellow icing! Have a lovely creative weekend and a great week! 

Friday, 3 March 2017

Mossycoat - Infusions Challenge at PaperArtsy

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. Do you ever start working on a project, have no idea where you're going and find that the substrate and the materials speak to you? This doesn't always happen. Often I start with an idea of what I want my final piece to look like, but this time my project dictated the story! Over at PaperArtsy all this fortnight the topic is Paint with Infusions. These little bottles of coloured grains are so much fun to use and working with them really does remind me of casting magic spells with colour! Over on the blog you'll see all kinds of projects, videos and tutorials to help. I just had fun experimenting and story-telling.




For this mini hemp-wrapped 'canvas', I applied Emerald Isle, Royal Blood and Sage Infusions over stencilled script in Fresco Snowflake and sprayed with diluted Fluid Matte Medium. There's some stained and frayed, wide linen ribbon just above the Relics and Artifacts heart. I dripped Ice Resin over the heart and into the well at the centre to create the impression of clear forest, spring water, adding some clear, glass-bead gell.



The canvas fits into the palm of my hand like a little book. I knew that I wanted to play with Relics and Artifacts on this piece, but before I added them, the colours and initial texture of the canvas recalled rich, green moss deep in the forest and I knew the direction this project would take. Some gold embossing reminded me of golden threads and the story of Mossycoat.



Mossy Coat lived with her widowed mother in a cottage, deep in the dark woods. Like a wild flower, hidden among the ferns, she lived her peaceful life. Until the Hawker came by the cottage, selling his wares and asking for her hand in marriage. Little Mossycoat didn't want to spend her days tramping the world with the Hawker. She wanted to marry for love. Here is my miniature portrait of young, Mossycoat.




Her mother instructed her to tell the Hawker she would marry him only if he brought her a gown of fine white silk that was an exact fit. Meanwhile she continued to spin a coat for her daughter with magic woven into its fibres.



When the Hawker returned with the perfect dress, Mossycoat's mother sent him away. Now he must fashion her a gown the colour of all the birds of the air. Still she worked at her spinning. When he returned with this dress he was sent away again - this time to create slippers of silver for the young girl's tiny feet. When the Hawker returned triumphant with the silver shoes, he was sent away and told to come back tomorrow for his bride. But the Widow had been working on a magic coat of moss, woven with threads of pure gold that would take Mossycoat anywhere she wanted by wishing.



Through the Forest she flew to the Prince's grand palace, where she became a scullery maid, working among the pots and pans and where the servants mocked her. But she used her treasured mossy coat to conjure the white gown and slippers and wore them to the Ball where she captured the Prince's heart. He could think of nobody, but the mysterious young woman in the silk dress with her dainty, silver feet. When she made a second appearance at court in her bird gown, he tried to take her hand to prevent her escape, but she fled, leaving behind one silver slipper!



Of course the Prince tries the slipper on every beautiful young lady's foot until he has almost given up hope of finding his Love. In despair he takes the slipper to the kitchen and Mossy Coat comes forward to slip her tiny foot neatly into the silver shoe.



 Let's hope the match is a happy one - if not Mossy Coat can always wrap herself in velvety moss and fly away silently back to the Forest! Thank You for stopping by taking a look at my little project. I hope you find some time yourself to play with Infusions, to discover their magic and to link your work to the PaperArtsy Challenge! Have a wonderful, creative week.