Category Archives: creativity

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!  If you have followed my blog or posts on Facebook, you know that I don’t like to stay with one art medium for long.  I guess I’m half a crafts’ person / art journaler, and half painter.

Mood decides which side wins any given day.

Inspired by mixed media artist Lyn Belisle, I made these Spirit boxes. She wrote a how-to article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors a few years back and I saved said article to experiment with later. Here are my experiments. I made two boxes.

You might have seen my angel shrines described in some earlier posts. I had a couple of left over molded faces from that project and decided to use them for the Spirit box dolls.

First I cut out two pieces of heavy cardboard, 4×3.5″ and glued them together like a “cross.” I covered them with scrap-book paper.

The face is really too small for this. I should have used a smaller cardboard base.  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.  I didn’t get a picture of that exact process, but you can see the result in the finished picture.

spirit box
spirit box

I like to use twigs as a natural element to add dimension. I have some very tough branches in my backyard, and I don’t know the name of the tree, but you need to find tough dry twigs to use or they might break. I suppose you could use green twigs, but I haven’t tried that.

Hook and Eye, but only the eye…

I used a random metal eye to wrap with copper around the twig. I added a bead for some sparkle on the main focus point.

I made a cardboard halo and painted it gold. The second halo is a scrap-book cut-out of a clock face.

spirit box
spirit box
Spirit box
Spirit box

I chose random scrap-book papers and wrapping paper. I used hand-dyed strips of fabric and hemp string to make the parts dangling off the metal eye.

Hair and head are attached here with a large glob of glue. I used eyelash yarn in two colors, green and purple.

spirit box
spirit box
spirit box
spirit box

Where is the box part?

I gessoed an empty Altoids(tm) tin and inserted a metal wire, using an awl to punch two holes on the bottom end of the tin. See picture. The doll will be glued to the lid for unhindered access to the box.

You can glue a piece of paper to the bottom of the tin (that will face the wall when hanging.) Optional.

spirit box

spirit boxspirit box

I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.

spirit doll

Everything is glued on securely.  I believe in heavy application of glue… 🙂 Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.  As you can see, the lid is glued to the back. I added scrap-book paper to cover up any paper gaps on the back of the doll itself.

spirit doll

Doll number two.

I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.

spirit doll
spirit doll

All my materials covered every inch of my work table.

spirit doll
spirit doll
spirit doll
spirit doll

Now make your own. It’s easier than you think. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could use a thrift store doll face. Great gift idea, and you can put some special treasure in the box for the recipient to find.

I have some doll faces (more elaborate than these) for sale in my etsy shop. They are meant to be used in doll assembly, but would work as talismans or ornaments too. Check them out in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Free shipping, yay!

You can find Lyn Belisle’s website HERE.  She has so much inspiration to share! I love her spirit dolls.

You can also join my NEW Facebook group for more sharing: HeART Inspiration.

Fabric collage on boho bag

Fabric collage is one of my “things.” I have painted and dyed fabric over time and now have a nice stash of unique colors and styles to use for my fabric collages. These collages are usually attached to everyday usable items, which is a bonus.

Fabric collage makes a unique product that gets many ohhs and ahhs from (mostly) my fellow artists. No everyone likes a whimsical bag on their arm.

I got inspired with the last canvas mini bag and made a video of the process. To see how the other bags turned out, please check my two previous posts.

Exploring art on fabric.

Slow stitching and painting on a pouch.

For this last bag check out my YouTube video HERE.

fabric collage

I filmed and filmed and just as I was done, the camera batteries died. What perfect timing, huh?

You might ask how I dye fabric. There is always the conventional fabric dyes in the stores, but I like to make patterns and mix the colors.

I use mostly alcohol inks and diluted acrylic paints in spray bottles. I rinse out as much as I can, but the alcohol inks leave a pretty mighty color infusion. I use mostly cotton fabric because it absorbs the paints the best.

The acrylic paints usually embed themselves in the fabric, and when they dry, they are pretty stiff, but still flexible enough to use. I usually just spread the fabric on a drop cloth to dry.  Try different paints, and make sure they are color fast after drying, otherwise they will wash out.

I have added the four fabric collage bags / pouches to my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. 

There are many items in my shop at the moment since the holidays are coming.  I have felt a creative high for some weeks and I’m grateful for the flow. Sometimes I have long periods of no great inspiration, but I keep showing up in my studio. That’s what you do!

If you want some art journaling inspiration, I have a bunch of easy videos on YouTube under my name.  Keep creating. The process will  make you grow.

I wish you a creative and fun weekend!

Love,

Maria

Spirit doll faces and more

Spirit doll faces are new to me. I have always wanted to try self-drying clay, but I know it doesn’t work well for my mosaic tiles. I did get inspired by cruising on etsy to try my hand at some free-form sculpted faces.

To finish them, I used the same process I use for painting mosaic tiles. I have a video on YouTube on how to paint tiles. VIDEO

spirit doll face

I had so much fun and they are pretty easy to make.  I used a purchased face mold and then sculpted the edges as I felt inspired.

spirit doll face

I could use all of my favorite colors!

spirit doll face

To get the imprints I used rubber stamps mostly. I also added some clay “hair” and the pieces fused well to the clay as it dried.

spirit doll face

I’m playing with making a doll in a shadow box, but so far, I’m not very happy with the result. Assembly with lots of materials is tough, but it’s always fun to try something new.

spirit doll

I’m using hand-painted fabrics, but nothing is finite in this picture. Just playing!

The faces are now available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery. 

I also made one of my mini shrines so far this week. They are pretty popular but somewhat labor intensive since every part has to be cut out and molded individually. 
spirit shrine

You are blessed indeed! 🙂

I’m having fun with clay and polymer clay.  What are you working on? It’s important to spend part of every day in the studio for art exploration = self exploration.

Let me know in the comments if you like the spirit doll faces. Thanks.

Have a creative rest of the week.

xo

Maria

Pondering authenticity

Pondering authenticity is what I did this morning, and yesterday too, as I worked in my art journal.  There is the eternal question of “who are you?”  Besides a spark of the Divine that we all share, what is truly important in my life?

The answer is easy: to grow my soul. It has nothing to do with art, but I’m using that as a medium.  It’s about becoming more, to expand, to learn, to deepen.

Lately, I’ve been feeling empty, Inspiration has been far away.  Not even a promise of cookies and ice cream has brought back the muse.

To some extent, I have felt uncomfortable with the art I have been making. There is a very fine line between copying and authenticity.

What with so many e-courses and workshops offered about intuitive art, which is my main art interest, I find that you’re prone follow the “ways” of the teacher, and you learn to let go of the restraint of conventional art beliefs. This is all great and all the courses serve a purpose.

But what if you feel stymied even with these free-flowing ways?

I have tried it all, and always come back to myself, feeling there is a piece missing.

I’m left with myself and my feelings of inadequacy. If I truly follow my art moment to moment, the pieces won’t be popular or get many likes on Instagram. This is a fact. I have delved into my art making this way, and then felt I could do better. It’s the ego that wants recognition and praise for the “beauty” of the art.

That is not authenticity.  It’s sooo easy to fall into styles, be it spiritual art or abstracts or avant-guard non styles.

If I allow my art to develop, one paint stroke at a time, I come up with these blocky paintings.

pondering authenticity

pondering authenticity

pondering authenticity

These paintings tell a story. They are not pretty, but I sense myself in them more than in any other kind of art. Here is an example of another painting that I then painted over because it wasn’t worthy. (Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.)

pondering authenticity

The painting then turned into this:

pondering authenticity

So much prettier, right?

I suggest we are slaves to styles, trends, and what is considered beautiful by the majority. i know because I’ve tried to cater to the crowds by making my art pretty and acceptable.

I do have many paintings where I have followed the brush strokes, and they haven’t sold, for the most part.  Here are a couple of old paintings that I still have on my wall.

pondering authenticity

I painted “Moon Goddess” in 2009. I find that my truly intuitive leaning has a hint of the indigenous art you see in many cultures.

My art journal spreads reminds ME of something indigenous in Mexico of old. It’s more of a feeling than a fact.

Below is the process of a painting, “Balance,” that I painted in 2008. It’s one of my favorite paintings and now it’s hanging over my bed. I had it for sale for years, but no takers.

pondering authenticity

pondering authenticity
old studio space

pondering authenticity

My friends say they can see me in all of my art, which is probably true, but to me it’s about exploration.

So authenticity is not really a noun, it’s a verb that means DOING, or taking action. Only through action can we evolve. Authenticity is something strange and wondrous that you explore, not in your mind, but with your hands and heart.

Authenticity only deepens as we dare to go down the road of “not pretty” or sales-worthy.  The good thing about art journaling you don’t aim to sell any of it. That takes the pressure off.

Authenticity can’t be explained, only experienced. You can’t really ponder it, but it’s there to be felt.

Whatever the online gurus fling around the internet as in “be your authentic self” is not practical to the individual.  You can follow their lead, but it’s ultimately your inner exploration / prompt that is valid to  you. Other artists’ ways will put a restraint on your soul.

However, any art making is good as it moves you forward. 🙂  Just do it any way you can!

Want more inspiration? Check out this post: Trusting The Unknown.

Looking for a gift? I have items for sale in my etsy shop: Earth and Faery.

Have a great weekend!

Maria

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you do what you do?  That is kind of playing with words, but seriously, what keeps you going in your current direction?

why do you?
why do you?

I journaled about that this week, asking myself, why do I make art? Why do I WANT to make art? There are several reasons of course:

I like it.

Something inside pushes me to create in whatever media of the day.

I love working with my hands.

I like to experience the process, the revelation.

I like to be surprised.

I love to feel that I’m a tool for something greater, but more often than not, it’s a regular day in the studio, where nothing really extraordinary happens any given day.

BUT, basically, the true answer is: I want to create to reach beyond my 3D existence and learn more about my unseen and hidden life. I want to be connected more deeply to the Divine, and I feel art does that for me, besides meditation, which I experience every day.

Why do you?
Why do you….

The unplanned result of a painting sometimes takes my breath away. It’s no way I created that. I availed myself to the process, but what came through was MORE than me.

I believe we’re supposed to live that way, to offer ourselves as a tool to the Divine who then speaks beauty and inspiration through us. You don’t have to be an artist to live that way.

The role of an artist is to be a catalyst for beauty, but also trigger a longing to know MORE about life.

It’s hard to explain when you stand in awe in front of a painting. What is that awe? Certainly not triggered by the brushstrokes, though you might admire those too.

It’s that undefined something, the diamond in the coal, that makes me want to show up for my art every day. I fail to show up a lot, and I fail to be inspired, but there is something pushing me along.

The more I can express that Something, the closer I get to my true, magnificent self.  That is the adventure; find out more about the radiant magnificent being that I am living in a multi-dimensional universe.

It is the greatest adventure!! What is pushing you from inside? It’s time to blaze new trails, discover the diamond within.  It’s ultimately the only way to live if you want to be ALIVE.

Writing in your journal and digging deep around your “why” is a grea exercise!

Lots of love to you! Have a great weekend.

Maria

P.S. I just posted the above ready-to-use art journal in my etsy shop this morning. If you have a fear of the blank page, check it out. EARTH AND FAERY.

Finding clarity with hummingbird

Finding clarity is not always easy. I have wanted to be more clear about what I offer people to help them advance with their creativity.

One of the most valuable tools in seeking the next step on the journey is imagination. My mom said I always had a wild imagination, and I’m grateful for the gift! 🙂

How do you use your imagination to gain clarity?

I like to meditate and sometimes I go on a journey with my imagination.  Night dreams are possible guide posts to what is going on in your life, and through the gateway of imagination, you can re-enter the dream and get some answers.

On a journey into the unknown (or known however you see it) it is always great to bring a protector in the form of an animal. You would think bear or tiger or wolf would be the ones showing up, but I got a hummingbird leading the way.

For some reason I had complete confidence that this little bird could protect me if necessary. I don’t know if you’ve seen hummingbirds in action, but they are tough little warriors.

I read somewhere that hummingbirds evolved from a raptor in the time of the dinosaurs, but I’m not sure I believe that. Anyway…

Traveling with hummingbird, I went back into my night dream. I had missed an appointment with a man in a brown hat. I was in a room with my Mom and there was a sink that leaked. A full bucket of water sat under the sink and I wondered why no one had emptied it.

There was more to the dream, and the feeling was that I had screwed up somehow. The man in the hat had awakened me from a deep sleep.

I realized through my dream that I need to wake up and honor my “appointments.” Don’t miss important meetings due to sleep (unconscious behavior.) The water bucket was full and stagnant, and it was up to me to empty it.

Why wasn’t the leak fixed? No one cared enough to fix it.

Those were the major insights from the dream.

I have been at a crossroads for a while and it’s time to “empty the bucket.” Something new has to open up or I’ll be stuck (asleep) forever.

Dreams can tell you a lot of things, and so can art.

Intuitive art is often far from pretty, but it often holds many insights, just like dreams. In a way, they are both the same.

finding clarity with hummingbird
Honoring the hummingbird

Art = dream = imagination = creation.

To honor the hummingbird I painted this page, and a brown cow showed up as the gatekeeper to the unknown.

We have the power to create something new, something that is closer to the soul’s path.

I would have to say that spiritual experience is the closest to my heart, IS my heart. Art is something I DO, but it can have a deeper meaning, drawing me ever closer to Source.

There are so many variations of spiritual art, women’s empowerment, shamanistic art, religious art, but I don’t feel spirituality has to be labeled, and we don’t have to seek it through some path. We are already THERE.

The key is to recognize that fact and create that which makes us feel connected and feel GOOD in the moment.

Sometimes there are too many paths to follow. The mind says “do that, that artist is successful” or “try that style; it might be saleable.” “Follow the path of that shaman, they seem successful.”

The hardest part is to follow your own path. So much doubt and so many choices. They are all tricks by the mind.

Your heart is always true. Finding clarity in the heart is the purest form of clarity. However, when experiencing the heart there is no NEED to DO or make anything.

However, since we live in a 3D existence we have to move our bodies, so there might be a prompt, a glimpse of something intriguing to do that feels ignited with joy.  There is also a chance that everything will feel blah, but I call that a time of transition.

finding clarity with hummingbird
sheep standing on my head

I made another art journal spread where a sheep (or goat) showed up standing on my neck and obscuring my head.

Sheep are stubborn. Reading the message of this intuitive page, I saw that my image of clarity was obscuring real clarity. I had built the dang sheep as an excuse to not move forward.

But look at the heart that showed up under the belly of the sheep! It was moving into a lighter sense. I had the words Follow Your Heart cut out from a template I had made for another project. I never threw out the words, and they fit perfectly.

I say that all the time “follow your heart.” Well, it takes a lot of courage to follow your heart. Sheep and other stubborn folk may show up to stir up confusion.

They are only images of fear of change. You can’t blame the messenger…

I am more committed to exploring my inner landscape and making art from that. That might be the end of “pretty” art but the goal is to be more open to the mystery and see what happens.

How does that sound to you? Are you ready to delve more deeply into the mystery of you?

I’m going to blog more about it and you can subscribe to my blog or my newsletter (see upper right hand corner of this page to access both.) I wrote a recent blog post about Intuitive art versus Structured art.  

Maybe it will inspire you.

Lots of love, have a great weekend!

Maria