Spirit dolls seem very popular these days. This month I sold out all of my painted clay faces in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery. I had to get busy making more. I had this great idea to make a Green Woman version of the Green Man. It has been a great success, so far.
Then I got the idea of making a video tutorial on how to make a Spirit Doll using fabric scraps and one of my faces. I will explain more, and the link will be below.
I ended up making a series of Green Women until I ran out of green clay… That type is not the only one I sold. I make my usual faces too, and they are generally well-liked.
I also made some unusual ones. My creative muse has been working in overdrive all month.
I’m getting better at sculpting my own faces, but it has been a learning curve for sure, and it ain’t over!
I also got some funky sculptures done from styrofoam eggs and Apoxie Sculpt.
I had a lot of fun making the boots for the light blue chicken! To make the sculpture stand on its own, I had to make heavy shoes / boots. Each time I get a bit more creative, haha.
I also got a couple of paintings done.
Most of these items are available in my etsy shop.
So as you can see, creativity has been my friend this month, and I LET IT! No big resistance.
Seascape mixed media art is on my table today. It includes so many things, the beautiful sea itself, shells, fish, mermaids, starfish, glitter, all-natural things that cheer my heart.
To give you some inspiration I’ve made a picture tutorial on how to choose the embellishments and finally put it on a canvas.
In my previous post, I gave you a tutorial on how to make a polymer clay seascape and glue it to a canvas. This one is a bit more basic. You may wonder what to do if you don’t have the ingredients. You can substitute pictures for shells and sea life, make cut-outs from blue paper and make a collage. I don’t expect you to have seascape shapes on hand, but if you do, have at it! 🙂 You can find some shells and glass pebbles at the dollar store.
Some background: I began a canvas using Liquitex modeling paste, and then spread various paints over it. I loved the texture that came of that:
I didn’t like the colors so I altered them to more blue and green, but let me first show you what a new canvas with applied modeling paste looks like:
It’s hard to see white on white, but there are some waves. I have a stack of stencils with shapes that fit the sea, so I added a few. You don’t need to add too much. You might need a flat surface to add your ephemera.
Seascape mixed media steps
Once you have a canvas with dry paste (it doesn’t take long,) you can add all kinds of color with baby wipes, or a brush, and blend.
I had a stack of chipboard sea shapes that were ready for a coat of paint, but first, which ones do I use? The canvas measured 8×10″, which was pretty large compared to the shapes. The mermaids were small in comparison, but I wanted to use one as a focal point.
The pink items are polymer clay shapes I made from molds and some charms I had lying around. I knew the mermaid shape would not be enough of a focal point, but I moved along.
I tried many ways to make the mermaid stand out more, ending up with half a cupcake doily that I painted pearl with added glitter. As you can see, I painted some of the shells and starfish using metallic Inklingz paint. If you have any gold or silver paint in a tube, you can spread some on your finger and wipe over the items to get the shine.
The seascape didn’t work
I tried so many different configurations but knew the canvas too large. You can only add so many do-dads before it becomes too busy.
I decided to transfer some of the items to a smaller canvas, a 6×6″ size that I had. I first painted some green and blue paint to cover the old painting. Then I laid out the shapes and found a lot more harmony in this configuration. The mermaid is still kind of subtle, but the pearl doily draws you in.
The starfish are as large or larger than the mermaid, but who knows, maybe there are giant starfish in the sea…
Here’s another sea-related item I made.
The mermaid is created from polymer clay and baked. I glued the form to the canvas and added the do-dads. Lots of fun!
The other day I went through some online art classes I’ve bought when they were on sale, one of them, Bird peeps by Lisa Renner. That was a fabulous class! It’s polymer clay with a face mold.
I spent a lot of time in my studio this month. What else am I going to do while in quarantine? Arting is not a hardship! 😀 Here is a collage of other things I made:
Most of the items are available in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Due to the coronavirus sales have slowed down considerably, but that’s to be expected.
I hope you got some inspiration to try some art. YouTube is full of tutorials if you don’t want to try a seascape. Creativity makes you stay sane in these crazy times…
My word for 2020 is faith. It takes a lot of faith to blaze new trails in the wilderness of creativity. I feel inspired to move on, create things I’ve never done before. First, I have a little inspiration for you, the process of my latest art journal spread:
I started by applying a paper napkin to the bottom half of the pages, using Mod Podge. I separated the two layers of the napkin first, and the top layer was very thin, making awesome crinkles in the paper when I attached it to the page. I then painted the top part an unbleached white and used an old gift card to scrape some green over the dried paper napkin.
You can see the ridges in the napkin well, and where there is a paler area in the white paint where the Mod Podge acted as a resist, adding more interest to the page. I like how the flowers on the napkin shone through, making me think of spring.
I added stems from my stash of paper. Friendship sayings were printed on the paper, and I thought they would add more interest to the art. I cut out flowers from other stashed junk and glued them all down.
I enhanced the stems and flowers with black lines from a ballpoint pen and wrote down my word for the year. Simple but fun!
I have dipped my toes into other media as in sewing. I’m obsessed with textile birds at the moment. Using two Ann Wood patterns that you can find at Annwoodhandmade.com, I made a songbird and an owl. Lots of fun, but also some frustration when things didn’t go so well.
This debonair gentleman is called Sir Percival. He has lots of wisdom and goes his own way, but is always willing to offer a word of encouragement. He has lived a long life, and he likes to read books.
He’s fashioned from soft materials, but he’s not a toy. He’s an art doll enjoying lording it over other dolls, but he’s kind.
These two birds are for sale in my Etsy shop. You can find the owl HERE. The songbird is available HERE.
Apoxie Sculpt is of the most difficult materials I’ve worked with. I like the incredible hardness when dry, but it tends to be too soft, and if you wait, it gets too hard to work with. You only have a couple of hours of work time with the clay. I haven’t found the sweet spot yet.
I finished the bird I made a couple of weeks ago, painted two layers of paint and fixed the wobbly leg. It came out ok, but the turtle I made with the amethyst crystal did not end up as planned, but I’m learning. The clay is so different from polymer clay or paper clay. Since the end product is so much stronger, it’s worth learning how to handle it correctly.
The main thing is to have fun!
I hope you’re having fun this week. Make sure to add some creative practice to your day. Every day is a gift. Make it juicy!
If you missed my last post, here it is: Person or bird? I made some molded faces with Apoxie Sculpt and sewed them to fabric bodies. What do you think?
Magic is in the air in my studio lately. I have been inspired to try new and different things, as in making this type of journal box where you can write down and hide all your secrets. 🙂
I have gone into silicone mold casting adventures and making imprints with my polymer clay or air dry clay. I found small frames and other baroque metal borders and do-dads to use in my mold making. So much fun, and there is never a boring moment as you wait to see how everything turns out.
Anyway, try this journal box
I found a wooden box at Michael’s shaped as a book. It’s pretty big, approx. 7×8″ and it would be too big for polymer clay mosaics. I decided to experiment with mixed media paper, paint, glue, and found objects. I made the tutorial for this box.
I did not take pictures of every single step, but here goes. I painted the entire outside box a dark blue. The inside is painted green, but that does not show in the following picture. I’m giving you an idea of the size.
I glued white tissue paper all over the front of the box with Mod Podge, making sure it was good and creased, squeezing it into a ball before I spread it out.
On top of the white paper, I glued some yellow tissue paper for contrast and a pale layer of lavender.
When I was finished with the tissue paper, I made liberal blobs with white craft glue for added texture. I had to let that dry overnight. You can also use blobs made with a hot glue gun and glue the hardened texture down–it’s faster.
Then I rubbed several layers of paint over the dry and creased tissue paper and glue. I began with a dark brown, rubbing it into the deeper texture. I also used dark purple and some turquoise. To tone everything down, I finally spread some white paint over the whole front.
When everything was dry, I started digging through my stash of do-dads. Placement can sometimes be tricky. I painted the inside green.
What I used
The metal frame is from a Tim Holtz kit. I stamped the word Journal on a piece of paper, glued it to the back of the frame, and filled in the opening with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. The flower is a polymer clay imprint from a hair ornament. The key used to be part of an old wind chime, and the hummingbird and the dragonfly are die cut paper, which I sealed carefully front and back and edges with Mod Podge since paper can easily deteriorate. I painted those with Perfect Pearl powder and sealed them again.
I cut some green felt that had a sticky side and put that on the bottom of the box for a softer interior. I placed a bought paper border on the outside bottom of the box for more interest. Below is another box I made in the same style. Both of these are available in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery.
If you missed my previous post, Mixed Media Greeting Card Tutorial, you can still find it HERE.
It’s vital to try new creative things, even if it’s a struggle. You master something by doing it. Resistance and self-doubt be gone!
Have a great weekend, and may you always be inspired! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.
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.
Doll number two.
I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.
All my materials covered every inch of my work table.
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.
Handmade gifts are awesome because they contain a bit of YOU. It could be as simple as a batch of cookies, or as complicated as a large bronze statue (though I don’t see anyone giving me a metal statue for my birthday…)
Gifts can be a quagmire though. Take the example of cookies: there are vegan cookies, sugar-free cookies, and cookies the person is allergic to, and regular sugar-laden cookies.
So, the safe thing is to make something pretty. I love hand-knitted and hand-painted things, like boxes and usable items like cardholders and coin purses.
The sky is the limit! Since my etsy shop is called Earth and Faery I like to make things that are magical but also down to earth.
Since school just started here, I thought of a gift a child might like and came up with a pencil box that I painted and embellished.
This is the end result, a mystical night view with a fairy and a dragonfly.
I bought a box of raw wood, which I sanded within an inch of its life. Then I painted some primer, using craft paints. The last layers of paint are done with artist acrylics for better results. Pictures are in the sequence of production.
In the above picture I used three shades of purple to get the night sky, using artist acrylics.
There you can see the details of the lid embellishment. Simple but fun and I think some child would treasure it, don’t you? As a child I would have been enchanted to receive this gift.
We don’t receive enough homemade gifts in my opinion. All the cold store-bought things just inspire you to buy more (in search of that thing that gives a sense of satisfaction within.)
I prefer to give gifts people can use, like candles, edibles, boxes for keepsakes, knitted wash cloths or hot pads, a painting (IF the person professed a liking prior (unless they were lying…)) That’s their problem then. 🙂
Etsy is full of cool handmade gifts. Maybe this Christmas is a good time for a shift in gift giving, what do you think?
If you liked this simple tutorial on how to paint a wooden box, you can check out this blog post about making a handmade art journal. GREAT gift!!