Today ended up being a creative day where everything fell into place. I have been working on spirit dolls, or spirit boxes since there is a box attached to the back for prayers or small treasures.
Back in 2018, I wrote a tutorial on how to make these boxes. If you want to make your own, go HERE for instructions. They are so much fun to make. I posted a few pictures of the current creations for you here.
AIl I have to do is attach the box to the back. What takes time is all the gluing and drying. Otherwise, it’s not hard to make. You can make a polymer clay face from a mold. I also have some faces for sale in my shop Earth and Faery.
I made a box the other day, and here’s a picture. It sold already, so I know people liked it. 🙂 It is wearing one of my custom faces. The face above is made from a mold and then painted.
This is the back view of that finished box.
Go ahead, try your own
As I said, it’s not that hard, and it makes a great Christmas gift for someone who loves unique things.
Let go, I say, and everyone will have a reason why it is important to hold on to the past. The safety of the past has a strong hold on most people, myself included.
I was watching some old videos on You Tube on how to embellish a box with lots of metal and paper accents. It turned out pretty, and it could inspire me to make a similar one, but no.
Here’s why: You can buy the art supply and create at your heart’s desire, but the components are made by other people. To get the desired look, you have to buy those components. The elements are mix and match. You are destined to succeed as all the tools are geared for the already successful design of the designer.
It’s not the easiest technique to master, but it is a “ready-made” artwork; you just assemble the pieces and follow the instructions.
There’s nothing wrong with that. I got inspired by fabulous mosaic artist, Laurie Mika, through her book Mixed Media Mosaics, to make my polymer clay boxes, but I ended up making my own designs, mostly because I did not have access to her supplies. My style keeps developing, but I don’t get any big ah-has as I do with painting.
It struck me anew how revolutionary it is to create something from scratch. Let go of the safety net! You use the elements and ephemera you already have. You can also gain fodder from the recycle bin. Creativity lies in the moment.
I have said it before; the artist has to be willing to explore what challenges her the most, discover the genius, like a diamond inside a lump of coal.
When inspiration pulls, and you respond, dare to go beyond the tried and true and explore the unknown grounds of self-expression.
There is a lot of uncertainty in that, but also great freedom.
It’s safe to make art from materials that someone else designed, but how challenging is it?
Let go of the safety net.
It’s like a blind man exploring the skin of an elephant. He will get the immediate texture of the skin, but can’t see the whole animal. Practicing art that comes from the deeper levels of the soul is the elephant not yet “seen.”
By keeping your focus on the moment, more is revealed as the art evolves.
Trust the subtle inspirations, choose the color that speaks to you right now, and after that, another color, and another.
When I let go, magic happens. It always feels new and amazing, even if the art itself doesn’t look like much. It is original, and no one can take that away. 🙂
There is a lot of resistance involved, but that doesn’t have to stop anyone from moving forward.
Trust yourself, no matter what people say, or YOU say about your art. It’s so easy to criticize and compare your work with that of others.
I’m sure you have heard it before. If we follow trends, one comes to mind lately, pouring paint on canvas. There is nothing wrong with that if you feel really passionate about it. As with every trend, it will fade away.
What feels right to you today?
It can change on a dime, but what feels like lots of fun and a creative challenge when nothing else fits? I was focused on art journaling and intuitive painting, and all of a sudden, none of those styles appealed to me, but I’m sure they will return at some point.
If you have made art for a while, you’re familiar with the fact that it always changes, like life. Sometimes it can be subtle, and sometimes NOTHING works. What then?
Trust yourself. What do you see that you want to try? Watercolors? Figurative drawing? Crafts? Maybe collage?
There are no rules and trust in your instincts. My go-to is crafts (for the most part, and I like to write.) I love trying new crafts, and lately, I found some blank wooden houses that I could embellish. I have made two, and there is two more underway.
Trust yourself in the moment
If you’re in a craft store and you see some materials that spark your interest, go for it. Don’t think about it; don’t over-analyze. You are free to try things. There is no boss or licensing company hanging over your shoulder urging you to make “more of the same” because it sells.
It’s about discovery
Trust that you can move forward on your artistic path. It may take many detours from, say, painting portraits if that’s your style, but you come back to the tried and true refreshed.
Picasso is a great example of an artist who tried so many kinds of art, and it added to his strength. He was not stuck in one genre but moved boldly as his muse inspired him.
So, let’s move boldly forward. If you have a dry painting spell, knit a scarf! One thing is not better or worse than the other. It’s all creative expression.
As we wait tensely in Florida to see what Dorian, the storm, is going to do, I will continue to create, maybe finish the two houses, and I will end up with a village! 🙂
Crossroads can be tough when you don’t know where to go next. I have found myself in that situation lately. I have so much inspiration, but what do I actually want to create?
I have been buying different kinds of art supplies that I would never look at before. Now I look for possibilities.
There is always some component missing for a project, or if you want to start a whole new creative stream, you have to invest in a lot of things, like tools and other supplies, to get it going.
I’ve been trying to use the debris in my studio, things I’ve had for years but didn’t know how to use. So what if I don’t know; I will charge ahead anyway.
Here’s an example of what I made lately.
I had some wire, polymer clay, and an empty “useless” box, plus an old key.
Crossroads can be tough, but you have experience.
When you have the experience, you know what your hands can do, so it’s easier to move forward. If you’re just starting out exploring your creativity, CHOOSE SOMETHING that appeals to you, and go for it! Don’t look at popular trends. That won’t work in the long run.
Do what feels good.
Which path seems the most alive? You don’t want to go backward, so it’s either going forward straight ahead or take the other road.
What is pulling you forward?
I have been making a lot of polymer clay mosaics, and recently I’ve found new tools to use for a different style of tiles. It makes an old craft exciting. I have also been drawn to sculpting more.
I’ve been sculpting clay faces for spirit dolls, and it has been hard to get the features right. They are far from perfect, but I keep trying, using the advice I’ve found online.
Faith in your abilities will make you take risks.
Crossroads force us to take a look at where we are and where we are going. They give us a gentle push away from the stagnation that happens if we refuse to grow.
Walking the path of an artist is a constant call to change.
People don’t like change, but as artists, we have to move forward if we want to explore the inner expansion that art offers us.
Maybe you’re called to leave an entire career…
That is a scary idea. We have all many reasons to stay where we are, in safety, and there is comfort in that, but meanwhile, the soul is calling us elsewhere. Listen closely to that call.
If you dare to follow your inner guidance, life might be tougher in some ways, but infinitely more rewarding.
At least take some steps in the direction of that call. If you lack in faith and experience, go forward anyway. There is lots of help along the way.
Take interesting live art classes and learn new skills. The teacher’s enthusiasm will rub off on you! 🙂
I made a small journal from an old manila folder. The tags and papers are all chosen from my studio detritus. I used paper, glue, washi tape, a sewing machine to make a fabric spine and seal the edges. I ended up with several pockets and many tags.
What is your next step?
I’m going to make a mixed media house with a bird.
Gold dust comes in many forms, but in this case, I’m referring to the stuff that comes in a plastic tube purchased at Michael’s. I don’t use it often, but I wanted something special for this latest “book” box I made this weekend.
I spread some gloss medium over the surface and sprinkled the dust while chanting “abracadabra.” (Kidding)
Too bad you can barely see the twinkles in the pictures. I tried from many angles.
There are many layers as you can see, and lots of texture.
Lately, I have been stretching my imagination to make different things, using some of my mosaic tiles, but trying other types of layers. I have a pretty extensive collection of ephemera that I gathered over the years.
It has not been easy
I struggle with new ideas all the time, and often I feel stymied, either for lack of tools, but more often fighting myself and doubting that the piece will turn out well. It’s a constant challenge to try to picture what the finished product will look like, and I have to trust the process and just do it.
I’m used to the struggle, and in that, there is a blessing. By showing up in the studio regularly, I have learned to ignore my doubts. In other words, the trust muscle keeps growing the more I show up to create.
I don’t always like what I make, but I’m kinder to myself than I used to be.
A tip for you: When you see pictures you like, cut them out and save them for later.
I’m always on the lookout for new fodder, and I keep them in storage bins from the craft store. I sometimes (always) forget what I have, so I have to rummage through every time.
Last month I made a bunch of shrines out of old Altoids tins. I have made more mosaics this month. Here are some examples:
Talk about being out of my comfort zone
The seascape plaque above was wholly out of my comfort zone, but I decided to do something with waves and stay with the blue/green range of color when I made it. All I had was a wooden plaque and a cutout of a dolphin.
It was a bear to cut out the polymer clay and make sure the pieces fit the heart and butted up correctly to the other waves. It came out okay, maybe a bit lame. I like to make some kind of statement with my art, but this will remain pretty and nothing else. 🙂
What are you working on now? I hope you got some creativity buzz this weekend, but if you didn’t, there is always TODAY.
The struggle is real, but so is commitment. Art making is a happy addiction. It sure beats most other things, including chocolate.
Make a mini shrine today I told myself, and make it a tutorial. Yes, that sounded like a good idea. I have some digital print-outs of the Virgin Mary. I love the old-style art. I also have some Tim Holtz metal frames sitting around, so I decided to use one.
But, I have also made some molds lately, including frames. Check it out:
The metal hair clip made a terrific indent for polymer clay flowers. I have already made a bunch of those. I used some on this mosaic mirror:
Back to the tutorial:
I used an empty Altoids tin for this mini shrine.
But you can use any old tin on hand or buy one. I used the tin as a pattern for the heavy-duty decorative paper I used to cover the embossed lid.
I then gessoed the back and sides of the outside tin to cover the printed metal.
I glued down the paper with craft glue that I spread evenly over the entire surface. The Mary icon I brushed with Mod Podge front and back to preserve the ink image. Then I glued it to the frame and filled in with some cut out white flowers. Then I spread Judikin’s Diamond Glaze all over the image and let it dry. Depending on how thick you spread it, expect to wait a few hours for it to dry.
I used some starred tissue paper to make a second layer of interest to the lid.
It took me a while to add the small mosaic tiles since the corners are rounded, and I had only so much space to play with. I was happy with the outcome though.
I had glued down the paper on the front, and then I decided to add a paper border. Lots of measuring and gluing to get everything to fit. I pondered what to use for embellishment on the front. I had many tiles to choose from. I ended up with a leaf tile and the word soul.
On the inside cover, I glued down a heart charm and the word peace.
I painted the outside lavender and added a paper border to the edge of the lid for more interest. I was happy with the end result. I made another tin the other day. Check out the pictures.
I never know what will inspire me from day to day, but as I consistently show up in the studio, something calls out and I make it or paint it. Life is good!
If you are not happy with your life, make something with your hands. Crafting is very satisfying, and it takes your mind off other not-so-pleasant things. Word!
I made some different polymer clay mosaics lately, one of them the mirror above. They don’t make mirrors like that with a flat rim anymore, so I had to buy a plain frame and have a mirror cut for it.
You are loved…
You are loved wall plaque is something I listed in my Etsy shop this week. You can check out all the new items on Earth and Faery.
A couple of years ago, I made a YouTube video on how to make a tin shrine. If you prefer watching to reading, check it out HERE.
I have posted another tutorial lately on how to take an old painting and transform it. You can check that out for inspiration From Drab to Colorful.