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.

Paint versus paint

Paint is always something I explore to enhance the quality of my art work. It’s an ongoing quest.

There are so many different brands of paint and you have to try them all to see what works best.

I’ve used Liquitex, Winsor and Newton, Golden, and some other brands I can’t remember now.

paint versus paint

paint versus panit

Liquitex paints aren’t the best, but they do the job. The pigmentation is rather poor, and some of the paints are very runny and annoying. I think the quality has gone down a lot over the years.

Windsor and Newton paint is a better quality for sure, and Golden, yes, very nice but the price is high.

I came across a box of acrylics at a garage sale for $5 and found this tube:

paint versus paint

I had never heard of the brand. Such a strong pigmentation and richness of consistency. The very best. I researched the brand and came to find out it’s by Bill Alexander, an artist/ company similar to the legendary Bob Ross.

I found their sets for sale on their website and they are very pricey. The website is the only place you can buy them (that I know of.)

I went to Jerry’s Artarama to see if they might sell them. Jerry’s always has some good sales going on. Quality canvas for better prices.

Someone had posted that Charvin brand would be comparable to Alexander’s.

It’s another brand of paint I’d never heard of (where have I been?)

I bought four tubes of random colors to complement those I already have. They were on sale for $9.49 each, which wasn’t too bad. Free shipping. Jerry’s had a huge variety of colors.  I’d say they are not as good as Alexander paints, but very good. They dry with a slightly slick surface, different from that of Liquitex.

paint versus paint

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of using the same colors all the time, so I’m looking to branch out where I can.

I also use lots of permanent inks, but I’m not going to cover those in this post.

I have been busy painting lately in a loose intuitive style. These two paintings are available in my etsy shop.  They measure 12×12″.

paint versus paint
“Surprise”
paint versus paint
Spirit being

If you’re looking for some gifts, I have free shipping on my polymer clay mosaics. Lots of inventory right now, and great prices.

Earth and Faery

Have a great weekend doing and making things you love! Life is too short to waste on trivialities.

Lots of love,

Maria

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

Slow stitching and painting on a pouch

Slow stitching is something that is very popular right now. You can check out the hashtag #slowstitching on Instagram and find so many, many beautiful entries. Back in the day I learned embroidery stitches, but my forays into embroidery are few and far between. Funny how every style repeats itself…

I found these small canvas pouches, and I decided to try my hand at some slow stitching and embroidery. It brought up memories. I used to love doing needlepoint, and embroidery, but not cross stitch.

Nowadays, I make my own patterns and appliques, flying by the seat of my pants (or should I say paints. 🙂 In my previous post I shared some pictures of this project Exploring art on fabric.

You will see the result at the end. I used scrap fabric I had painted with inks in the past.

slow stitching

I decided to applique a bird and a spiral. Simple and easy. I pressed the background fabric and the white cotton bird.

slow stitching

I cut out a spiral from fabric painted with acrylic paints.

slow stitching

Using medium weight fusible web I attached the whole panel to the pouch, but first I attached the details and embroidered on top.

slow stitching

slow stitching

Slow stitching is like meditation, very comforting.

slow stitching

slow stitching

The back is like a colorful galaxy…

Not too bad, huh? Very easy to make, and you can’t really mess it up. Ready to try making your own? I have three more pouches to finish.  I will post some pictures of those as they are done.

If you’d like to purchase this pouch, it’s available in my etsy shop, and the shipping is free. I’d say it’s a unique gift for someone this Christmas. Check it out HERE.

I have a sale going in my shop throughout October. 10% off on the small mosaic boxes. Use coupon code TENOFF.

I intend to be productive and happy in my studio this week! 🙂

I wish you the same, even if you don’t have a studio. Create anywhere and anyhow! Life is short…

xo

Maria

Exploring art on fabric

Exploring art on fabric involves taking a step out of the comfort zone.  I bought four pouches with long handles online to experiment on.  They are heavy-duty canvas and would fit items like a phone, passport, a small wallet.

exploring art on fabric

I knew I needed to wash them to get the sizing out of the fabric but I was so eager to start that I side-stepped that important step and now I suffer the consequences. I wanted to make a background with inks and paint, so I did. The inks floated on top until I have kind of hand washed the pouch and got it more pliant. Note to self: always wash new fabrics….

The first exploration came out like this, and this is the back of the pouch.

exploring art on fabric

It’s not necessarily bad but the paint job came out too heavy-handed in my opinion. Another thing I didn’t like about these pouches, the handle was in two parts and tied with a knot. I had to unravel part of the seam, sew the ends together, and sew it back up again. You can see the seam in the picture. Nothing major, but more work for me.

I’m going to make some sort of applique like I did on this old art bag of mine in 2014.

exploring art on fabric

I’m thinking some sort of layering of fabric and embroidery.  Nothing too complicated since the bag is small, maybe some rustic birds…

This soap opera will continue with a picture of the finished product in my next post.

I did dye another pouch with blue ink and strong tea. It’s a more gentle approach, but I might add some more color before collaging the bag. It’s important to get all the wet parts done before any embroidery. I don’t want to contaminate the artwork with dyes and inks.

exploring art on fabric

Meanwhile, check out the items in my etsy shop. I add new things daily. For 10% off on my most popular item, the mosaic intention box, use coupon code TENOFF. The sale runs through October. EARTH AND FAERY.

Until next tine, create lots!!

Love,

Maria

P.S. Want to receive my email newsletter? Sign up HERE.

Busy time in my studio

Busy time in my studio. This time of year it’s always good to stay busy so that I have lots of inventory for the Christmas season.

It’s not all about selling and producing though.

I’m still doing my art journaling almost every day because I can’t stop! Part of me is critical of the process–always, but another part is really addicted to the evolution of my art.

Whereas my crafts give me great satisfaction, they don’t always delve deeply into the process of creation like art journaling does. I try to keep a balance. They all move me forward on my creative journey.

All of it makes for a happy day. 🙂 No matter how challenging art can be, it makes me happy to create. What more can I ask for?

Busy is good too. The juices are flowing; inspiration is like an overflowing river, and ideas pop up constantly. It’s been a long while since I felt this inspired.

I finished the spirit doll that I started a couple of months ago. (Check out my previous post.) Here are some pictures of recent creations.

busy in my studio

busy time in my studio

I painted the wooden box in various colors, attached paper to the interior back of the box, and then added my doll. She inspires Courage, something we need every day.

Here are some other samples of new things. They are all available in my etsy shop.

busy time in my studio

I had fun with this watch casing. The portrait is a miniature painting, and I tell you, it was fiddly and tricky to paint.

busy time in my studio

I started making these four-inch plaques with stamped affirmations at the bottom. So much fun! I like the idea of reminding folks that we are all perfect just the way we are.

busy time in my studio

You are worthy!

busy time in my studio

I also made some more clay faces for doll making or to use as an ornament.  I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest but I sold some. Now I’m working on creating a cat face mold.

Sculpting in clay is not easy…

New ideas keep me fresh and eager to move forward.  I may have to sculpt many cat faces before I’m satisfied, but the main point is to plunge into action.  The rest takes care of itself.

If you’re feeling blocked or full of resistance, plunge in anyway.  It’s the only way forward. 🙂

What are you working on now?

Please check out my  etsy shop, Earth and Faery.  It’s full of new items.

Lots of love,

Maria

Artist and writer