I’m still playing with red, white and blue paper along with the 4th of July theme. I’ve made a Red, White & Blue Wreath as well as Red, White & Blue Paper Balls and now it’s a Red, White & Blue Star Garland.
Two red, white and blue star garlands draped over one of my chairs.
I’ve been out of town for most of the past two weeks. But when I got back, I noticed the red, white and blue papers from my folded paper balls project and decided I needed to do something with stars. I cut the stars out of the colored papers and hand sewed them, similar to what I did when I made my Folded Paper Heart Garland.
I started my garland with stars that I folded in half and sewed two stars together with blue embroidery thread. Then I opened the stars (like a little book) to create a dimensional effect.
This was a quick, fun project. I made 2 star garlands and am now working on my third. I got my beads that I put at the bottom of my garlands from my favorite bead store, Dancing Beads in Medford, OR. Carol Garfield, the owner, has the most fabulous bead selection. Dancing Beads has classes too (for those of you who live in Southern Oregon).
Red, white and blue star garland.
Red, white and blue star garland.
Red, white and blue star garland and some of my paper balls I gave instructions for on my last blog post.
This past week I took a wonderful workshop, Color, Shape & Henri Matisse taught by Dory Kanter at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon Coast. I have taken many wonderful workshops at Sitka, and this one was exceptional.
From our Nōtan project.
Dory first gave us a brief history of Matisse which included a power point slide show and a video. I learned quite a bit about Matisse that wasn’t taught in my Art History courses. It really helped to understand the progression of his art throughout his life.
Workshop participants working on the watercolor collage exercise.
Next we played with Nōtan (濃淡), a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other. We started with a square of black square and a larger red, yellow or blue paper.
A closer look at some of our Nōtan works.
Another of our projects was a watercolor collage. Working with a sense of place, we made and then cut up a watercolor wash to make our collage. It was amazing to see how everyone interpreted the assignment differently.
Some of our watercolor collages.
We had warm up exercises, then made brush drawings that were based on some of Matisse’s brush paintings. We each put our own twist on our paintings.
At the end of the workshop, we laid out our favorite pieces on our tables and walked around enjoying all the art we produced. It was an amazing experience.
I hadn’t realized that all of Matisse’s cut outs were made from paper that had been painted. He used a high quality gouache that is still produced today.
More samples of the art we made during the workshop.
We painted our own gouache papers and cut the papers and made another collage. With each exercise, we took another look at the work of Matisse for inspiration, though we always incorporated our own personalities into our art.
More samples of the art we made during the workshop.
There were 17 workshop participants, ranging from beginners to professional artists. Dory is an incredible teacher and made the workshop fun and educational for all of us. I learned a lot and loved the experience.
More samples of the art we made during the workshop.
One of the exercises Dory had us do came from her book, Art Escapes, which I own. It’s a wonderful book with daily exercises and inspirations for discovering greater creativity and artistic confidence. One of these days I will do a review of her book. It’s a great resource.
More samples of the art we made during the workshop.
The end of the workshop came all too soon. I would have liked to stay for another couple of days to try out more of the ideas and inspiration that Dory shared with us.
Nōtan examples. Mine is on the left, Paul’s is on the right.
I hope to keep in touch with my fellow workshop attendees and see how they incorporate what we learned in this workshop into their art. I know I will be trying new things with my art as a result of this workshop. Thank you, Dory.
These are two of my pieces of the same scene out my living room window.
The above two photos were from two different exercises that used the same subject matter. It’s amazing how different they turned out.
Photos from 4 journals from workshop participants. Mine is the bottom right. I have an idea for Nōtan-inspired alphabet. Look for it in a future blog post (if I like the way it comes out).
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend taking a workshop at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. I also recommend any workshops taught by Dory Kanter.
I got the idea for this red, white and blue folded paper wreath in the wee hours of the morning, just as I was waking up. It went together just as I imagined it would.
Paper wreath made for the 4th of July.
I remember making lanyards as a kid, and thought the technique would work well for paper folding. I simplified it to just use 2 paper strips, folding over each other again and again, gluing on another strip of paper when needed.
Here’s how I made my folded paper strips that I wound around a cardboard ring to make my red, white & blue wreath.
Directions For Folded Paper Strips:
- Cut strips red, white and blue paper 1.5″ in width
- Place a red and a white piece of paper together at right angles to each other (see first photo above)
- Fold the white paper over the red paper (see second photo above)
- Continue alternatively folding the red over the white, then the white over the red
- You will get an accordion like looking folded chain (see third photo above)
- Glue a new strip of the same color paper when necessary (see fourth photo above)
- Continue until you have a folded paper chain about as long as you are tall
- Make a second folded paper chain the same way using just blue paper
For the base of the wreath I glued 2 pieces of cardboard together and cut a circle about 1/2″ wide (as in photo below). Then I painted it white because I was pretty sure some of it would show through after I wrapped my folded paper around it. I think a wreath base made from a wire coat hanger or a foam wreath would work just fine too.
This photo shows the cardboard base I made for my wreath, painted white, along with the folded paper accordion chains I wrapped around the cardboard.
I figured the best way to attach the paper as I wrapped it around my cardboard base, was to use a glue gun. I really avoid glue guns unless absolutely necessary. I am not adept with glue guns and usually end up with more glue on my fingers than on my project. This time was no exception. But the glue gun did the job where regular glue would not have worked.
I wrapped the two folded paper chains around the cardboard and glued (with the glue gun) as I wrapped.
I kept wrapping and gluing. I put a gob of hot glue on the cardboard and wrapped the paper around it and kept going.
I continued wrapping and gluing.
While I made a mess of the glue on my hands and on the table, once the glue was dry, it just pealed right off. Clean up was so easy.
When I got to the end, I liked the effect of just letting the ends of the paper hang down, so I simply cut them the same length and let them hang.
The folding took a little bit of time, but the wrapping went quite quickly thanks to the glue gun.
I made my first Eco-Holder a few years ago after going to an Estate Sale where the sellers were going to take a garage full of paperback books to the landfill. I took three large garbage bags full of these books and tried to think of something to do with them that would keep them out of the landfill. Eco-Holders were the result.
Three Eco-Holders made from recycled books, tiles and beads.
I used all recycled components to make my Eco-Holders. The books were saved from going to the landfill. The tiles and beads are from Habitat for Humanity ReStore, from the discard bin at a local tile shop or from Scrap in Portland.
I originally made Eco-Holders to hold business cards, but people have used them to hold many different things.
After folding and making what I thought was something to hold business cards, I started selling my Eco-Holders in my studio at the Ashland Art Center.
Another Eco-Holder that I made this past week.
My customers have found many other uses for my Eco-Holders. They have been used to hold poetry, recipes, “to-do” notes, grocery lists, Christmas cards (for a display), business cards and more.
This Eco-Holder reminds me of a hedgehog.
Making Eco-Holders is what I’ve been doing in my studio this past week. I really enjoy making something useful out of recycled items.
This Eco-Holder sits on a peg and can be turned upside down for a slightly different look.
I’ve been sending out letters and notes in my flower envelopes (see Flower Envelopes – The Process for how I make them). However, with all the effort I’ve gone through to make the envelopes, it seemed a shame that I didn’t have coordinating stationery to go with the envelopes. So, I decided to rectify that situation.
I used the same colors on the stripe of the note paper that I used to paint the envelope. I now have coordinating stationery, not just a pretty envelope.
I wanted something simple, yet have it match the colors and style of the envelope. I used a number of papers, both watercolor and light cover papers, papers from my stash. If I were to buy a paper, I think I’d try a quality medium weight bristol paper.
The first thing I did was to tape off the area on the paper that I wanted to paint. You can see I used blue painters tape.
The envelopes I’ve been painting are A-7 envelopes and are designed to fit a card (or piece of paper) that is 5″ by 7″. So that’s the size I cut my papers. Then I used either blue painters tape (like in the photo) or transparent removable tape (not shown). I think artists tape would work better, but I don’t have any in my studio right now. I tend to work with what’s available at the moment I get my inspiration.
I painted gold liquid acrylic over the orange of the Copic marker, just as I did when I made my envelope.
I taped off section of the paper a little over 1/2″ wide. Then I painted colors and or patterns that I used when making the envelope.
And while the gold paint was still wet I added the hot pink paint in some areas.
There was a deckle edge on some of the watercolor papers, so I taped off just the edge and painted it a coordinating color.
I painted the deckle edge on this watercolor paper the same color as the background on the envelope. I also painted a decoration that reminded me of the flower petals on the envelope.
Just painting a deckle edge a coordinating color of an envelope could be just enough to make beautiful coordinating stationery. That would be simple and elegant (and a lot less work).
For the coordinating stationery here, I painted the background color of the envelope to the left of the patterned stipe. There are lots of options.
I didn’t match the envelope exactly. I just tried do something that had a similar feel and color so it felt like the stationery and envelope went together.
Here is another envelope where I colored the strip to the left of the patterned stripe on the coordinating notepaper.
While I could have made a traditional notecard that’s blank inside, I decided to have just a single piece of paper. I can write my notes on one or both sides of the paper. I used a somewhat heavy paper, so the writing won’t show through the other side of the paper.
This should be titled “Pretty in Pink”
Since this envelope with the black background is so dramatic, I had to come up with a design that looked dramatic too. I ended up putting a black stripe on each side of the pattern, along with gold dots that I also used on the envelope.
This notecard shows how I plan on writing to my friends by writing their name in a coordinating color.
Another example of a notecard with a painted deckle edge the same color as the background on the envelope.
Play and enjoy!
Here’s to happy letter writing, Candy
This past week, in addition to making flower envelopes (Flower Envelopes – The Process), I had a request from the Rogue Gallery for more of my Lotus Flowers. I just found some beautiful papers in my stash that I wanted to play with, so it was an easy decision to make them into Lotus Flowers.
This Japanese paper made a beautiful Paper Lotus Flower.
I never know for sure which papers will look great when made into Lotus Flowers. Sometimes I get a wonderful surprise, like with the Japanese paper above.
Some of the Paper Lotus Flowers I made for the Rogue Gallery.
The next three Paper Lotus Flowers are also made from papers I hadn’t tried before. I like the way they came out too.
This yellow and orange paper with a paisley-like pattern made a gorgeous Paper Lotus Flower.
The leaf patterns in pink, teal and gold on this paper are lovely for this Paper Lotus Flower.
Another great looking Paper Lotus Flower, this time with bronze colored leaves.
I don’t remember if I ever made this paper into a Paper Lotus flower. I love how delicate it looks.
This peacock feather paper is a favorite of mine for making Paper Lotus Flowers.
This is another favorite paper to make my Paper Lotus Flowers. I found this paper at the University of Oregon Bookstore many years ago.
Another new paper for my Paper Lotus Flowers.
Here is the link to the post I did showing the process of how I make my Paper Lotus Flowers:
Steps To Making A Paper Lotus Flower
In April, which was National Letter Writing Month, I wrote a letter a day and sent it in an envelope that I either made or decorated. About halfway through the month I made an envelope with a flower on the front which ended up being the first of a series of flower envelopes. I’m still making them, trying something a little different with each one.
This flower envelope will be sent out in the mail tomorrow.
These envelopes have gotten rave reviews from my friends and fans. So, I decided to share the process I go through.
These 15 photos show the evolution of a single flower envelope. For this envelope I decided to see what I could do with I had a black background. I like the result.
I try and vary something with each envelope I make. For the above envelope, I wanted to see how a flower would look with a black background.
I love how this flower envelope seems to glow.
Each time I get a new Copic marker, I try it out to see how it will look as a background for one of my flower envelopes.
I spilled gold acrylic ink on this envelope after I had colored the background, but not the flower. I wiped the gold paint evenly over the entire envelope and it developed a wonderful patina. Happy Accident!
The gold sparkle on the above “Happy Accident” flower envelope doesn’t show on the photo above, but it looks marvelous. I hate to part with this one. I am going to create a similar one before I put this in the mail.
I love experimenting with colors I would not normally use together as in this flower envelope.
One of the great things about playing with these envelopes is that I can experiment with unusual (for me) color combinations. The above envelope has a violet that looks a bit gray. I would never put that color with a peachy color, but somehow it works. I never would have known without experimenting.
Another flower envelope that will go in the mail tomorrow.
Believe it or not, the two flower envelopes above have same background. It’s amazing how colors look different depending on the colors around them.
Purple, orange, pink and blue? I just had to try this unusual combination and I like it for this flower envelope.
Because envelopes aren’t works of art that I put a frame on, I feel the freedom to experiment and play more than when I am trying to make a finished piece of art.
Here I tried having the background petals darker and the foreground petals lighter. I did the opposite on Kate’s and Karen’s flower envelopes.
I have eleven envelopes going out by this weekend as part of an envelope exchange. It’s been fun to play with so many different ideas.
This flower envelope will need more stamps as it is going to France.
I still have a log list of people I want to write to, so I am sure I will be making more flower envelopes for quite a while. It’s so much fun (even though they usually take 2 to 3 hours each to make).
This is my demonstration envelope ready to go out in the mail. The address will be written in white.
To see more of my envelopes, check out these blog post:
Studio Snapshot – Flower Envelope Series
This week I realized that a year ago, I was attending my niece’s graduation from USC where she received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations. That reminded me that it’s graduation time again. So, I decided I needed to make some more of my “congratulations” card books.
Congratulations Accordion Card Book. Is it a card or a book? It’s both.
I call it a card book because it’s really both a card as well as an accordion book. It’s a really unique graduation card for a graduate. And, it can be used for lots more occasions than just graduations.
Three Congratulations Accordion Card Books shown open, one closed and one watercolor paper with the congratulations written on it before being painted and decorated.
I made a number of these this week in various colors. The accordion part of the book is made from watercolor paper. I outline the letters with a permanent marker, then use watercolor and blend the colors as I paint the letters.
Close up of one of the Congratulations Accordion Card Books.
After the watercolor is dry, I embellish the “congratulations.” Finally, I cover the book board with one of my paste papers that matches the colors of the letters.
I love all the different paste paper covers for these Congratulations Accordion Card Books.
Congratulations Accordion Card Book.
Congratulations Accordion Card Book.
You can see more of my card books on my blog post: Studio Snapshot – Accordion Books.
I’m finally getting back to working on my Earth Spirit Vessels. Making a vessel is actually quite a long process. First I have to decide on my colors. Sometimes I paint my paper (usually paste papers of my chosen colors) and sometimes I use the archival papers without painting them.
Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude, is made from 504 pieces of hand folded paper, 196 of which are blue and silver hand painted paste papers.
After choosing my colors, I cut my paper from its original 19″ by 25″ into 2″ by 4″ pieces. I take 25 of those papers and choose the quotes and inspirations and prayers relating to Mother Earth and Nature that I want to include in that piece. Then I write those quotes in calligraphy on the 25 pieces of paper and take photographs of the calligraphy.
One of the pieces of calligraphy that is folded into Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.
Once folded and made a part of the vessel, these quotes, inspirations and prayers are not meant to be seen or read, but to be embodied into the spirit of the vessel itself.
These are all the calligraphy quotes that are included within Earth Spirit, Vessel, Gratitude.
Then it’s time to fold the paper. Each piece of paper is folded 9 times. I have to space the folding out over many days to avoid injury to my hands from the repetitive motions of folding so many papers.
Folded and non-folded painted paste paper waiting to be made into Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude. Each piece of paper starts out as a 2″ by 4″ rectangle.
Finally it’s time to build the vessel. I build one row at a time. After placing and carefully adjusting a row, I then go around and glue each piece of folded paper in place. I can make vessels without glue, but then it’s easy to transform their shape as well as to take apart. So far, no one has wanted a vessel that hasn’t been glued.
This is the beginning of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude. This shows what the inside of the vessel looks like.
This is a close up of the inside of Earth Spirit Vessel, Gratitude.
After finishing placing and then gluing each piece in place, I make a bottom for each vessel out of a slab of burl wood. I get my burl wood from It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon. I then glue my burl wood bottom in place and sign the piece.
This photo is looking directly into Earth Spirit, Balance. You can see the burl wood that is the bottom of the vessel.
After the vessel is finished, I photograph it and make a 6″ by 6″ documentation to go with the finished vessel. I include photographs of the calligraphy that has been folded into the vessel, a photograph of the vessel, the name of the vessel, the number of pieces of folded papers used to make the vessel and other documentation for that piece.
This is the documentation that was made for Earth Spirit Vessel, Forest Tapestry.
The process can take a couple of weeks up to a few months from start to finish.
This Earth Spirit Vessel, Broken Wing, contains 1419 pieces of hand folded paper. It was a custom order is the largest vessel I have made to date
Other blog posts on my Earth Spirit Vessels:
Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels From My Paste Paper Show
New Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels
I’ve not been able to spend much time in my studio this past week due to my trip to Edmonds, Washington (see Thursday’s post: Four Glorious Days of Calligraphy) and showing at ArtFest, a benefit for the Children’s Miracle Network. Still, I did manage to start to make some more paper wrapped pencils. My pencils have been selling well in both my studio at the Ashland Art Center and the Rogue Gallery in Medford.
Here are the paper wrapped pencils I made this past week.
Sometimes I work in my studio doing new and interesting things, like my flower envelope series, and sometimes I make more of things I’ve made many times before. This week I’ve been doing the latter. Yet, I still enjoy seeing the transformation of plain pencils into wonderful paper covered pencils.
Presentation matters. Here are 3 pencils wrapped in an Italian paper and tied with raffia. They look elegant, even though they’re “only” pencils.
Paper wrapped pencils. The set in the middle, made from a crossword puzzle, is the most popular of all the pencils I have made.
Paper wrapped pencils. All sorts of paper can be used to wrap pencils, though I suggest starting with a thin paper for your first set.
Paper wrapped pencils. Red and purple are popular colors, but they come in second after the crossword puzzle pencils.
DIY instructions to make your own are on my blog post: Stocking Stuffers: Paper Wrapped Pencils.