Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE!
ArtistsBillofRights.org reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel: Autumn Blaze

This past week I have been finishing up my latest Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze. I actually started this last fall, but was so busy this past winter and spring, that I never got it finished. So after coming back from a wonderful calligraphy and art retreat, I decided to finish some past projects before I delved into starting new pieces of paper art.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Some of the papers in Autumn Blaze are hand painted paste papers. I included gold powder in the paste paper. It gives the vessel a subtle glow that isn’t quite apparent in the photo.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

Autumn Blaze contains 592 pieces of hand folded pieces of 2″ by 4″ paper. Each piece of paper is folded 9 times and glued in place. While it is not necessary to glue the pieces, I have never had anyone want a vessel that was not glued. I only raised boys, and I know how inquisitive minds like to take things apart to see how they were made. I think my customers must think like me.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is beginning to take shape.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is starting to take shape.

If you want to know more about my Earth Spirit Vessels, you can check out these blog posts of mine:
Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels – The Process
Earth Spirit Vessels From My Paste Paper Show

Enjoy, Candy

More Photos – Calligraphy & Art Retreat 2016

After posting Monday’s blog post with lots of photos of what went on the annual Calligraphy & Art Retreat I attend every year, I realized there was a lot more I wanted to share. So much happened within those 7 days, it’s hard to remember it all.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

After I got home I realized that I took many photos of what others did, but only one photo of what I did during the week. The above photo shows my first attempt at pastel dusting. Sally demonstrated both the pastel dusting and making the squares into a mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

My head is still swimming with ideas. And my dreams for the past few nights have been incredible, all about ideas for new art projects.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

There was a wonderful camaraderie and sharing of ideas, techniques, tools and more.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

My tea bag folding demonstration was a hit. I took a bunch of my tea bag wrappers and shared them with everyone.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

The above photo shows some of the rosettes that Sally made. I find it amazing how such a simple folding of tea bag wrappers can be so meditative and relaxing.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

The above photo is of the file folder I dipped into walnut ink, then dried on scrunched up plastic. The plastic bag in the photo is 8 ounces of walnut ink crystals. I will be using these to make my own walnut ink later this winter when I have some free time to experiment with this technique for an extended period of time.

This is one of Michelle's walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

This is one of Michelle’s walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

The above photo is something Michelle has been working on. It started out as a red file folder that was dipped into walnut ink. The white areas are where she dabbed on bleach. She then added stitches and some ink drawing. I think this would be perfect as a cover for a little journal.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

I got to work on a number of different projects during the week. The above photo shows some of the card books I started making.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

Tea bag folding, pastel dusting and mobile making were three constants throughout the week. The above photo shows the squares that we each decorated for Sam and Judy. They became mobiles that were then sent to them. Hopefully both will be able to make it next year.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

There was a lot of sharing during the week. Adelaide showed us how she made a colored pencil carrier from a piece of felt. The creativity of everyone who attended our retreat is amazing.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

It was one amazing week. I am so looking forward to next year.

Happy creating, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Calligraphy & Art Retreat 2016

I am just back from my annual Calligraphy & Art Retreat. My studio for the week was a six foot table in a converted greenhouse. I got to do nothing but make art for an entire week. No cooking or cleaning, just a week of art and inspiration. I shared space with 11 talented and wonderful women artists. Nirvana!

My first attempt at paper cutting.

My first attempt at paper cutting. I drew my flower on the back of the paper, then cut from the back. I laid the cut outs over metallic papers.

I packed lots of art supples and minimal clothes. Gotta keep priorities straight when going on an art retreat.

Michelle demonstrated dipping file folders into walnut ink.

Michelle demonstrated dipping file folders into walnut ink.

Many of us give informal demonstrations to anyone who was interested. Michelle showed us how she dips file folders into walnut ink, then places them on crumpled plastic to get a texture on the file folders. The above photo shows her laying a file folder on plastic from dry cleaner bags.

Dried file folers that were dipped in walnut ink.

Dried file folers that were dipped in walnut ink.

Once dry the file folders can be further decorated with paints, drawing, bleach or whatever media you like.

Walnut ink file folders that have been decorated.

Walnut ink file folders that have been decorated.

Once decorated, the file folders can be used in any number of art projects. Book covers come to mind immediately for me. I think this will be one of my winter projects.

Sally showed us how to make delightful mobiles.

Sally showed us how to make delightful mobiles.

Sally showed us how she makes mobiles. She made numerous mobiles this past year. One is shows above. She also made a number of mobiles celebrating The Beatles and all their songs.

Rhonda made this mobile using walnut ink file folders.

Rhonda made this mobile using walnut ink file folders.

Our annual retreat takes place at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon. Rhonda made a mobile which used cut outs from her walnut ink file folder to spell Menucha (photo above).

The reverse of Rhonda's mobile.

The reverse of Rhonda’s mobile.

It’s hard to photograph mobiles. The above photos show the two sides of Rhonda’s mobile. It looks great when hung, but the photos I took of it hung don’t do it justice, so I photographed each side on white paper.

We don't always work on finished projects. Sometimes we try out new materials.

We don’t always work on finished projects. Sometimes we try out new materials.

Sometimes it’s important to try out and keep track of how different inks, paints, pens and other materials look like. The above photo shows one of Sally’s testing sheets. She made lots of tests. It’s helpful to keep track of what different materials will do, especially when combined.

Weathergrams that will be hung on a tree near the labyrinth.

Weathergrams that will be hung on a tree near the labyrinth.

If you’ve not heard of weathergrams, check out How To Make A Weathergram.

Renae made this wonderful dog portrait.

Renae made this wonderful dog portrait.

Renae makes the most wonderful animal drawings and paintings. You can see more of her art on her Facebook page: Birdland Art.

Goose painted by Kay.

Goose painted by Kay.

A page in Kay's journal documenting her recent trip to Ireland and Scotland.

A page in Kay’s journal documenting her recent trip to Ireland and Scotland.

Kay makes the most amazing journals. Above is a 2 page spread of her latest journal. It’s all about her trip to Ireland and Scotland.

Credit cards painted and ready to be made into a book.

Credit cards painted and ready to be made into a book.

Lily is an amazing bookbinder. The above photo shows what she has done with credit cards. They have been textured and painted. They will be turned into a book.

Lily's finished book with covers that were originally credit cards.

Lily’s finished book with covers that were originally credit cards.

The photo above shows a book Lily made using credit cards as covers. I guess I need to be collecting old credit cards now in addition to tea bag wrappers.

Nancy made this delightful watercolor painting for the front of a card.

Nancy made this delightful watercolor painting for the front of a card.

Nancy makes the most delicate watercolors. Every year I am impressed by what she produces. I snapped this photo while she was still working on her painting. I imagine there may be calligraphy added to the card.

Michelle tried working with walnut ink on fabric. This is just the beginning. I can hardly wait to see what she makes with these.

Michelle tried working with walnut ink on fabric. This is just the beginning. I can hardly wait to see what she makes with these.

Michelle played with both walnut ink and fabric this year. The above photo shows the beginning of her experimentation.

Painting fabric and lettering with puffy paint.

Painting fabric and lettering with puffy paint.

Michelle colored fabric and then wrote on it with puffy paint. She gave each of us at the retreat a “Womenuchans” fabric hanging. What a treat!

Experimentation by Adelaide.

Experimentation by Adelaide.

As I mentioned earlier, not everything we do at Menucha is a finished product. There’s lots of experimentation that goes on here. Adelaide did a lot of experimenting. I really like the effects she got by putting different metallic paints into wet walnut ink. Yes, there was a lot of experimenting with walnut ink this past week.

Adelaide made tea bag wrappers made into rosettes after my short demonstration.

Adelaide made tea bag wrappers made into rosettes after my short demonstration.

Early in the week I demonstrated how to make rosettes from tea bag wrappers. Adelaide went a bit further and used coffee creamer wrappers and candy wrappers as well as tea bag wrappers to make her rosettes. A number of my fellow artists joined in this activity. Links to instructions are on my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes.

Edna made this wonderful birds nest using colored pencils.

Edna made this wonderful birds nest using colored pencils.

It’s hard to remember all the details of what everyone did. I believe Edna used watercolor colored pencils to make this birds nest.

Edna breaking in her new journal.

Edna breaking in her new journal.

I can’t remember the word Edna used, but the idea is to make marks on your journal pages to make it easier to write in. With something already on a page, it’s less intimidating  to write on the page. I do have a number of wonderful journals that I haven’t used yet. This sounds like a great idea.

One of Sally's works in progress.

One of Sally’s works in progress.

Sally is an amazing calligrapher. The above photo is one of a number of ones she was working on when I stopped by to photograph what she was doing.

Another of Sally's works in progress.

Another of Sally’s works in progress.

More of Sally's work.

More of Sally’s work.

I love Sally’s calligraphy and paintings. I have one of her works in my hall, just above a large vase of sunflowers. The sumi painting, calligraphy and flowers compliment each other. You can see more of Sally’s work on her website: Sally’s Website.

Rhonda did some playing with white and color on black paper.

Rhonda did some playing with white and color on black paper.

Black paper is fun to work on. The above photo shows some of the playing Rhonda did with color and white pens on black paper. So much potential!

Renae made this stand up tiger for Kay for her upcoming birthday. Note the birthday hat.

Renae made this stand up tiger for Kay for her upcoming birthday. Note the birthday hat.

Renae made the above tiger card for Kay for her birthday. If you look closely, you can see “Kay” written above the tiger’s eyes.

Playing with pastel dusting.

Playing with pastel dusting.

Sally also demonstrated pastel dusting. There were so many wonderful things happening through out the week, it is impossible to document it all. It’s something you need to experience in person.

View from Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River. What an inspiring place to come to each year to make art!

View from Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River. What an inspiring place to come to each year to make art!

I love my fellow artists and look forward to transporting my studio, once again next year, to Menucha.

Happy creating, Candy

Wonderful Envelopes Sent To John Neal Bookseller

This week I’m attending my annual summer Calligraphy and Art Retreat near Portland, Oregon. This week is also the annual convention for IAMPETH (short for The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting), which is in Portland. So, a few of us went to visit for a few hours.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

John Neal Bookseller was there to sell supplies to all the attendees and others, like us, who visited. John Neal Bookseller had on display a large quantity of envelopes they have received over the years. My photos aren’t the greatest, but I thought they might provide inspiration. They sure have inspired me.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

One of my favorite envelopes on display.

One of my favorite envelopes on display.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Making More Puffy Pentagon Boxes

It’s time for my yearly art retreat! I’m packing my calligraphy supplies and a few clothes. The calligraphy supplies take priority on this trip. And I always take a little something to share with my retreat buddies. This year, it’s my Puffy Pentagon Boxes.

These Puffy Pentagon Boxes are going to be gifts to my artist friends, chocolate included.

These Puffy Pentagon Boxes are going to be gifts to my artist friends, chocolate included inside.

Of course my Puffy Pentagon Boxes need something to go inside them. So I made a trip to Dagoba Chocolate here in Ashland.

Dagoba Chocolate Taster Squares fit nicely in these Puffy Pentagon Boxes.

Dagoba Chocolate Taster Squares fit nicely in these Puffy Pentagon Boxes.

Dagoba Chocolate makes their chocolate right here in Ashland, so it’s so easy to just pick up chocolate whenever I need it. I particularly like their Taster Squares which fit very nicely in many of the boxes I make.

I used scans of my painted paste papers to make these Puffy Pentagon Boxes.

I used scans of my painted paste papers to make these Puffy Pentagon Boxes.

If you want to make your own Puffy Pentagon Boxes, I have instructions and a template you can print out on my blog post: DIY – Puffy Pentagon Box.

I made enough Puffy Pentagon Boxes to have extras on hand. When open, they are flat, so they are easy to store.

I made enough Puffy Pentagon Boxes to have extras on hand. When open, they are flat, so they are easy to store.

Enjoy, Candy

Tips & Tools – How I Use Beading Needles For Paper Crafts

As I was adding beads to my ribbons last week as closures for my Truffle Boxes (see Studio Snapshot – Making More Truffle Boxes), I realized many people may not know about the beading needles I use to get beads on ribbons.

Look closely at the ribbon and see how it goes through the large hole in the needle.

Look closely at the ribbon and see how it goes through the large hole in the needle.

These needles are very thin. The “eye” of the needle is actually in the center of the needle. It opens wide so the ribbon can slip in easily. It makes the process of slipping the beads on the ribbons so easy.

I also use these beading needles with thread and seed beads and other small beads when I make my paper garlands. It makes adding beads so easy.

If you look closely, you can see the beading needle is open in the middle. In this case it's not that important, what is important is how small it is and how easy it is to string seed beads on the needle.

If you look closely, you can see the beading needle is open in the middle. In this case it’s not that important, what is important is how small it is and how easy it is to string seed beads on the needle.

I got my beading needles at my local bead shop. I’m sure they’re readily available elsewhere as well. They’re not very expensive, which is good because they’re easy to lose and do occasionally break when I use too small of a bead for the ribbon. I try and always have an extra pack or two in my supply drawer.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Making More Truffle Boxes

I made Truffle Boxes for my dad and his friends for Father’s Day. They were a big hit, so this past week I made a bunch more out of my hand painted paste papers.

These Truffle Boxes are made from my hand painted paste papers. They're the perfect size box to hold a single truffle.

These Truffle Boxes are made from my hand painted paste papers. They’re the perfect size box to hold a single truffle.

If you are wondering what paste papers are, you can check out my blog post: Making Paste Papers: Part One. And if you are wanting to make paste papers, you can check out my blog post: Paste Paper Recipes.

These Truffle Boxes are held closed by a ribbon with a bead on each end.

These Truffle Boxes are held closed by a ribbon with a bead on each end of the ribbon.

If you would like to make some Truffle Boxes of your own, check out my blog post: DIY Truffle Box With Template.

I have included a link to my blog post that has instructions and a template so you can make your own Truffle Boxes.

I have included a link to my blog post that has instructions and a template so you can make your own Truffle Boxes.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY – Red, White & Blue Paper Balls

As I unpacked my box of seasonal decorations, I came across a number of red, white and blue paper decorations. Every year I try and add new decorations for each holiday. These are the red, white and blue paper balls that I made last year. They look great combined with the Red, White & Blue Paper Stars that I made last week. These are perfect table decorations for the 4th of July!

Here I have put 5 paper balls in a glass vase. Loving the look!

Here I put 5 paper balls in a glass vase. Loving the look!

My first experience making paper balls happened by accident. I was actually trying to make a paper flower. I let go at the wrong time and the flower kind of exploded. I actually loved that the explosion could, with just a little manipulation, produce a ball. I decided to see if I could replicate my accident, this time on purpose. I decided to try making balls using red, white and blue paper. This is the wondrous result.

Here I have put the balls in glass dessert dishes.

Here I put the balls in glass dessert dishes.

I used 60# and 70# text weight papers. These were a bit heavier than the recycled book paper I used with my “accident” and required just a bit more manipulation. When I used the recycled book paper, the paper just exploded into a ball. This time I had to carefully pull apart the folds, but the result was the same, a lovely paper ball.

The larger paper balls are made from 3″ squares and the smaller ones are made from 2.5″ squares. Any size square will work. I used 15 squares for each of my balls.

2015 DIY Red White and Blue Paper Balls 4 copy

Instructions:

1. Start with about 15 pieces of square paper. Fold in half, then half again. Fold one flap up from center fold to make a triangle. Repeat with second flap. See photo #1 above.

Note: Make sure all folds are  on one side of the folded paper and all loose ends are on the other.

2. Make a template out of card stock and round the top of the folded triangle as in photo #2 above. You are cutting  and rounding the loose ends of the paper.

3. Glue one rounded triangle side of  a folded paper to a second folded paper (photo #3 above).

4. Continue until all 15 pieces have been glued together (photo #4 above).

5. Starting at one end, open up one of the triangles as in photo #5 above. Opened, it will form a flower-like circle.

6. Continue opening the next triangle, and the next, etc. (photo #6 above).

7. A little twisting is sometimes needed to make the ball shape. Photo #7 shows the completed folded paper ball.

The red and blue paper balls are made from 3" papers and the white ball from 2.5" paper.

The red and blue paper balls are made from 3″ square papers and the white ball from 2.5″ square papers.

Here’s to happy accidents, Candy

Tips & Tools – My Favorite Scissors

If I was only allowed to have a single pair of scissors, this is the pair I would choose. My friend and fellow bookbinder, Melody, gave me these scissors about 15 years ago. They have been my favorite scissors ever since.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

If I could only have one pair of scissors, these little ones would be the ones I would pick.

I have had people ask me what scissors they were, but I only knew they were Friskars. This past week, however, I found their original packaging. I had put it in a file folder to save it because I thought so much of the scissors. Now I can finally tell you the name of these wonderful scissors. They are Friskars No. 5 Softgrip Micro-Tip Scissors.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my "go to" scissors when I'm working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

My scissors are over 15 years old, but they are still my “go to” scissors when I’m working with paper. Here is the original packaging.

I’ve used these scissors a lot and have not yet needed to have them sharpened. I’m sure they’re overdue, but they still work just fine.

Happy paper cutting, Candy

DIY – Red, White & Blue Paper Stars

In Ashland, Oregon, where I live, the 4th of July is a major holiday. We have an old fashioned parade and lots and lots of people come to see it. In fact, there are usually more people watching the parade than there are permanent residents in Ashland. So decorating in red, white and blue is simply something I always do this time of year.

Paper red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

Red, white and blue paper stars make a great table decoration for my 4th of July table.

I have a box filled with seasonal decorations that has lots of red, white and blue decorations in it. Each year I try to come up with something new to add to it. This year it’s paper stars. I made some metallic paper stars for the holidays (see DIY Three Dimensional Paper Star). They came out great, but they did take a fair amount of time to make. For these red, white and blue paper stars, I decided to simplify the process.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

These paper stars are easy to make. Cut, score and fold.

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a 5 pointed star. Score the 5 lines that go from a point in the star to the opposite side of the star. Figure 1 above shows where the score lines go on the star.
  2. Figure 2 shows the cut out star with score lines. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the score lines are there.
  3. Fold each of the lines you have scored, as in Figure 3 above.
  4. After the initial folds are made, they will all be “mountain folds.” Now make the folds from the center to the shortest side of the star into valley folds by pushing them down as in Figure 4 above. If you need help with understanding scoring and mountain and valley folds, see my blog post: Understanding Paper Grain Direction.
The finished paper star.

The finished paper star.

I made my stars in a variety of sizes. I think the variety makes a great presentation. Use these stars for table decorations or for just place around the house for a festive effect.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have these red, white and blue paper stars on my entry table. I like to change what I put there with the changing seasons.

I have included a PDF template of stars in 3 sizes. You may use this for cutting out your stars.
Template: Stars in 3 sizes

Enjoy, Candy