Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mandala ATCs

Sorry my blog has been neglected recently... I've been making things and not getting round to showing them...
Above is what my table looked like whilst making some of the affirmation mandalas for a swap... its over 3 years since I did my first (and previously only) ATC swap... at that time I felt really uncomfortable with the format... but I don't like things beating me... so here I am having another go... and for this swap we've over 20 to make!

The ones at the front which say "Mandala Swap" on them are examples of the backs I printed out onto card.

I experimented in a bigger format first, in my Soul Journal and on a larger card:

For the second one I took the crocus kaleidoscopic mandalas that I'd made and printed out and then folded them to make holes - like the snowflake decorations I'd made as a child. This meant that the tissue I put underneath showed through.

Kathryn asked if anyone was noticing mandalas all over the place. I have. Here is one I saw on a car:

And here is one I made as a tarot cloth four years ago. I kept on looking at it recently and suddenly realised it was a mandala too:

You can see a reading I did with it and posted to this blog in my first month of blogging.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mandalas, Altered books & other Work In Progress

This book arrived today. I was prompted to buy it by Kathryn the Collage Diva who is giving a copy away on her blog... I felt so drawn to it that I ordered it. Here is a sample page:

Its a while since I showed any of the computer generated kaleidoscopic mandalas that I'm so fond of... so here are six, derived from a crocus photo I took a couple of weeks ago:

Spring Mandalas

Having made those I printed out a bunch and used them in what's called tea-bag folding... only I can't show you that as the dog ate my homework... I mean Teasel ate what I made before I'd photographed it...

Here are two more mandalas I made, digitally, though somewhat differently:

I also realised that something I'd been working on a week or so ago might well be in rather mandala-like:

A Strange World

Its made from torn up atlas pages in the middle and surrounded by torn up AS Maths papers around it. Both then painted. I'm not yet sure about the colours... Its on a 1m square canvas and is the 4th in a sequence of circles in squares that I've been working on since sometime last year... none of them entirely finished...

Another project on the go is an altered book for a class that's being offered on line which started on Sunday. This is the book I started with:

And just to finish up this is rather like a natural mandala too:

Caterpillar in the Quince!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Secret #9 of 12: Transcending Rejection and Roadblocks

Its week 9 of the 12 Secrets book.

I thought that as an antidote to rejection slips I'd make suggestion cards.

Because I'm currently focusing on art most of these are simple art suggestions... but not all of them... sometimes what's needed is a change of focus. None of them require me to feel that I'm "good at drawing" or any of those things which can get in the way of actually making something.

If you would like to print these out for yourself here are the images I printed:

These four are uploaded to blogger - if you click on them you'll get a large version of the image.

I printed them out on white card and then sliced them up.

If by any chance you do want to use them you may wonder what some of the terms mean.

For instance:

blind contour drawing - there are several ways you might choose to do this:

* look at an object, let a pen or pencil draw on a sheet of paper as your eyes trace around the contours of the object
* close your eyes - imagine a drawing and let your hands simply draw
* look at an object - attempt to draw it without looking at your drawing but occasionally allow yourself sneak peaks!

Another term you may not know is what I call doing a "feelie". Put a pen or pencil in your drawing hand and let it draw whilst with the other hand you trace the outline of the image of which you are doing a feelie. You might like to also try this with the pen or pencil in your non-dominant hand.

You can also do a feelie of a 3 dimensional object though that isn't on these cards... it can help with something tactile to put it out of sight whilst you feel it so that you aren't tempted to draw what you see, just what you feel.

Jim has been feeling creative too - go to his blog to hear his song - Dog Park.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Starting a Moon Journal

Crescent Moon
Jim's photo of last night's moon

Last Tuesday, just before the new moon, I decided I'd like to keep a moon journal... I'm curious to see if there are any patterns I can spot, maybe moods or energy levels or level of dream recall, etc., that are in synch with the moon's cycles.

Couple this desire with my recent refound enthusiasm for altering books and journaling in them and it was obvious that I needed a new journal made from an old book. I was imagining a book of days... or maybe that ought to be nights.

I settled on this book - Origins Reconsidered by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin:

Book to Alter

Its about Richard Leakey (a bit too much about him actually) and his thoughts on the origins of humans.

In order to make this like a book of days I wanted to be able to make notes in it in time with the moon's phases. And this was my first difficulty.

Looking at lunar calendars the moon doesn't fit all that neatly into our more solar-oriented calendar.... for instance the moon's cycle averages 29.5 days (which means having 30 sections). But this varies... so I may have to pay a bit more attention to exact timings... or not mind being out by a day here of there (probably this later!)

Also when looking for pictures of the phases of the moon, they tend to be given for 28 days:

Moon Journal

I found that link via the useful Phases of the Moon 2009 from Woodlands Junior School which shows great images of the moon for each day of the year.

I may well be going for far too much precision here... It might be sufficient to divide the whole thing into 8 - new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent - but I started off with this thought of it being like a book of days and that's how I got here.

So... the next task I set myself was to carve up the book into 30 sections with some sort of index to make it really easy to find the appropriate page for each entry.

I thought a how-to would be worth making (not least, in case I choose to do another!).

How To Make A Step Tab Index

First decide how many sections to cut, in this case thirty.

Measure the height of the page and decide how big each tab needs to be.

Consider how many banks to cut, in this case I went for two of fifteen each, if you want bigger tabs then more banks may be needed.

This made each index tab around 1.5 cm (approx 0.5 inch) high.

Tab RuleThe other measurement to decide on is how deep to cut them. Remember the deeper the cut the narrower the pages. In this case I went for 1 cm (approx 3/8th inch). This turned out to be a really excellent choice as my cutting mat has a 1 cm grid on it.

I started by cutting a piece of card to the height of the book page and cut into it the tabs spacing.

This was to check that the sizes were okay and that my calculation that 15 would fit was correct too. (There really is nothing like mocking something up to check such things!)

I then used this to help me mark up the book.

Part OneI went through the whole book and penciled in the tabs where I thought they ought to go. This was probably unnecessary but it reassured me that I was right to think I could use the number of pages in each section that I'd calculated. And it was useful to have the pages marked when it came to cutting - useful but not essential.

I decided it was easiest to have the same number of pages in each section (12) and that this ought to be an even number so that each section always started on the left hand page.

(If I complete this as a moon journal I may decide I want more pages in certain sections, and/or fewer sections, for my next journal based on my experience with this one.)

PaperclipNext the cutting started.

I found it easiest to cut the short first and then the long.

Remember to use a metal ruler and don't try to cut through all six sheets in one go.

Using the ruler as a guide just cut lightly down as many times as needed.

Its very important to put a cutting mat (or equivalent) under the last page of the section for the tab you are cutting.

Having cut the first tab I thought it looked a bit too square and likely to get dogeared. So I looked for a template for a curve.

This big paper clip turned out to be perfect.

Curved tabHere is the first tab with the curve cut.

Next tabBecause I had penciled in all the tabs, once the mat was removed it was easy to see where the next tab was to go.

Just another twenty-nine to cut!

I also cut the full 1 cm off the pages at the front from the pages before my sections as this made the first bank of tabs easier to see.

Its quite hard to get a good photo of the finished cuts... maybe it will show up more once I've marked up the tabs.

But that's a job for another day... before then I'm gessoing all the pages.

All the tabs cutTwo decks of tabs

Last week Inspire Me Thursday's prompt was, wait for it.... MOON!

Though I think this is a project that'll take rather a lot longer than a week to complete it was clearly the right time to start.