Hot Summer Reading Picks from our Editors

June 18th, 2012

School’s out for summer, so now’s the time to get caught up on your extracurricular reading. Our expansive book collection features a variety of titles from artists and authors who infuse mixed-media art into their personal and professional lives. Check out what books are on our editors’ must-read summer lists.

Painted Pages
By Sarah Ahearn Bellemare

I’ve long admired the artwork of Sarah Ahearn Bellemare, and when her book, Painted Pages, came out, I couldn’t wait to read it! Sarah’s easy, breezy approach helps you hone in on your own unique style. She offers how-to techniques and creative prompts on using an artist’s sketchbook. She gently guides you to find your true artistic self and teaches you how to incorporate your creativity in a variety of ways. Sarah gives you a peek into her own personal process and shares tips and tricks along with lots of encouragement.

— Jana Holstein, Managing Editor

The Art of Personal Imagery
By Corey Moortgat

I absolutely love creating collages. There’s something about piecing together pictures, ephemera, and scraps of patterned paper that reflects who I am as an individual. When I saw Corey Moortgat’s book in our collection, I knew I had to flip through the pages. Each chapter describes different ways to personalize your collages using both trendy and original techniques. Corey invites her readers to explore their personal artistic style through this expressive art form. She encourages artists to experiment with different methods when altering mementos into keepsake art. Pick up this book if you want to try something new or just want to refresh your collage skills. This book provides an opportunity to learn how to capture those unforgettable moments and to discover a thing or two about yourself.

— Christine Stephens, Assistant Editor

The Artistic Mother
By Shona Cole

It’s a dilemma that plagues many artistic women – what happens to our creative energy once we become mothers? Oftentimes, amidst the all-encompassing needs of our children, our spouses, our friends, our jobs … there is little room left for ourselves. It’s easy to put creativity, and art, on the backburner when life gets busy. It’s easy to make the excuse that art is something we do for fun, and thus must be the first thing to go when hard work is required. Shona Cole debunks this misperception with her book The Artistic Mother. Art is not something we simply do for fun – art is the very thing that keeps an artistic mother sane. An artistic life is possible, even for the busy mother, and Shona will show you how. With her 12-week course, Shona shows mothers how to realistically bring art into their lives, in meaningful ways. She demonstrates 12 art projects that focus on the beauty of family, and includes personal essays from artistic mothers who make it work. You will also find a basic introduction to three forms of art: photography, mixed-media, and poetry. This book is a must-read for any mother looking to introduce art back into her life!

— Andrea Rangno, Managing Editor

And the Story Is Happening
By Sabrina Ward Harrison

Summer can be a time to add new books to your to-read list, but it can also be a time to re-read some of your favorites. I recently did an overhaul on my creative space and am finding myself spending a lot of time in there now. Sabrina Ward Harrison is one of my all-time favorite artists, and her book And the Story Is Happening is one of my favorite releases from the past year. It’s only natural that I’ve picked it up again to use as inspiration for my own artwork. I think if you pick up a copy of it, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and time again.

— Christen Olivarez, Editor-in-Chief

Art at the Speed of Life
By Pam Carriker

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with artist Pam Carriker on a number of projects, so I was eager to immerse myself in her book. Art at the Speed of Life addresses the very problem that I run into when trying to create art — finding the time! Each mixed-media art project in the book is not only stunning, but also easy to complete in no time at all. I especially liked the section on creating multiple art journal backgrounds ahead of time, as sometimes I find that completing a page from start to finish can be daunting. I was also delighted to read Pam’s tips on time management and staying inspired, which were just what I needed to start creating!

— Amber Demien, Managing Editor

 

Check out more of our inspiring summer reads On the Shelf. Which one is next on your list?



Sarah Uncategorized ,

School’s out for summer, so now’s the time to get caught up on your extracurricular reading. Our expansive book collection features a variety of titles from artists and authors who infuse mixed-media art into their personal and professional lives. Check out what books are on our editors’ must-read summer lists. Painted Pages By Sarah Ahearn […]

DIY Monoprint Note Cards

June 14th, 2012

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a printing press.

Materials

Gelli Arts gel plates
Craft sheet
Brayer
Decorative paper tape
SMASH date stamp

Instructions

  1. Begin by peeling the plastic layers off of the gel plate. Place the plate onto a nonstick craft sheet.
  2. Squirt acrylic paint onto the plate and spread with a brayer.
  3. Take desired tools or found objects and impress various designs into the plate.
  4. Lay a piece of white cardstock on the gel plate and press firmly. Gently peel back the cardstock to reveal your monoprint.
  5. Once the paint is dry, add strips of patterned tape. Stamp the date onto the cards with the SMASH stamp.

The key to this process is to have fun and experiment with different techniques. You might consider creating additional stamped layers with contrasting colors, or use multiple colors on the plate at a time. In addition to creating greeting cards, you can also use this monoprinting process to design your own fabric, add dimension to a canvas background, customize kitchen placemats, and more. For details on cleaning and storing gel plates, please visit The Shoppe.

Project and Photo by Vanessa Spencer

 



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a […]

Pinterest Studio Challenge

June 11th, 2012

If I could build my own craft room, I would install those tricked-out shelving units that Belle found in Beauty and the Beast. Who wouldn’t love to glide on a ladder from your fabric tape collection to your meticulously color-coordinated paper stacks?

We’re giving you the chance to dream big and design your own virtual studio space. Enter our Pinterest Studio Challenge and create a pinboard that reflects your ideal crafting studio! Do you see yourself out on your front porch, with your paints, brushes, and all of nature at your fingertips? Or would you prefer a multi-story crafter’s pad, each floor dedicated to one kind of hobby?

Whether simple or sumptuous, we want to see what kinds of spaces would launch your creativity through the roof. Pin everything from mural-sized calendars and funky rugs to artistic lamps and innovative organizational systems. Please compose a short paragraph that sums up your creative vision and include it in the description of the board. Comment below with the link to your boards so we can find your dream studio!

The Pinner with the most creative and innovative board will be awarded a $25 gift certificate to The Shoppe to spend on products to help fill up your creative studio, and two runners-up will receive a copy of Where Women Create Summer ’12*. Take a look at our sample pin board to spark your interior decorating vision!

*Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Deadline for entries is July 30, 2012.

Update: Congratulations to Kim Collister! We loved the beautiful colors of both the interior and exterior of your dream studio, and the fun, upcycled ways to store supplies. We will be in contact with you regarding the details of your prize.

Image: Where Women Create Winter ’12; Kristin Alber’s studio



Sarah Contests and Giveaways

If I could build my own craft room, I would install those tricked-out shelving units that Belle found in Beauty and the Beast. Who wouldn’t love to glide on a ladder from your fabric tape collection to your meticulously color-coordinated paper stacks? We’re giving you the chance to dream big and design your own virtual […]

Dream Flowers: Mixed Media Collage with Guest Artist Caitlin Dundon

June 7th, 2012

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art.

I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their faces everywhere, I begin to dream of flowers, and they work their way into my art.

Creating a mixed-media collage is a wonderful way to make art. I find that it helps me tap into my creativity and quickly pulls me away from staring at a blank canvas or board. I often use floral patterned papers that are available at many scrapbook stores, mix in acrylic paint to add large areas of soft color, and embellish with the texture of household spackle, a rubber stamp, and a personal touch of handwriting.

Materials: decorative papers, scrap mat board, white tissue paper, acrylic paint, white gesso, white artist’s acrylic ink, old book pages, household spackle, soft gel medium, gloss varnish

Tools: heat gun, flat plastic putty knife, pointed pen holder with Nikko G metal nib, acrylic brushes, scissors, PITT artist pen, rubber stamp (with swirl pattern), sandpaper (medium grit and fine), small spray bottle or wet sponge.

Instructions

I started with an 8” square block of pine, ¾” thick – a piece of scrap wood that a local bookshelf maker sells in bags for a great price. Besides scrap pine boards, I also love artist panels made from plain unfinished birch plywood that have a more professional construction on back, so you can add hooks and wire to allow the piece to lie flat against the wall.

I like to work on wood for a variety of reasons – the surface can be sanded and water added without causing any warping that would happen on paper or mat board. I can paint and repaint over the surface if I decide I don’t like the finished piece. The surface can also be sanded extremely smooth for using calligraphy pens or markers later. The grain of wood often makes a nice addition to the pattern, and in addition, a weathered look can be achieved really easily with a little sanding.


My usual first step with most surfaces is to paint a coating of white gesso to prepare the surface. There’s just something more glowing about the acrylic paints when applied over a white surface. I don’t worry about the brush strokes, even painting in different directions with a smaller brush is fine – one quick coat will do, let it dry and after a light sanding, I am ready to start creating.

I love working with bits and pieces of text from old books. It almost doesn’t matter what book you use, since the pieces might be painted over so much that you don’t see the words, but in this case I wanted the black letters to show up as a form of texture. I start with soft gel medium and a small paint brush. I paint the spot where I am putting the pieces of torn paper and then quickly paint over the top, making sure to get all the edges. Working with small pieces makes it easier to keep from having spots of air or wrinkles. I love the texture of layering pieces on the wood and over each other. Sometimes I like to add just a little bit of dimension to a piece I am working on. In this case, I used several circles cut from thin cardboard or mat board.

One technique I love to do is tear white tissue paper into bits and pieces and adhere it with gel medium– even letting some pieces fold over each other. The transparency and absorbent quality of the tissue creates some interesting effects. I used layered tissue over the edges of the cut circles to soften them, creating a more rounded edge. I decided to add some color to my background “sky” using a blue acrylic paint mixed with some white paint, so it would appear behind the flowers. This is something I also could have done before adding my three circles.

I added a thin earthy yellow paint wash over both the torn bits of book papers with text as well as part of my sky. Adding washes like this adds more depth and variation of color that help tie the piece together. I also added a little touch of bright spring green paint to the “grass” – note how the edges of the bits of paper pick up more of the green. After cutting one leaf, I used it as a template to cut several so they’d be roughly the same size. You can see that before this point in the project, I imagined there to be three flowers, and I even started painting the middle one with white gesso for a different look, but as the piece came together I feel that it might have been a bit too busy. The advantage of painting on wood is that I was able to remove, paint over, and sand the spot where the third flower had been.

I felt that the piece still needed something. I scooped a small layer of household spackle on the right hand corner, spreading it with a small plastic trowel to be just thick enough to be able to rubber stamp into it. This is a process that works with plaster, spackle, joint compound, artist’s modeling paste – anything that starts out soft and then dries hard. These all have different effects and different drying times. I like spackle since it dries fast, but not as fast as plaster. Keep in mind that it is pink when applied and then turns white when dry. There’s about a half hour working time when you can decide if you want to redo your stamp. Get the stamp surface wet first by spraying it with water or squeeze out a sponge so the spackle doesn’t stick to it. I like to use a fingernail brush afterward to clean off any extra spackle that sticks to the stamp. After the spackle has dried, I brush it with a wash of the warm yellow paint and rub it with a cloth so it’s not too heavy.

The final step is to add my own handwriting. I used my pointed pen with white acrylic ink. Once fully dry, the whole piece is varnished with a gloss to protect it for many more springs to come.

ARTIST TIP: Working with a heat gun (the kind sold for rubber stamp embossing) can sometimes help speed up your processes. If you’ve got a good work and creative flow going, you can speed dry an area so you can proceed to the next step of painting a wash of color. But sometimes things like spackle or joint compound take some time to dry, so try working on another piece at the same time so you can alternate projects while one is drying.

Thank you for sharing this insightful project tutorial, Caitlin! Check out Caitlin’s “Family Tree” feature in the May/June 2012 issue of Somerset Studio. To see more of her artistic lettering projects, please visit her website www.oneheartstudio.com.

 



Sarah How-To Project TutorialsMixed-Media Art ,

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art. I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their […]

A Glimpse Inside New June Issues

June 4th, 2012

Your summer of artistic inspiration starts at Stampington, and we are so excited to give you an exclusive look into our new June issues. Don your wide-brimmed sun hat and kick off your sandals, because we hope you stay awhile! If you enjoy this assortment of titles and want to snag some for yourself, you can receive FREE SHIPPING with this special offer just for our blog readers.

Use Promo Code: BLOG0612*


This issue of Take Ten has little bits of inspiration that add up to nearly 300 stamped ideas for you to use in your card making, mixed-media, and packaging projects. You’ll enjoy quick and easy gift ideas featuring turquoise ribbons and polka dot bags and cute ways to use library drawer tabs.  With enticing color palettes that mirror the beautiful sunny season, these cards will jump right off the page and into your stash of new stamping ideas. Each card takes ten minutes or less to create, so you can whip up enough in one sitting to last you through graduations, birthdays, and holidays for the rest of the year!

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Find the common creative thread that weaves artists together in the Summer ’12 issue of Art Quilting Studio. See how Bozena Mojtaszek translates her emotions into works of art in the form of decorative wall hangings. Cover artist Lenore Crawford shares how her fused art quilts are inspired by French architecture and gardens. To add some wit to your art, don’t miss Kathryn Clark’s unique quilt designs that are visual representations of idioms. Enjoy the Series Showcase featuring quilts depicting vintage chairs, telephones, teapots, and gardening tools, and be inspired by gorgeous ocean landscapes and fascinating DIY chalkboard quilts.

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We hope you have an appetite for food, photos, and sentimental stories, because this magazine has it all. The Summer ’12 issue of Where Women Cook is packed with tasty dishes and cocktail drinks for you to make for your summer soirées. Whip up a batch of quick biscuits with Lizzie McGraw and indulge in Jen O’Connor’s Guinness Dark Chocolate Cake. Find out how Robin Shea started Southern Fried Fitness by incorporating an 80/20 healthy eating approach into her family’s meals. Who can resist food photographer, stylist, and chef Kelly Sterling’s tempting photos of her Fresh Nectarine and Shortbread Tart with Amaretto and Meyer Lemon Custard? Now that’s a mouthful of delicious eats.

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The newest Sew Somerset is an absolute treasure for beginning and seasoned seamstresses alike.  Take needle and thread to fabric and create flower bouquets that will never wilt or whimsical illustrations you can hang in your home. Read the touching story of how Danielle Daniel discovered her family lineage and connected to her roots through stitching.  Gather tips and tricks from the pros, and jumpstart your passion for fiber arts with this stunning addition to your Somerset collection.

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This issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry pays homage to the natural jewels of the ocean. Learn how to make a sea-inspired necklace, bangle, and earring set with turquoise shells and starfish charms. Wear your favorite book over your heart with a tutorial for distressing tiny book necklaces with inks and fibers, and create oyster rings complete with hidden pearls with Teresa Arana. With stepped-out photos for a closer look at some of the more intricate techniques, you’ll be able to follow along and dive into creating your own jewelry in no time.

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Somerset Studio Gallery is a compilation of the best in mixed-media from a year of Somerset Studio inspiration.  Check out the mini wall art featuring The Wizard of Oz characters, and travel through time with art pieces tricked out in watch faces, gears, and cogs.  Create corrugated cardboard greeting cards with recycled flair, and fashion tiny treasure totes from fabric scraps. Packed with reader-submitted artwork including embellished notebook covers, a doll dress memo board and spirited collages for the home, this issue will encourage you to try your hand at different techniques with a variety of media!

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*Free shipping offer applies to U.S. purchases of the following June 2012 issues only: Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire Jewelry, Sew Somerset, Somerset Studio Gallery, Take Ten, and Where Women Cook. Discount code does not apply to items purchased from The Shoppe at Somerset and expires 6/30/12.

 



Sarah Glimpse Inside And Sneak Peeks ,

Your summer of artistic inspiration starts at Stampington, and we are so excited to give you an exclusive look into our new June issues. Don your wide-brimmed sun hat and kick off your sandals, because we hope you stay awhile! If you enjoy this assortment of titles and want to snag some for yourself, you […]