Chaos and Creativity

‘I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value’ – Hermann Hesse

It’s been about two months since my last post and probably the longest gap since I started writing my blog. Life suddenly got very chaotic and I found myself unable to anything art or craft related. I was poorly then I had to move house as my landlord was selling. I was also learning to drive and doing some volunteering at an art gallery. Looking back now it was a massive upheaval and I felt stressed and overwhelmed.

Gradually things began to level out and my boyfriend and I moved into a flat together. We now have a spare room for arts, crafts and magic (he is an actual magician!) but this is yet to be fully sorted and is currently a myriad of boxes and degu cage – they are cute though so they can get away with it for now.

Between moving house I did some art journal pages and made my friend a mixed media birthday card. I’ve also been teaching myself Illustrator so I can create a website layout for my boyfriend – magic is a great topic! It is a new way of approaching art and I am finding it a real challenge. I’ve always liked design and illustration and scrapbook interesting packaging, so learning how to create vector art on a computer is another step towards that kind of artwork. I have to admit that spending a lot of time on the computer is hard. I work in an office during the day and being able to make things with clay, paints, sewing is my way of escaping technology and feeling more connected by using the materials with my hands. Maybe once I get more to grips with the software I will find a balance between both.

Below are a few pictures from the last month. Now my life is calming down a bit more I have plenty of creative projects bubbling in my mind.

Mixed Media Hindu Goddess Lakshmi

If you follow my social media, you may have seen some updates on a Hindu goddess I was making. A lovely friend of mine sent me a commission request for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity (both physical and material). I just loved this idea and was thrilled – and a little bit apprehensive!

I looked through a few images I found on Pinterest and decided to approach my project as a clay relief on wood, adding different media to create the opulent and embellished style I love in Indian religious art.

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My craft desk! Always messy with something

Materials 

  • A4 wood
  • balsa wood
  • Pencil
  • Polymer Clay (I used Fimo)
  • Clay tools
  • Gold leaf
  • Assorted beads, metal charms
  • Strong glue
  • Paper flowers
  • Clay varnish
  • Pasta Machine
  • Liquid sculpey

Using a print out as a general guide, I started by sketching an image onto the wood, adding a board round the sides. Gathering my base colours of blue, pink and gold, I started mixing different blues together to get an idea of shade and, using my pasta machine, rolled out the clay into small sheets.

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Mini Resin Creations & Altered Tins

A short post on some things I’ve made in the last few weeks. I wanted to try and make more projects with resin, and how I can incorporate it into future mixed media projects. I experimented with different mould, making a jellyfish tank using polymer clay and drilling a hole to add wire once it was set.

I made some different sized beads using resin and added metal charms, beads, gems and glitter. I’m still thinking about a project to use them in.

I’ve also been playing around with different tins and thinking of new things I can make with them. I’ve like spray painting them and using different materials to alter them. No matter how much I try to work in a linear and organised way, my brain just doesn’t want to! So I end up doing several things at once, putting things to one side to set or dry while I make something else.

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Mixed Media Canvas ~ Sea Goddess

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This weekend I completed a mixed media canvas for a competition I saw in the mixed media magazine Cloth Paper Scissors. I love this magazine and is one of the only art magazines I’ve found that has a focus on mixed media.

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Creating Physical Texture in Art Jouralling

My new book 101 Mixed Media Techniques have inspired to take different mixed media elements and explore them in my art journal.

As I read other artists books and watch videos, I’m beginning to approach my art journaling in a different way. It feels more organic and, rather than planning a page in my mind from start to finish, I’m having more fun with the materials and allowing them to show me a direction.

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Jane Davenport, an artist I adore, talks about journals having a ‘connective tissue’ and when I heard this idea, it stayed with me. Not all my pages need to be finished as I start them and I am looking at my journal as a complete book, with each page following into another.With these ideas in mind, I decided to focus on building physical texture in a few pages and explore different materials.

First Page

In my first double page of my Dylusions journal, I used modelling paste on one side, swirling the end of a paintbrush into it as it dried. I then dripped PAV glue across both pages, which took a while to dry. I used my heat tool to speed the drying process up a little, and then used a wide brush to paint over the surfacing using my current favourite Dylusions paint pots.

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A Mixed Media Daydream

Happy Springtime!

It’s my birthday tomorrow (32 years young!) and what better excuse to get some art supplies and new books! I got this gorgeous book The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems and 100 Flowers from the RHS: 100 Postcards in a Box as amazing references for my artwork.

I also bought 50 Art Ideas you need to know as I love learning about the history of art and 101 Mixed Media Techniques which has loads of great ideas and things I am already trying out in my art journal pages. I think I need a new bookcase!

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Fizzling Evolution Plus Competition!

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Win one of these dudes!

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a post just about my fun monster sculptures, which I called Fizzlings, and how they evolved and I also wanted to do a little give away competition as I have made so many and they need proper homes! So keep reading to find out how to win one of the three you see here!

Making my little creatures began last when when I had been playing with Polymer Clay Fimo for a while, just bored after making loads of mini charms. I, as always, wanted more of a creative challenge and to make something bigger, so I started with these oddly shaped characters. I added little metal bits lying around, giving them personality.

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In the Beginning…

Each creature I made was an improvement on the last, but I wanted to make something more substantial. I watched sculpting videos on YouTube (a great resource) bought a variety of books on Polymer Clay and sculpting, and began using an armature of wire and foil inside my sculptures. This is when my creatures started to get bigger and take on a proper form. I had been sketching rough ideas now and planning my work more, thinking of themes, embellishments and colour.

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New Art Journal Pages

It’s been a while since I put a new post up on the blog, partly because I got flu and wasn’t able to do anything but sleep for a week. I felt a little uninspired with my sculpting and wasn’t sure what art I wanted to make, so I just got out my art journal and started making marks on the page with paints, pens, Dylusions sprays, soft pastels and pencils.  As I did this I found myself getting back into my art journaling and did a few more pages over the last week.

My last page, the girl with orange hair I filmed as I made it and put it together as a video on my YouTube channel. I want to do more video projects, although the lighting in my room isn’t the best. I think it helps to try other mediums when you feel uninspired, it doesn’t have to be any big project just messing around with paints on the page is enough to get you back into a creative mind set. I’ve ordered some more Dylusions paints because they are really good and so vivid, I’m looking forward to doing more pages in my journal and even adding in college.

Polymer Clay Jewellery Box

My main project has been an altered wooden box. I removed the lid and covered it with polymer clay (Fimo), creating a hummingbird on a branch as the central image. Using my pasta machine to roll the clay into sheets, I cut out the shapes and built the image up with leaves and flowers around the edges of the box. I used some tools to texture the bird, branches and leaves and added my favourite Perfect Pearls for shimmer and depth. I added some Tim Holtz hinges to the back and a clasp at the front I had.

 

For the bottom part of the box I primed it with Gesso then painted a few coats of Cosmic Shimmer paint in green and blue. When baking the lid I made some separate leave pieces with added gold leaf and once they were hard I glued them to the box for interest. I then varnished it and am quite pleased with how it turned out, especially the background.

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Steampunk Polymer Clay Tin – Tutorial

I’m planning to put more tutorials up on the blog this year and thought this would be a fun one to start with. I’m going to show how I cover a small tin in polymer clay, and here I used a Altoids tin (I found some in the supermarket and now I can’t find them anywhere!) but you can use any small tin you have. Some other things you will need:

  • Polymer Clay (I used Fimo)
  • Small Tin
  • Blade
  • dotting and clay tools
  • stamps
  • Rolling pin
  • Shape cutters
  • Some embellishments – I like metal
  • Black Spray paint
  • Perfect Pearls
  • Liquid Sculpey (optional)
  • Varnish

DSCN2186Step One 

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Three Years and Counting…

I was 28 when I started this blog. It was quite basic in the beginning as I only put up photos of things I had been making. I’m now 31 and a lot has happened in three years. I’ve moved house five times, waited two years for my job to become permanent and had more than my share of personal struggles to overcome.

I’ve also become more confident, happier in myself with a better understanding of what I want. My perception of art, creativity and my life has gradually changed. Writing a blog allowed me to reflect on just how much I did change, and sometimes I am surprised with the things I have done. I developed a quiet self-assurance in my ability to learn and not be afraid to make mistakes. This allowed me to open up to new creative challenges and try new things for the pleasure and curiosity, as well as pushing myself to grow. As I did this the deeper and more fascinating different craft projects became. I also cared less about other people’s thoughts.

I began to see that perfection wasn’t the purpose for art, at least for me. I embraced my mistakes, documented them and used them as a measurement of how far I could go. This is something I did in all areas of my life not just my art. I started learning more technical things around my job and teaching myself how to develop, layout and write a website. I read books about photography, blogging, and social media and went to talks about the future of technology. I became interested in design and started learning how to use InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. These skills fed back into my blog as it went through many looks.

During my early 20s after finishing my studies I struggled finding a job. In-between the drudgery of job hunting I started looking into new crafts. I experimented with mosaics which I liked although I shredded my fingers cutting the tiles and made a mess in my room! When I moved back to Cambridge I got a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew. I had a bit more space then and made my sister a school bag, made some fluffy critters and tried making clothes. I also experimented with polymer clay.

When I was 27 I moved to Manchester and this was a dark time in my life. I found solace in my art. I remember at one point I had no money, my computer had broken, I had no TV and my phone had been cut off. I was disconnected from the world! But I knew the one thing I could still do was create, so that is what I did. I made books into altered art pieces and experimented with paper crafts.

Since starting Cherryblossom Tears I went from mostly sketching and painting with oils to trying altered arts, die cutting, paper crafts, collage, decopatch, art journaling, shadow boxes, jewellery making, photography, video tutorials, embroidery, felting, stamp carving, fabric pens, polymer clay and resin. I found my niche in mixed media and a love of creating projects to work on. I enjoy sharing my work, writing tutorials and finding new ways to convey my ideas. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative; some just need encouragement and guidance to start. Who knows what you could craft if you allowed yourself.

Dreams & Magic Altered Shadow Box

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While the evil old creative rut crept up on me I decided to get a few items and start a new shadow box, as it had been quite a long time since my last one and I was falling out of love with my embroidery a bit.

Some things I used to make this box include:

  • Tim Holtz heart charms
  • Tim Holtz arrows adornments
  • Tom Hotltz foundation feet & decorative corners
  • Mini bottles
  • fimo clay
  • found items including metal charms, buttons and wooden adornments
  • resin
  • papers and die cut pieces
  • fabric flowers and little mushroom bird

This was my first time using resin as I wanted the bottles  to look like they were full of liquid. I loved making them, I filled one with tiny fimo bugs! My next project will be something with resin.

Here are few pictures as I made the box, it measures 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches which is super cute!

I seem to love butterflies! One thing I love about making things like this is gathering my different items and finding a way to combine them with my theme. Nature is a strong theme in my work now and I wanted the box to be quite light and uplifting. The items inside are also symbolic in a similar way to dreams, such as the key and the different bottles. The box came with a plastic front piece which I used, as dust getting in pieces like these is annoying and impossible to clean!

To see some of my daily art updates just check out my social media links 🙂

Some Fimo Clay Adventures!

Time to get baked! Having felt a lack of motivation recently and a general malaise in my art, I decided to a.) watch Heroes as a break from all my embroidery and b.) try a new approach. I’ve made things with Fimo Polymer Clay before and had a lot of things left over, as I like to keep all my different creative projects and supplies. I started making little charms in 2010 before I moved to Manchester. This post is what I’ve been doing recently, starting with something super easy – snails! These are cute and make nice little gifts for people. I then got a few new colours and started making cute monsters, with the idea to turn them into key rings. It’s much easier to bake with this kind of medium now I live in a better house! Here are a few things I made last week

I found a tutorial on the jellyfish which I thought was cute, so made two of them. I also wanted to try making some bugs. These are quite small but I think they are good for a first try, I can see how to improve them and that is when I know my creative rut is lifting.

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Where Is Your Art Going?

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This is an excellent question right now! Because while I’m not in a block as such, I feel like I’m disengaged with my projects. It could be some apathy I’ve been feeling from other things – work, health, personal dramas – and this is bleeding into my art. Or maybe I am just run down and need a break longer than a few days.

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