Cherryblossom Tears is Five

blogging, Life

‘ Creativity takes courage’ –  Henri Matisse

Everything begins with an idea. And five years ago I decided to blog about the creative things I was doing, like an online dairy. I was nervous about showing the world my ‘flawed’ works but part of my plan was to become an art therapist and this felt like one small step in that direction.

I started Cherryblossom Tears when I was 28 and now I’m 33. My art has changed as much as I have in that time. I’ve recognised that my blog was never going to be a glossy portfolio of finished pieces. My strengths lay in the so called imperfections and the process of creating. This is what art therapy was about; engaging with the materials and the creating of artwork. I learnt how to run a blog inside out by doing it, making mistakes and learning from them.

I developed better writing skills and found a natural voice when putting up posts. I learnt how to take better pictures of my work and how to plan my projects. The purpose of my blog started to shine through: It was about not giving up, sharing my frustrations with my work, the trying, the experimentations, working through to find and cultivate a personal style, the materials you connect with and feel on an intuitive level.

‘Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning.’ Charles de Lint

I think writing in this way is liberating. I realised where my creative strengths were and also how much I love combining materials to makes something unusual. One my favourite things to do is go to the art shop and find something new to try. What can I make with Polymer clay? What happens if I add beads? What about wire? How can I create a monster in my own style?

By allowing myself this freedom, I stopped caring so much what other people thought of my art and really embraced the enjoyment I got from making things. It doesn’t matter if something I make doesn’t work, I can try again! I’ve found a quiet confidence in presenting myself as who I really am; a little eccentric, messy, prone to over-thinking. But who I wished to be in my 20s wasn’t real or authentic.

Paper Flowers and Mixed Media Project

Mixed Media, Papers

I’ve been having a bit of creative slump with my projects so I decided to just go take my own advice and make anything! I got this lovely Paper Poetry cherry blossom kit a little while ago so I decided to try it out.

At first I found it frustrating as it was quite fiddly and I’ve not been working with paper for a long time. But my flowers got better and making them was more about breaking my annoying creative brick wall.

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I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery projects the last few months and this was one of my biggest influences on my next project. I had bought a copper S shape from Hobbycraft a few months ago as I wanted to add some interesting wall art to my new craft room. I had a vague idea of adding wire and beads to it, so I just opened my box of embellishments and beads and started.

Of course my little friend Dr Truffles wanted to see what was going on as well!

When I ran out of colourful wire, I started using some black twine and tying parts of it in knots. I added beads, metal charms, paper flowers, anything I could find that I thought went together well. love how it turned out!

Mixed Media Hindu Goddess Lakshmi

Mixed Media

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.

Creating Physical Texture in Art Jouralling

Art Journaling

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.

Art Journaling Delights

Art Journaling

Recently I’ve been focusing on working in my art journal and trying new things to push myself as an artist. I felt some kind of creative block with my sculpting so I picked my journal and made marks on the page. I allowed myself not to really think, just enjoy the materials and the shapes.

Since then I have done quite a few journal pages and love what art journaling gives me. I work in front of a computer during the week, so it is normally the last thing I want to do when I come home. Sitting at my desk with my supplies, some music or podcast and my imagination allows me to come back to myself, to relax, explore and think in a different way than I do in everyday life.

New Art Journal Pages

Art Journaling

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 Tropical Bird Box

Polymer Clay

 

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When I decided to start doing something with this old key-box I found in a charity shop, I had no idea how well it would turn out.

The original design was pretty horrible but I knew this little box had potential and waited to think what I could do with it.I wanted to do something clay related, but it isn’t very deep so wasn’t sure what function it could have.

 

As I love this bird card my sister got me last year I decided that would be my inspiration for the front panel. I took the nasty old hinges and clasp off the box and set to work on the front, mixing gradients of green for a lush background. I stamped the background  once it covered the front, although a lot of this got covered up.  I loved blended colours in polymer clay at the moment so this was a great project of the bird with vibrant feathers in a mixture of blues, greens, yellows and pinks.

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Getting a basic shape

Cutting the shapes was a little tricky, as was layering them over each other. I think I  could have done it a bit better in hindsight. Once I had the bird shape and tail in a place I liked, I started thinking about different plants and flowers around it. I wanted the bird to look as if it were in a tropical paradise. I mixed together different greens, added snakes of clay for dimension and used canes to add variety to the foliage.

Merlion Sculptures

sculpture

This was a great creative challenge! My friend asked me a little while ago to make him two Merlion sculptures, although I wasn’t sure if I could pull them off and put the project to one side for a while. I did a bit of research and my friend gave me full creative range to make them. I am more of an expressive artist than realistic so I decided to approach it that way.

Both lions together

Both lions together

I watched a few YouTube tutorials for sculpting ideas and tips and ordered my favourite Super Sculpey for the project. I did some research into lions, in particular the way they moved and the structure of the skeleton so I could make a decent armature to build the sculpture on. I also looked online at fish scales and fins to get an idea in my head on how to combine the two creatures.

Finished! Alien Plant Project!

Polymer Clay

This is my recent project of love and hate! it took me two weeks to make this thing and look how massive it is!

After watching Little Shop of Horrors recently the idea of having my own Audrey 2 lodged in my brain. I’d been messing around with polymer clays for a few weeks I thought ‘yeah, this will be a great project, making my own plant!’ – Not realising the amount of time, materials and effort it would actually take to make it!

However, when I obsess over a new project I tend to jump in and I started my research by looking for some pictures of Audrey 2 and making a list of materials I would need to make him.

Beginning

As I mulled over how I was going to make this plant, I did some pretty basic sketches of the parts to make, but because I seem to like making things hard for myself, I decided my plant would have its mouth open! Mainly because I liked the teeth and thought they would be cool to make.

I watched some videos on YouTube about modelling using Super Sculpey and armatures and bought a new book on polymer clay called Polymer Clay Master Class, while also going out and gathering my materials.

Dreams & Magic Altered Shadow Box

Mixed Media

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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!

Polymer Clay

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.

Shrinking Plastic Cuteness!

Crafts

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I may be 31 but I feel like a kind in a sweet shop when I get new craft things to play with! And that is what I’ve been doing on my week off. I bought a mini toaster oven to make shrink plastic things and I love it. I’ve been experimenting as well as reading Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! to get ideas on size and how well different ideas lend themselves to plastic.

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A Foxy Embroidery – With Buttons!

Embroidery

Fox

The Idea

Well I have been obsessing over foxes the last few months and wanted to create a project based on one. This design was quite simple, as I was going to go for something more realistic.  But I decided with the size of the hoop and the fox being the centre focus, that it should be colour and pattern that are more intricate and ornate. fox

My style is quite elaborate and I find that details really make a project pop which is why I added the detailing inside the fox. That was free hand and I gave myself the chance to just experiment with colours and pattern. I think it works well.

Materials & Stitches

Tips on Hand Embroidery

Embroidery

I’ve been learning hand embroidery for about six months now and thought I’d share some tips – and frustrations! – that might give anyone considering trying it (or even beginners) some insights.

Fabric

fabrics

The fabric is your background that pulls your design together. When I first started I used some terrible fabric. It was heavily patterned and pretty but overwhelmed the embroidery instead of complimenting it. I’d recommend planning. Being impulsive I went straight in and was left disheartened with the end result.

Another thing that may seem obvious is ironing your fabric piece! Even if it seems relatively flat it may have some small creases and it’s best to start from a completely smooth piece.