Tuesday, 30 June 2015

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life”

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life”

A Mixed Media Canvas by Bethany Grace

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life” - this is certainly true for so many of us crafters, artists and creators, and no-one more so than the creators of Kuretake, who this year are celebrating the milestone of 30 years in business – congratulations guys! What I am sure is a small number compared to a lifetime of creativity – may there be many more years to come!

I for one love reading inspirational quotes, especially if they are particularly motivational or thought-provoking; and what better way to be inspired by them day after day, than to create a little bit of home décor with this mixed media canvas!

The Background:
Equipment used: A4 canvas, Forget-Me-Not Woodcraft Marker, Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, Harebell Woodcraft Marker, water mister, paintbrush, heat gun, white tissue paper, Sizzix Doily, Laced with Love Thinlit Die, Decopatch paper, PVA glue, paintbrush, diamond stencil, white lace How to do it: I first wet the surface of the canvas using a water mister (in order to keep the paints wet for longer, allowing me to blend them), and then began to build some colour using the Forget-Me-Not and Harebell Woodcraft Markers, merging the shades using a paintbrush.

When I was happy with the blending on this first layer, I used a heat gun to quickly set the paints (the markers dry pretty quickly anyway, but I had added a lot of water…and I guess I’m a bit impatient when I want to get on creating!). As Woodcraft Markers become permanent when dry, they are great for adding detail and contrasting colours to backgrounds, without muddying the layers below… perfect for this technique!

To get the effect seen below, I repeated the process over and over again, gradually building up the colours and creating a tinted edge using the slightly darker Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker.

Next, I added some pattern to the background. I first glued (using a mixture of PVA and water) some torn strips of Decopatch paper onto the canvas. In the past I have also used patterned tissue paper napkins to add pattern to projects - they work just as well as Decopatch paper, but can be a lot kinder to your purse! To fade the patterned paper into the painted background, I used a paintbrush to dab some Glacier Blue paint (from the Woodcraft Marker - just scribble the marker onto a shiny surface to create a paint palette!) around the edges.

To add a little extra pattern and a lacy-feel to the background, I cut some tissue paper hearts (see above) using the Sizzix Doily, Laced with Love Thinlit Die. I ran the Thinlit through a die-cutting machine, over a well-folded sheet of white tissue paper (I have learned from experience that it is nearly impossible to cut a single layer of tissue paper – it’s far too delicate! However, folding up a sheet creates a thicker layer which the die can easily cut through…top tip eh?). I again pasted these onto the background using a mixture of PVA glue and water.

A few finishing touches…
To bring in some pink to the background, I coloured through a diamond stencil using the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker. Then I used the Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker to neaten up the edges of the canvas, and lightly sanded the top edges (see picture top right) to reveal a white border – this really helped to make everything stand out in the finished product. I used PVA glue to stick white lace around the edges of the canvas to give a more vintage feel – the final step of my mixed media canvas background!

The Lettering: Equipment used: chipboard letters, Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, Gold Wink of Luna Brush Pen, background stamp, lettering stamps, acrylic block, brown StazOn ink pad, glue gun

How to do it: For the wording, I used a combination of chipboard letters and stamps. As I have found for several years, stamping clearly on a canvas can be tricky. However, I now have a fool-proof method that is so obvious I feel stupid for not having thought of it sooner! Simply place a hard book behind the canvas so that it touches the fabric, giving a hard, flat surface to stamp on – voila, no more sagging canvas and smudgy stamps! For this canvas I stamped the letters with brown StazOn, using two alphabet stamp sets for contrast.

To decorate the word ‘hobby’, I simply coloured in the chipboard letters using the Harebell Woodcraft Marker.

I used some larger chipboard letters to create the word ‘life’, colouring them using the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker. For those of you that are impatient (like me!), do not be tempted to attempt to speed-dry the letters with a heat-gun…it may result in flying letters and paint (I speak from experience…)! I then edged the letters using a Gold Wink of Luna Brush Pen, and lightly stamped them with a background stamp (I coloured the stamp in with the Wink of Luna pen so it matched the edging) to add some pattern and a more distressed feel.

To add some depth, I glued all the chipboard letters on using a glue gun (silicon glue would work just as well).

The Embellishments: Equipment used: MDF hearts, Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, sandpaper, old scissors, Gesso, paintbrush, PVA glue, glue gun

How to do it: For the heart embellishments, I painted some MDF hearts with the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, and then distressed the edges using some paint from the Moss Green Woodcraft Marker. When the paint had dried, I lightly sanded the edges to lift off some of the colour (and by lightly, I mean really lightly…we don’t want to end up sanding away all our hard work now do we?), and glued them onto the canvas with PVA.

This next stage was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing. During my usual messy creativity, I had left a pair of scissors strewn across the canvas: a moment of inspiration! I immediately searched out the box hidden at the back of my cupboard, in which lies a jumble of various odds and ends that I use for mixed media pieces like this. Tucked inside was an old pair of children’s’ blunt scissors: perfect.
I first cleaned the scissors up a bit (old things do get a bit grubby…), and coated them in a thin layer of Gesso to prime the metal so that the Woodcraft Markers would adhere to the surface. I then coloured the scissors using the Wild Rose and Harebell Woodcraft Markers, and glued it to the canvas with a glue gun.

The Finishing Touches: Equipment used: buttons, string, pink baker’s twine, clear dew drops, pink paper blossoms, silver gems, darning needle, safety pin, decorative pin

How to do it: I finished off the canvas with some buttons (tied with string and baker’s twine), silver gems, clear dew drops and a few odd knick-knacks from my box of odds and ends (namely a children’s plastic darning needle, which I proceeded to colour using the Harebell Woodcraft Marker, a safety pin, a decorative pin and a few paper blossoms), all stuck on with some PVA glue.

So there you have it: one finished mixed media canvas to (hopefully!) keep us all motivated with the help of a great quote! I hope you have enjoyed the project and feel inspired to have a go at some of the techniques, or maybe create your own mixed media canvas. As always I would love to hear from you all to know what you think, and to see your interpretations and ideas - happy creating!