Friday, 28 August 2015

Spread Your Wings Academy vol.4

Dear Friends,
together with my Creative Team, we hope you've already become a member of our Spread Your Wings Academy and that you are following our series. :)

This month we are going to focus on the art of creating layers and the girls are sharing their tips, tricks and not one, not two, but FOUR tutorials on different versions of layering. Enjoy!



Hello Finnabair friends. For this months SYWA project on layers, I have made a journal page using layers of “wet mediums”.
There are so many wonderful mediums on the market now that you can use to create multiple layers of texture and colour. The only thing you need to be aware of is if the medium is waterproof.
A lot of these mediums are waterproof once they are dried and “set” with a heat tool, and will not run, bleed or smudge when other wet layers are applied over the top.
Read the labels carefully and practice using the medium on a piece of scrap paper first!

The quote by Frida Kahlo can refer to life in general, but I have used it as a special reference to my daughter’s hair, which was actually bleached white in this photo but has in fact been every colour of the rainbow in the last couple of years, including orange. :)


Started with book pages and a photo. Coat the photo with Clear Gesso. This creates a surface on the photo that will accept other wet mediums like paint or ink but at the same time it protects the surface if you splash something on the photo and you are quick, you can remove it with a baby wipe. Except alcohol ink.
Then coat the book pages and parts of the photo you may want to add colour to with White Gesso.


Stamp around the edges with archival ink. Add a transparent layer of colour with acrylic paint thinned down with Soft Matte Gel. Apply with a credit card or spatula.


Copic markers are filled with alcohol ink. Using the small can of compressed air you can buy with the pens, I misted over my pages with another layer of colour. You could of course use any spray mists here, just ensure you heat set them. Next step - archival ink applied through a stencil.


Using Elementals Lace stencil and White Crackle Texture Paste, some texture is added to the page.
A second stencil - Ripped Fishnet - is added this time using Modeling Paste.


Now some bolder, stronger colour using Distress Spray Stains. I love the versatility of these stains. You can get some beautiful effects because they will react with water but once dried and heat set, they will not move.
Added some even richer colour with Izink pigment ink. Again will react with water but is permanent once dried.


Gelatos are amazing for achieving soft “painterly” effects. Just rub them on and then wipe over them with a baby wipe.
Lastly some mists and blobs of Color Bloom spray. I love the look of these but I find them to be the least stable, they will still react with other wet mediums even after they have been dried so that’s why I have used it last.


The vine used on the hair is a rub-on but I didn’t have very much so had to hand draw some more on the second page using a permanent black pen by Rangerink. This pen writes over everything, which is important when using lots of different layered mediums, which will easily clog up most ink pens.
Playing with different mediums and layering them over the top of each other is a lot of fun, many random and unexpected effects can be created.




I'd like to show you how I create my layers with fabric and different kinds of lace.

I mostly used Newspaper and Ads resist canvas and the lace from my home stash.
I cut the canvas into even stripes, I also cut them here and there and made little tears to make the edges uneven. Some threads that were left over were also used later on iin my composition.

My base was a paper from Vintage Vanity collection covered with a thin layer of White Gesso. Then, it was really simple - I just added a layer of fabric / lace / fabric / lace / and so forth.
Sometimes I glued them directly to each other, someties I used a piece of cardboard to create some 'air'. All the layers were glued with 3D Matte Gel.


I also decided to create my own simple flowers using lace and Mechanicals mini brads.
I also stamped some sentiments from Trust the Magic set onto a cotton ribbon.
As you can see there are no complicated techniques here but I think the final effect is really cool. :)




For my part, I wanted to build a solid and heavy arrangement with dimentional additions. Layering in this case served as the background for the contrastive family tree.


1. I carelessly aranged a composition of chipboards and Mechanicals which I fixed to a canvas panel thanks to 3D Matte Gel.
2. When everything dried up, I put a generous coat of both Texture Pastes with white crackle and white sand finishes. The composition became even and chunky.


3. I added a pinch of Art Sugar and Micro Beads on the wet surface. To my surprise Mica Flakes turned out to be icing on the cake.
4. After slightly misting and drying the whole, I stamped it with various patterns.


5. On such prepared background I glued twigs and portraits in Mechanicals frames creating the family tree.
6. The last step consists of labelling the family members, adding beads, a snail shell and more Micro Beads. I also used a black fineliner to accent dimentional elements. Ready!



I love layers! I use both dimensional and flat layers in my projects. The flat(ter) ones make up the background with stamping, misting and inking and the embellishments and paper layers make the more dimensional ones.

My tips on making layers would be: don’t be afraid to cover something, know your supplies and have fun!

When building layers, the odds are that you end up covering something you’ve created in a previous stage. That’s why you might want to go a bit bold and big with the first layers so that you end up showing at least part of the things you’ve done.

The second tip is connected mostly on stamping in my part but applies to others too. You should know your supplies when building layers. For example I almost always use Archival Ink in stamping because if I then decide to add mist on top the stamped pattern still stays intact. Although bleeding and smudging might look fun too! So you need to know how the mediums react with each other and moisture, too.

The third tip is just to encourage to play, try out and really - to have fun! You can create wonderful textures and layers by accident so play with your supplies and try different things.

I get asked a lot how I make the paper layers behind the photo so here’s a quick three step tutorial of the process.


1)  Make the background layers first by mixing stamping, inking and what you like to use. Then cut some random pieces of patterned paper. Mix different patterns but keep the pieces quite small, biggest piece being the size of the photo or just a touch larger.


2) Then make the composition. Layer the pieces both horizontally and vertically keeping the composition on your hand. Attach the layers to each other with a stapler. Place the staples so that they are hidden underneath the photo. Use just one or a few if needed.


3) Lastly add the photo on top using 3D foam squares. You can also use these to make the paper layers more dimensional, but I often use those just underneath the photo to lift it up from the rest of the page, to really make it pop.


 It really is easy as 1-2-3! :)


We know that some people can't imagine their creations without layers and some others feel totally intimidated by them.
In any case, we hope you are feeling inspired and that you will share you artworks with the world in our super friendly Finnabair & Friends Open Studio on facebook.

Happy creating!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

"The Oracle" - Collage on the Edge of Steampunk and Industrial

Hi again my loves.
Some of you know that from all the different projects I keep putting together collage and assemblage is the one I love the most. There are many reasons: the joy of finding, matching and transforming random objects - considered by most of people to be simply "rubbish" - is simply hard to compare with anything. Possibility to change them into something else, giving them "new life" is really inspiring idea, sparkling my creativity and giving me loads of energy to make art. It is great, almost never-ending fuel - the only ingredient which is really crucial in the process is time!

Speaking about time - this assemblage below was waiting to be completed for months.
I was really ecstatic when I found the porcelain doll on the flea market - it was perfect in size, it had a nice face and the price tag was really appealing. As soon as I got home I started to look for the proper background for the project that started to crystallize in my head... but it took me some time to find a right size piece of wooden board (I REALLY wanted to see the real wood structure in it!) and then some cool "industrial" elements to start with. In the end I decided to recycle one of the old motherboards I had in my stash...

"The Oracle" - collage/assemblage on wood (34x40 cm)


The process off assembling continued for days. I knew what I was going for - a marriage of cold, Industrial feeling with elements of more traditional Steampunk look. If possible  - all that in a nice, not too girly colour palette!



I added some old radio's parts, old lock, some  pieces of old belt, cogs an gears... in fact tons of these... there were some wires and some shells used together with buttons and metal embellishments but again it took me weeks until I found the last set of pieces matching in size to the composition. I wish I had access to some nice junkyard on the regular basis!



In the end, when I had all of my elements in place I could play with some art mediums. Of course my first choice were my products from Art Basics and Art Extravagance Line.
I used Art Basics 3D Gloss Gel for gluing elements together, my Art Extravagance White Crackle Paste to add some beautiful, weathered look and finally Art Basics Black Heavy Gesso to prime all the project before painting. It took me a longer moment to cover all the details, but it all turned out great!



Finally - the painting... this step was done after a very long break and I wasn't sure the effect I was going for will be possible to achieve, but in the end combination of Art Basics White Heavy Gesso, sprays, and metallic acrylic paints was a great choice. I am really happy with the colour palette: cold, industrial in feeling but warmed a bit with touches of gold and pink. Mission completed!


I know of course this kind of art won't be appealing to everybody - I know personally some lovely people who are seriously freaked out with just the idea of using dolls' parts for assemblage or collage and no matter how hard I will try they won't change their minds :)
I love them anyway and i understand their point of view - but my heart was telling me this is the time for something new and bold - so here it is.
I believe you have to listen to your inner self, even if sometimes it will speak to you with a bit creepy voice... ;) don't you think?

I hope you will have a wonderful creative week! don't forget to check the blog on Friday to see another amazing tutorial from my wonderful CT Members.
See you soon!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Funky Florals

Hi everyone!
Juicy colors, a variety of delicious textures, a super clever background technique and so much more!
Rebecca is presenting her new beautiful canvas and sharing a tutorial that will surely inspire you to create something special too.



Hello Everyone,
Rebecca here with you today to share with you all a rather bright little number.
This mixed media canvas has been created with a LARGE amount of what I call leftovers and recyclables. These upcycles combined with a lot of beautiful Finnabair Beads, Mechanicals and Art Ingredients produced my very bright and vibrant mixed media flower garden. 


I think we are all probably a little guilty of hoarding a few sheets of these in our craft stash, let's put them to some good use. As you can see they can create a beautifully different and textured background. 


To create my background I randomly placed a combination of letters and numerals all over my canvas, paying absolutely no attention to direction or placement (upside down or sideways, random is best!).
Once the canvas was completely covered, a thick coat of Art Basics Heavy Black Gesso was applied. As I wanted to create the look of a little flower garden I blended my colour from green (grass) through to blue (sky).
My choice of paints were Silks (African Jade, Bolivian Blue, Teal Zircon) and Lumiere (Pearlescent Blue, Halo Blue Gold Metallic Olive Green). 


Although a lot of paint had already been applied, I knew it still needed just that little bit more razzle dazzle.
To achieve this effect I sprinkled very very lightly some Art Ingredients Mica Power in Blue and Green. Spritzing with a water bottle and watching the shimmery mica run between all the letters and numerals. 


To frame my entire canvas border you will see beautiful Art Ingredients Glass Beads in Peacock Green and Turquoise.
Scattered and adhered between all the letters and numerals if you look closely you will find Art Ingredients Micro Beads in Bronze.
Plaited scrap material anchors down my lucky charm which has been combined with a hanging pendant.
Other title work on the canvas has been stamped from the beautiful Now is the Right Time and Dream On Prima Cling Stamps which has been backed with more scrap material.


Below you will see my flower stem and leaves have also been created with scrap material, rusty nails edge my boarders and have been wrapped with copper metallic thread.
Look closely at what else you can see, I did not notice this at the time of photographing but a bee had decided to land in the flower garden. ;-)


My two flowers were created with a combination of tattered flowers from my stash, hand made twisted rope flower and Mechanicals. Adorning both my Mechanicals you will see Art Ingredients Micro Beads in Grass and Blush.




Many thanks for looking my friends, as always I wish you all a very happy and creative day.

~ Rebecca ~


Products used: