Friday, 28 September 2012

Creating Sets Me Free - Sunday Stamper's Challenge #224

A very quick post to submit my project for this weeks Sunday Stamper challenge - Behind the Mask - which  of course means using masks and stencils.

Well I've got to say that this isn't the project I designed in my head but circumstances were against me and I couldn't get hold of the mask I wanted to use - so I've had to "make do and mend" with what I've got! So here it is. My Behind the Mask tag...

As a newbie to the world of mixed media art - and having a great deal more imagination than skill, I often feel constrained by my lack of training and overwhelmed by self doubt. BUT there is nothing I enjoy more than losing myself in a project (to the extent that I have no fewer than six alarm times set on my phone to make sure I don't miss any of my school pick ups!)

I wanted to illustrate this feeling of release from reality that creating brings and have used my favourite caged bird image (mask) to represent the ties of everyday life and  the stamped images of the bird sitting on the branch and the flock of birds soaring to represent the lightness of spirit I get when I'm playing in my craft room.

The key and ball-and-chain pinned to the fibres echo the themes of constraint and release.

The deets:

I began by cutting out the tag using my Cuttlebug - the die is a Sizzix Bigz die so cutting with a Cuttlebug takes a bit of fiddling with the cutting plates but is OK with this particular die as the tag part of the die fits the Cuttlebug plates - if you want to cut the reinforcers you need to reposition the plates at that end of the die and the pass them through the machine again.

Next I inked up the tag, a light covering of Tumbled Glass DI applied with a distressing tool over the whole surface of the tag, followed by Broken China DI blended from the top right hand corner fading back diagonally towards the middle of the tag.

I then applied Faded Jeans DI through the bird cage mask repeatedly pouncing the distressing tool to build up depth of colour and definition.

When the ink had dried I stamped the birds in Chipped Sapphire DI

At this stage I felt that the whole piece was very two dimensional and a bit dull, so I went over the bird cage in Jelly Roll Clear Star to give a little sparkle and interest. Sadly the photos don't do the Clear Star justice. The tag is sitting on an easel on my work bench and is twinkling at me beautifully in the lamp light. If you haven't come across Clear Star yet take my advice and give it a go - I'm not a big fan of glitter on my projects but this pen gives a very subtle sparkle and is so easy to use - no mess, no glue, no glitter on parts where glitter didn't aught to be!

I stamped the text on white cardstock using Chipped Sapphire, cut out the words individually and lightly inked them with Tumbled Glass to knock back the bright white a little. I then inked the edges (both text and tag) with Chipped Sapphire and then mounted the text on foam pads to add depth.

The fibres (more from my RAK - I said they'd make another appearance!), chain and key are pinned on with a baby blue safety pin.

Die - Tim Holtz Alterations Movers & Shapers - Tag & Bookplates
Mask -The Crafters Workshop Mini Birds of a Feather
Stamps - Birds -Crafty Individuals  CI 234, Alphas - Studio G alphabet stamp set
Ink - Tim Holtz Distress Inks - Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire
Pen - Sakura Jelly Roll - Clear Star
Fibres, chain, key, safety pin - from stash

I had intended to do an Autumnal mixed media canvas - but never mind I now have another tag to add to my growing tag gallery!

I wont be entering the Challenge this weekend as Mr M and I are leaving the junior Moonshines with Grandma and Grandad and sneaking away for a short break in Northumberland (Please don't let it rain any more!) Mr M - being the wonderful chap that he is, has even agreed to stopping over in Harrogate for an extra night on the way home so that I can visit the Great North Papercraft Extravaganza on Saturday. Tell you what - Mr M really is a TOP BANANA!


  1. This is a very pretty tag - love the birdcage & that background colour is gorgeous. Sx

  2. Aww, it sets me free too hun... LOVE your tag, made even more wonderful by your explanation... thanks for joining in with the Sunday Stamper x

  3. How you have described an all too common feeling. Congrats on you beautiful ' RELEASE'.

    Don't under-estimate your talent ...I wish I had just a tiny spot of it.


Thanks for sharing your happy thoughts. Maisie Moonshine x

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