Sunday, 12 July 2009

Beryl Taylor style wedding album

The young man who helps me at work is getting married. He and his wife-to-be have been planning the wedding for a long time and I know they both want it to be a really special day. I really appreciate all David's help, but I probably don't show or tell him that enough, so thought I'd make them an album as a wedding gift. They can choose whether to send the album around for their guests to write in during the wedding reception, or whether to use it as a photograph album.

I made the covers from mount board covered in felt, and fabric paper. The mount board is in one piece for the back cover, but the front cover consists of one piece about an inch wide and another which is the rest of the cover. Once covered with fabric, the joint between these two pieces will allow the front cover to be opened easily.

The fabric paper is simple to make - take a piece of woven cotton fabric, and glue pieces of printed tissue paper and thin gift wrap onto it, using watered down PVA glue (about half water, half glue). Leave small gaps between the papers so that the fabric isn't too stiff when it dries. Although I usually use random pieces of gift wrap and printed tissue, I chose both the colours and the images of the gift wrap quite carefully for this project - they are all birds, cupids, medieval patterns, romantic quotes, or abstract gold and white patterns. This way, whatever shows through after decorating the covers, will be appropriately romantic.

Next, cover the printed papers with strips of plain cheap white tissue, using the same glue mixture. It doesn't matter if they overlap, or crinkle, this will add to the overall texture. Before this layer dries, paint the whole piece with a wash of very diluted acrylic paint. I like to use Golden fluid acrylics, as they are so heavily pigmented that there is still quite a depth of colour even when diluted. I used a turquoise and a violet on the fabric paper. Leave paper to dry - I hung mine on a washing line and left it overnight.

I cut the covers to size, allowing an inch all around for finishing. I decided it needed a touch of glimmer, so gave it a wash of watered down Jaquard Lumiere paint in purple gold. Once dry, I used the sewing machine to add gold organza ribbon, and patterned satin ribbon which I had dyed lilac. I added some frilly turquoise ribbon down the side where the album hinges. I then sewed and glued the remaining elements onto the cover by hand. Each square sequin has a bead and 4 stitches holding it in place, the satin ribbon is decorated with seed beads, there are bugle beads forming vertical interest, a polymer clay key, a heart plaque made using water soluble paper to cast a stamp, punched paper hearts, stamped and embellished with small flowers, fabric flowers attached with gold brads, and the names of the happy couple stamped above and below the heart plaque. The areas where there is no added embellishment are where I have allowed background elements to be seen - there are two quotes - Love conquers all and My heart for ever more, and the birds on the nest in the centre.

The back cover is much plainer, I just added gold organza ribbon around the edge.

There are 15 pages inside the album. My scanner isn't showing the detail too well, but both sides of each page was washed with delicate pink and blue watercolour dyes, and the right hand edge was stamped with Colorbox lavender pigment ink. Finally, each page has part of a text called 'The Art of Marriage' stamped onto it.

The whole text reads:

The Art of Marriage

A good marriage must be created
In the marriage, the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
it is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It i speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person, it is being the right partner.

I wish David & Laura a long and happy marriage.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Woo Hoo

I entered the After Midnight art clock challenge and came second! Doing the happy dance....

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Beryl Taylor inspired art

I made this piece for a swap Sweetpea is running on CC Swaps. The swap requirement was that whatever we made had to be inspired by or in the style of Beryl Taylor. I love Beryl's work and have made several paper quilts in the style of her work. I decided to be a bit more ambitious and adventurous this time, and go for a fabric paper and embroidery project.

Fabric paper is a fabulous base for mixed media - and very simple to make (although it does take a long time to dry). You just take a piece of fabric - gauze or fine cotton - and paint it with watered down PVA white glue (the cheaper the better). Lay some scraps of tissue paper or thin gift wrap down onto the fabric and paint with more glue. Leave gaps between the scraps. Add torn strips of white tissue paper along with more glue, to cover the whole thing. While the glue is still wet, add a wash of watered down fluid acrylic paints in 2 or 3 colours. Leave to dry overnight.

I glued my fabric paper to a layer of felt, then cut nine 2 inch squares from the sheet. I machine stitched around the edges of each square, using gold thread. I stamped some medieval text onto the squares using Stewart Gill Metallica bright gold paint applied to the stamp with a colorbox sponge tool. I edged the squares with more paint. I took a square of mount board and covered it with velvet, then mounted my squares onto it with gel medium.

Having created a background, I needed to add the decorative focal point to the piece. I wanted this to stand out from the background, so applied a thin layer of white gesso over my fabric paper. I hand drew a design copied from a medieval tile from Strata Florida Abbey, the resting place of several Welsh Princes, and cut it out from the fabric paper. I layered it onto some deep blue-green fine netting, machine embroidered the centre, and the outer ring, then hand embroidered the cut out using gold thread, and added some beading. The photo below shows the piece with the gold thread work almost complete but not yet beaded.

I cut small diamonds from fabric paper and painted them with a coat of transparent iron oxide, then added them to the circle around the design, with a bead in the centre of each. Finally, I mounted the circular piece onto the squares background. The background squares are much more vivid than the picture shows, and I'm really pleased with the finished piece.

I hope Sweetpea likes it too!



Please note that I assert myself as the creator of all art on this site (unless I credit another artist) and retain copyright of all artwork posted on this site