Monday, November 14, 2011

Autumn Sweeties: November ATCs

It is still very much autumn to me after a mild summer; trees in my neighborhood are just beginning to turn colors. So I very much wanted to convey the season with my monthly-trading ATCs. As a student of the Japanese haiku poetry, I have come to understand the importance of  season words (kigo). An universal and timeless image associated with a season can strongly influence the response of a reader. For instance, how do you feel when you see a lone leaf fall from a tree? What thoughts arise when sitting on a patio wrapped in a shawl underneath the glow of paper lanterns? How do your senses react to a picture of pumpkin pie? I attempted to apply this concept to this month's cards . . .

For the background and backing of the ten ATCs, I chose Soul Expression's assorted package of autumn designs and solid colors. Then I took a rubber stamp made by ©Leavenworth of Japanese lanterns inked with copper pigment and stamped each card. The result was very subtle and the card needs to be tilted to the light to show the details of the stamp. After the ink dried, reproduced die cuts from Germany of vintage children were adhered with YES! paste (my favorite). Then little cute stickers from K&Companyand eksuccess/Jolees® were added to each card. Often I remove a layer of foam height from stickers; if the card cannot fit into a clear sleeve or envelope, it is too thick for me. I take what I want from prepackaged stickers, borders and ephemera; cutting and piecing different elements together instead of taking it directly as-is from the package.

The final touches before the solid backing was adhered, was the sponging of vintage photo Distress Ink around the edges of the card, after rounding the corners. To me, the cards communicate a feeling of nostalgia and changing of season through the simplicity of a few images with autumn colors. What are your thoughts, or rather, feelings? Would love to hear from you . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Dead ATC

Who better than Frida Kahlo to send greetings to all on the day of the dead?

This is the latest Artist Trading Card (ATC) series that I created in the spirit of Halloween, Segaki and the Day of the Dead. I made many to give away to my monthly trading group and friends during this time of year; when the veil is thinner between this world and spirits of the "other" world.

The background was created months ago when I was experimenting with Adirondack® Alcohol Inks on glossy white cardstock. I always keep stuff that I either play around with to get a feel for the materials or make during demonstrations for a workshop. NEVER throw anything away - it will probably be useful some day! Though this way of thinking could be the reason my studio is stuffed full of too many materials and papers...

Anyway - I cut the cardstock down to 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches (ATC size) and used Staz-On® Ink (solvent ink won't smear or wipe off on glossy paper) with the rubber stamp. This great stamp is from Stampa Fe Art Stamps in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had the great pleasure of visiting them last year and came home with a suitcase full of rubber stamps (well - almost full)! A bright red gel pen was used on her lips and a white gel pen was used on the skeleton. Then Ranger's SticklesTM Glitter Glue was applied sparingly on the skeleton's hat. A little rub-on element was adhered to each ATC along with a great lace adhesive tape made by decollections. It just felt to me that Frida would have demanded some silk, lace or embroidery.

A trading card is never finished until you sign the back of your ATC with your contact info and date. I also always title my series and indicate the number of cards made. A Canson® Mi-Teines paper was used for the backside of all the cards.

There wasn't enough of the alcohol ink backgrounds for all 21 cards, so I used different paper with designs for many of them. They all turned out pretty good - or at least, everyone who received one thought they were pretty cool. And - they were so easy and fun to make!