Monday, March 09, 2009

Take two serviettes

okay I'll cop to it
I'm obsessive about a great number of things
most of which you probably know about :
storage solutions for all the above ... plastic tubs, bags, boxes, folders, binders

and the one that perhaps you don't know about because I strive mightily to keep it under control

I'm a paper products junkie

... notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, notepads, stationery - and I really have to restrain myself from adding to my enormous stash of interesting photos

so I was thrilled when I found an article in the latest Cloth, Paper, Scissors written by mixed media artist Sharon Tomlinson

that advocated using interesting printed paper napkins/serviettes as the base for mixed media pieces

ooooh goody - permission to go buy some pretty serviettes
and a small cheap primed canvas

I have no desire to copy Sharon's unique and quirky style.
It's hers
but there was definitely something that resonated with that idea of those flimsy tissue images that caused me to haul out the file that contains all the ephemera found amongst my late mum's stuff and which I have no good reason to keep but I did anyway ... like a letter written on half-a-dozen sheets of the lightest of wartime issue 'on-active-service' paper from mum's BFF Mavis.

the serviettes were separated to harvest that top layer and adhered to the canvas
then cheap gold acrylic paint [ so cheap that there's very little actual pigment and it gives a lovely soft burnished look if applied with a very light hand and rubbed back repeatedly]
then the letter
more bits of serviette
more paint - sort of pewterish this time
a white monoprint from a feather to echo the images on the serviette and to reinforce the idea of transience and impermanence

at this point I did print some words in strategic spots but have since painted and stuck over them

pretty but lacking focus

so then a 'sewing woman' cut from a card to anchor that bottom left corner
a layer of pine green brushed on and sponged off

then dark blue
and finally the gold again to soften and lighten the blue and blend the whole

I'm still not sure if it's finished - my feeling is that yes it is - but in any case I'll live with it for a while now.
How do you know when something is complete ?

Mum has been gone since 1994, her BFF, Mavis, died of cancer in 1965, and yet here is this chatty note written in the midst of huge conflict over 60 years ago still surviving.

Through the lens of memory, all summers are golden


Rose Red said...

What a great idea - and you have done all the elements great justice - looks fantastic!

Tara said...

That is just gorgeous, and such a beautiful way to preserve something so special. I love old letters, I love the worlds - away topics of conversation that still seem to relevent, the scrawly spidery old style handwriting. I think there are the things of the past that are most precious and interesting.
You've done an amazing job!

Marcie said...

that's at least as good as anything I've seen in Cloth Paper Scissors (and frankly, better than most.) Maybe you should do some more paper stuff, eh?

Sarah said...

It's beautiful! I'd love to see more of what you've done!

I'm paring down all my crafty clutter to make room for things I am actually using. But the ephemera is hard to part with!!

Alwen said...

That is so evocative.

Warty Mammal said...

This is beautiful. One of the few collages I've ever seen that I liked, probably because you've designed it with a focal point and the other elements act as a frame which give the focal point connotation. On all too many collages, my eyes just bang around and don't know where to go.

Lynne said...


I love CPS but have yet to uncover the one which arrived on Friday; I've been reading the free "Get Creative" magazines we picked up at CraftFest last weekend!

Robbyn said...

Beautiful Susan, just beautiful - so tender and evocative :) God, you do nice work!

Sheepish Annie said...

Back before I became a yarn junkie, I reveled in paper. I made lots of jewelry out of recycled paper. But nothing to rival your work! Wow!!!

I'm a notebook junkie, as well. Nothing excites me like a new notebook. I can use a plain one, but a special one just gives me the shivers. I might need to make some new notebooks...

And get some new pens to use with them...

Yvette said...

Dear Susan you have opened my eyes to a whole new world! That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen - you are brilliant at it!

I just love your blog - you write beautifully and tell a story so well - lovely comic bits an everything!

Hugs Me

PS Give me your email addy so I can send you something!

Kerrie said...

I love the way you documented the creative stages and showed the different effects.Thank you for sharing your techniques and tips. I look forward to seeing some more of your work. And now to the pack of lovely oriental cherry blossom serviettes I bought yesterday to start working on for Mother's Day!