I started with two tags, a stencil, some medieval music on the CD player, and one of my favourite ways to create a background.
I love working with paints and inks next to each other for the contrast. Fresco paints with their chalky finish are particularly good against translucent Distress Inks - even the translucent Frescos, though for the full effect you probably want some opaques involved.
I sponged three of my favourite colours through the stencil onto one tag, and then flipped the stencil straight over onto tag 2 and pressed down to transfer the paint onto the the tag surface.
I love doing this, as it gives me a pair of tags straight off - which always sets my brain off working on partner pieces.
Next I grabbed some Distress Inks...
again, some of my favourite colours...
... and used blending tools...
... to build up areas of colour...
... around and over the paint.
Next step is some spritzing and flicking...
I usually let the water sit on the surface for a few moments before applying some paper towel to soak up the droplets, and then drying with a heat tool.
I never tire of this look, or of the glowing ink against the chalky paint.
As you'll have worked out by now, I like building up layers in my backgrounds, so it's time to add some stamping.
I used the Ink and the Dog Words 2 plate and some more Mermaid paint for the first layer, applying the paint to the stamp with a bit of Cut N Dry foam.
The opaque paint really holds its own against the busy background.
I used the same stamp, but this time with some Aquamarine Archival Ink to add another layer.
So, now, what to do with my two beautiful backgrounds?!
Leandra included some Tando arches in my goody box, and the Gothic shape suited the mood created by the music and the crafting so far.
So, some more favourite colours, blended directly onto the arches...
... and then some Crackle Glaze over the top.
Back to lovely Mermaid, combined with some Snowflake, to go over the top of the Crackle Glaze.
I applied it with a sponge instead of a brush to get a random porcelain crackle rather than directional "woody" crackle.
Some more stamping now, and time to introduce my main stamp sets for this month's posts: the Urban Snapshots Nature plates.
US Nature 1 US Nature 2 US Nature 4
I stamped two of the leafy images direct onto the solid arch shapes...
... using Potting Soil Archival Ink - how's that for a "natural, earthy" colour?!
And I stamped two of the sentiments onto some plain paper in the same colour.
Out with my favourite Vintage Photo Distress Ink to do some edging around the sentiments.
I love how the ink takes differently according to whether it's over ink or paint, creating different textural layers.
I arranged all the elements using padded tape in either single, double or even triple layers to give various levels of dimension.
The final ingredient came direct from nature: some dried Grape Hyacinth seed heads from my mother's garden in the Czech Republic.
They're so beautiful and very delicate... I bound a couple of stems together with raffia to get the shape I wanted within (and without) the frames.
So there's my pair of tags... it took a while playing with the composition of the elements to get them to complement each other.
I started with positioning the hollow arches to "frame" some of my favourite bits of the background, but then once the seed heads arrived, I realised it was better to position the frame to avoid my favourite bits, otherwise they got to covered up by the flowers!
I kept the topping for the tags very simple and natural too: some lengths of raffia tied together with twine.
I'm really happy with the dimensional layering of the elements.
And overall, these tags gave me some real peace and solace in the midst of a very trying time... crafting comes to the rescue again! I hope they inspire you to indulge in some joyful creating too.
Leandra Says: The balance of composition is just brilliant Alison, you have a real natural ability for this. The colours and use of natural materials were just perfect for this stamp collection. Excited to see what else is coming up this week.
Gillian Says:Beauuuuutiful composition Alison, the depth to the layered background and the crackle effect looks fab.