Monday, 13 February 2017

2017 #2 Specimen Box {by Alison Bomber}

2017 Topic 2: Masks

It's always lovely when someone pulls the Hot Picks stamps out of their hat, and Alison has cooked up a treat with this masking masterpiece. As you now realise, masks are generally used to 'cover' up and protect, and in this example she is using the mask to create white space that 'pops' and creates a striking focal point.

Hello all, Alison from Words and Pictures here with a Specimen Box for you.  I went around the houses on this one to come back to where I'd originally started from!  My initial idea was for a sort of three dimensional vintage botanical journal, using my favourite effect that you get from masking - the pop of an image out of the background - and so that's what I have for you (after quite a lot of detours on the way).

I'm never much of a one for fussy-cutting so, although I love the effect of ink around an image, I don't mask images very often because I find cutting the mask a bore, especially with the kinds of detailed vintage stamps I like playing with.

I adore these collaged images with the wonderful ornate script from Hot Picks 1301, 1302 and 1305, but do I want to cut masks for them all?  Fussy-cutting the butterfly, maybe, but fussy-cutting those crab claws, or those flowers... that's a big no-no in my book.

HP1109 Alison hasn't used this set but it's similar, so I've added it for reference
So the Molotow masking pen seemed like the perfect solution.  Not only is there no cutting involved, but you can deal with all the fine detail so that the inking, or whatever you do over the top, gets into all the nooks and crannies.

I won't go into detailed how-to stuff, as it's really pretty straightforward - but there is something very satisfying about the moment when you start to rub away the rubbery blue masking to reveal the pure white underneath.

I'm so glad I thought of doing some spots and blotches as well as masking the main images. No big making-of details, but I do want to share some of the stop-start process of this, if only to prove that things don't always go smoothly!

The reason I went round the houses was that one of those "ought to" thoughts got in the way.  I thought I "ought to" do something more interesting than my usual vintage neutrals, so (probably influenced by the lovely Pink and Orange challenge) I started out on a bright background for my masking.  But when I stamped the first of the Hot Picks images, it just didn't work for me.  For one thing, I could see I would lose lots of my lovely backgrounds under the later layers, so I decided that rather than pursue it any further I would save the four unstamped panels for something else.

So then I headed blue/green-wards.  I stamped my images and added the masking using the Molotow masking pen but, after doing some watercolouring and inking, I found that the fluid was very reluctant to come off the cardstock I'd used (and I was also feeling unusually ambivalent about the blue/greens for some reason, even after the addition of some Vintage Photo), so it was back to the drawing board yet again.

This time I threw out the "ought to" thought, and followed my true instinct, which is what I "ought to" have done the first time!!  And with some proper watercolour paper, the masking fluid in the pen behaved itself much better.

I imagine the handwriting as notes around the flora and fauna specimens - the observations and notations recorded by a Victorian naturalist.

So I wanted to create distressed, aged papers for my botanical sketches.  In the end, I went a bit darker with my inks so that the pop of the masking would be more extreme.

And I like my little specimen labels (they're Calico Craft Parts)...

... as well as how the panels look on the ATB.  It might not be terribly complicated as a project, but I think the simplicity really works for these intricate, detailed stamps.

And I'm glad my naturalist is a sketcher rather than a collector of specimens - so it's all pictures on the outside of the specimen box rather than bodies on the inside!

Altogether, in the end, it pleases me greatly to look at, so there's a lesson there for me in trusting my instincts (which, to be honest, I usually do - so proof, rather than a lesson, maybe, that I'm right to do so!).  

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you're enjoying masking things in many ways this fortnight.  I can certainly recommend adding the Molotow pen to your tool box.

Alison Bomber
Words and Pictures
butterfly crafter on Pinterest

Those pens seems to be getting rave reviews too, so good choice Alison! I love the brown vintage tones, and I think we are all guilty of attemping to overcomplicate things, when we should probably go with our gut instinct first! I did have to laugh at your fussy cutting remark, you and I need to send Lauren into therapy for her fussy cutting extreme behaviour! She takes it to the next level! I'm with you, life is too short! Haha ~ Leandra

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Miriam said...

I love what you've done Alison... so striking and effective.. . And great use of Hot Picks... gorgeous!

Miriam said...

I love what you've done Alison... so striking and effective.. . And great use of Hot Picks... gorgeous!

Helen said...

Wow, Alison, this is gorgeous! I will have to look for one of those pens, as I hate fussy cutting too. The end result (in those gorgeous neutrals) looks amazing (though the blue/green ones look fab too!)

Amanda said...

Amanda x

Nikki Acton said...

Another wonderful creation Alison an wonderful to see your thought process! Whatever you went through - the finished creation is fab xx

Kirsten said...

Alison, that is stunning!!!

Corrie Herriman said...

It is beautiful Alison !
Corrie x

Julie Lee said...

I really love how the Hot Picks are used and what a great idea to reveal those areas of white - so very effective. xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oooh! That pen seems like a VERY good idea! Your specimen box is gorgeous and I can't imagine it any other way! Always follow your gut instinct! Chrisx

Ruth said...

Absolutely beautiful project and the masking pen is such a good idea. Gorgeous! Ruth x

CastleKelly Crafts said...

Gorgeous box, love the neutrals but I think the blues/greens may be worth exploring! Will have to invest in a masking pen X

Lucy Edmondson said...

I really enjoyed this, alison. Very interested to hear about the pen. I have a little bottle of masking fluid i haven't used yet and am wondering now if it will work differently on different papers. Great post!

Lucy x

butterfly said...

Lucy - I think since lots of masking fluid is formulated for working with watercolour, it seems to work best on a textured or loose weave paper. The one it didn't want to come off was a smooth standard cardstock, and I think it just had too much surface to stick to - and that's why it was hard to get off. I could have done it in time, but it just seemed like a waste of effort given I wasn't enjoying the colours at that point!

Glad you're enjoying the post everybody.
Alison x

butterfly said...

P.S. Anyone who understands the science better, feel free to correct me! Ax

craftimamma said...

How lovely to see you on the blog again Alison and as always I adore your project. I always love neutrals too so this ticks the right boxes for me and you've used some of my favourite Hot Picks. I quite enjoy fussy cutting but I think I'd give the crab a miss so that pen sounds great. I have a bottle of masking fluid but find it quite difficult to use.....the pen might be a better option.

Lesley Xx

Art By Wanda said...

This is wonderful, Alison!!!

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Its beautiful, Alison!!

Craftyfield said...

An effective technique and a beautiful result! I do love these Hot Picks stamp sets, so glad you chose them for this project!

Dortesjs said...

OKAY i found your blog now where there are more pictures..thanks and woau the work you do is great. cutting is not THAT terrible..just get in to did great

Redanne said...

So glad you went with your heart, your favourite colour tones look so beautiful against the white masked elements. Love your stamp choices too, especially the gorgeous butterfly and crab! Anne x

Susan Battensby said...

Wow your project is stunning, your masking really stands out. Have never heard of masking pens, really hope they are easy to get hold of as I hate cutting out masks.

Marci said...

Lovely box! I like how you left all the edges rough and white. The specimen labels add the right touch to the beautiful stamps and the mask Ed areas.

Marci said...

Correction! masked areas

froebelsternchen said...

More than AMAZING what you have created here Alison!
Happy Valentine's Day to you!

experiments in paper said...

Truly lovely in both images and coloring..... and love the backstory! Brilliant way to mask, and one I will try, as I also dislike meticulous fussy cutting! xxx Lynn

Unknown said...

It's a stunning piece. I want to have a go with whatever Hotpicks I have.

Jennie Atkinson said...

Love this Alison !! I it is just superb - both in its fabulous vintage colours and the way the white is so clear after the masking fluid is taken away. Just a truly beautiful piece of art. Jennie x

Etsuko said...

What a splendid project Alison, the Specimen Box is beautiful vintage image and natural colours. I love it!! Great results of the Molotow masking pen. I have no idea of it-thanks! xx

Mrs.B said...

A fabulous project Alison and I love the vintage neutrals with the reveal of the white image, you were so obviously right to follow your instincts. The pen looks like a good idea, especially for intricate images.
Avril x

SewPaperPaint said...

Genius and such an inspiration!!!

Mac Mable said...

Amazing and loving the choice of the colour palette x

rachel said...

I've just been thinking about doing something using masking fluid and brush - but this pen sounds like a brilliant tool - your results are fabulous - I adore your work! Big hugs rachel x

Juliz Design Post said...

What a stunning creative project Alison.
Julie x

Jackie PN said...

Alison! What a fab specimen box you have created!! Have to say I like the pinks and oranges,but glad you went with your gut in the end! Gorgeous!! xx

sarascloset said...

Well, I can certainly see why these stamps are called Hot Picks! Wonderful detail to them, and you have showcased them and the masking pen beautifully! Glad you went with your instincts on this project--it surely is my favorite for the nature journal look. Well, now, I think I just may have to see if I can squeeze in an entry to this fun challenge!

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