Monday 3 December 2018

2018 #21 Matchbox Art: Poetic Boxes with ESA {by Alison Bomber}

 2018 Topic 21: Matchbox Art
Poetic Boxes by Alison Bomber

Love how Alison's matchboxes are windows to such a wonderful wintry scene! It's amazing how this theme just offers up so many possibilities. As Christmas looms, perhaps you will find time to create your own matchbox wonderland! ~ Leandra

Hi everyone, it's Alison here from Words and Pictures with you today, and I'd like to share with you some words and pictures... and they're all boxed up.

I'm sure when I signed up for this theme a few months ago that I had a plan, but when I came to making my project, the idea had vanished, so I set out on this with very little idea about where I was going.  But I'm really very happy with where I ended up.  The organic shapes of nature (my usual preference) contrast strongly with the geometric framing of the matchboxes.  It makes the eye work a little harder to see what's going on, and to find the poetry moving through the boxes.

I started out by experimenting with laying out the matchbox drawers on a wooden plaque, 30 x 15cm (6 x 12 inches in old money).  I quickly realised that I could have another size of frame if I snipped up the matchbox sliders to make little backless boxes.

I glued down my arrangement and gave it all a rough coat of gesso.  I find it helps me think better about what I want to do next if I have a nice "blank" canvas.  Note to self... next time, paint the background before sticking down the matchboxes!

I knew I'd be using Seth's stamps, so I thought I'd use some of his paints into the bargain.  I applied Double Denim Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic with a paintbrush, knocking back with babywipes.  I had planned to do some crackle, using this darker blue as my underlayer, but I decided I really liked the way it was going and dumped the crackle idea.

I dry-brushed on some Glacier Ice Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic and then added some Snowflake Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic coming in from the edges, and by now I was seeing an icy winter sky starting to form in and around the boxes.

No more process photos I'm afraid, as I got too wrapped up in the process!  I sponged Snowflake paint onto Seth's fabulous swirls from Eclectica³ {Seth Apter} 09.

When I looked closely at the image on the stamp set, I decided they're actually glasses with water in, with the photo taken from above, but for my purposes they're gusts of snowy wind, whirling across the sky. (edit from Leandra: the image is actually empty paint tins stacked outside PAHQ, a photo Seth took when he was visiting us!! Yup once you know what it is it's sooo obvious! But, they make the perfect snowstorm too!)

I even managed to bend the stamp enough to get some whirls inside some of the boxes.

I knew for the main stamping I'd have to borrow some techniques from the recent tissue paper theme.  I wasn't sure at first what to use, but my eye landed on the fabulous bare branches of the tree in Eclectica³ {Seth Apter} 10 - and then I knew!

I stamped my trees in Archival Jet Black on some white tissue paper and started to add them into some of the frames.

In places, I let the frame cut off the tree, and loved the bold effect.  It really teases the eye, and demands that the imagination make sense of it.

But where there were more frames below or to the side, I sometimes allowed the image to carry on - either by adding another bit of the stamped image, or by completing the trunks of the trees with a Sharpie marker, or both.

I also tissue stamped some of the detailed stripe stamp from ESA09, and used it as a sort of washi tape effect.  Again, in places it "travels" from one box-frame into the next, and in others it just cuts off short.

In some places it's layered over the tree stamping (delights of tissue-stamping, the layering is really easy), and in others the "washi" stamping is the main focus of a whole matchbox frame.

Time for some words.  The Rainer Maria Rilke quote from my Eclectica³ {Alison Bomber} Set 01 Trees & Flowers set seemed perfect.

I painted a coat of Little Black Dress Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic onto some card, stamped in Archival and used Wow Bright White powder for my embossing.

Positioning the bits of text took quite a while.  I toyed with gluing them on the tops of the matchbox frames, but eventually decided I preferred them slightly hidden.

I like that the eye has to work to follow the thought across the panel.

It means you catch sight of other little details as you go.  Of course, the word "alone" had to go all by itself, alone, in a box.

And the end of the thought lands nicely in the corner - a very satisfying resolution.

I rubbed my Jet Black Archival ink pad across the tops of the matchbox frames to give them some more definition, and some white spatter finishes things off.

As I said, I really love the contrast of the organic natural shapes with the geometric strength of the matchbox frames, and I also like the dimension it gives - allowing for snowy highlights and shadowy depths.

I have to confess it was a little tricky getting the paint in all the corners I wanted it to go.  And the tissue stamping is a bit fiddly too, but it does have the advantage that if things don't go according to plan, you can just scrape it all off (while still wet) and start again.  I loved the surprise of where this piece went.  It took me in a direction that felt very different - so I loved the challenge of that.  I hope you'll mess around with some matchboxes, framing different elements.  You might surprise yourselves too.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope to see you again soon.

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Helen said...

oh Alison, this is stunning!! Gorgeous gorgeous colours and I love the choice of stamps and your quote..

Miriam said...

oh wow! What a wonderful start to the week!

Amanda said...

Stunning x

Clare said...

Such a beautiful project, I’m going back in for another look! Gorgeous xxx

Lauren Hatwell said...

Wow! This is genius! So beautiful! Lx

PaperArtsy said...

Just superb Alison!! Love it!

Darcy Marshall said...

This is amazing, I love it. If I had time I would absolutely make one of these. I could see it working brilliantly in bright xmas colours too.

laury55 said...

it shouldn't have been easy to stamp inside the boxes, but the result is just stunning

Hazel Agnew said...

Love how you have edged all of the boxes Alison, remind me of classy but rustic pottery. Gorgeous atmosphere that you have created and wonderful flow! Also made me think of “The Snowman”, walking in the air 🎶.
A wonderful project! Xx

Etsuko said...

What a fantastic snowy landscape panel art Alison!! I love your panel art that how you have used the lot of the matchbox and laying it out and simple painting with using tissue paper. This is great idea and have a go!! xx said...

I love this Alison!

Annie said...

This is amazing and clearly you were thinking outside the box Alison !!
Love the layout colours and stamped details xx
TFS and hugs xx

Mashkina Olena said...


gibonik said...


Susan Battensby said...

What a gorgeous project, I love it!

geezercrafter said...

Love the flow of the matchboxes and the text, leads your eye nicely through the wonder winterland.

Marci said...


Roosterhead Designs said...

So unique and artful, I just love it! Great paint and layers, amazing lay-out with it's dimension and texture. Such a great way to use stamps. Frosty and winter-y and too cool! Tells quite a story~~~ karen o

johanna said...

finally i came over from your blog and i must say: i´m blown away!!! fantastic!!

Corrie Herriman said...

Wonderful ! x

Craftyfield said...

Fab project, Alison, such an original take on the box theme!

Redanne said...

A totally stunning creation Alison, so inventive! x

Trish said...

Stunning Alison, and the peek photo at the top of the post had me going.
I initially thought they were stamped onto card then glossy accents or similar over them to make little three-dimensional thingies (I just can't think of what you call them now!)

Cocofolies said...

One more stunner, Alison.
Love the idea of playing with matchboxes in this way, and your wonderful wooden panel at the end!!!!!
Coco X

craftytrog said...


froebelsternchen said...

OMG - This is fantastic - such an unique assemblage! I am in love with this project!

Astrid Maclean said...

Such a cool idea and the result is stunning!

Mac Mable said...

Now this is one stand out are so very talented. Love the juxtaposition of the geometric shapes versus nature. Love the tones of blue and the stamping. Fabulous inspiration and I thank you for it x Stunning x

Paper Profusion said...

Genius design Alison!! Definitely added to my list of your very best makes. Thank-you for sharing step by steps - this really is a stunner. Off to study it again now! Nicola x

pearshapedcrafting said...

What an absolutely amazing creation Alison! xx

Ruth said...

Wow, absolutely stunning, the blue background is so gorgeously created and such a clever, clever idea to use the matchboxes and tree stamp in this way, love this!

Seth said...

Another stunner Alison!

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Cool project, love the icy cool blues. Love this piece ❤️❤️

Jackie PN said...

Alison, this is absolutely stunning!
Your configuration of the matchboxes and stamps is fantastic and then your words...oh my, I do believe this is on the list of my new favorites! ")
Jackie xo

Lucy Edmondson said...

This is just amazing!

Lucy x