Monday 27 December 2021

2021: PaperArtsy - A Year in Review {Topics 4 to 6}


Hello from PaperArtsy HQ,

We hope you have enjoyed a wonderful holiday period with friends, family, old movies and some good food over the past few days! This is the week of the year where we remind you of how amazing our bloggers have been over this past year, and share with you some of the many highlights.

Usually at the start of the year we are tripping around the world to the USA, Germany, UK for the annual crafting trade shows, so early 2021 for us meant we did not get to do those face-to-face events. Instead we stayed in touch with our shops and customers online to share our new product offering. 
Many of our designers switched up their classes to be virtual instead of in-person, and we also kept in touch with all our stores monthly too. Sad not to see people in real life, but here at PA HQ, after having undertaken a big move mid-pandemic from the UK to France, we were quite content to be homebodies and crack on with all the projects that needed urgent attention in our new location. For us, 2021 has been a steep learning curve both administratively, physically, and practically as we adjust to new systems, a new climate, new service providers and new suppliers.

Today Dounia has curated a stunning selection from 2021 Topic 4:Free to Fly, Topic 5:Find your Vibe and Topic 6:Mandala Mix.
Feet up for 5 minutes, and enjoy!


Topic 4 : Free to Fly

This topic was about all things winged and fluttering. Bees, Birds and Butterflies! Quite a few of our designers had releases with birds and other winged creatures this year and this topic proved quite popular. Indeed, flying invokes dreams of the open skies, freedom of movement and the joy of being outside. I think we were all yearning for those feelings after an often difficult year cooped up inside. Waiting for better times, our bloggers instead escaped to their craftrooms, or their corner of worktable, to let their creativity take flight and take us on beautiful journeys of the mind.

My first pick is this beautiful card by Claire Snowdon, a true mixed-media piece with corrugated cardboard, textured fabrics and clean stamping. Her original blog post describes how she achieved the fabulous texture on the background, playing with grunge paste, paints and Infusions. A study in contrasts: the flowing threads against the graphic staples; the grungy layers against the sharp focal points; the distressed edges highlighting the vibrant bee.

I hope you didn't miss Etsuko Noguchi's amazing fairy booklet. An ode to Lynne Perella's stamps, it is also a real mash-up project seamlessly involving stamps and stencils by 5 other designers. Her original blog post is not only a feast for the eyes, full of whimsical colours and clever details, but also a very thorough exploration of her creative process (with diagrams!) that let you grasp the amount of work and love that went into this project.

I adored how Jennie Atkinson incorporated the topic in both the substrate and its decorations. With its hint of a nest, this could absolutely be a bird house, but instead it is full of butterflies! You might not have realised it but this project does not actually involved anything made of wood! It is only clever use of basic and recycled cardboard elements and Infusions. Be sure to check her original blog post to see how she achieved this bluffing wood effect!

Topic 5: Find your Vibe

Here is another very open blog topic. The vibe is sometimes elusive, often surprising and always ever-changing. This was an occasion for our bloggers to showcase their style and their quirks but also to explore the eternal question: 'how to be YOU in your art?'. At first that question may seem a bit trite but I think we all have struggled at some point between emulating those we look up to, wanting to make something beautiful or impressive, and truly expressing our own personality and sensibilities. As everybody's vibe is indeed different, we had a wide and varied range of projects in this topic, so I have chosen 4 projects instead of 3.

First up is this gorgeous journal layout by Jenny Marples. Everything, from minimal and striking use of colour, to to the multiple layers of texture, is balanced. I am always amazed by her masterful use of white space, full of delicate and subtle variations and contrasting sharply with the focal points. Even if you do not feel up to hand-drawing yourself, in her original blog post, Jenny shares a few of her tricks to overcome our creative roadblocks, this one is really worth a read!

In her blog post, Tracy Springer shares how she finds inspiration in the stamps themselves and takes us on a creative adventure as she builds her characters and their story. Not afraid to mix and match and modify designs, she also reminds us that no image is static and that no one is safe from being chopped up and reassembled (on paper, of course!). This bright and colourful composition is only part of her project, a box hiding a surprise!

Despite the complex layered look of the cover, Autumn Clark's card-folder started with very simple gel printing, a great way to find your spark when maybe lacking inspiration. Don't be intimidated as she shares how she makes the most of her prints and achieves easily an intricate look. Her original blog post is also full of tips and tricks to create that vintage look, full of soft colours and detailed layers.

When trying to find your vibe, you might not think of scrapbooking, but Kate Yetter proved the two are totally compatible! She used this mini album of family photos as an occasion to create lots of yummy mix media backgrounds and just have fun mix and matching. Recycled papers, paints, infusions, textures, stamping, her original blog post has a bit of everything and encourages you to play: each page is an experiment and lets you decide what is you. 

Topic 6 : Mandala Mix
At the intersection of art and spirituality, Mandalas are more popular than ever, both for the meditative process and the stunning result. While the more traditional mandalas, based on circles, symmetry and repeating patterns certainly make for gorgeous pieces, we added 'Mix' to the topic title so that our bloggers would feel free to wander outside the geometric box, and they certainly did not disappoint! While some took full advantage of the mandala-ish stamps and stencils of our designers, some brave souls unearthed their compasses and protractors for a bit of maths and craft!

In the PaperArtsy family, I think it is fair to say that Tracy Scott is our Mandala Queen! Lynn Good certainly thinks so. She chose her stamps to create this vibrant and striking journal page using the Blackout Technique. She shares her process in her original blog post and watching this page's evolution is truly mesmerizing. By adding doodling to the stamping, she even preserved the meditative aspect of mandalas.

Moving out of her comfort zone, Nikki Acton went for a carefully constructed piece playing with contrasts. The circles against the squares, the geometric structure against the natural focal elements, the daring colour combo... Check her original blog post for close up pictures, as each zone is delicately patterned, the different pieces pulled together by symmetry and subtle touches of pen work.

Do not limit yourself, any stamp can be the base for a mandala! Jo Firth-Young masterfully illustrated this with her own stamps, here in a gorgeous subdued palette on kraft card. I love the mix of strict geometry and free doodling. At first look, you are struck by the repetition but a closer look reveals each stalk is unique and slightly different. Her original blog post offers step by step pictures of her process and details two other projects, each with its own vibe.

I'm sure you have found some wonderful ideas to add to your Pinterest boards within this selection of posts. We are so fortunate to have bloggers who push themselves to try new ideas, experiment and share their strengths so willingly with us all.



Words and Pictures said...

So much beauty and creativity and imagination all year round here on the PaperArtsy blog... it really is jaw-dropping how many amazing projects are shared each year - and I know this is the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for these review posts!
Alison x

pearshapedcrafting said...

I can see I am have to keep up with blogging - lots I want to visit here! Chrisx