Sunday 19 June 2022

2022 Topic 09: Leftovers {by Claudia Neubacher} with Lin Brown stamps

Hi and servus everyone, Claudia from VonPappe II with you today, and I'm so excited to share with you my latest project that was a true blast to create! PaperArtsy's actual "Leftovers" topic is sooo absolutely up my alley - I am a hoarder of a lot of inspiring bits 'n' pieces and this also includes tiny snippets and left overs from previous projects (honestly from almost every previous project. I just can't throw away the tiniest scraps). I store these in different kinds of gorgeous looking boxes of all sizes - mainly cigar boxes or old wooden boxes, but also in my favourite old watch makers chest of drawers (a gift from my most beloved and wonderful hubby) that holds a lot of different stuff like frozen charlottes, old watch parts, nature finds and fossils, small metal bits, pieces of lace and my most precious flea market finds. I also have small tin dishes on my studio desk where I have my most beautiful and inspiring vintage buttons, frozen charlottes and other tiny bits right in sight. 

When I have no particular design in mind but want to create a mixed media assemblage piece I often rummage all of these for inspiration and combine finds that speak to me on that day with awesome new stamp sets I want to use. The project design kind of evolves from the mix of the pieces and stamps that speak to me most when I see them together spread out on my desk. When that mix feels right it creates a kind of creative tune of texture and contrast play in my head that I am going to follow throughout the creative process.

For this particular assemblage piece I chose not only to use some tiny left overs from my last PaperArtsy project (which you can find here) alongside some nature finds like feathers or drift wood, maybe some old buttons or watch makers bits, left over die cut and embossed strips from other projects and whatever else spoke to me, but I was also inspired by some old left over casts of flourishes and my idea was to do some texture stamping with the lovely leaf and pattern stamps from the beautiful Lin Brown stamp sets ELB32 and ELB34 and PaperArtsy Grunge Paste. Both stamp sets provide beautiful focal images as well as pattern stamp designs - perfect to create a highly textural nature look! 

I start most of my projects with browsing through all my wooden boxes and drawers with old paper scraps, snippets, tiny glass vials, ribbons, buttons and whatever else I have been hoarding since I started to indulge in creating mixed media art. Often that results in finds of long forgotten treasures - which always feels as if I'd found them another time (which is kind of rewarding - even though I also always promise myself to try to get more control over all the stuff I have and get better at using it up). For this project I pulled out a match box that holds tiny manufacturers labels that I have saved from some watch glasses I used quite some time ago, some feathers I gathered on my nature walks, a lovely strip of dry embossed black paper and a scrap of embossed wood grain cardboard (that was a left over from making loads of wood planks for one of my card board mansions I've made). Also a used and dried tea bag, some old watch parts and Dresden trim left overs. My base to work on was a chunky wooden panel with some not so intriguing home decor print on it (I love to buy these at the sales sections of home decor stores at the ridiculous price of one or two Euros as they are a really cool substrate to work on). My plan was to first do a grungy crackled background, then create some awesome nature feel texture in some spots by stamping into PaperArtsy Grunge Paste and combine that with maybe a little aged looking glass vial holding the feathers. The rest of the design - as always - would reveal itself to me during the process.

I applied PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Acrylic - Mud Splat (FF61) as my base colour, dried it with my heat tool and then randomly scraped on some Fresco Finish Crackle Glaze (FF22) with a spatula and fast dried that as well. On top of that I scraped Fresco Finish Acrylic - Niagara Falls (FF205) with a palette knife and let that air dry. You can see the first cracks form almost immediately.

On to the most challenging step - my first time of stamping into Grunge Paste (GP190), which I had seen done so beautifully with others! The picture below shows that I wasn't really successful with that (I guess I was too impatient and/or the idea of mixing in a little dose of Fresco Finish Arcylic - Sage (FF66) wasn't a good one). I half succeeded with one try (in a spot where the scraped on paste mix was really thin and quite dry already) - but as all the other tries were a total failure I decided to completely scrape off the added Grunge Paste with the blade of my palette knife. That also resulted in some loss of crackled paint that was underneath - but when you are a grunge lovin' girl like me you have learned to embrace this kind of imperfections and "texture surprises" as I like to call them. And I will watch some instructional video next time before I try again! ;)

So a change of plan was needed - I decided to use some cement coloured air hardening clay instead (which I had already gathered before I had started because I know that I am not the most skilled into-any-kind-of-paste-stamper.) I had opened that package some time ago and had only used very little of it, so I was happy anyway to use up some more of it before it would start to get too dry or turn into a a useless faux cement brick (which happens way too often I have to admit). I rolled out a small amount of the clay using an empty glass bottle (as my clay roller was in the other studio of course) and stamped the beautiful leaf image from the Lin Brown stamp set (ELB32). I misted the stamp with a bit of water before stamping and also immediately cleaned the stamp afterwards under running water and using a soft old nail brush.

The imprint turned out just beautifully! I love the detail I got from the stamp! I then decided to not cut out the shape of the leaf but add some stamping around and create some random texture by using some of the pattern stamps from Lin Brown stamp sets 32 (ELB32) and 34 (ELB34). I fastened the hardening process with my heat tool (being a very impatient girl that day).

As the "cement" grey looked quite dull I came up with the idea of treating the clay with a mix of PaperArtsy Infusions - Golden Sands (CS05) and Rusting Powder (RP45). I knew that quite a lot of the Infusions would be washed away as the Rusting Powder needed to be sprayed repeatedly with vinegar, so I added a bit more of the crystals at the beginning. I wasn't quite sure how the finished piece would turn out, but I knew I could always seal the piece with some transparent acrylic spray sealant and go in with some paint if I didn't like the result. 

While spraying on vinegar and letting it dry and repeating this step several times I went on with preparing the background for my assemblage piece. The pattern stamps from the two Lin Brown stamp sets were absolutely perfect for this! I used Tsukineko - StazOn - Ink (Ganache) which is a dark rich brown as black would have been quite a hard contrast.

Did you actually know that you can use PaperArtsy Infusions to tint glass vials? The idea to try this out just hit my mind when I found I only had white glass vials but rather wanted some aged looking one and had no alcohol inks at hand to create the effect. I simply poured very few of the Infusions - Golden Sands (CS05) crystals into the vial, added a few drops of water and moved the vial around to spread the mix inside.

I also created some drip lines using the Infusions directly on my wooden panel and spraying on water. To save these from being reactivated I used a matte acrylic spray sealer on top after I had heat dried everything. 
Time to add a piece of stamped tea bag goodness! I picked the gorgeous worn looking flowery design from the Lin Brown stamp set 34 (ELB34) and glued the finished stamped tea bag layer to the base using a wide soft flat brush and DecoArt - Decou-Page (Antique) to add even more brownish tint. Wrinkles were more than welcome to the mix!

In the meantime I continued spraying vinegar onto the leaf imprint while I played with some of the dry embossed leftover strips from my collection on my prepared background. I found one done on black card board that I really loved and dry brushed it with a thin layer of Fresco Finish Acrylic - Niagara Falls (FF205) to fuse it with the background.

For a bit of contrast - colour- and texture-wise - I added a thin strip of gold Dresden trim. That really made the soft turquoise from the glued on strip and the background colour pop! 

Remember the little glass vial I tinted using PaperArtsy Infusions? I really wanted that to make a visual impact on my piece. As you saw it worked just perfect, but I wanted more interest and eye candy! I fetched some tweezers and my heat tool and moved and tilted the vial around so the still left over liquid Infusions inside would be spread and create drip lines and dried paint edges. Directing the heat from the heat tool right into the vial's opening quick dried these drip lines and the result was a true stunner!  

The strip I fixed the vial to the panel with was cut off a leftover dry embossed piece of cardboard I had made wood planks from. I dyed it using PaperArtsy - Infusions - Golden Sands (CS05) again.

I really love the aged look of my vial and the intense colour of the embossed paper strip that holds it in place! 

Next I stamped my affirmative word from The Lin Brown stamp set ELB34 onto an old dictionary page. I like to use the edges of heavily yellowed book pages to create word bands for mixed media pieces!

A new colour was added to my palette - PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Acrylic - Blue Lagoon (FF132). I knew I wanted to use this incredibly beautiful button on my project - so I needed to repeat that awesome colour tone on my background to visually bind it all in. I sprinkled some diluted paint across my project using a heavily loaded brush and gently flicking the paint on.

To visually fuse all the elements of my assemblage piece I found I needed to repeat the circle shape of the button at least one other time - so I painted a left over die cut reinforcement ring with Fresco Finish Acrylic - Taupe (FF60) to add it to the mix.

I also needed another small focal element so I used diluted left over Taupe paint on my palette to lightly tint one of the watch glass labels from my match box collection.

In the meantime the leaf clay imprint had beautifully rusted! Finally time to put it all together and find the final spots for all the lovely bits I had created.

The reinforcement ring got another watch glass label added on top and for a final touch I painted tiny dots of Fresco Finish Acrylic - Sage (FF66) around it and also a thin Fresco Finish - Blue Lagoon (FF132) border with tiny dots at the bottom right underneath a lovely vintage lace trim from my cigar box.

To create really tiny dots I like to use my smallest size hand embossing tool. Much better than a detail brush in this case.

As it was already on my desk I used DecoArt - Decou-Page (Antique) again to glue all the bits in place and finish off the project. Once everything had dried the feathers finally found their new home in the tinted glass vial!

Often the projects I am most content and happy with originate from using scraps and left overs of all kinds. I guess this is because rummaging through my treasures makes me happy and gets my mojo going, but also because the random shapes, textures and colours of left over scraps and bits from older projects already give a bit of direction to follow during the creative process. This way, not much thinking and planning is involved in the process - and that is something that really makes me enjoy some relaxed creative me-time in my studio. And seeing some of my long hoarded treasures (and they are actually all treasures to me) on a lovely finished piece of assemblage wall art come to life just makes my heart sing! 

Which kind of collections and left overs inspire you to go create something that shows all of the things you've used are being treasured? Why not browse your boxes and drawers and listen to what the things you keep, hoard and love looking at tell you about your own creative preferences and processes? Being a creative means you are always on a journey towards your inner self - you just have to listen to what your art and art collections tell you about yourself. 

Claudia xxx


Helen said...

What a fabulous project - you're right the vial looks amazing!

Claudia N. said...

Thank you very much, Helen! xxx

Ellie Knol said...

LOVE your project: so much inspiration too..

Claudia N. said...

Aw! Thank you so much, Ellie! Hugs! x