Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, May 1, 2016

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reorganizing the Studio -- Again

Some artists have studios that are models of efficiency from day one. Not mine. After occupying my 240 square foot studio for the past few years, I've decided I need to make some changes. Addressing storage issues is at the top of my list. If I can't find a way to solve them soon I'm going to go bonkers.

If I did nothing but paint, there would be no need to re-arrange things. Everything could stay just as it is. The way the studio is set up right now works great for a painter. But also working in collage and mixed media as I do, as well as home decor items, jewelry, greeting cards and even mosaics on occasion, it's obvious my current arrangement is a disaster.

How can I tell? Easy. There are so many piles of "stuff" all over the place that it's impossible to find an open horizontal surface when I need one. Dozens of cardboard boxes and bags filled with "stuff" are everywhere I look. Unfortunately, unless I actually examine the contents, I have no idea what's in them much less where to house them. So they accumulate -- on the worktables, the floor, on top of cabinets, in odd nooks and crannies -- in short, everywhere.

The collage paper are the worst. Despite a large collection of lidded storage containers and a multi-bin wire storage unit intended to house them, collage papers are scattered everywhere. Looking for a tool or a tube of paint that's gone missing is like conducting an archeological dig. First you divide the room into a grid, then start excavating. If you're lucky you'll find what you're looking for the same day. If not, it'll turn up a week or a month later when you're searching for something else.

This is crazy making times ten. Something's gotta give. So now you know what I'll be doing for the next couple of weeks: working like mad to create order from chaos.Wish me luck, and if you haven't heard from me by Friday, you might want to call in the bloodhounds.

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Monday, April 25, 2016

More Gelli Plate Papers

A few days have gone by during which I've created more collage papers using my Gelli Plate. I'm discovering that this wondrous artist's tool can produce a myriad of paper designs, limited only by one's imagination. How did I ever do without it before?

Anyway, as I promised in my earlier post, here are a few more papers produced on the Gelli Plate. These were made using nothing more than paper and string to mask off certain areas, allowing the color or colors underneath to show through:

An old file folder cut into wavy strips was used to make the paper on the left, while the more intricate design on the right was obtained by punching out portions of construction paper and a file folder cut into strips.

A simple stencil made from an old file folder produced this paper, using just three colors and turning the stencil in different directions.

The papers below were made using cotton crochet string, cut into various lengths and tossed haphazardly onto multiple layers of wet paint:

The fun you can have making papers with a Gelli Plate can become so addictive that you never get around to using them -- because you're too busy making more papers! Just sayin'..........!!!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever." -- Isak Dinesen

Friday, April 22, 2016

Making Collage Papers With a Gelli Plate

Every now and then it's good for an artist to take a workshop. A workshop can introduce artists to new techniques, expand their knowledge of the medium they use, and connects them with others in the arts community.

I've had the good fortune to study with Bob Burridge and Carrie Burns Brown in workshops consisting of five solid days of immersion in abstract painting (Burridge) and in collage (Burns-Brown). Both were remarkable experiences that benefited me in countless ways. So when another of my favorite artists, Jane Davies, announced an online collage workshop on monoprinting with a popular new tool called a Gelli Plate, I jumped at the chance to enroll.

Single color collage papers made using a gelatin plate, stamps, stencils and various household items in Jane Davies' online workshop.   ©2016 Lynn Edwards
 Monoprinting is the act of creating a single print by pressing a sheet of paper onto a "plate" onto which paint or ink has been applied, then carefully lifting or "pulling" the sheet of paper away to reveal the resulting image. Plates can be made from a variety of materials, including glass and gelatin. For Jane's workshop, I'm using a commercially made plate called a Gelli Plate that, unlike home made versions, is very sturdy and does not break down or disintegrate over time.

If you've never experimented with monoprinting on a gelatin plate, you owe it to yourself to give it a try, particularly if you're into collage and making your own papers. With it you can make papers that are uniquely yours, in endless color combinations featuring designs of your own creation, until the cows come home. For a collage artist, it's Nirvana!

The photo above shows some of the papers I made in my first effort. I quickly learned that the Gelli Plate seems to require a breaking-in period; at first, the paint coverage seemed spotty and there were odd shadowy shapes of unexplained origin on the initial prints. But now that I've made well over 75 monoprints with my Gelli Plate, it has seemed to settle down and my monoprints now have a much smoother, more pleasing appearance.

What makes this cool little tool so much fun to use? The results you get are totally unpredictable. You may think you know what something is going to turn out like, but with Gelli Plate printing, it's just one surprise after another. Often, what emerges is so much more visually interesting than what you anticipated.

For example, I discovered that a technique Jane shared with us to remove dried paint from the plate resulted in a very exciting looking design when I substituted a piece of colored card stock for plain white drawing paper. This then led to the discovery that I could get yet another whole different look by pressing some of my older, textured and painted papers onto the wet plate. I'll share  these with you in my next post, just as soon as I can get them photographed. Meanwhile, here's a sampling of some very basic, two color papers I made in the workshop. Stay tuned, there are far more exciting papers yet to come!

Papers made by layering one color over another color. The surface designs were made using combs, stencils, notched scrapers, foam stamps and other tools. © 2016 Lynn Edwards

 Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, April 17, 2016

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." -- Anne Frank

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Studio Overhaul = Studio Sale!

It has been more than three years since we built my studio. So I've had lots of time to see how well the furniture arrangement and storage systems I chose would meet my needs. Recently I ditched my existing display system, which was a series of painted boards with a channel cut into the top edges to hold removable metal hooks, in favor of a more attractive, much more useful system. Which I'll be telling you more about in a future post.

This change prompted me to evaluate how well the rest of the fixtures fit, or didn't fit, my current needs. Long story short, I dove head first into a total overhaul, and am getting rid of some pieces of furniture and acquiring some additional shelving to make the studio more functional and make the space work better.

One of my goals is coming up with better storage solutions. This includes finding better ways to store my jewelry making materials as well as finished, ready to sell pieces. At present, it's a jumble of pieces in progress, disorganized collections of beads and components, with finished items housed in several places in no particular order. Basically, it's chaotic.

The degree to which it's chaotic hit me full force the other day, when I opened a shoebox that had been haphazardly stuffed onto a shelf. Inside I found a dozen finished necklaces and other pieces I had made over a year ago and completely lost track of. So something's gotta give. To make my reorganization go easier I'm doing what any sensible artist who's organization-challenged would do: I'm holding a Studio Reorganization Sale!

No, it's not taking place IN my studio. (With all the "stuff" in there right now there's hardly enough room to turn around.) Instead, I'm holding the sale in my Etsy shop, Playingwithcolors. I've marked the jewelry items waaaaay down to clear the decks for new items to come. I've been adding one sale item per day (it's an SEO thing) rather than listing them all at once. So check in each day; you might find something you can't live without. And don't forget, Mother's Day is coming up soon. All my jewelry includes a beautiful organza drawstring bag with a matching hand painted blank gift card. No additional wrapping required.

Here are a few pieces I've recently listed:

Original collage on vintage domino, now just $20 in my Etsy shop

Large hand painted pendant, now just $28 in my Etsy shop

Original mosaic paper collage under glass,now just $15 in my Etsy shop

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards