In the creative zone with Artist Trading Cards

How are you liking my new Diary of an Art Journal series? I'm really enjoying the creative process of working with my AJ Diva and I hope you are having as much fun reading it as I am writing. I also hope you get an idea of what art journaling can be.

People art journal for different reasons and have many different approaches—all valid—but for me the number one reason I art journal is to engage with my intuition. To gain insight through the creative process.  Doesn't always happen and sometimes I'm creating to learn new techniques or just to have fun (which is one of the best ways to allow my intuition to roam)—but I love, love, love connecting with greater understanding than what I can ever get with my brain alone. So anyway, if you haven't caught Diary of an Art Journal yet, it begins here.

What I'm making this week

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Since we work on one new project every week in our weekly Art Fix classes, I always have many projects on the front and back burners!

This week, because I am always looking for ways to work with fiber (one of my favorite mediums), I chose muslin, cardboard, browned papers and scraps of metallic tulle and lace for my Art Fix project.

Our quest was to create a cohesive series using Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) as our substrate. Creating a series of art pieces is a different approach to art-making than when making just one work. Sometimes, pieces that are unified and related through repeating elements can make a larger statement together as a collection than one stand alone piece. I chose fiber and collage, and others Art Fixers chose different mediums of choice (collage, paint, ink, etc.).

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Working in miniature allows us to create a series relatively quickly—although "quick" is relative because while some of us create like the wind and completed umpteen ATCs in three hours, I work very slowly and I'm still not done. But I'll show you where I'm at so far.

I chose my materials for texture, mostly, working in a neutral palette. I love the contrast in physical texture between the torn cardboard, frayed and fragile muslin, chunky lace, and the smooth shine of the tulle. The metallic spiral (stamped) repeated the metallic element of the tulle in a later layer.

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In addition to color and texture, I also played with lines as visual texture, such as in the cardboard, the text, the thread.

The joy of stitching partly lies in its leisurely pace, so I embraced slow. I had to stitch and gather the tulle and shred the edges of the muslin before even piecing the backgrounds together for six cards—and of course the embroidery stitches did—and will—take much longer. 

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I built all the layers of all six cards and inked all the edges, which I should have done first as the raw sides of each element needed inking and it would have been much easier before they were collaged together. In any event, I only finished one ATC so far with the final contrasting element: embroidery thread (top left below). I'm thinking I will work on one a day this week to finish.

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I think the peach and blue-green thread adds interest and finalizes this piece and I can't wait to see what I can do with the rest of the pieces in the series. Truly, that is the fun of working in a series—pushing your imagination to find new ways to work with the same materials.

So, why don't you give it a try?

If you're yearning to create with materials you love, think about creating a series of Artist Trading Cards of your own. All you need are just a few art supplies you enjoy, blank playing cards (or cut your own out of sturdy paper) and your imagination. And of course if you want to play along any or all weeks to make all kinds of mixed media projects, come on down to the studio for an Art Fix class!