Inspired By... Vol 5/2018

Today is again the 10th and a new post in the "Inspired By"  series! I really struggled with this time, maybe because I really liked the piece I did last month or maybe because I was so excited about the topic I chose but then came overwhelmed...

Do you remember, that this year we are doing "Inspired By" a bit differently than before? "Inspired By" is something crazy talented and inspirational Marsha and me have been doing for years now. Until 2018 it was that we chose a subject to be inspired by and then did something inspired by that theme, a piece of art or a book. The inspiration could be anything but we both turned that into some kind of project and blogged the creation on the 10th. You can browse the past "Inspired By" posts from here (link).

Inspired By is a playground, a concept we can use to explore, to play and to discover. We can do as much or as little we want and have time for. I guess it's not a surprise then that we both enjoy "Inspired By" very much but after doing it the same way so many years, we thought to change the things a bit.

This year, 2018, we both just post on the 10th with some source of inspiration we found that month. Or rather on a period from the 10th of previous month to 9th of the current month. It can be a series of photos, a book we read, an artwork we saw, just a pebble on the street or a new product we bought. We can make something using that source, but it's more about sharing just the inspiration. Consider it as a window to our creative minds!

I had one main source of inspiration this month and another on the side. The main inspiration came from the season and the change of eating habits. Yes, you read right, eating habits. I always try to make sure that at least half of the plate is "greens" when we make food. My husband is more the kind "one tomato is enough" but I always try to think new vegetables, berries or fruits to accompany the main dish. Kids especially love blueberries and I like zucchini for example. 

Each spring I start to crave even more and more greens and lighter food so the amount of vegetables just increases. And they are of such pretty colors, too! They also make me think about a scene in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" where Griet arranges the vegetables by color when chopping them for food. Other place I found vegetables, too, was work. We received some new collections of kids clothes to work sometime ago. Mini Rodini has a pattern called "veggie", which you can see here (link) and Molo Kids also has a pattern titled "eat your greens" (link)

So with all these veggies around, I chose vegetables as my source. But the same thing happened as so many times before when I choose to go with a too broad of a source for inspiration. I had gazillion ideas and none. I thought about making dimensional little vegetable sculptures (kind of like the bunny I did for an earlier "Inspired By"), about a doll with the theme, about handmade paper with veggies... Then I set my mind on the colors and more over to colorants. I decided to use vegetables as my colorants and dye...well, that caused another problem - what to dye. To dye fabric or paper or... I thought about fabric first and doing another piece like I did last month, but then it seemed a bit dull - like I would repeat the same thing each month. Then I thought about the vegetable portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (link), but realized in a heart beat that my skill level was too far to even attempt that. So I decided on paper instead.

Paper naturally caused a problem of its own. I knew I needed to make the color bath hot or even boil the paper so the paper need to be sturdy and not turn into pulp right away. I decided to go with something else than pure paper and bought a huge sheet of watercolor paper that has some fabric in it. It hold the boiling very well. 

Then I needed to gather colorants. I have a huge issue of using food in crafting. For example I dislike the macaroni crafts and wouldn't do those when my kids were little. Even printing with a potato is a bit questionable to me. Food is meant to be eaten, not to be played with. So I needed to think about if I actually could use food as a coloring medium, would that feel OK for me or should I continue searching. I decided it was OK to use parts that otherwise would have gone directly to bio waste, so I used peels and left overs instead of the real deal. This naturally then caused that I didn't get that much of the colorant and could only dye a small patch of paper. But as I didn't have the actual project in mind, this wasn't a problem and I was just experimenting.

I googled some colorants and went experimenting with others. The very first was beetroot, which was the best in the end. I boiled some beets for a dish I was making and gathered the boiling water and used that as a dye bath. For carrots I boiled some carrot peels. Artichoke I got from an old artichoke which would be thrown away by the shop but instead I got it, chopped it into pieces and boiled to get the color. If you want to see the colors I managed to get, please see a photo a bit further up!

After I had some papers once again a problem rose. What to do with those? The colors weren't that vibrant, the papers were more pastels than anything and some even had just a faint tint. First I thought to leave the project in that as this year it doesn't have to be a ready made piece, we can just experiment or even describe a thought process. But as I'm so thick headed and stubborn, I wanted to turn those pieces into something. Partly because I realized if I'm not doing it now, I will never do it.

The solution came from my other inspiration source. I went to a calligraphy workshop last month with a spectacular teacher, Marika Koskimäki-Ketelä (link). We tried different pens during the workshop but the topic was brush lettering. It was such a joy to take a part to a workshop instead of teaching one, even though I just love that, too. It was also so fun when we started with simple lines and I realized that I couldn't even draw a line - but after the workshop I managed to write a little something that didn't look too bad (link). So I wanted to add some handwritten pieces to the papers. As the paper pieces were really small, I then turned to the project I often use to experiment - ATCs.

I wrote a piece of paper with my normal handwriting, tore it apart and adhered it and the colored pieces to some kraft colored ATC bases using Soft Gel. I used a non-permanent pen while writing and got the wick out effect I was hoping to some of the pieces. In other places the ink didn't smudge at all and in some places it reacted a bit too much. 

For the focal point I created little vegetable pebbles. I painted some veggies with watercolors, then added Soft Gel under a Melange Pebble and then adhered it on top of the painted figure. After the gel had dried a bit, I then cut the excess paper off and adhered the shapes to my cards. To add a bit more texture to them I used Paper Texture Paste with a stencil, a piece of cord and some sewing thread in greens. I thought the Paper Texture Paste fitted the watercolor paper texture so well as it has a similar finish. 

Here's one of the cards on its own - the kraft cardstock background, beetroot colored piece of watercolor paper, written piece of paper and then an artichoke pebble on top. I've shot the picture on top of the worksheet I did during the calligraphy workshop. 

Like always, the cards are free for swaps or I can just send them out to persons willing. So if you'd like to have one, please send me an email! 

I wonder what Marsha has been inspired by this time! Here's a direct link to her post (link) but I highly you visit her blog and just browse through. She has such a talent to make out of the box projects and tutorials!

Thank you for stopping by today! And thank you if you managed to read the whole long post! Wishing you a lovely Ascension!  

Materials: Prima Marketing

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