Monday, April 28, 2008

spring storms and tender leaves

My "work space" is in a corner of our refinished basement. Despite being in the basement, it's a fairly bright and cheery area, and I have everything I need close at hand.

Last Friday afternoon was unusually warm, windy, and humid and several waves of thunderstorms were forecast. Instead of working in my usual space, I gathered up my card making materials and set up at the kitchen table upstairs, so that I could watch the thunderstorms rolling in.

It was a treat to see the bright green budding leaves on the trees across the cornfield silhouetted against the churning angry black skies. What a contrast between the delicate newness of tender leaves, and the unbridled power of the heavens.

"For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.
The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care."
(Psalm 95:3-7)


Friday, April 25, 2008

elephant ear paper cast

Here it is, my paper cast elephant ear, sealed and painted.

I am so pleased with how well the strong veining show up - it seems to lend a sense of strength and vitality to the leaf. I painted it with several different shades of green acrylic mixed with Perfect Paper Adhesive to form a translucent glaze. I also added an iridescent medium to the veins which gives them a subtle sunlight-like sparkle when viewed up close.

My next challenge is to come up with a way to display it. My art friend Bonnielynn suggested using a large shadow box, which I'm look into, and I'm also toying with the idea of attaching a hook on the back so that I can hang it directly on a wall. We'll see!

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

molds and deckles

Here's what I'll be doing this morning - stretching and stapling the screening that goes on the deckles for my Going Green Paper Making Kits. I received a fresh batch of frames from my craftsman yesterday (I'm enjoying the wonderful scent of the freshly cut pine) and he did an excellent job on them.

My paper making kit seems to be a good fit with Earth Day, and thankfully I've been blessed with quite a bit of interest in them this year, including Allie, from Posh Cravings.

I'm thrilled that soon Inspiration Ministries will be taking care of the packaging of the kits for me. Their clients will be putting together the sturdy boxes the kits come in, and will be labeling and filling the "inclusion" bags with lavender, blender flax, flower petals, shredded money, and colorful fibers. They will also be cutting the reusable "couching" sheets and the bendable copper wire included in every kit. Currently they are completing a time study of the project, and once that's completed they will will receive a portion of the proceeds from each kit.

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who am I?

I just finished pressing these beautiful spring flowers a few minutes ago, but I have no idea what they are. My aunt gave me the bulbs last fall, but I forgot to write down what she said they were. They also come in pink. Do any of you know?

As you can see, the delicate color of the flowers came out brilliantly with the microfleur, but the slender leaves turned slightly brown. A quick touch up with a moss green prisma color marker will quickly take care of that.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pressed Elephant Ear Leaf

Last spring I discovered elephant ears, and set out to find, grow, and press some. I put together a large botanical press but my first try failed - the elephant ear actually disintegrated. It was a mess. I think I clamped it too tightly.

Just before our first hard frost last fall I picked another leaf and put into my large press, but forgot about it until a few months ago. It had held together really well, and what was really amazing was its unusual coloration - it's translucent in the middle, which seems to give it a surreal "glow."

It's mounted on my handmade paper with Perfect Paper Adhesive, but in order to make the paper large enough(and strong enough), I pieced several sheets onto rug hooking fabric. The square pattern of the cloth subtly shows through the paper, as you might be able to tell in the picture below. It's an interesting effect.

For someone who has never framed anything larger than an fern, this is a large piece for me! The leaf itself is 24" long, and the frame is 30" x 26".

I am still working on finishing my leaf paper casting. I finally jumped in and started painting it, and it's going really well. I hope to have it ready to show you really soon.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Creative Call

It's been a difficult week - my Mom who is dealing with Alzheimer's seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I have art orders to complete with next to no motivation.

I happened to catch part of Midday Connection on Moody Radio yesterday afternoon, and I was amazed at how the program seemed to be perfectly timed.

Janice Elsheimer, author of a book called ""The Creative Call: An Artist's Response to the Way of the Spirit" was the guest. Her main message is that creativity is a pathway to personal and spiritual growth - we actually develop our creativity as we enter a closer relationship with your creator.

Because God Himself is the Creator, according to Elsheimer, as we engage in the act of creating (a gift from the Creator via the Holy Spirit) we actually have the opportunity to connect with God on a unique level, drawing us closer to Him. I admit this sounds lofty, but it certainly is worth looking at. He helps us create, and we have the opportunity to be drawn closer to Him.

One thing the author said that really caught me off guard is her suggestion that we pray over our medium, whatever that might be - our hands, mind, words, body etc., because that ushers the Holy Spirit into the process. I'm embarrassed to say that it never even occurred to me to pray about my art. A few years ago a customer/friend challenged me to make praying for each of my customers my "ministry", but I haven't prayed about my art while doing my art.
I'll try that.

If you'd like to hear the "Creative Call" program you can listen to it here.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Crocus Cards

They have finally arrived!

I have discovered that is is mostly my fault that my crocuses were so late in coming this year.

It wasn't only due to Wisconsin's late spring, like I had suspected. It was because I, in my limited wisdom, put down too much shredded bark mulch last summer in the areas where my crocuses are planted! The poor crocus flowers have had to struggle an extra 2 inches before reaching the warm spring sun.

Thankfully they have made it, and in their brilliant purple beauty with their sword like striped leaves they have certainly been worth the wait.

To celebrate, I am offering a free pressed crocus flower card with every box of Assorted Pressed Flower Cards or framed botanical art piece ordered this April. Enjoy!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, April 04, 2008

Early morning impulse buy

My two sons missed the bus this morning. Again.

I don't enjoy having to drop everything and take them to school - it's not on my agenda, and I've been known to get a little crabby when this happens. I know I shouldn't - they try to get ready on time, but they get sidetracked.

At any rate, I too, got sidetracked on my way back home from taking them school - I spied real live flowers for sale at the Twin Lakes hardware store! I was stunned - I wasn't expecting to see plants for sale up here in Wisconsin for another week or so. I bought Delta Blue Pansies, Plum Velvet and Lemon Sorbet Violas as I usually do every spring, but I was really amazed to see Calendulas and English Daisies for sale already! Amazing!

If it warms up later, (it's only 36 degrees out now!) I'll plant them in containers, so that I can easily move them back into the garage at night. I have two old rustic-looking metal pails from my brother's farm that they would look great in.

Thanks for missing the bus boys, you made my day!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


God made a masterpiece when He made daffodils, didn't He?

It's looking like spring might have been canceled in Wisconsin this year, but if you've been blessed with spring weather where you are, you might find this question and answer about pressing daffodils useful:

Dear Elizabeth,

I am an English A Level student currently studying art in my first year. For my exam I am creating a collage based around daffodils including photographs and painting but would also like to include dried out daffodils, but am at a loss where to start! I wanted to include a large proportion of the stem (to give a 'still planted' impression) so the microfleur press doesn't seem to be large enough!

Do you have an suggestions or advice? I'm sorry if I have missed anything already mentioned on your website (which is wonderful by the way!) about this specific flower. I appreciate that you obviously get a lot of emails but I await your reply as daffodils are, sadly, briefly seasonal.

Thanks, Rachel

Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your kind compliment regarding my site. Your collage sounds like it will be very interesting! I'd love to see it.

If I were you, I'd press the flower in the Microfleur, and press the stem (and leaves?) separately in a large book. The stem and leaves will probably turn brown, but you could recolor them with a green leaf colored marker (Prismacolor markers are good). Also, since daffodil stems are thick, try slicing them in half.

Hope this helps!

Kind Regards, Elizabeth

Labels: , , , ,