I once read a book where the main character was called a “maker”. That’s me — I’m a “maker”. I make stuff.
When I’m not busy with my real job, I keep myself busy and out of trouble by making stuff. I concentrate on my two passions, jewelry design and 1/4” scale dollhouse miniatures but occasionally I feel the need to experiment with other mediums such as needle felting and painted floor cloths.
This year I made a resolution to do more of the things I love. Problem is, I’ve been working so hard the last few years just trying to make a living that I have forgotten what some of those things are. So I have begun a journey of discovery. I’m taking classes, learning new mediums and techniques, brushing up on some old favorites, experimenting, and, generally, just having fun.
I decided that I wanted to share my adventure with others who might be going through a similar soul search. I’ll share what I have learned, web sites I have discovered, bits of inspiration, and anything else I think you might find interesting. Many of the items I create while on this journey will be put on my shop at www.samanthacreations.etsy.com. Please take a moment to stop by and see what I have been working on.
After my initial attempt at collage, I decided I needed to explore the technique further. With my graphic design training, I sometimes find it difficult to loosen up when creating art. This mixed media attempt allowed me to incorporate my desire to “loosen up” with my inclination towards being fastidious. While I am pleased with the outcome, I don’t think this is the right medium for me. I’ll keep exploring for now.
On a side note: My friend Dawn, who is a very talented artist in her own right, suggested I turn these into greeting cards. (Not sure whether I should be insulted or not.) It’s a thought and just maybe you will see them turn up on my Etsy shop in the future.
One of my goals during this journey of discovery is to try out new mediums and get out of my comfort zone more. One thing I have been wanting to try for a while is collage. I have seen some truly beautiful pieces of collage and mixed media on the internet and in galleries. I love the mixture of textures, abstract and realism. Since I’ve never been one to try something easier first, I thought I would start with a self portrait. I like to just jump right in — sink or swim.
I started with a black and white photo of myself from about 30 years ago. I chose this photo because it had really good contrast between the light and dark. I felt it would be pretty easy to manipulate it in Photoshop to get the shapes I wanted for the finished picture. I ran down to Michael’s and picked up a book of scrapping paper that had a good variety of patterns and colors along with a small canvas on which to glue the collage.
I played with different filters in Photoshop until I was able to create a starting point for my collage. I then began the process of simplifying the picture even more by tracing the shapes I created in Photoshop. I did this several times, each time simplifying the picture until I was happy with the outcome. Next I traced the shapes onto my scrapping papers and pulled out the scissors and x-acto knife.
Cut. Cut. Cut. Glue. Glue. Glue. Voila!
I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt. I think next time I will try to not be quite so literal with my subject matter. Try to be a bit looser with my shapes and placement. Collage is definitely something I would like to explore a little more.
One of the most fun websites I have recently found is Design Seeds. Design Seeds was begun 2009 by Jessica Colaluca as the culmination of her 17 years experience working in color design and forecasting. The concept of the Design Seeds blog is based on her early color journals from when she worked at Ford in the color & trim department in the mid nineties. The great thing about Design Seeds is that you can start out with a basic idea of the color you are looking for and after playing on the site for a bit, you end up with a swatch with the color you chose as well as a coordinating palette. You can search by theme or fiddle with the color scale until you have just the right color. As a decorative artist, I can easily spend hours on this site….coming up with new colors and seeing what sorts of combinations pop up. Thank you, Jessica, for this wonderful toy (oops! I mean tool).