Monday, November 15, 2010

Playing card ATC's

Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) are very popular at art retreats as trades.  I know a lot of artists who trade these cards religiously.  It is really cool, to have a little piece of art created by an artist you admire. 

I like to use old playing cards as the base for my ATC's.  Collect images from your stash that are the right proportion to use on a playing card.  I use the decorated side of the card as the back, and put a sticker with my name, the date and if a series, the series number.  On the face side of the card, I lightly sand the plastic coating off and gesso the card.  I use white, clear or black gesso, depending on my mood that day.  Then I use paint, ink, stamps etc to color the background.  Sometimes I use a magazine image or patterned paper as the background.  Then I collage the rest of the images on the background, finishing with some text cut from an old book.

These can be glued to the front of a handmade card and used to make a lovely greeting card.  They can also be used in small frames for home decor.  Try a few for yourself and discover how addicting they can be. 

Bamboo placemat pendants

I am a placemat junkie.  I admit to scouring every store I go to for interesting placemats made from unusual materials.  Shells, wood, fibers, canvas...  I love them all.  But interestingly enough, I never use them as intended.  I deconstruct them and make jewelry with them. 

These pendants are very popular.  Everyone who sees them wants to know how I did them, and where did I get the stuff to make them. 

You need to get some images.  Check Etsy, ebay or you own personal stash for items you can use.  Once you have your images, scan them, resize them to the size of the tile, and then photocopy them on a color laser copier at Kinkos, and trim them to the size of the bamboo rectangle.  Glue the image directly to the tile with gel medium, and top with diamond glaze or Ice resin.. 

Thread wire through the holes in the tile, and make a loop.  Hang from a beaded necklace or chain, or a simple silk cord will work too. 

Nifty Vintage Luggage Redux

I collect old suitcases... Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to find the really cool ones.  Once in a while I come across old hard sided train cases and larger luggage pieces at garage sales. They are usually really ugly and beat up and have very little personality.  These three pieces were Navy blue, yellow and burgundy.  I wanted a matching 3 piece lusggage set that I could use for hauling my art stuff around. 

Spray paint is the great equalizer.  I LOVE spray paint.  Gather up your stencils and anything else you can spray a pattern through, scrapbook laser cuts, lace, plastic tablecloths, paper doilies, rubber rug mats... really think outside the box with this...

I started with white, and layered the stencil down, spritzing the white over the suitcase in random patterns.  Then I added pale green, aqua, pink and yellow.  The colors seemed a little muted, so I then used a bright royal blue metallic and purple spritzed lightly to make the stencils really pop.  The secret to this is the layers.  You really need to keep layering one stencil over another to get the depth.  If you don't like something, let it dry for a bit, and then spry over it again.  Using metallic silver or pearl paint will give you a cool damask effect. 

So drag out those old suitcases from the garage, go to the hazardous waste materials restore in your area and pick up spray paint for free, and go to town with all the cool colors and designs and see what you come up with!

Poker Face Necklace

This is a fun project that we do at community events with kids.  They LOVE it and usually make several.  It is addicting.  To really bling it up, attach several to a chain and create a charm necklace. 

Spray paint poker chips any desired color.  We used Purple, gold, silver, black and red.  Drill a small hole in the top edge of poker chip, and add a large jump ring. 

Glue a 1 inch punched circle of scrapbook paper, magazine clipping, wallpaper, sheetmusic or whatever graphic paper element you wish.  Add glitter, buttons, rhinestones, sequins, whatever else you like for bling.  Top with Diamond Glaze. 

Thread cording or twine through jump ring and you're done.

Spa box with reused hotel toiletries and Dryer sheets

This beautiful spa box was created with all reused materials.  I started out with a pretty box that I could recover with beautiful gift wrap.  It had stationery in it, and a cool removable lining that would hold all the spa materials perfectly.  I deconstructed the box, and recovered it carefully with gift wrap glued down with soft gel medium.  I like gel medium, but you can use wallpaper paste, or glue sticks.  Liquid glues cause the gift wrap to bubble... Gel medium is perfect, doesn't wrinkle or bubble.  I used a credit card to burnish it down well to the surfaces, and then used heavy gel medium to glue the box back together.

Take some used dryer sheets.  Make sure all the softener is off the sheets.  I run them through the washer once after using them to dry.  This gets any residual softener smell off the sheets.  Press them lightly with a low iron and set aside.  In a glass bowl combine 1/2 cup of rock salt, 1/4 cup epsom salts, and 1/4 cup existing bath salts that you have laying around.  Add a few drops of food coloring to tint the salts the desired color.  Add a few drops of essential oil or perfume oil if you have it lying around.  Scoop 1/8 cup of the salts onto a dryer sheet.  Tie up into a tight bundle.  Trim the top of the bundle into a round shape, tie a bow and finish up with a satin rose glued on with a glue gun.

Next, take some of those watch part tins or mini tins you have in your scrapbooking stash that held eyelets back in the day, and fill each one with different kinds of bath salts.  I have TONS of different kinds of mud bath, clay mud mask, healing herbal bath etc.  You can use epsom salts tinted different colors if you don't have any bath supplies at home.  You can get a 1/2 gallon of epsom salts at the Dollar Store.  I cut strips off of one of the dryer sheets and rolled it on my pants to create a shabby looking ribbon/twine.  Glue a punched circle of the coordinating gift wrap on the top of the tin, then tie it up like a little package, finish off with satin rose.  Write the name of the bath product on the bottom of the tin.

 Now dig out those hotel toiletries you have laying in the bottom of the bathroom drawer, and cut matching paper to cover the existing labels.  Glue the papers on to the toiletries.

Spray paint some poker chips with gold paint, punch a circle out and write the name of the product on the poker chip tag.  You can cut circles out of cardstock or chipboard if you prefer.  Tie label tags around the neck of the bottles, glue ribbons down with a dot of hot glue and embellish with roses.

Arrange items inside box, tie with a big bow and give to a friend who really needs some pampering.  These gifts are always a big hit, and people are blown away that you made it all...  Start looking for boxes and little containers at yard sales, and around your house that could be used for a similar project.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hail to the Chief

Here are some of the pages the kids did in their books about the inaguration and what President Obama inspires in them.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Art Show at the mARTinez Art Gallery

We had an incredible show at the mARTinez Art Gallery last week.  I am waiting for the professional photos, and I will add them to the slide show soon.  Please sign up as a follower of this blog to get regular updates on the program and upcoming events with The Green Youth Project.

The Green Youth Project was created from a dream to empower children to attain personal growth and visionary thinking through creative self-expression. By using landfill-diverted materials to create constructive activities, this Green-based program teaches creativity in altered and trash art while educating our youth about the importance of environmental awareness

The Green Youth Project believes that everyone has the potential and should have the opportunity to be creative. Collaborative arts help promote a sense of community and build a foundation for stronger self esteem. Every child has creative abilities, which require structured, healthy outlets to express. We maintain that it is essential that ecological responsibility should be shared by everyone on the planet. The youth of today will be the ones to re-create the world of tomorrow by innovating a way to rethink and repurpose useable and sustainable products from things that came before.

This show is a sampling of the artwork being created by the young men in the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall. Supplies were diverted and donated by The Hall Closet Thrift Store, a non profit that benefits at-risk youth in the community and is run by the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary. None of these artists have any formal art training, they just love to draw. The inspiration and theme of this show is Transformation. All of the artwork represents the transformations happening within them as a result of the rehabilitative program they participate in. Take the time to look closely at the detail in some of the drawings. Many of them are not what they seem at first glance.

Teaching an art class in a maximum security facility has many challenges. For security purposes, we are not allowed to work with many of the art materials a traditional artist would use. The kids have two hours of art class per week, with additional time to work in their rooms on drawings. They are allowed only one pencil in their room at a time, and cannot have items most altered artists take for granted every day, such as hardback books, pastels, paints, chalks or sketch pencils, unless supervised by a teacher in the class environment. I am very proud of the caliber of art that has come from these young men, given the limitations and parameters that would stifle most artists. I applaud their ability to find a way to express themselves within the structure and confines of an incarceration environment. I would like to thank the Contra Costa County Probation Department and their staff, for working with me to insure the success of this program. It takes a lot of dedicated people to insure this all runs safely and smoothly.

We would like to thank the following companies and community members for their generous support of this program:

The mARTinez Art Gallery
Contra Costa County Probation Department
Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall Staff
Juvenile Hall Auxiliary
The Hall Closet Thrift Store
The East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use
Afflare Arts and Custom Framing
Cathy Riggs
Shannon Grossenheider
Alison McKee
RC Ferris
Judi Garcia
Joan Paine
Martinez Kiwanis Club
Main Street Martinez
The Boys and Girls Club of Diablo Valley
Liquitex Paint
Shiva Paintstix
The Bay Area Art Sisters Yahoo Group
Creative Chicks Yahoo Group

The Green Youth Project is always accepting donations for the program. We gladly accept new and used supplies. We are currently in need of the following:

Gesso, gel medium, chalks, pastels, sketch pencils, charcoal pencils, acrylic paints, oil paints, watercolors, pens, paintbrushes, canvas, heavy weight sketch paper, wallpaper, gift wrap, tissue, old jewelry, small picture frames, magazines, scissors, glues, mod podge, crepe paper, sheet music, unused gift cards from Michaels, Aaron Brothers Art Mart, Joann’s Crafts, Dick Blick, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon.

If you are an artist and would like information about volunteering or teaching, please contact Karan Simoni at

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