Sunday, December 7, 2008

Art In A Carton Has Flown From Alabama

I recently mailed three Art In A Carton boxes to Susan Letham in Germany, Jill Sullivan in England and Shakti Genaine in Spain.  It is my sincere hope that the contents of these cartons bring much joy to the recipients! A bit of explanation is in order so that the recipients have some understanding of the contents of their packages. I enjoy using "things" in my art that have a history or some innate meaning to me. This will seem quite confusing for all until the contents of the cartons can be completely revealed but I will try to make sense as much as is possible.

I am a native of Biloxi, MS. The devastation of hurricane Katrina was a sight to behold, heart wrenching. The casinos that once lined the beaches there were literally obliterated-nothing left. Tokens washed up on the sand days later. For me they were a sign of hope. If these tiny tokens were able to survive the storm, albeit slightly damaged, it seemed to me that the area might find a way to overcome this destruction and once again flourish.

My grandma died when I was but eight years old. We grew up next door to her and my granddaddy. My mother was very young, divorced with three small children and trying to find her own way in this world.  The love my grandma showered on me was the only love I recall from that time in my life. She was my world. There was a bond between us that is inexplicable. She was very ill in the last few years of her life. My granddaddy remarried quickly after her death. Most of my grandma's things were disposed of  then. I, of course, was too young to make a request for something to remember her by. Recently, I was made aware of a large amount of her silverware, given to her as a wedding gift,  that had been stored in a barn for many years. I asked for it and was granted my wish. 

I am a bibliophile and  an art journaler.  I collect ladybugs. Keys are one of my personal icons, old, rusty keys with many hidden secrets.

Hopefully, this all isn't too very "Sherlock Holmes" for you guys. Just trust that it should make sense once your cartons arrive. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed sharing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art In A Carton Has Arrived in Alabama!

How cool is that!?! Some time ago I signed up to participate in Susan Letham's art swap project she dubbed Art In A Carton. I was number 48 out of 52 openings. On November 8th I received my package from her. (I apologize for the delay in the posting of it.) Needless to say, because a picture is worth a thousand words!, she sent me some very lovely items. There is a matchbox shrine as well as a beautifully constructed triangular-shaped shrine complete with a buddha figurine, an adorable little star-shaped book and some very pretty fibers. I was most impressed with the star-shaped book but there is no doubt about the huge amount of time and effort that went into the construction of all the delightful items I received. Thank you, Susan!!!
Added this photo for the viewing pleasure of the ladies who shall be receiving cartons from me...They are finished and full and will be on their way to you dear souls very soon! I am not posting the things I've made, yet, for what fun would that be to take the surprise out of it for you?! I hope the things included bring you joy!

Thank you Susan for the opportunity to participate in this swap. It has been a complete pleasure! And again I apologize for my delayed blogging...I make time for art but my blogging suffers terribly, lol. Hopefully, the creations you receive from me will make up for my lack in the blogging department.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another more recent project

My husband dismantled an old, discarded dining room table quite some time ago and salvaged parts form it to create this side table. He had requested that I "decorate" it for him. His only specifics were that I use some of his favorite scriptures in the collage.

I rescued an old paperback Bible from the local Goodwill, tea dyed it and spent a day or two making certain it dried as quickly as possible.

Ordered these great dried flowers from a nice lady in New York, (ebay). Used my woodburning tool to burn the edges on certain passages from an old Bible that had larger type-these are the scriptures Wayne requested. Chose to use rub-ons and skeleton leaves to complete the piece.

Decoupaging the collage was time consuming but not very complicated. The uneveness of the tea dyeing process contributed to the look. A few of the flowers changed color under the decoupage medium but none turned out horrid, just slightly different. Wayne and I chose words related to our biblical theme to add to the painted section, decoupaged his chosen scriptures, adhered the skeleton leaves and gave the entire piece a few coats of finish.

Dear hubby is as proud as a peacock when he sits in his recliner to rest and watch his Netflix selections. Top view is the finished product.

Found some of those promised photos

These are a few photos of the work in progress...the front and back covers as well as my title page once again. Last photo is the book disassembled and having decoupage applied.

A year ago

I never took the time to post any of these photos and I just ran across them again. Last year I wrote a fairy tale for my husband for his birthday. I began with an 8x8 craft paper album, painted it using green, gold and purple. On top of that I pieced together a mosaic from a children's book about fairies that had a gnome or two and other fae creatures. I then applied skeleton leaves for visual interest. To top things off I cut out pictures of a fairy knight and his noble steed as well as a fairy princess. I entitled my book "While Faeries Watch" and the entire thing was decoupaged repeatedly and I added some sparkle and a final coat of acrylic spray to seal everything.
The first photo is my title page using ribbons and beads and bling.
For now that will have to do I am not able to locate the rest of the photos currently...sorry.
BUT the book was a hit and everyone really enjoyed it, especially my husband!

Just a few more

I couldn't resist just a few more photos of our darling little ones. My hubby is doing his best to help out when he can - these kittens get hungry regularly and patience is not a virtue they possess!

For my next trick...

Trying to catch up here...still. In May we had a mother cat who panicked and abandoned two of her kittens. Guess who was then elected to nurse these two cuties. You win the prize; it was me. My dear husband dashed to the local grocer and came back with all the necessaries to keep these little ones on the right track. Can you tell we've done this before? We have one boy and one girl and a long road ahead of us because they must be nursed every two hours for quite a while. But aren't those little faces just absolutely worth it?!

Friday, July 11, 2008


A nearly, (but not quite), finished product. Here you have views of the front and both sides of my Faerie Chest. Everything is glued down, rubbed on and properly decoupaged. It will need a few more coats of Mod Podge and a final coat of Royal Coat as well as some hardware to be considered complete. But I am very pleased with the current results. Let me know what you think.


The first photo shows the front of the chest with all collage components in place.
The second photo shows the right side of the chest in progress and the third is the same side with most all the components in place. Ready to decoupage.
The fourth photo is the back of said chest with components taped in place and the fifth is the completed decoupaged back of my Faerie Chest!

The in-between works like this: once I have all the components taped in place I use my digital camera to take a photo for reference. Then I choose a manageable section and remove the pieces. Here I make a concerted effort to take note of what things overlap each other and where and which should be applied first. From here I am just playing by ear-the key, I suppose, is simply to keep your creation balanced. Nothing to it!

Collage Elements

This is the lid of the chest. I am still arranging and rearranging collage elements in order to get them to suit me. Everything is coming together quite nicely thus far.

Bottom Nearly Complete & Interlude

The uppermost photo is a better view of my "signature" for this piece. Took a day to gather my wits and in that time had an interface with a most beautiful butterfly. I took many photos-this little creature had no fear and actually lit upon my arm a time or two. The other two photos are where we spent the major part of our "interlude". My Ladybug and I walked down to the creek and took a dip. She just loves running to the creek and jumping in. We say she is our fish with fur, smile. Will get back to the Faerie Chest in the next post...

More Going With What I Know...

Since the collage had slowed me down I moved on to the elements whose placement I was certain of and began adhering and decoupaging them on.
The lid of the chest got my favorite faerie image. Next photo is the lid interior-collage part (left) unfinished but faeries are decoupaged on.
Next two photos show the tray/insert that sits inside the trunk. So far they have both been decoupaged, had rub-ons added and even some gold leafing.
And the interior of the chest with holes drilled for attaching feet, almost ready to decoupage.

Go With What You Know!

At this point the collage placement has come together quite well though it is a tedious process. In order to decoupage the chest you must envision how each piece will fit together and work from the bottom out. An overlap or gap in the wrong place could change the entire look of the piece. Everything is still being held together with low tack tape until I am completely satisfied with the results. This sometimes causes work to come to a standstill.

My method at that point is to "Go with what you know!". That means leave those frustrating little details alone for now and make progress where you can and are certain of what to do next. So, I left the collage work awhile to address the bottom of my chest. It had already occurred to me how I wanted this section to look. I applied one of my faerie/goblins as well as some rub-ons. This is how I signed this particular creation. There is a rub-on nametag that reads, "My name is... Mikel"(Mikel is my given name and I wrote it in my own handwriting.). More rub-ons stating "I artist" (again, my handwriting). Further it reads, "I call this creation...Pieces of Me(a rub-on). Covered the whole mess with Mod Podge and there you have my signature in this heirloom trunk. (I hope my granddaughter appreciates the effort thirty years from now, lol!)