Thursday, 14 January 2016

Art Journaling for Beginners

The title of this post refers to me :) I've been saying for a while that I would give journalling a try, after several years of suffering from anxiety and mild depression I was told that I needed to develop a more positive frame of mind. Having seen lots of examples of other peoples art journals over the past 6 months I realised that there are lots of positive messages stamps and stencils out there and also lots of lovely new crafting goodies to experiment with.

My main reason to start art journalling though is not just to try and give myself a more positive frame of mind, but to help put my feelings and thoughts into something that can show how I'm feeling when words don't always come easy. Must add I'm peri-menopausal at the moment and one of the delightful side effects is losing words and having 'dumb struck' moments, moments when you suddenly stop talking not because you can't remember what you want to say, you just can't remember what the damn word or words are that you want to use is.

I'd been thinking about keeping an art journal for a while now, but I kept chickening out because I can't draw for toffee, that's not true, I can draw a mean stick man lol! I've never classed myself as arty, I think I'm creative, I used to do a lot of cross stitch and I can do basic knitting and use a sewing machine. But to me, art is something that goes on walls in museums, its what talented people do who can paint, and shade and capture a likeness on a canvas, that's not me. Well that was how I thought until recently, now I'm firmly thinking that if it comes from the heART its ART whatever it looks like to others :)

So with that thought in mind I gathered together some of the new stash I got for my birthday last week, and opened my new art journal to the very first page, I first misted it with water then added some Crushed Grape and Calypso Teal Dylusions ink to the page in random squirts, then I used a paper towel to remove some of the ink. Next I took some stamps from Kaisercraft and stamped some text, I was a little wobbly these were training wheels and I was flying in the face of the fear that I shouldn't be playing with these things. I got a little bolder and used one of my new BoBunny stencils and some Wilted Violet distress ink to lay down the heART's, a message to myself.

Next I stamped and embossed the sentiment and used another of the BoBunny stencils and some Antique Rose Sparkle Texture paste to put some butterflies on the page. The butterflies are the symbol of my nervous thoughts, those "I'm crap at this", "This is a mess", "Stop doing it you obviously can't" type thoughts, but they also represent freedom to create and ART is in create as well. I had to stop playing for a little while so the texture paste could dry, when I got up from my seat and looked down at the page I said "WOW!" because I'd started something that looked good to me, and that's what matters, its my art journal, its not being judged by anyone and anything goes.

I've done a little on it each evening for a few nights, adding bits, like some stamped flowers, highlighting the butterflies, added some photos of me and some additional sentiments and its finished... Ta Da!

Well as finished as these things can ever be! The photos of me are rare moments when I stopped thinking what others might think, stopped worrying about potential negative consequences and let my inner child out, moments when I just did it, and do you know what, nothing happened other than I had fun! Putting this page together showed me a little something about myself, the whole point of the exercise, and yes I know its not up to the standards of some of the fabulous art journalers out there, but I'm pretty proud of my first page. Me using my hands, mind and heart to tell myself something that at 52 years of age I should already know, love yourself, adore your ideas and cherish every moment, every pen stroke and ink smoosh, it may not always look arty to others, but if it comes from the heART its never wrong :) Now my mind is full of ideas for the next page and the page after that...

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Birthday Stash

Last week it was my birthday, and my hubby took me to Coleman's Craft Warehouse in Rushden, Northants. I spent a very happy couple of birthday hours browsing the shelves and availed myself of lots of crafting bargains. As it was January my craft basket reaped the sales rewards and I picked up some amazing bargains, and found almost all of the items on my wish list. They didn't have any art journals or posca pens, so an additional trip to hobby craft happened on the way home. I've got it in to my head that this year I'll try my hand at art journalling so I wanted to acquire some supplies for that, more on that in another post.

Back to Coleman's, if you live in the area and haven't been then you should visit STAT! I started out buying craft supplies at The Range and Hobbycraft because when I started crafting back in September 2014 they were the only places that sold crafting supplies that I knew of. I've since found lots of lovely craft shops online that I continue to use, but nothing beats seeing and touching the crafting goodies, it gives you a better idea of size, texture and you even see things that you may not have considered using before.

The staff at Coleman's are very friendly and helpful, they provide tea and coffee and biccies, if you remember to ask! Somebody (me) got so excited when she got through the doors that she started shopping immediately and forgot to tell them I'd arrived after emailing to say I'd visit and they said to tell them when I got there and they'd put the kettle on lol! There were so many wonderful things it was like Charlie's Chocolate Factory for the crafter. One a couple of the huge tables they have in the store there were lots of ladies sat crafting, it was almost like a social club atmosphere they chatted and crafted and looked to be having an amazing time.

I 'squeed' with joy when I discovered that lots of the Tim Holtz dies were in the sale, one of them, the Sizzix Bell Jar with Pedestal which I've been coveting for a while now was £7.50 the cheapest I've ever seen it brand new.  I found art journalling stencils in the sale, my favourites are the Bo Bunny 'Cascade' set which look to be silicon of some kind, they adhere to the paper as if you've stuck them down so you can work without the stencil slipping, bliss! I'll be acquiring more of these over the next few months.

There were stamps by companies that I'd never heard of before and I discovered new things to put on my wish list. I also picked up 5 of the Ken Oliver 'Color Burst' bottles of pigment colour, not tried them yet but it'll be interesting to see how they compare to Brusho's and he's just released some gorgeous new colours at CHA 2016 so if these work well I'll be availing myself of some of them :)

I also picked up a couple of the back issues of Craft Stamper magazine, I found it incredibly inspiring and interesting so I took out a subscription, as well as getting a good deal on the shop price I never miss an issue, it gets delivered to my door and the bonus was the bundle of IndigoBlu goodies that you got. Post on that coming soon.

Getting to Coleman's is a bit of a trek from Derby, that said its somewhere I'd be happy to travel to for supplies every couple of months. The one downside is they only have a tiny fraction of the stuff they sell in their online store, so you can't get everything you need from them online, like you can if you go to the warehouse.

The Craft Warehouse isn't open all week it's open Thursdays and Fridays 9am - 4pm, Saturdays 8.30am - 4pm and Sundays 10am - 4pm, there is free parking, and a room for “bored husbands” with sofas, television and newspaper and magazines. Although my hubby just sat at the craft table browsing the internet lol! If you get the chance to go, DO IT! I'll be posting some photos of some of the things I've been making with my birthday stash from Coleman's very soon. It really is an Aladdin's cave of crafty goodness and I can't wait to go back :)