I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

He's behind you...

Hello and welcome... I'm so happy to have your company for a while today, especially if this is your second visit (after WOYWWing earlier)!

I'm sharing a tag inspired by the House of Bears' literary challenge.  This month, it being October - leading us towards Halloween - they have selected Dracula as the inspiration, with some suggested recipe ingredients too.  Hop over for a look... perhaps it will inspire you to play along.


You can really run with the challenge in lots of different directions, but I've taken a purist's route, both in technical and artistic terms.


As far as how it's made - it's really my favourite thing to do... inking up a background and stamping.  Simple but so effective, and so flexible.


The stamps are a combination of Tim Holtz and Oxford Impressions, and are built up in layers using masks I cut - one of the beautiful girl, and one of the skull.


Each of the images is stamped in Archival Ink, and the blended background is, of course, Distress Inks all the way.


The edges have been distressed using the Tim Holtz paper distresser, for that added texture.


And you'll get a closer look at the laces, top and bottom, later on...




As for the story inspiration: the central focus for my tag is the character of Mina Harker.  It's always seemed to me one of the weaknesses of the book that, despite their knowledge of the Count's activities, and the course of the sickness and demise of Mina's friend Lucy, it still takes everyone ages to work out that the same thing is happening to Mina.  

The poor woman gets paler and paler, and more and more ill, and the reader spends the whole time wanting to yell at the useless men to pay attention to what's under their noses!



That's what our Victorian gentleman (otherwise known as Dr Coffin from the Oxford Impressions set Dr Coffin's Apothecary) is doing there down in the corner, almost wilfully looking in the other direction.

As with the pantomime tradition of the audience yelling, "he's behind you!" at the characters, we the readers have more insight into what's going on than the characters.  So there's the skull - the symbol of death, hovering behind Mina.  

One of the pleasing accidents of this tag is that his looming brow almost doubles as a moon in the midnight sky inking.






And Dracula's alter-ego, the bat, creature of the night is hanging right over her head... so really, the poor girl hasn't got a hope!

He's another of the Oxford Impressions stamps, and as well as Archival Black, I stroked some Platinum pigment ink onto his fur before stamping, to try to get a silvery tinge.  In some lights it is visible, but it's very much a "now-you-see-it-now-you-don't" affair.











The lace on top was plain white, and has had a touch of Antique Linen and Chipped Sapphire Distress Inks blended onto it, to tone in with the tag colours of midnight and bone (ooh... good band name - Midnight and Bone).  

The Gothic roofline is another Oxford Impressions stamp, stamped while I held the mask over the skull to keep him in the foreground.



The lace at the bottom takes its inspiration from the brilliant Julia S-W over at Julia's Stuff.  She does amazing things with lace and UTEE, and I've wanted to give it a go for ages (though I haven't yet tried stamping into the UTEE as she does - seriously, check it out!), and finally found the perfect project for it.  

It's cut using the Tim Holtz Decorative Strip Die out of a book page.  

Then I gave it a tiny edging of Chipped Sapphire and got going with the UTEE.  Love the effect... spot the upside-down text, though... bah!!  I still think the lace is the perfect Victorian touch to top and tail the tag.


So that's it for my double trouble today; thanks so much for taking the time to stop by.  I've a very special post coming up tomorrow... be great to have your company again!  But for now, have a wonderful day, crafting or otherwise.

"Listen to them - children of the night.  What music they make!"
Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula

I'm entering this in the following:
The House of Bears' October Challenge of Horror, with the novel Dracula as its theme, adding midnight, bats and gothic architecture
Simon Says Stamp and Show want to see our Favourites - mine are techniques: stamping and inking, basic but so full of potential
At the Happy Daze DT Blog, they're playing Something Wicked This Way Comes for October - you can pick up Distress and Archival Inks at the Happy Daze shop
And at Simon Says Stamp, there's some Eerie Inspiration - I'm playing with the photo in the top left of the board...

42 comments:

inkypinkycraft said...

a fab make, love the bat, the ghostly feel to this is wonderful..another great make Alison! trace x

Debi said...

just stunning masking and creating!! Debi x

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...what a stunning tag Alison wow, amazing how you have merged your images and great images too, loVe the greys & blues they do have a ghostly quality and feel...incredible work as always Alison...Mel :)

toni said...

A gorgeous tag Alison. Great images and masking technique. You can't beat a bit of good ol' stamping x

Julia S-W said...

Firstly Alison, thanks for the honourable mention - quite shocked to see my name as I read down! Glad that my little lace trick inspired you.
Secondly, I love this tag. It's eerie, atmospheric and thought provoking - good material for story making if you ask me! Gorgeous stamping, amazing images and love the almost monochromatic colour scheme (even though it isn't really!).
Juliaxx

Kjersti said...

I love to visit your blog Alison, can stay for a long time just studying all your gorgeous creations! This tag looks great, fabulous masking and colourscheme!
Have a nice day!
Hugs Kjersti:)

Cestina said...

Loved this. Great storyline. That's my problem with all books like this - the inevitability of the looming disaster and the sheer incompetence of the on-lookers. Why can't they see what's going to happen, for heaven's sake?

The skull/woman/bat combination is excellent......

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, I have just been catching up! WOW you have been busy and all fabulous.
I love the way you have re-created this story on your tag with the masking and wonderful composition,
Love the addition of the lace, just seems to add to the frailty of our poor lady.
Avril xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Fabulous! Love all the different layers (of stamping) and elements and how they blend together seamlessly into a beautiful whole!

Redanne said...

Another stunning creation from you Alison, love the colours, the layering of the stamps and the story behind it all. I love your blog! Crafty hugs, Anne x

Sandra said...

Very cool tag! Love the blue-ish grey colors and the masked stamping is fabulous! Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs, Sandra

Olivia said...

I often look at your creations and I´m always thinking...this is not scrapbooking....this is art!!! You make so many beautiful things and I think you are from a another world...lol.. What can I say...I just think you are so talented and it´s a pleasure to look at your creations :-)

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Absolutely fantastic - the layering and merging of images is captivating - wonderful color palette. I love reading how you develop your pieces and really appreciate the detail and pictures in your posts! TFS!

Hugs,
Linda

Nan G said...

Great tag! Thanks for explaining your techniques! Love your blog and all the cool stuff you do!

House of Bears said...

Wow, wow, wow. This is truly inspired and tells the story perfectly. We love the way Mina's plight is being ignored by the clueless gentleman, while the shadow of death looms close behind her.

Thanks for entering our challenge, we love that you've taken time to join in.

We always look forward to visiting your blog, you're such an inspiration to crafters.

Katherine (sutty) said...

Fantastic gothic tag - I love how you have blended all the stamps and got soooo much detail on there too :)

Katherine (sutty) said...

Fantastic gothic tag - I love how you have blended all the stamps and got soooo much detail on there too :)

Buttons said...

Great storytelling and fantastic composition of these images. You really do blue so well and the book lace is the perfect finish. Hugs, Buttons x

Karen McAlpine said...

Great composition!! Love how you used the masks. The effect of the masks make me think of the over shadowing of the evil of Dracula through out the story -which no film has ever really been able to rival. The book is always better. Love your tag!

Janny Jager 't Hooft said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwww Alison this is great
love teh stamps ypu used very much
A great collage

Greetings Janny

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Hi Alison, love your eerie tag, love your masking, the images appear to merge into each other which is fabulous and adds to the eerie feel for,Halloween. Love the bat and your stamped images and a lovely background too. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

sam21ski said...

Love how the girls face and the skull are combined, they just melt into each other - fab and spooky!!!

Sam xxx

Netty said...

wonderful design combinations, love it. x

froebelsternchen Susi said...

fabulous!

Judy Bigg said...

Wow Alison, what an impressive tag for upcoming Halloween. I always love seeing your talents and creativity come out.

Gillian .... said...

Hey Alison *waving* this tag is TOTALLY cool, love the eirie feel it has and the placement of the stamps is great. x

Silvia(Barnie) said...

So cool, that's a fabulous idea, great tag.

Brenda Brown said...

Fabulous, amazing, I love it, both the art and the story you have written with it. The lace and utee looks scrummy, got to check out what Julia does as well.
hugs {brenda} xox

Anita Houston said...

OH...this one reminds me of all the ghosts of my past! I wish they would leave me alone and never come back...lol!!! So so so cool here! I love your thinking and what a cool design!!! Spooky for sure!

May said...

AmAzing stamping Alison, How these fabulous images merge beautifully together... Love it!!! Brilliant detail & design... Hugs May x x x

scrappymo! said...

Fabulous work! Spooky in a very subtle, goulish way!

Andrea Small said...

Gotta love a literary tag! fab combination of images - Mina/moon/mooning (er not in that way, obviously). I like the text direction - a world turned upside down...x

Ephemera said...

Hi Alison, this is fantastic, a tag of extremes, beautiful and innocent, but then eerie and very creepy. Love it. xx

Anna-Karin said...

Fabulous tag Alison! Such an interesting combination of stamps! Love the shades of blue and the UTEE coated vintage lace is gorgeous (I didn't even notice the up side down text). Thank you for your comment on my UTEE frame!

fatmonica said...

This is a stunning piece of work!Love it.

Lin said...

WOW, great interpretation! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the Simon Says Stamp challenge this week!

florenceandfreddie said...

Fantastic tag Alison.
Regards Florence x

okienurse said...

awesome tag! Love the colors and that bat is spooky hanging there! Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sorry I am so late getting around but life calls. Thanks for visiting my blog. Vickie #71

lynne said...

During my last visit there were Gremlins in the works as I was unable to comment so I am keeping my fingers crossed for this visit.
Dark, mysterious with stunning stamping and a tag which definitely tells a story.
It is wonderful to see you having such fun with your new O.I. stamps.
Wishes
Lynne

Sue said...

this work is amazing and i really love the textures, shapes and colours.
xxx

Netty said...

Hi, I came back to revisit this beautiful tag and to thank you for joining in the fun with us at happy daze, Annette x

MorningAJ said...

I love the lace. And there's lots in there I didn't spot straight away.

My Dracula page is here.