Rather than Guest Designing alongside the amazing Design Team, I have been invited to create my own personal "Anything Goes" project, and have also answered a comprehensive questionnaire - so the curious can hop over to Our Creative Corner and hear me spill the beans!
As for the project... well, as you know "Anything Goes" is a wonderful gift, and a scarily open proposition: I can do anything... but what?! Well, in the end, it all happened accidentally, and I arrived at this "canvas":
To tell the truth, there wasn't really any planning to this piece. It developed out of simply sitting at the desk and playing.
I was experimenting with some new Artistic Outpost stamps and the metallic Distress Stains I ordered from the Funkie Junkie Boutique (after winning a 25% reduction in Frilly and Funkie's Sunday Share - too good a chance to miss to add these to my stash).
My chief crafting obsession is with stamping and inking, and this Think and Wonder set from Artistic Outpost had caught my eye whenever I saw anyone using it out in Craftyblogland, most often over at the AO creative blog. So when they arrived in my hands, I just wanted to ink them up and try them out.
I was also messing about with the metallic Distress Stains, trying out different colour combinations, marbling them onto tags using Tim Holtz's Marbled Stain technique (Compendium of Curiosities II), so it made sense to try out the stamps onto these backgrounds with their lustrous sheen.
After stamping, I also added some Perfect Pearls powder in places, for extra gleam - the patina of the past.
I was, of course, working in my favourite colour palette of blues and browns, with the odd bit of Pumice Stone (a new favourite) thrown in.
And before long, I had lots of tags lying on the desk looking up at me, with the haunting beauty of the little girl, and the tight grip of the handhold of the brother and sister repeated over and over again.
Looking at them lying there, I suddenly realised I had the core of a piece right there.
I have very hazy memories of most of my childhood, but there are some moments that stand out with diamond clarity - and many of those have my little brother in sharp focus:
I remember the wind on my face as I ran across the school field when I saw that he was being bullied by some older boys (the only time I ever ran faster than my best friend who ran for the County!)...
I remember the silly game we were playing in the garden just before our parents told us they were separating...
I remember lots of explosive quarrels and lots of shared laughter... and I identify so strongly with the mixture of trepidation and determination I see in their faces, and that shared grip.
Strange how memory works... and creativity.
So, I had all these tags, and I knew they needed to be together... but how? I needed to create some kind of frame or mount for them. Again, serendipity lent a hand. Amongst the house-clearing we're doing (see the questionnaire over at OCC), I found a discarded picture frame, the mountboard of which turned out to be the perfect size to hold eight of my favourite experiments.
I turned to my current favourite texture creator - tissue paper, and then the battles began!
I had in my head the idea that I wanted the tags to be embedded in their background, or somehow growing out of it.
So I had to create spaces within the texture to fit the tags. It took lots of tearing, and gluing and messy moulding around a spare tag, but eventually I got somewhere.
Then I started painting, spraying and spritzing - I went through many layers and colours via gesso, acrylics, ColorWash sprays and Perfect Pearls Mists.
Some were disastrous, and I thought I would have to start all over again, but finally the shade and patina seemed to work with the tags rather than against them.
All this time, my mind was wandering in search of a quote that was flickering in and out of focus in my head - something about childhood and loss of innocence, but I couldn't quite summon it to the surface.
So I went off to do a Google search (what did we do before Google - or indeed the internet generally?!), and on my keyboard travels I stumbled upon the quote by Cynthia Ozick which now sits at the centre of this piece.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I found it... I had to keep re-reading it to make sure it wasn't my imagination - how could it be so perfect? I mean, "stamped, inked, imprinted" - come on!
I created another marbled background on plain paper, and stamped the quote using my little £1 alphabet. I backed it onto some metal mesh from the Funkie Junkie Boutique, and played for a while with the placing on the board.
Without any punctuation, I needed to let the spacing do the phrasing for me, so it was really important to get it right. Some words are glued using flat tape, and some using padded tape, so that there's variety in the dimensionality of how the words come up to greet you and overlap each other.
The clocks - TH Idea-ology - were obvious embellishments given the journeys into the past, and the cogs and gears are touching on that idea of the workings of memory and the mind.
Because there are metallic sheens of all sorts, I mixed and match the metals I chose for the clock faces and hands and for the gears - each of them picks up something going on in the colours of the tags and the background.
I didn't want to disguise the fact that it was all built around tags, so I added twine to each tag top, and ended up loving the added texture it gave.
I'll leave you with a few extra shots - as I've shown you lots of individual elements, but I think it's in how they collide that the meaning grows...
Thank you so much for visiting Words and Pictures today - I'd love to know what you made of my "accidental" project... I value your comments and feedback so deeply. And do take a trip to Our Creative Corner - especially if you've never been before. They run wonderful challenges, and there's always fantastically inspirational work from the amazing design team. I'd like to say a big thank you to them for inviting me round to play this week in the brand new look Top Talent Thursday - I've had a wonderful time!
I'm entering this for the following
Simon Says Stamp and Show want to see our Favourites - I'm sticking with stamping and inky backgrounds
The Artistic Outpost October challenge which is Anything Goes using an AO stamp
A third and final entry for the Anything Goes challenge at the Crafty Bloggers Network
At Sugar Creek Hollow, they'd like us to Show Some Sparkle - it's perhaps more of a gleam, but with lots of mica powder, the metallic Distress Stains, and the Perfect Pearls Mists there's a lustre about this which I hope qualifies it
The Vintage Stamping Challenge are on their inaugural Anything Goes challenge
There's an Anything Goes at the Deep Ocean Challenge Blog too
And with the metal mesh, AO stamps and metallic Distress Stains all from the Funkie Junkie Boutique, I'm really going to have to add it to the Sunday Share at Frilly and Funkie - since it was the products themselves which were the real kickstart to this piece
I don't feel I want to add a separate quote to this post - the project one speaks clearly enough:
What we remember from childhood, we remember forever: permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.