Sunday, December 21, 2008


Decided to take a break from holiday preparations and get my hands messy. After a few false starts, I chose to simply gesso a bunch of old dictionary pages, stick in a strip of muslin and a leftover piece of star-printed mulberry paper and fiddle around with it. Also wanted to use some of the wonderful images by Crafty Individuals that my dear friend Kate recently sent, so I tried a contact paper transfer and used a portion of it for my focal image. Got a bit heavy handed rubbing the back of the paper away. Hence, the partial image. But I wasn't going to abandon it entirely, so I motored on. Shuffled the paper arrangement a bit until I liked the way it stacked. Tried to roll it like a scroll and wrap the image around it, but that didn't look right. So I folded the left side inward and was pleased with the way the paper edges overlapped. Then I stitched an arch of sorts to bind the pages and provide a border for the transfer image. The image was sewed on and the piece began to take shape.

The sides needed something additional, something other than a little more stitching. Finally decided on a swath of sheer ivory, decorative ribbon which I stitched to the paper composition with a coordinating thread. It still needed further embellishment to balance it out. I dug through quite a few doo-dads before settling upon the small brass crosses from Ashes2Beauty. If you have not seen this selection of embellishments, check out the website. Hands down my fav. Initially, I tried hand-sewing the crosses to the whole thing, but the threads were actually a bit distracting. Just looked out of place. Ended up using red-liner tape to fasten them. Gotta love red-liner tape. Couldn't live without it.

The piece had, by then, sort of taken on a theme. Just had to find the right words to express it. As is my custom, I turned to my stash of beeswax dipped, vintage text pages and went on a word hunt. Ah . . . there it was. The fundamental meaning of Christmas parsed down into four simple words . . . "Covenant of Thy love". Didn't I just do something similar? Oh well, that's how this art stuff works. Variation on a theme.

Ordinarily, I would have considered the piece done. It looked like a sort of oversized ATC. Maybe a slightly disproportionate skinny card. But it did not FEEL finished. I have discovered that you do not dictate what will result from your artful endeavors. The art dictates itself to you. It lets you know when it looks right or wrong, needs tweaking here or there, and above all, it tells you when you are done . . . or not. Thus, a backboard or mat was needed, and something substantial, hefty. Fortunately, I'd recently stumbled upon a hoarde of old, $1.00 books at an antique store and had purchased a few to have on hand. The brown cover of one of those old books serves as the backboard for this piece. I love the splotches and the naturally distressed edges of the cover. The dark background sets off the neutral colors of the assemblage quite nicely. And, thus, it is "done". . . at least for now.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and time with their families !!

Ciao for now,



Stempelchaotin said...

Wow this is truly amazing. Love them.

Shelly my friend, have a wonderful and pieceful christmas time. Thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog. I´m very glad about it. Hugs.

Lady Di said...

Shelly, this piece of art is sensational. You put so much time and effort into your pieces and it really shows, it's beautiful. I've cut down on the number of "committed" swaps I'm involved in next year (from 6 to 2) so maybe I can actually create more unique pieces. Have a wonderful christmas

crafty capers said...

You are amazing! This piece is wonderful - I just love what you do with the Crafty Individuals images - so imaginative. How did you do the transfer? Please share, I still haven't got the hang of it!

ArtSnark said...

Shelly, you are so full of creativity!I've nominated you for a "Lovely Blog Award". Pop on over for the details if you get a chance

Stacey M

Sam Marshall said...

Hi Shelly
Just really love the way this piece came together. The fabric, images and stitching just flow. You're right about it just letting it develop- looks awesome!!!!

Shelly said...

You guys make my day !! Thank you for your lovely comments.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To do the transfer:
Cut a piece of contact paper (clear, self-adhesive shelf liner)to about the size of your image. Peel the backing paper off the contact paper and stick the image, face down, to the adhesive side of the contact paper.
Flip it over and burnish the front well. I use the back of a spoon because it doesn't scratch up the contact paper and the heat from the friction really helps the contact paper adhere to the image.
Then simply wet the back of the image thoroughly (use a spray bottle, a wet paper towel, or soak it in a little container), let it sit for a few minutes, and then rub the back of the paper away with your fingertips. You may have to wet it a couple of times during the process. Try to rub away as much of the white paper as possible. Dab dry with a paper towel. Your transferred image is ready to go !!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Note: This is the same as the packing tape transfer method. I don't particularly like packing tape . . . I think the finish is too shiny. Much prefer contact paper.

crafty capers said...

Ooh thanks so much for the helpful instuctions, I'm going to try it! I think I have seen this explained by Claudine in one of her books but I didn't know what contact paper was until now! Thanks :-)

Sanja said...

Beautiful fabric art!
Have a wonderful Christmas.

Viola said...

Fabulous piece, Shelly! Wonderful artwork as always!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2009, my dear. Sending big hugs to you! :o)

Cindy said...

As always - fab piece of work Shelly! This is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing the story about it's coming to be with us - and I've got something for you... Please come by Cindy's Place and see the post of 12/23.
hugs & Merry Merry Christmas!

Judy said...

Shelly, your piece is so so awesome. Wishing you the happiest and creative of New Years.

Anne, Bulles dorées said...

it's stunning !!!!!!!!

Melissa said...

This is a beautiful piece! I've really enjoyed browsing around your blogs, and thanks for visiting mine!

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Sanja said...

Dear Shelly
I wish you and yours all the best for 2009.

Dayna Collins said...

Pretty pretty pretty . . . thanks for sharing and for writing about your process.

Kim Logan said...

Really Beautiful Shelly. Happy New Year.

Fi@84 said...

I really agree with you about letting the piece of work tell you where it needs to go next. Thanks for sharing you contact paper transfer method. I must have a go when I have time.

Susan Sager Brown said...

I love the layers and feelings of depth I get from this piece. Your style is lovely and unique.