Thursday, 10 May 2012


Before going to Artfest I couldn't figure out what to bring for trades. I tried this and that and at some point I thought envelopes would be fun and it's something you always need. So I played around and started having a lot of fun making them.

Not long ago, Jessica Brogan, whom I met first through (or HSHB) and then at Artfest asked me if I could make a tutorial for my painted envelopes. I liked the idea, so here it is...

You will need :

  • Paper, whatever color you want, thicker than printer paper, but not cardstock (it is a bit too thick to fold. It works but makes a pretty heavy envelope. )
  • Doily, punchinella and/or any stencil you like
  • Color wash spray (I use Adirondack, but also Radiant Rain by Creative imaginations. The colors are very bright even when dry and the sprayer doesn’t get clogged – unlike the Adirondack ones. But really, any kind will do, it doesn’t have to be watersoluble or not, it will just have a different effect in the end).
  • White liquid gesso (preferably one that doesn’t cover too much)
  • Background stamp 
  • Stamp pad (an ink that dries quickly like Stazon or Colorbox Liquid Chalk. Whatever you have)
  • Acrylic ink (liquitex or FW have great colors)
  • Scoring board with envelope tool (or an envelope template, there are tons on the web)
  • Bone folder
  • Glue tape (or double-sided tape or any king of good glue that you like)

I recommend doing several envelopes at once

Cut a piece of paper in a 7 ½” square (it makes a 5 ¼” by 4” envelope)

Use a doily (or any stencil you like) to make a pattern with color wash spray (you can see my cotton doily has seen many colors...)

Let it dry a little and paint white gesso (preferably one that is more transparent) in a  random way over the pattern. Let dry.

      Put a couple of drops of acrylic ink and rub them on the paper with your fingers.

    Make some marks with inkpads and punchinella

Use a background stamp and cover the whole paper (script in my case) with a light color (like bronze)

Here are a few papers. You can see I added a few letters with a lettering stencil.

 I decided to add some circles with a bottlecap and distress ink (any ink will do)

Feel free to skip or repeat any of those steps. You can see  a little bit in the first picture I didn’t always follow the same guidelines. Sometimes I painted gesso on through a stencil or through the punchinella. Sometimes I added paint here and there. I also used the sprays with a letter stencil instead of the doilie. Feel free to make any king of marks you want. There’s all sorts of options.

Once you like the way it looks you are ready to fold.

Place your painted square painted face down on the scoring board. Using the triangle (envelope tool) score at 3 ¼”, turn, score at 2 5/8”, turn, score at 3 ¼”, turn and score at 2 5/8”.

You will get 4 little triangles not quite in the middle of each side. Cut them out on the scoring lines (actually it’s better if you don’t see the scoring line once you are done cutting).

Time to fold ! Use a bone folder and fold all sides toward the center of the unpainted side. Make sure all sides fold nicely, cut out a little more if necessary.

Decide which of the bigger flaps you want to see on top. Fold the 2 small flaps and use glue tape to adhere the bigger flap. 

If you want, use a punch to decorate the edges of the 4th flap. 

That’s it, you’re done !

Have fun   

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Starflower pattern is done

Making beadweaving patterns is a long process.

I usually play around with beads and come up with something I like and don't do anything about it for a while. Then one day I figure I could make a pattern of it. So I have to remember how I did it, then make another one as I write the instructions and make diagrams for it. That's the best way to not forget any steps. But making diagrams is not easy.
I don't have any fancy drawing program because I wouldn't know how to use it. I do have a little program called Perl'art. It was created for beaders who mostly use Swarovski crystal. It's very useful because it has a lot of shapes, colors, elements. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

As you can see you choose shapes at the top, drag them on the screen and when you click on them you can change the color, size, orientation, etc. Much better than drawing (I tried, didn't work). But the program has some major flaws. The worst one being that saved files simply disappear after a short while (a month or so).Where do they go ? Don't know. The Land of Lost Things I suppose. Seriously, we've (well that would be T. I wouldn't have any clue where to look) looked everywhere on the machine and can't find any saved files. Which is somewhat problematic. What I have to do is screen-capture every little thing I change in the hopes that when I write the pattern I won't decide that I need some step that I didn't capture and have to redo the whole diagram (which is a regular occurence...). And then, what ends up happening every single time is that I make a color mistake. For some reason I accidentally switch colors. So I have to redo everything, because by the time I realize it my files have disappeared.

Which is one of the reasons it takes me so long to make patterns. Not only is it time consuming to redo most of what I did, but mostly, I just don't feel like doing it again. So I ignore it. Sometimes for months... (And then I try to convince my daughter that even if she doesn't feel like it, she still has to do her boring homework NOW. Ha. If only she knew...).

Anyhow. I eventually manage to finish them. Then I realize that I have 3 nearly finished patterns on the go, that could be finished if only I corrected this little thing and then I'll ignore those for a few months. Not very efficient I know. I'm working on it though.
This morning I decided I was going to finish one, and I did. Except that I can't post it on my website, because it has been hacked (yes really) and is now offline until it is fixed (which is not something I can do on my own). So there. You still get a picture though :

The Starflower necklace. Or necklaces in this instance. Don't they look pretty together ?

Edit : Well you can now buy the pattern from this blog. If you look up, there is a tab that says "Beading Patterns". Click on it and you will find all my available patterns for sale. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Going to Artfest !

It's official, I'm going to Artfest !

Artfest is a 3day art retreat in Port Townsend, Washington. I've been reading about it for a while now, always drooling when I looked at the worshops, wondering when I would go. Well I learned not long ago that 2012 is the last year it will happen because Teesha Moore, who organizes it, wants to move on to something else. Oh no ! What to do ? I didn't want to miss out on the experience which everyone says is fabulous, but it was a bit of a last minute thing (it's at the end of March - ok I know, a month and a half is not such short notice, but for me it is.). Also, because I was registering late, the 3 classes I really, really wanted to take were full. Well I decided it was worth it anyway.

The retreat is actually in Fort Warden, an old military base. There are dorms there and it's part of the fun to all be together day and night. But today, I saw on the website that the dorms are full and although it's not a deal breaker like T. asked, it definitely would change the mood if I had to stay in town instead. I immediately emailed Teesha (I just sent my registration last week so I still have not heard back yet - I was really surprised to find out that it's all snail mail. No online registration ? Really ? I guess they have their reasons !) to ask her if I had a room, and she answered a few minutes later to tell me that yes, I had a spot in the dorms. Fiou.

So there it is. I'm registered. I don't know to which workshops yet, it all depends on whether the first ones on my list were full or not. I'll know next week. But it doesn't matter. I will learn tons no matter what, and I will meet people who love paint, collage, mixed-media, etc. Artists I admire, people I read online and lots of other inspired individuals, which will be wonderful. Now I have to decide exactly how long I'm going for (it would be silly not to visit Seattle wouldn't it ?).