Tag Archive for 'paper'

Battling my Paper Demons

paper pieces

 

Hello, My name is Robyn, and I’m a paper addict.

 

paintings

Recently I decided to undertake the big project of destashing my paper collection. I’ve realized that I am just not using the decorative, art, and vintage papers that I have, like I used to. At least for my artwork, I’ve been choosing my own painted and printed papers more and more instead. I’ve also realized that it’s such a BIG PROJECT because I’ve have had no self control and have never tackled it before so the paper hoard just grew and Grew and GREW! A few people on instagram said that they destash every few months or when their collection STARTS getting out of control. How smart of them (pounding my head against a wall that I didn’t think to do this myself).

My modest and humble paper collection originally started with a little accordion folder and the papers sorted inside. And then there were little ikea shelf of drawers that I had purchased to hold my entire collection, you can see them below my stereo in the picture below. The collection overflowed to the large flat shelves that stores magazines, calendars and old clipart books, and the book shelve in my studio that holds vintage books and old paper sample books. THEN when we moved to our house in 2011 I had something like 5 boxes of random papers that had no place to go, so they just sat on the floor of my studio. Over the years I was able to consolidate and get it down to just 3 boxes, but 3 boxes is still too much. I’d like to get it back down to a what’s on the flat shelves and then in the ikea drawers. Once it starts expanding, then I need to start making cuts again.

Studio getting unpacked
A picture of my studio when I first unpacked it in 2011, with the boxes of paper conveniently pushed out of the frame.

As I sort and get rid of paper I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t use any of it because it is just too overwhelming to even look at. I’ve offered paper packs of ephemera in the past. The first couple rounds were awesome and sold out quickly, but the last version I listed years ago, just sat in my shop.

It was distressing me to think of pitching my own paper collection, but I felt like the hoard was closing in on me and I know I work so much better with room to breath. I remembered when I was in college taking some fiber arts classes and the teacher had these boxes of random papers that we could sort through and use however we like. It was great! When I remembered those boxes and bins of paper in college I had the idea that I could just donate MY paper to the art school and I’m sure some college students would be SUPER HAPPY. Even if they are putting it in a blender to make recycled handpulled papers, it is being used, which is more than can be said for it on the floor of my studio.

My paper hoard - discard pile

Sadly, I’m at my end, so I’d really just love to take those boxes straight to the college but I can’t. The biggest problem is that I’ve been sloppy with my paper collection. Interspersed amongst beautiful art and fascinating vintage papers of all kinds are a variety of treasures that should not be donated. I’ve got three ongoing piles, one to donate, one to keep and one to pitch.

Found while going through my paper hoard

So far, I’ve found (I think) 6 Polaroid i-zone pics, and two photobooth strips. I have a whole container for photographs with specific individual bags for polaroids and photobooth strips, so these should not have been amongst the papers, but like I said, I’ve been sloppy.

Found while going through my paper hoard Found while going through my paper hoard

I’ve found COUNTLESS notes to myself, to-do lists, and grocery lists. As I mentioned in my last post, I used to write and draw on loose, quartered scrap papers all the time, and naturally many of those papers made their way into my stash. I’ve also found receipts, and paystubs, and bills, oi. Above I found a sketch and a letter from a friend.

One thing I wish I had started keeping were all the fortune cookies fortunes. There have been so many and they could have just been taped onto a sketchbook page.

Scrap pile

The piles of paper I plan on throwing away sometimes look so beautiful that I have to take a picture. I have a moment where I think I just want to keep it and start making stuff with it. When this happens, I’ve stepped away for a while. BUT THEN I found this box of the teensiest, tiniest, beautiful scraps. Everything is like 3 inches or smaller.

Untitled

Crazy starts talking to me again and I think, I should start a photograph series documenting the piles because they are so beautiful! The paper may go in the garbage but the photographs are pieces of art on their own.

Ok, I have to admit. This box (the contents of which are in video and many pictures above) has been my brick wall. I might just make room for most of its contents in the Ikea shelf.

 

Scallop Bunting Garlands

garland

I thought I had posted about these garlands on my blog before but I can’t for the life of me find any trace mention of them.

It all started last summer when Ann from A Beautiful Party and I went to a workshop in Chicago and participated in maker project taught by Esther of Essimar. She taught us how to make these ornaments with scalloped decorated papers we made.

paper ornament

Mine looked like this, above. When I was done making my ornament I still had a bunch of my scalloped papers left and I gathered them all up and took them home with me. I didn’t know what would come of them but I thought they were too pretty to throw away. They sat on a shelf in my studio for months and months, then finally in February I had an idea and made the garland at the top. I sent it to a friend as a gift when she ordered something from my shop.

I really loved how it came out and wanted to make more. I had some craft paper on a roll and some acrylic paint and off I went.

Tonight's project, another scrappy garland.

I just love how I can play with paint, make patterns and a mess and they don’t have to be great or anything special, but cut it all up and voila, something functional and pretty!

I'm on a roll. Today it was a mint, black, gold, white and brown garland.

Each time I’ve started one I’ve been inspired by a color theme.

Robayre garland # 68 bobajillion

And then I started branching out from just acrylic paints but also using pastels, crayons, pencils and pens.

garland

Right now I’ve been making each one with someone in mind, but I still need to actually send them out to each person, but I love making them so much that it might be possible to see some spring up in my etsy shop, so keep an eye out.

When I was taking lots of metalwork classes I thought the instructor should photograph the students' hands at the beginning of the semester and then once again at the end. There'd be so much grime embedded and injury inflicted and yet the hands would be m

#patterns #color #art #wip

Annual Kusadama 2013 edition

Happy New Year!

Our annual #kusudama ornament. We've made one every year, starting in 2008. Our first one was an oops and ended up being about 10" in diameter, too big and heavy for the tree. #robayrekusudama

I wanted to drop in and share our new kusudama ornament we made for 2013, above. We used a black and white patterned origami paper I picked up from Michael’s. Below is 2012′s ornament that never got shared on the blog.

Kusadama from 2012 (but made in 2013)

We didn’t get around to making it in time for Christmas 2012, so we went with all red colors for Valentine’s day instead.

When we made the first one in 2008 I had a vision of having a tree decorated entirely with these, but then we realized how labor intensive it is, so we just made the one, but now we have 6! Only 4 of them are small enough to actually fit on the tree, but still, it is cool to see the collection grow each year. I love this holiday tradition.

  2010 kusudama ornament cropped
2009 Kusudama ornament  recycled ornament

You can click on each picture above to read that year’s post.

Just some facts about the ornaments if you are interested in making one for yourself:

Paper squres (64 pieces) should be no bigger than 3″ square for a resulting 4.5″ ornament. Trust me, our first “ornament” is about 12 inches in diameter!

The instructions (if I remember correctly) say to use glue. There is no way you’d ever get this done if you were waiting for each piece of paper to glue together. The first year or two we used an adhesive tape, but that started acting funky over the years, so we have switched to glue gun and it speeds up the whole process and the pieces hold together SOLIDLY!

We follow this 2 step tutorial each year.

Security Envelope Jewelry

I’m finally back with that post I promised about my idea for using the security envelopes. I’ve been in major production mode preparing for the Na-Da Farm sale and finally finished these pieces to share here.

5.8.13 jewelry3
I used them to make my paper spiral stratum jewelry pieces. Some rings and some pendants that will be turned into necklaces. I made a variety so I will be able to add some to my etsy shop soon.
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I made some using manilla envelopes as a contrasting color.
5.8.13 jewelry
Fun eh? They would be fun for anyone, just to explain that the paper is actually the inside of security envelopes, but I kind of like to picture that book-keepers, accountants, and postal workers would really love them.
5.8.13 jewelry4

I hope to be back with another post in a day or two. Hopefully more about some of the other projects I’ve got going on for the sale. I have all these posts in the works, but just no time to actually publish them. It’s that pesky 9-5 job that always gets in the way. Right now I’m off to a hopefully productive work session with Courtney and Ann.

leather journals and bookmaking

2.26 books

This weekend I was really excited to make a bunch of little journals. They are similar to my little book that I purchased at an art show in 2009. The pages are even smaller though, at 3″x2.25″

When I was in college I took a bookmaking class and have since made a few books that I’ve sold through my shop. The above image is a hardcover book I made and one of the first items I ever sold in my etsy shop back in 2006. Below is another hardcover book in my shop currently.

and I’ve made many super teensie tiny handbound books like below

Little books fit perfectly into coin machine balls 

I even used to make tiny books on earrings, but I don’t have pierced ears, so I always felt kind of weird about offering an item that I couldn’t even enjoy myself. I love making tiny things so I wouldn’t rule out ever making them again, and well, now that I have even brought them up I’m sure to want to make some more.

I still have my book cradle that I made in college. One end fell off and so I craftily cut up an old book cover to replace the missing end.

Since that first bookmaking class I’ve pretty much only ever made hardcover books on my own. I really do love my little book and so I thought “why not try and make a little softcover handbound journal of my own.” I brought out my old college textbook for a refreshener. Everything went well on the first one, and so I made several more!

2.26 book open

Similar to the hardcover books I’ve made, the new ones have a variety of papers inside, including graph, drawing paper, vintage papers and some lined paper that I’ve made myself.

2.26 book

They were fun to make and I hope to make some more in other sizes.

While looking for a link to my college text book I saw this awesome looking book on making mini books,  and I think I’ve seen this one at our local Barnes and Noble and have heard good things about it.

Also, I realized while composing this post that as soon as a book has a leather cover (whether hardcover or soft) it automatically becomes a journal in my mind. Even if the pages don’t really lend themselves to journaling. Why is that? The leather that I used to make these little books were bought in a bag of remnant leather scraps, thus the small size of books.

New product – Vintage Photograph Garlands

BW chalkboard

It has been way-way too long since I’ve added a brand new product to my online shop. If you follow me on instagram or flickr you may have seen some sneak peeks of this new product, vintage photograph circle-cut garlands.

Vintage color photography garland BW vintage photography garland

I’ve had this idea in my head for so long and I’m so thrilled with how they came out. I went into my studio earlier this week with the intentions of working on something else, but next thing I know I’m whipping up these pretty babies. These garlands (color, or black and white) are made from actual, real vintage photographs. I know, gasp! Rosa ;) The pictures in these garlands came from a HUGE bag of pictures I scored at a flea market a couple of years ago. As beautiful as these pieces are though, I do believe future garlands will be made from prints made from the collection, rather than actual vintage pictures.

2.20 garland

Reaching into the bag while I worked, I kept pulling out pictures that I just couldn’t bring myself to cut up. Here are a few, and you will see what I am talking about.

2.21 vintage photograph family

That girl in the middle saved this picture with her adorable hat alone!

2.21 vintage photograph school children

I couldn’t cut apart this grade school picture, but it did inspire me to make future garlands from vintage year books, which I have a good collection of as well.

2.21 vintage photograph angel

That face. Really? Heart melting.

2.21 vintage photograph bathing beauty

And last but not least, this bathing beauty. A stunner, right? There are actually A LOT of pictures of her in the bag so I wasn’t so protective of each. Good news, that means she’s featured in some of the garlands.

These garlands are now available in my etsy shop. Please stop by to see them and many other pages of my handmade products. Thank you!

Paper, Paper Everywhere and Not a Place to Work

Bits o paper
On Saturday I decided to tackle the disaster zone that my studio had become. An overly cluttered studio is not a place that fosters creativity. I’ve come to realize that my paper addiction is 90% of the problem. Between paper I’ve gathered for mixed media, collage, mailart, scrapbooking, paper spiral jewelry, paper packs and recycled envelope sets, my paper collection is out of control. I have two Ikea shelves, a flat storage shelf, and bookshelves in my studio and even that isn’t enough. After trying to organize, put away and find homes for the paper that I have, I had the sudden overwhelming desire to just get rid of it all. It would be so nice to have empty space and a fresh start, I’ll just throw it all away. Of course, I didn’t and couldn’t, there is too much in there that I LOVE and would miss. Realistically, I need to just go through it all and do a value judgement piece, by piece, “Is it necessary?” if not, pitch it. That’s just soooo much work and it would be so much easier to just pitch it all.
paper pieces2
I did end up tackling the Ikea drawers that have paper separated in categories of:
-scrapbook/ fancy archival paper,
-paper with adhesive,
-novelty (tags, doilies, slides, etc.),
-antique papers,
-wrapping paper,
-commercially printed papers (booklets, pages, paint samples, etc.)
-scrap papers that have my writing and painting, and sketches, etc.
-and the tiny scraps and bits and pieces that I can’t bring myself to get rid of, AND truthfully I feel like this drawer is the true gem of all the drawers and the one I use paper from most often when creating artwork.
camera phone pic

Just for the record, all the pictures above are all from my studio, but they are older pictures and what would qualify for the “bits and pieces drawer”. The middle picture is actually the pieces of paper that I collected for a swap that I did on swapbot, where everyone filled a few envelopes full of bits and pieces of paper and then received several envelopes full of paper in return. The funny thing is, I remember thinking, I just want to send the envelopes and I really don’t need any more paper in return.

Vintage Map Bunting

 
For a couple of years I’ve told Matt about how I wanted to make our bedroom map and globe themed. I had some inexpensive, but current (dated) classroom maps hanging in our bedroom before we moved, but since moving we have done nothing style-wise to our bedroom. Knowing I’ve always wanted our bedroom to be maps, Matt surprised me with this beautiful, large map of the United States. This has finally encouraged and motivated us to start the ball rolling.


Tonight I made the above mini bunting garlands to hang across the top of the recess of our bay window. I used vintage maps from old school atlases, sometimes you can find them affordably on ebay. If you are interested in making some yourself, check out the tutorial of mine that I posted a few years ago.

And, I was just reminded by a customer, I put a little recycled paper garland in with all orders to my etsy shop :)

Our Annual Christmas Ornament


Yesterday Matt and I made our annual Christmas ornament. I like the idea of using recycled or repurposed papers to make such a beautiful thing. So far we’ve recycled paper 3 years, and purchased origami paper one year. This year I was fortunate enough to pick up some waste paper from a song book we were printing at work and it made for a beautiful ornament. This is the tutorial pattern I follow every year. This was also the first year we used hot glue and it is by far the sturdiest ornament yet. I highly recommend using hot glue. If you don’t have a glue gun you can find them at your typical marts and craft stores for under $10. Also, don’t make the same mistake we made, use small paper! Our first ornament ended up being the size of a soccer ball and will never make it to the tree. Now we use 3″ square and it works perfectly.

12.19 2011 ornament

I like this picture above with all the ornaments we’ve made so far. It’s our first year in our first home and this picture captures so much. It’s like an eye spy. There are four ornaments on our dining room table but can you see the a handmade table cloth that Matt’s great grandmother made? How about a nosey kitty, and a christmas tree, and don’t forget a tired Matt lounging on the couch?

12.20 christmas tree
And since we are on holiday decorations, here is a picture of our first full sized tree. Previously we had a little 3 foot tree that was more of a pain than anything. The cat was constantly trying to eat it and it was always falling over. This new tree was gifted to us by Matt’s parents. Please disregard the lack of a tree skirt. I’m working on it. The tree is covered in white lights (my preference), my handmade gold and silver garland, and a collection of both of our ornaments from since we were babies.

Embossed Mailart

Today is a HUGE day for me. Something that has been in the works for over a year and a half, and I’m so excited. I will be dealing with that immediately after posting this, but first I just wanted to share my most recent mailart pieces for the 365 project. I will be back as soon as I can to share more about my exciting news.

A couple weeks ago I saw this tutorial post on Oh So Beautiful Paper about embossed stationery. It brought me back to high school graphic arts, first semester. We were learning about business cards and just to show how far things have come since then, the teacher told us if a business card wasn’t embossed (quickly checking by running fingers across the card), most people in business would just throw them away. Flash forward to today, embossed cards are definitely in the minority. I work for a printing company and we don’t even have embossing capabilities in house, so any embossed business card orders we receive get farmed out and it is a very rare occurrence. At any rate, back in high school we got to play around with embossing so I knew how to do it, but haven’t done any since then. Immediately after reading this post, past 8 pm, I HAD to run to Michael’s to see if they had any embossing powders and fluid and I was thrilled to find a selection. I found a stamp pad that also came with a small bottle of fluid, which was perfect for me.

8.5 thumbnail details
If you are not familiar familiar with embossing, it’s a method in which you get a raised type. Above are some thumbnails at an angle so you can see how it looks. I also encourage you to click on the link at the top and see a picture tutorial. But basically an image is printed with embossing fluid on paper and then the embossing powder sprinkled over it. The powder adheres to where the fluid was and the excess is removed. Then the powder is heated and the powder melts and sticks together and looks more like a raised liquid on the paper.

8.5 132 365
I started out by carving a few small little triangle stamps to make some banners and test out the embossing process.

8.5 133 365
When I think of banner messages, I think of sayings like “SURPRISE” or “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” so I though it would be funny to make some banners that were a little less exciting, like “it’s your birthday… or not!” and “I don’t want to go to work!” Wouldn’t that be funny to walk into a party and that was the banner hanging there?

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At first I only bought black and green, so the next day I went back to see if there were any other colors I’d like. I decided to play with some other carved stamps I made.

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This is when I started experimenting with painting with the embossing fluid in the bottle.

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This is when I got the idea to thin out the fluid and put it in my Kempar Drawing Pen that Rosa gave me eons ago. That pen comes in handy so often!

8.5 137 365
I was able to get multiple colors by drawing out one part, sprinkling the powder and then drawing another and repeating. I learned if I heated each color between each color by the end the original colors would start to flatten out and get absorbed into the paper.

8.5 138 365

Lastly, I went over many of the finished cards with light, wet layers of watercolor. I had a lot of fun making these, and I know this will not be the last time I have embossed things to share… I’m thinking maybe some paper products for the etsy shop!