Saturday, January 10, 2015

Finding my tribe

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen 
or even touched. They must be felt from the heart."-Helen Keller

Yeah, yeah, it's the new year. Resolutions have been made, glasses have been clinked, diets have been started abandoned. Been there, done that.

However, this month's Robin's Nest quote really got me thinking about focusing 2015 on the "things" that are important to me. One such beautiful thing--which cannot be seen or touched-- is loyalty in friendship.

To be honest, the last couple years were rough in the loyalty department. It's an interesting tale. However, since it is not strictly a craft tutorial, I will share that portion of the story over at Paper Calliope.

Suffice it to say that a surprise benefit of igniting my passion for the creative arts, was that I replaced the sting of lost friendships with the joy of finding my tribe.

Finding my tribe is about building genuine friendships with people like myself and connecting with people who like the real me--even especially when I am in my grubby art clothes with stubborn glitter sticking to my nose. Finding my tribe is about fitting in. It is about kinship, laughter and shared interests, regardless of geographic boundaries.

My mixed media piece celebrates these friends--old and new. The feathers around the girl symbolize people who encircle me with support and fun, while the feathers off to the side represent opportunities to find new friends and continue building my tribe in 2015. *

Mixed Media Tutorial for Finding my Tribe

Step One
Spray paint tart tin dark brown and let dry.

Step Two
Cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard to fit inside a feathers embossing folder. Emboss. Tear two of the edges of each piece, leaving two straight adjacent edges that form a 90 degree angle.

Step Three
Spray blue, green and yellow inks on these two pieces. Let dry.

Step Four
Tear out bird rectangle from Lodge Cutouts Cardstock. Ink edges with vintage photo ink. Paint bird, small square and heart with twinkle-like watercolors. Let dry.

Step Five
Spray three of the small light teal flowers with green ink. Let dry.

Step Six
Cut out two paper feathers using Khaki Glitter Cardstock, two feathers using the reverse side of Red Snowflake Cardstock, two feathers using Kiwi Sorbet Glitter Cardstock, one feather using Robin's Egg Glitter Cardstock, one feather using Clouds Cardstock, one feather using Wrap Glitter Cardstock and one feather using Teal Glitter Cardstock. Carefully crease each feather in half lengthwise and fold halves slightly upward. Using brown and black colored pencils, draw each feather's Rachis (center shaft).  Lightly stamp distressed velvet ink on the red side of the two Red Snowflake Cardstock feathers. While those are drying, apply vernis glitter glue to the tips of the other feathers. Sprinkle each one with brown glitter. Do the same for the Red Snowflake feathers when the stain is dry. Let all feathers dry.

Step Seven
Adhere picture of girl to inside center of tart tin with matte medium and cover with a layer of matte medium. Let dry.

Step Eight
Adhere one corrugated cardboard piece to the upper left corner of the 12 x 12 Brown Glitter Cardstock and one to the lower right hand corner. Lay the dot fade stencil in the upper right corner of the page, apply gel medium. Repeat until you cover the the upper right quadrant of the page and and small section in the lower left corner. Let dry.

Step Nine
Beginning where the corrugated cardboard ends, adhere a metallic mesh ribbon along the top of the page.

Step Ten
After you are certain the medium gel is dry, spray blue, green, yellow and bronzer ink to sections of the page as you see fit. Using a damp paper towel, rub the raised dots to remove the ink and let the brown  beneath the dots show through.

Step Eleven
Adhere the entire page to  a 12" x 12" piece of thick chipboard or foam core.

Step Twelve
In the area where you will place the lettering, paint a light coat of gesso. When it is tacky, rub with a damp paper towel to let the brown  beneath the dots show through. Mix red and purple acrylic pains together and paint it over the area with the gesso. Blend it into the rest of the page. When it is tacky, rub with a damp paper towel to let the brown  beneath the dots show through.

Step Thirteen
Adhere a band of rusty metal along the bottom of the page.

Step Fourteen
Cut of the tips of blue yellow and green feathers and adhere with matte medium to the bottom of the page, just above the metal band.

Step Fifteen
Carefully place the Viva La France Rub-On in the bottom left corner over the metal band and paper and apply to page.

Step Sixteen
Adhere the tin tart to the page. Using a white oil pastel, draw a couple rough circles around the tin. Adhere album latch and jewelry to the page.

Step Seventeen
Cut small pieces of teal, yellow and green feathers and glue to the girl's hat.

Step Eighteen
Adhere the Lodge Cutouts piece to the lower right corner of the page so it extends above the corrugated cardboard.

Step Nineteen
Glue five feathers around the tart. Glue the remaining feathers in the upper right hand corner.

Step Twenty
Ink the edges of the letters with distress brown photo ink. Adhere to the page above the reddish/purple area.

Step Twenty-One
Cut the the tops of two dark teal, one green and one light teal feather. In the upper left corner, merge the area where the ribbon meets the corrugated cardboard by adhering three feathers and several small flowers, including one of the green flowers that you earlier dyed.

Step Twenty-Two
In the lower right corner, merge the area between the metal band, the corrugated cardboard and the Lodge Cutouts bird by adhering one feather, four large flowers, several small flowers, including the green flowers that you earlier dyed.

Step Twenty-Three
Add glitter thorns to the center of the large flowers.

* Please Note

It's important to point out that I thought carefully about using the tribe and feather symbolism for this work as I wanted to be respectful of Native American cultures. While a microscopic portion of my heritage is Ojibwe, and the rest of my family has African heritage,I certainly do not have any kind of claiming rights. As headdresses have recently gained popularity with the fashion and pop culture industries, Native American spokespersons have raised legitimate concerns about cultural insensitivity. At the same time, tribes and feathers are not exclusive to Native Americans. For example, the Katatola is a feathered mask worn by the African Luchazi and Luvale tribes. As a result, in order to show respect and sensitivity, I chose not to create an actual headdress with the feathers, nor follow any particular tribal style.

Stuff I used

Brown Glitter Cardstock
Teal Glitter Cardstock
Wrap Glitter Cardstock
Khaki Glitter Cardstock
Robin's Egg Glitter Cardstock
Red Snowflake Cardstock (reverse side)
Kiwi Sorbet Glitter Cardstock
Clouds Cardstock
Lodge Cutouts Cardstock
Viva La France Rub-On
Sunflower Dew Drops
Embossing folder feathers
Blue ink
Green ink
Yellow ink
Bronzer ink
Distress velvet stain
Distress brown photo ink
Red acrylic paint
Purple acrylic paint
White gesso
Twinkle-like water colors
Dot fade stencil
Verniss glitter glue
Brown glitter
Album latch
Colored pencils
White oil pastel
Brown spray paint
Small feathers
Assorted adhesives
Gel and matte mediums
Corrugated cardboard
Thick 12 x 12 chipboard or foam core
Rusty metal hardware
Metallic ribbon
Glitter thorns
Tart tin


Tonya said...

Awesome project Betsy! I have a little bit of everything in my family tree including America Indian. Thanks for explaining the meaning of the feathers and head dress.

The Robins Nest OCrowley said...

I love meaningful projects! This is awesome! Great tutorial too :)

LisaM said...

Beautiful project Betsy!

Robin O'Crowley said...

I love this. I also love your comments, we all need a secure "tribe"

Lastochka said...

Wow, unusual and fantatic!

frezja said...

loooool, this is amazing! :)

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