Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Alice Wonders


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 He’s my new take on the Japanese accordion fold out book, begun on my art date on my recent trip with the VERY lovely mARTina. Fashioned into a vintage book cover with ‘topiary’ art nouveau styled rose bushes on a red cover, it was begging to become an Alice project.
As you may be aware, I have been part of several Japanese Fold Moleskine exchanges over the last few months and there are two things that I find somewhat limiting. Firstly the size – there is the size there is – and that’s all! (about 6 x 4in) AND the paper is NOT really an artist paper – & ESPECIALLY NOT for mixed media – so it protests & falls limp anytime you even suggest a wet medium to it! BUT, I have to say, I am getting a little hooked on the ‘continuum’ effect of the folds of the paper & so wanted have a go at creating one of my own, and then the chance to put it in a vintage cover sealled the deal!
I have used molding paste to fill in the original title, then alcohol inks & stamping re-inkers to colour it back up –  – I will probably end up making a metal name plate for it and cover it over, as it’s a bit ordinary looking in the flesh . As the original book was quite thick, it meant I have had to make my accordian quite long – so I might be working in it for 10 years – but I have loved Alice all my life and there will always be something to add to it. OF COURSE – a new project would never be complete without a new TOOL to buy (thx AGAIN M!) I have a VERY well stocked studio, although I have managed to some of the more recent ‘must haves’ and try to be selective with my purchases as to whether I will actually get good use out of it (after buying a TOTALLY useless gimmick wide stapler that doesn’t pierce ANYTHING!)…….Having said all that – mARTina introducted (Princess 4’s word) me to a ‘scoring board’ Now all you card makers out there would know about these and already probably have one – but as an altered artist and book artist – I hadn’t heard of it! I scoured far and wide (which was an expensive exercise in itself because I ‘had’ to make purchases all along the way! LOL!) and eventually found my new best friend…………the Martha Stewart Scoring BoardMartha Stewart Scoring Board. mARTina had the ScorePal one, however due to the line spacing, she recommended the MS one – and mARTina – it is MUCH better for book making – I guess for card making it wouldn’t be so much of an issue, but page size has to match the cover when repurposing vintage books – so the 1/8th inch spacing on the MS one is great. Sue has done a comparision of the two if you’d like to read it here. Keeping in mind that IF you are a US reader, the prices may matter – for us Aussies – we pay top dollar regardless of the brand! SO just get the best tool! LOL! The MS one also has a nifty envelope folder that tucks in to the back of the board and the bone folder that comes with it is finer – so your ‘score lines’ are also finer.

(OH – and if you are still reading this on TYPEPAD – please change your link to www.thecolourguru.wordpress.com WORDPRESS have this great feature where you can instantly create a slide show in your post from photos you upload, without having to use a third party tool (slide, piccasa, etc) – SO there are more pics of the book before, during & after on THERE!


we’re all a little mad here!


I am ACHING to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie with the MOST gorgeous Johnny Depp (that thunderous noise is my heart beating!) I have been seeing posters for it everywhere, so when Caroline's Moleskine arrived, bearing an Alice theme, I couldn't help but adding a little Tim Burton into the more traditional mix of Alice illustrations.  

HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVIE??? What did you think??? Give me the low down…………..email me or leave a comment and tell me which bits to look out for.  Was it as scary and dark as everyone is saying???

I placement & drawing using pencil first, then later when I could get into the studio, added some gorgeous Golden acrylics for the hair, & cut the bow tie & cup from Basic Grey papers.  The rest has been created using Caran d'ache crayons, watercolour glazes, markers & my trusty ultra black watercolour.  It really was fun – my poor 'Lanes, Alleyways & other Quiet Corners' Moleskine has been sitting there, waiting for my first entry - while I suffered from 'blank canvas fever'……I am back on track now & I can't wait to get started, I'll let you see when I am done.



I know that heading is a little alarming – but it needs to be.  I help to moderate the fabulous mixed media yahoo group called Paper Traders & every year since our inception, we have had a Round Robin Journal Project & I have hosted the project for the last 3 years.  For the uninitiated, basically – 12 people (our limit) make a journal, decide on a topic, then send their journal of on a travelling adventure around the world.  The journals rotate monthly, and each artist makes a page in everyone's journal until they finally recieve their own back.  Each time we have done it, there have been glitches along the way & sadly, we have people who have not honoured their commitments and literally just not sent journals back to their owners – but what happened this last month has taken the cake!  This month it appears that a international, priority paid, tracked & insured parcel has been very carefully opened (SO CAREFULLY – I can't see how it's been done) and looked through the 3 journals & the other contents of the box – and decided to keep one of the journals and the extra bits & bobs sent to me by the previous artist – and carefully seal the IMG_0002_resizebox back up. 

The box left USA weighing 5lbs 8.5oz and arrived to me in Oz weighing barely 4lb.  Despite there being no signs what so ever of tampering, the box was crushed down one side where the journal and other things 'had been' and now the two remaining journals moved around in the box.  That's where the fun began – despite having all of the safeguards in place, no one could tell us (person who sent parcel, me as recipient or the missing journals' owner) at what point the weight of the parcel changed.  A claim has been put in for insurance, which is SOMETHING at least for the trouble, but I am sure that we'd all just prefer to be able to post our art and know it's safe.  I have to say, I have posted things all around the continent & the world for years, and for the most part, I haven't had a problem.  THIS ONE takes the cake though!   I would caution anyone reading this to think carefully about what you write as the 'contents' of a parcel sent.  You need to use words that are 'honest' for security reasons – but not descriptive enough to raise the interest of any 'would-be' thief.  Perhaps words like: book, paperwork, printed matter, if anyone has any others, it'd be good to hear them.

As host, I felt just terrible about this happening – especially as the pics I had seen of the original journal showed that it was fabulous (no wonder 'peeping thomas/thomasina' decided to steal it!).  The subject was 'The White Rabbit' and being a big Alice fan, I had things on hand that I thought I would be able to use to restore the journal.  It's not perfect, but it is better than getting nothing back.  So here's some pics of the a couple of pages & the cover of the new journal, including a couple of litho etchings I did as my own contribution to the journal.

IMG_0001_resize The Red Queen's Birthday Party IMG_0004_resize IMG_0003_resizeIMG_0021_resize IMG_0009_resizeIMG_0022_resize

Life is busy – and complicated


US-heros-RHS-web US-heros-LHS-web Life is busy and as I have said in the title – complicated – at the moment.  I am doing a whole lot of experimenting with metals in the hopes to produce something per-itttty spesh – BUT it's been much trial – MANY errors and NOT much result lately.    HUGE mess – my kitchen has looked like one of those ferral back alley factories where 'widgets' are made.  You know, the ones that lean, gawky looking, grime covered men come out of at 4 o'clock, carrying an aging esky (themal lunch carrier) & a time battered thermos with only remenants of the colour it used to be… ……urkkkk………it's a mess….I need to work in the kitchen as I don't have water in my studio (which is really a big bedroom that was seconded the day my youngest moved out)…………I am hoping in time to have a bigger studio with plumbing – I have been saving an old enamel sink 4eva – especially for this purpose……..THIS IS THE DAY THOUGH – I have some new process and products to try today and I have spent DAYS talking to 'knowers' so I have a whole lot of different ideas to try today.  Hopefully one of them works!

The collage pages above are for a fellow Paper Trader's RR journal on American Idols, depicting one of my 'non art' passions – THE WEST WING – my life would be complete if it just went 4EVA – I mean – how many shows do you get where there is no constant soap opera drama's, needless swearing, overly embarrasing steamy sex scenes, and there IS fascinating dialogue that still intrigues me despite having watched it 27 times!  These pages are quite 'clean' work compared to what I ordinarily do for collage, but I didn't want to obscure the elements of the page – and wanted to keep it RED, WHITE & BLUE (ie the colours of the flag) without 'muddying' it up as I normally would with Walnut Ink or Moonglow or something.

And of course all of this set within the context of our state being on fire – I don't know if it is possible – but I think that I have run out of adrenaline – we have been on fire alert for so long now (2 weeks) – everytime the fire siren rings out (we are at the base of a mountainside, & the  township below us) – I furtively look around the house – check the fire service website (when I have a connection) – and feel a little disoriented - I keep looking around me – wondering whether this could be it.Adorn-segment-web

With each alert – I have continued to par down with regard to ‘packing to go’ – the first time I threw a whole lot of my rubber stamps loose, into a 'green' shopping bag (I realized the folly of this later – faced with the  mammoth job of resorting them and putting them back afterward), I had some of my art journals and handmade books

I am resigned now with getting just my portable harddrive, (about the size of a small hardcovered book) the dogs and I have two boxes of photos that are living on our kitchen bench at the moment – if the rest goes – it goes – that’s just how it is. 

THANK YOU – THANK YOU to all of you kind, dear heARTed people who have emailed to see Mothers heART segment webhow we are going – and that we are safe.  You don't have to worry – we are fine – the main fires are no where near us – we just live in a quite vunerable area that has a major fire every 4 -6 years and despite my DH INSISTING – it'd never happen in our particular street because of some geography – fire doesn't go 'down a mountainside' yada, yada, yada – I just don't know where he gets such trollop – in these fires he'd have be the one burnt in the car trying to escape after realising that infact fires can and often do – WHAT they like!) – and it's just all a bit worrying being amongst it right now.  One of the LOVEly sides of the art community has been how many people have been emailing and keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.  AGAIN – thank you.  Lately I have been battling my old enemy, then tension between anonymity and recognition – sometimes I want to tell the world everything and have you all laugh, cry and love with me – and other times I don't want to talk at all.  Add to that a few change of life hormones and ongoing financial challenges, and BINGO! – a perfect combo for dissolving into a sad and sorry lump.
My jewellery pliers have been busy - working hard on some new 'story telling jewellery'.  Darling Nina calls it 'Narrative Jewellery' how I DO love that name – she is SO clever!  Alpha stamps is releasing a whole lot of new jewellery product & it is just starting to trickle into the online shop – it's from Bekky Nunn and it is JUST divine.  I can only show you snippets at the moment, cost it's not all released – but it's really nice….go check it out.

52 Card Dress Up


Six-of-Clubs-web Six-of-Diamonds-web   I began co-hosting a project some months ago to ‘dress up’ a deck of 52 cards & called it ’52 Card Dress Up’  I had seen ’embellished’ decks of cards around on the web & thought that it would be fun to create one of my own.  The truth is that I just haven’t had the heart or head space to create something whimsical like this but there was no escaping this month as I am hosting the theme – A LITTLE WHIMSY – I had never seen an Alice deck so this was the obvious choice for me. (I am not suggestion no one has done one – but I haven’t ever seen one!) This deck is 5″ x 7″ tall, so there is lots of space for the


Six-of-Spades-webstory.  I have used ALPHA STAMPS Alice Collage Sheets – there are HEAPS now – including several that I have designed (Urban Driftwood). 

I have been doing lots of experiments with pens lately – fed up with spending $4-$6 AUD for a single pen to find that it has a very short lifespan or that it doesn’t write over painted surfaces.  For a while there – I was using a Sharpie as recommended by one of the Journalling prompt challenges I did, however I have been advised (and have already found) that it ‘ghosts’ with a halo around it after a while.  As I have mentioned before, I really look at my journals lasting indefinitely as my artisitic journey & heritage for my children & grandchildren – so I certainly don’t want to use a pen that has this kind of limitation and is likely to contaminate the work over time.  I started doing this writing with a CD writing pen as recommended by my art pal Letha.  I found over time that the nib got ‘shiny’ and wouldn’t write over the gessoed & watercoloured background.  I ended up resorting to the age old goodin’ Stabilo Marks All pencil.  I have a love hate relationship with these.  I LOVE how black they are – BUT I hate how easily they break & that some I have had break with each sharpening & you sharpen them away to nothing.  Considering that I haven’t yet found ANYWHERE in Melbourne that I can buy these – I am buying them by the doz from USA – which was fine while the $ was high – but has become expensive now…..  I have my thinking cap on about that one!