I'm posting my Clarity Challenge entry on the last day again! At least this month it hasn't been quite the last minute panic of the previous two months.
The theme is "In The Garden", which gives so many possibilities, but I still struggled to come up with an idea that I liked and that worked. After a few false starts I came up with this design, based on the letters of the word Garden.
I spent what feels like hours looking at different fonts in Word to find one I liked. This is called Harrington. I printed it out onto copy paper (my printer wouldn't take stencil card, I did try!). I then traced each letter onto a 8.9cm square of stencil card. Why that size? It's a quarter of a 7x7 sheet.
This where a light panel would have been very useful. I had to improvise with the light box I have for SAD, laid on its back with a large acrylic block on top for a smooth surface.
I carefully drew round each letter with a small permanent pen.
And then filled in with a medium pen.
The results aren't a carbon copy, but I think look pretty good.
I then stamped on each square, a different design on each, using black archival ink. I used pebeo masking fluid, both for over-stamping, and to protect the stamped images while I applied the backgrounds.
So let's look letter by letter.
"G" uses one of my favourite stamps, the Daydreamer. In this case, I extended the tree by repeating higher up, and moved the birds from the left of the tree to the right, to extend the bottom part of the image. The birds on flight added balance and interest - there's one more than planned, drawn in to hide a smudge!
I wanted to try making clouds using cottonwool covered with versa mark ink, but it didn't really work - partly as my ink pad is to dirty the clouds were blue (I'm not great at removing the indexing), and the stencil card reacts differently to Clarity Card. The sky is salty ocean distress ink, with bundled sage and spiced marmalade to add warmth.
All the squares were edged with a black sharpie.
"A" uses a butterfly stamp from the New Design Club. I coloured it with a blue-purple pencil. The background uses the birch trees stencil - I've had this for a while and not used it, although I really like it, so good to have a chance to do so. The inks are antique linen with brushed corduroy and a little ripe persimmon.
"R" has a flower border stamped with the bouquet stamp, and coloured with pencils. The lawn background is mowed lawn (appropriately) with stripes (using the stripes stencil) of bundled sage, to try to tone it down. I hadn't planned these, but got a stripe from the brayer which these disguise perfectly, and I think they work well. I blended iced spruce over the top of it all, to tone down the mowed lawn some more, as it was virtually luminous to start with!
"D" is possibly my favourite, a garden pond scene. The water lilies are from a Japanese set I got from one of the workshops. I masked off the tall stems, to look more realistic and fit the scale better. They're coloured with pencils again. The rushes at the bottom are two wee flowers stamps. I don't think the one is meant to be bull rushes, but that's what it always looks like to me, so it goes in my pond.
The water is bundled sage with a touch of salty ocean. I ran the brayer over crumpled paper before brayering the card, to give the watery texture. It doesn't show that well in the photo, but has worked well.
"E" is where I had a bit of a disaster at midnight last night!
The stamp is a recent New Design Club image, with a bird from the Christmas sentiments set added. They're coloured with pencils. The background uses the maple leaves stencil (another first time use!). I used the "innies" first, with antique linen ink, and a make up sponge.
They were a little indistinct, so I went back with the "outies" and added darker colour - brush corduroy I think. This gave a little halo around the leaves, which I really like. I went over the whole background with a brushed corduroy and ripe persimmon mix, to warm it up.
So far, so gorgeous. Unfortunately, when I was edging with the sharpie, I had a momentary lapse of attention! Hence the black line at the bottom right. No way to remove it, so I had to hide it. I went with another bird - I wanted it facing the other way, so stamped onto scrap, and traced it in reverse with the permanent pen. My light box was pressed into service again. Not perfect, but acceptable. Maybe if I'd slept on it, I'd have stamped another leaf on a separate piece of card, cut it out and stuck it on.
"N" is maybe the prettiest letter. It uses another New Design Club stamp, the carnation. The background is brayered with salty ocean and dusty concord. I was going to colour with pencils again, but my set doesn't have any pinks! So I painted with distress inks. The main colour is seedless preserves, watered down, with picked raspberry and unwatered seedless preserves to add depth. The stems are mowed lawn.
I also used grey pencils to add drop shadows to each square.
To mount, I found, fortuitously, that I had a die that fits well for the square size, it's from a spellbinders set. I then decided that to tie in, I needed a thicker black line round the edges of the squares, so had to go back with my sharpie, and a ruler this time. You can imagine how careful I was!
I cut the die 6 times, in black card, and attached each letter to one.
I then joined them together on a woven textured ribbon, with a large jump ring at the top to hang it from. This was silver, I sprayed it with a little gold to tone it in.
Here's a close up of the top half - of course, something long and thin is difficult to photograph and doesn't really work for thumbnails!
And the bottom half.
I think I could use each of these little scenes separately for cards etc. The "E" would make a lovely Christmas card.
There you have it, my take on "In The Garden".
I wish my garden were as pretty, and varied, as this!