Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine Ribbon Wreaths

Heart - Ribbon Wreaths

A recent 'heart-inspired' crafting project was a joint effort with a dear friend. 
I had created a ribbon-fabric wreath once before. It was so time consuming, 
I realized it would be much more enjoyable to share that time with a friend.

 We begin with several trips to Hobby Lobby and Michaels Craft store.  
Then we cut fabric swatches (about 200 pieces) into 1.5" by 10" pieces. 
Next, we cut up a few hundred ribbon pieces ~ same size. We tied them to 
a wreath ~ mine was a 12" wire, heart shape wreath ... 
my friend's was a 12" round. 

I added vintage fabric mixed with new cotton fabric as well as stiff ribbon. 
I think overall the ribbon wreath will hold up longer.  Once you buy these supplies and spend the time it takes to complete this project, you then know 'why' these wreaths sell for large sums in retail shops. :-) Happy crafting.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Valentine Art - Crafting with Vintage Buttons and Sears Catalog Pages

For a long time, an idea of creating art utilizing vintage buttons has danced in my head. Especially since I inherited several boxes of beautiful buttons from my Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and three Great Aunts. Even though I began my career as a fashion illustrator, I really don't enjoy sewing. I do not own a sewing machine! Which is quite interesting, since most all the women in my family are talented seamstresses. As a child, I watched my Mother and Grandmother stitch everything from dresses to drapes. I was always fascinated by the illustrations on the the dress patterns, which perhaps inspired me to study fashion design in college. Nevertheless, my muse has compelled me to make something special with these buttons even if i did not add them to clothing.

A few weeks ago, I finally made time to create 'collages' using these heirloom buttons. I felt as if I needed 'down time' , to "just be", instead of the serious 'left brain' projects I have been working on since the beginning of 2012. (I am also a mental health advocate and have been very busy with state wide advocacy projects.)

As I began to work on my art collages I thought, "if only these buttons could talk and tell me stories about who wore them, where they lived and the clothing items they belong to." 
I'm certain my Mother never threw anything away, and believe that many of my button collections were passed for generations through family members.  In my memories, I can still see my Mother taking apart an old dress or shirt, that was perhaps handed down from my Great-Great Grandmother's family. She would discard the buttons in a large Mason jar, then storing the used fabric away to perhaps recycle for a future quilt project.  I actually own a quilt that is made from old dresses and fabrics from my ancestors from early 1900s. I found the quilt squares in my Mother's closet about 15 years ago and asked one of my favorite Aunts to quilt them together, using my favorite color ~ purple.

Vintage Button Collage by GG Burns

For Collage #1, I used vintage pages from an old Sears and Roebuck catalog for the background. I found this catalog years ago at an antique show. The pages are so fragile, the only thing I have thought to do with them is to glue them to boxes, canvas or functional art coasters.

This catalog does not have a date on it, but I discovered one page that mentioned how long Sears had been in business, (1886). The article stated: "Covering a short period of about 12 years...." which helped me determined that the catalog was most likely published in 1898. I know if was before 1897, because color was added to their catalogs that year and mine does not have color.

I begin my project by thinking of a design inspired by Valentines Day. I sketched two heart shapes inside each other in the middle of a 16" x 20" canvas. Then I glued torn pieces from the catalog around the hearts using gel medium by Golden

To add some interest to the old yellowed pages, I diluted red acrylic paint with water and speared on the edges with my fingers. Sorry, I forget to take a pic of this process. I also added the vintage scrabble tiles in the center of the heart.
While the background dried, I started creating collage #2.  

Small Button Collage by GG Burns

On a 12"x12" canvas, I also sketched 2 hearts in the center.

For the background on this smaller collage, I glued pink tissue paper that had a hand made look. I learned that the buttons needed a background color on my first collage, so I painted the heart with red and pink acrylic paint before gluing on the vintage red and pink buttons.

At least now, I have two unique art collages to admire my vintage buttons ~  instead of them taking up space in a box on a shelf.