last skinny page for now

I have been working with a group of very talented women for over a year, creating skinny pages (4"x8") for each of them, monthly. We base what we create on whatever theme the person we are creating for has chosen. I have one more skinny page coming my way, and then I will create a page on my theme of "love" and bind all of the pages together somehow. I will share it here when I do!

I just finished creating my last skinny page for the group, and this one is for Trudi Sissons. Her theme was "Artist's Choice" and some of her favorite things are: vintage images, quotes, postage stamps, clocks, birds, butterflies, whimsy . .. . I also knew she was a fan of Deviant Scrap and I had just downloaded some free items from them courtesy of Stampington. Above, you can see the front of the skinny page. The base of it is a fabric upholstery piece given to me by a new friend who owns an upholstery store! On top of it I have sewn on a piece of antique parchment card stock printed with an image I had saved to my computer (origin unknown). I added an appropriate quote from ARTchix Studio by gluing it on and also a butterfly printed on to card stock. The back is shown below . . .

I started creating the back of the skinny page with a couple of images from Deviant Scrap. I put them together in Photoshop elements, see below.

Then I printed out that digital collage onto a piece of cotton fabric and started sewing . . .

I used the cap of  a re-inker to create more circles, mimicking the digital design. 

I added splatters of perfect Pearls Mist in Turquoise . . . 

and sandwiched it together with the front. A piece of Pellon interfacing was stuck in-between. It is quite thick and adds to the stiffness of the page.

This skinny page is already on it's way to Trudi in Canada! Even though this exchange is wrapping up, the good news is most of the group will be exchanging 4"x4" pages starting in June and continuing for an entire year! Hooray, more creative activities to keep me busy and happy!  ; ^ )  lenna 

skinny page on Martha Graham

For the front of Heather's skinny page: part of a painting, 'Martha Graham
dance class' by Paul Raphael Meltsner was printed onto fabric. The inks were
manipulated with water + shimmer mist. A quote by Martha Graham was overlaid.
I belong to a yahoo group where we have been exchanging skinny pages sized 4" x 8" - once a month for a little over a year. March was my month to make a skinny page for Heather, whose theme is Women who dared. Yes, I am a wee bit late, but Heather assured me, "Please take your time. I'm not at all worried about you being late. Whenever it arrives, it will be welcomed. So looking forward to your interpretation of my theme." Thank you very much, Heather!

It took me some time to think about what woman I might like to create my art around. You did not have to have a specific "woman who dared" in mind, but that was the direction I wanted to go. After talking it over with my husband some weeks ago and doing a search online, I came across Martha Graham. Of course! Perfect. Quoting the introduction of the PBS program on her in 2005: "Martha Graham’s impact on dance was staggering and often compared to that of Picasso’s on painting, Stravinsky’s on music, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s on architecture. Her contributions transformed the art form, revitalizing and expanding dance around the world. In her search to express herself freely and honestly, she created the Martha Graham Dance Company, one of the oldest dance troupes in America. As a teacher, Graham trained and inspired generations of fine dancers and choreographers. Her pupils included such greats as Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and countless other performers, actors, and dancers. She collaborated with some of the foremost artists of her time including the composer Aaron Copland and the sculptor Isamu Noguchi."

I studied the Martha Graham Technique for many, many years with my teacher Truda Kaschmann, who taught this technique to my sister and my mother too, not to mention countless others. I knew of Graham of course, but I never realized what pioneering and daring a woman she was until I set out to do this piece of art for Heather. Thank you again, Heather-truly. You have opened my eyes to so much more about her!

I started by gathering materials and searching for quotes, images and writings about Martha Graham. I found a few paintings by Paul Raphael Meltsner that really drew me in. I have since learned that he was a contemporary of Everett Shin, who studied painting with my Great Uncle, William Glackens! This is beginning to sound like 7 degrees of separation . ..  but anyway, this struck me as very interesting. And since this is a gift to Heather, I did not worry about using a copy of part of this painting to represent her theme.

I printed out a variety of photographs, images, paintings and quotes onto paper, fabric and transparency film. I collected a 4x8 piece of flat batting and a soft piece of washed canvas-like material to work on. Heather likes earth & jewel tones, history, quotes and words so I knew I was on the right track. She also said a horizonal page was fine with her, leaving room on the 4" side for holes. I started with the fabric print of the Meltsner painting and wanted to add to it -- so I spritzed, dribbled and dropped both water and Perfect Pearls mist on to the fabric... the ink from the inkjet printer is not permanent so doing this makes the ink migrate. When I liked how it looked I layed this fabric print over some flat batting, onto the canvas fabric and sewed just the edges, leaving the edges raw and the fringe hanging.

Then my sewing machine stopped working - eeeep! Here I am, late with this project that I've only just started sewing and now my machine has stopped??? oh no. Fortunately, between my husband and I we figured out there wasn't anything wrong with my machine, just the foot control piece. When I unplugged the foot control from the machine and used the manual start and stop buttons on the front of the machine -my sewing machine still worked perfectly! phew.

Over the manipulated fabric print of the painting, I added 2 quotes by Martha Graham that I had printed onto a Transparency film. The second, longer quote I printed out 3 x in a row to make it more like wallpaper. I attached the quotes on the transparency film by stitching the clear film on both the top and bottom with a straight stitch.

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep  the channel open." — Martha Graham

"The only sin is mediocrity." — Martha Graham
For the other side of the skinny page, I used photographs I had manipulated in Photoshop elements. I am just learning about this program but have fooled around in it so much that I have become adept at putting a couple of photos together as layers. That is what I did with both of these images, which I then printed on fabric. The image on the left is a portrait of Martha Graham with another photo of her dancing behind it -you may only be able to see her hand, across her own forehead. Click on the image for a larger image. The image on the right is 2 different photos of dancers performing in the Martha Graham Dance Company that I melded together into one image. I like how it looks like she is gazing at her dancers . . .

I added water to this side too, you can see it on the right . . . Then I added another Martha Graham quote printed onto a transparency by sewing it to just the edges of the skinny page. I also added some bright trim to the bottom of this side to correspond with the dancer's bright dress. The trim and the main fabric images were glued on with Sobo fabric glue. Then I knew I was done!

“I wanted to begin not with characters or ideas, but with movements . . .
I wanted significant movement. I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted
it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge.” –Martha Graham

One of my favorite quotes by her:
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion." 
— Martha Graham

Thanks for sharing this art journey with me -I will be sending this women who dared skinny page off to Heather on Monday! This is my favorite kind of art to make: art with meaning, feeling and emotion.  
; ^ ) lenna

dreams for Caryl

The Oh My Gothic yahoo group, which started out exchanging Gothic arches, is now creating 4x8 skinny pages! I have created a skinny page with a dream theme for my February partner, Caryl Hoobler.

click for more detail 
The front of Caryl's skinny is a fabric-paper collage technique that I learned from my good friend Frieda Oxenham. Frieda has graciously put the details of her method down for us step by step in a past blog post. Last year, I created a huge piece of fabric paper based on her technique. Fortunately part of it was just right for this current project. I still have even more leftover! You can see the whole piece and how I made it here

I love that stamp above - from catslife Press and I thought it was perfect for Caryl's DREAM theme.

I wanted some soft, see-through, wispy, dreamy fabric for this skinny and found the sheer lavender fabric in my stash. I frayed the edges to make it more dream-like. The white fabric near the bottom has some computer code printed on it and it appealed to me for this theme. It made me think of REM sleep for some reason. Maybe I should not work so late on the computer right before bed! The woman under the sheer fabric, which lifts up, is a Vintage image I had saved on my computer. She is looking rather dreamily into the distance while lying on a hammock with pillows behind her and roses scattered on her lap. Perfect! I chose a subtle wavy batik to go behind everything on this side. There is a piece of lightweight cardboard in the middle. I literally ran it through my xyron machine and stuck the fabric to it, on both sides. I used tacky glue to attach both the lavender fabric and a few shakes of stardust glitter down the side . . . stardust is good for dreaming. This skinny page is a couple days late, but I think Caryl will understand. I feel so good to have stretched my creative muscles and gotten this done. 
sweet dreams! 

Grandmother's attic

close up, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

This is a close-up of part of a skinny page (4" x8") I made for Karen Owen on her theme of Grandmother's attic! Isn't that a great theme? Karen told me she loved old jewelry and the fresh water pearls above were part of an old, broken necklace of mine. Perfect! I started by gathering things I thought might work . . . no bright colors, no nudes, a big 'yes' to vintage photos and letters - these are some of the things Karen suggested and here is how I started below...

I started side one like this with gesso painted over various papers

I added an image from Lisa's Altered Art (thanks, Frieda!)
and buttons - a gift from swap participant
Margriet van Schaik (thank you!!)
. . . and lace! Click for details.

Here is how the other side is coming along -
I've added an old family photo (Steven's Aunts)

close-up again!

It is finished!

more details

It's done! 

I really enjoyed making this skinny page for our exchange (Oh My Gothic) and hope Karen enjoys it too! I will be sending it off to her tomorrow -so sorry for the delay, Karen. (This was a January project, eep!)
Sending you all creative wishes and hope you are managing the weather, wherever you are.   xoxo

Venice Skinny for Frieda

As part of the Oh My Gothic yahoo group, I needed to make a skinny page, 4" x 8" for my dear friend Frieda on her theme of Venice. Oh, the torture!! (not!) I admit I did procrastinate a little bit because of course wanted to make something special for her, but in the long run the looming deadline won out and I simply made myself start working on it. I decided it had to be a fabric page, so I gathered things first.

Above are fabric images from Alpha Stamps and a photo I printed onto fabric of my son Dallas, next to a canal in Venice. Yes, I have gotten a lot of mileage out of this photo! See here for another piece. I almost forgot to say, my son Dallas is in the 'States' for the Holidays and will be coming here to visit with his fiance' Liz on Sunday for 4 days!! They are employed by the International School of Trieste in Italy.

To see more of this skinny progression, view a short slideshow here! 

I loved creating this skinny page for Frieda Oxenham and I have already sent it off to her in Scotland. I hope it arrives swiftly despite all the snow she has been having . . .  and I also hope it delights her!  :  ^  ) lenna

summer skinny for Linda K!

It gives me great joy to create a skinny page for Linda Kunsman as part of the Oh My Gothic yahoo group exchange ; ^  ). I have known Linda K for at least 5 years through yahoo groups, email & art swaps. Linda has always been so kind to me and has also created the best art! My favorite is a canvas collage piece Linda made for a swap I hosted in 2005 on a theme of "moon & stars". This matched our wedding theme and the swap participant's extra collages helped to decorate the room where Steven and I got married! Linda's piece was so personalized for me and Steven, it really touched my heart -still does. See it at the 'canvas' link above.

For the skinny page exchange we create 4" x 8" pages for a different participant each month based on that person's theme, while someone else creates a page for us. When the swap ends this spring, we'll have about 15 skinny pages we can bind into a collaborative book! Linda's theme is "summer" - her favorite time of year. She said, think beach, vintage, nature, birds, lace . . . .  Here's is what I came up with for Linda! It is an all fabric page fused and glued with a piece of heavyweight Fast2Fuse in the middle for support.

I used real shells and a sand dollar I had gathered.
Some of the fabric I painted myself (in the summer!)  
-the two strips tied together above 
and the turquoise strip in the middle below.

The two photos in the middle of each page 
were ones I took myself & printed on fabric -
those are my little black Crocs!
And there is real Florida sand sprinkled on here & there.

This page is especially for you, Linda K. I am so lucky to have your favorite season here in Florida most of the time now. I wanted to send you something to remind you of summer whenever you looked at it!
big hugs from lenna!

skinny page for Lisa Busch

I belong to a group of artist friends (the 'oh my gothic' group) who are finishing a year and a half of creating "skinny" 4"x8" pages for each other on a theme. My own theme that participants have been creating on for me is 'love'. I have received so many beautiful interpretations of this theme it is hard to describe -I will show you sometime! It is going to be wonderful to put all of the pages together in one skinny (fat) book!
Here is a close-up peek at what I just created for Lisa . . .

This month it was my turn to create a page for Lisa Busch in Texas. Lisa required no parthicular theme. She said she would prefer that each artist express herself and she liked Frieda's idea to have the art go either vertically or horizontally. She noted she did favor cemetery images, saints, gothic anything, gargoyles, medieval, Renaissance images, angels, the Madonna/child, and contrasts between the dark and the light . . . .

As soon as I read cemetery images, there was a spark of inspiration. The little home my husband and I just bought, in fact borders an old Florida cemetery. There is a tall fence between our property and the cemetery, but it is just a quick walk down the street. So off i went with my camera.

Here is what I came up with for Lisa's skinny page. I printed my photos onto various papers . . . watercolor paper, vellum, antiqued parchment cardstock and plain white cardstock. I used water soluble oil pastels, and my sewing machine to attach a piece of vellum to another piece of paper and added a bit of rubber stamping with StazOn permanent ink. Fortunately, I know where a good portion of my rubber stamps, ink pads and water color papers are!! (we just moved about a month ago).

Lisa will be binding her pages on the 4" side, so this page is designed to flip :: with the bottom of one side being the top of the other. I hope you enjoy; it sure felt good to make/create this art.

skinny page for debby, mmm!

I made this "skinny page" (4" x 8") for Debby Harriettha as part of our monthly exchange of pages through the Oh My Gothic yahoo group. Debby gave us our free choice in the theme, but I know she favors vintage and she also hoped her book would be colorful! We make these pages for our partner for that month, and when the exchange is over we will have a large number of pages to bind together and make a skinny book! 

My skinny page for Debby was done on a piece of watercolor paper cut to size with the binding planned for the top of the page. The black & white page shown first reflects a lot of what I have learned lately by taking Mary Green's Collage Coterie Online Workshop. If you have been reading regularly you've already heard me rave about this class!! The more colorful vintage side of the page uses an image from the 1898 Lucile calendar, available as a download from Mary at Green Paper Packages. I've also employed my watercolor crayons and pigment powders.
Time is tight for me now as we'll be moving September 20th, but I still need to make art and I still have a technique swap due Sept. 30th, so I will still be around some! I will have 2 new posts tomorrow on my other blog to share Donna Butcher's and Lisa Mallette's artwork for that technique swap. You can tune in to see their work here: creative swaps.
Thanks, and wish me speedy and palatable packing! I need it, with only about 2 weeks to get it done. Fortunately, we have a lot less stuff than when we left Connecticut and, some of it is still in boxes!!

shades of white skinny page

close up of one side for Leslie
I am lucky to be in an group where every month we exchange 4" x 8" skinny book pages made for each other. We base what we do on the theme picked by who we are creating for. For July, I was assigned to make a page for Leslie Anderson, whose theme is "shades of white, with a splash of color". She loves vintage, old lace, textures, watches, birds, numbers and sparkles. I tried to include a bunch of what she loves!

I started by gathering shades of white, different textures and a splash of color.

I started sewing one side (top) after playing with the placement of things
and you can see how I was planning the second side on the bottom. 

I added a surprise! some neighborhood ibis . . .

Now they are sewn together with cardboard in the middle for support.

Thanks for the great theme, Leslie! I loved being able to work horizontally. This was the first time I had that opportunity in this exchange and it was a lovely change. To view all of my posts on the skinny pages I've made so far, click on this link and it will take you there. Next up for me, in August, is Debby Harriettha. Her theme is "Express Yourself -Artists' choice!" She loves vintage and colorful, so I will be thinking on that! Hope you are taking time to make some art this weekend. : ^) 

skinny book page for betsy

Halloween is not really my favorite thing, but I did have fun creating this kind of ‘modern’ Vintage Skinny Book page (4x8) for Betsy Harting as part of our monthly exchange at Oh My Gothic! You can tell I bet, that this yahoo group originally swapped gothic arches : )  Anyway, see what you think and if you can figure out what the colorful, multi-colored background on the second side is??   ; ^ )


View all the skinny pages I've made here -
Thanks for visiting and checking out my art! lenna

mermaid skinny

As part of my monthly “skinny book” page exchange, I’ve made a 4” x 8” two-sided mermaid page for my friend in the group with me, Cat Dodt-Ellis. We can make the pages out of paper or fabric, or a mix, but I know Cat loves fabric so that is what I used. I also had some great mermaid images on fabric from www.alphastamps and applied them liberally!

I always start by making each side of the page separately, and then put them together after embellishing. I used my sewing machine with it’s various stitches on the pages first. There is a piece of cotton batting behind each page.
Below is a close up of the front before I added shells and glass spheres
–click on it for a larger picture.

To put the two sides together I used Tacky Glue and a piece of heavy interfacing to strengthen the page.

The shells all came from Florida . . . . tacky glue holds them well.

This is the back, below . . . . .
i sewed on tiny "pearls", then added glass spheres and shells.

The two sides get put together back to back and top to bottom so Cat can flip through her book once she has received all the pages : 0 ) The front . . .

for Cat, enjoy!! Your page is already swimming through the postal system to meet you! xo lenna  p.s. You can view ALL the skinny pages I've made so far this year: CLICK HERE!

"skinny page" for Rande

As part of the Oh my Gothic yahoo group, I am making 4" x 8" skinny pages based on a theme chosen by my mailing partner for that month, each month for a year and a half! For April 2010, my partner is Rande Hanson, who has requested: Grungy and Rusty - Anything vintage, old doors, windows . . . Well! I started collecting rusty items for inspiration when hanging things on the laundry line one day . . .

Today I put these things together. Some objects were scanned and printed on vellum, some printed on matte paper - to create this two-sided page for Rande built on a 4x8 piece of watercolor paper. Everyone will bind their pages to create a collaborative book at the end of the exchange. Click on the pages below for more detail! That is a real, smashed, old rusted bottle cap on top of the first page attached with E6000 -I sure had fun smashing it!

The quotes are fun -unmounted words I picked up from zettiology at a convention many years ago . . . I also used a bit of white paint (iridescent), brown ColorBox pigment ink, and Rust embossing powder.

I hope you enjoy Rande! It is in the mail to you . . .