Monday, December 10, 2012
Made With Love
This looks very much like a Christmas whatever-it-is, but it is actually a belated birthday present for a really good friend of mine. I know that she likes pink, floral and angels, but she pretty much has everything when it comes to decorative things, and is actually trying to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more stuff. However, she did need an address book, and instead of just giving her a plain one, or choosing a pattern, I decided to make her a DIY one-of-a-kind book. I bought a regular black Moleskine address book and put together a cover mixed media picture using gesso, acrylic paint, a glossy angel, a washer, molding paste, a rubber stamp, Mod Podge, glitter, an old stamp, some bits of patterned paper and some glittery paper. The image consists of layers of paper, gesso, fabric, paste and paint, sealed with a couple of layers of Mod Podge.
As is the case with a lot of mixed media pieces, this cover is also put together with pieces that have been found and gathered up from various places. I bought the glossy angel from a museum gift shop in Denmark, where they came in little sheets of 8-10. In Norway we call them glansbilder, and when I was a kid, most Scandinavian girls collected them. I had a box of old ones that my mom had collected when she was a kid, but who knows where they are now. I have traveled and moved around from country to country so much that my belongings have been scattered everywhere. I am not sure if anyone collects glansbilder anymore. This angel was, according to sheet, made in West Germany (!), so maybe they haven't been produced for a while? When I moved to Britain in the late 1970's, I was surprised that nobody had even heard of these glossy paper collectibles. When I see them now, I realize how nostalgic they are, a bit like those sweet little figurines that people collect, or Christmas decorations, for that matter. If this had not been a present, I would probably have put some punk/goth influence into the image, if nothing else then just to temper the sweetness of the angel.
The washer was an object I found on my bedroom floor that day. Who knows where it belonged. Some of the lace on the left side was from a whole roll that I bought for 10 cents at a tag sale. The other lace originates from a baby shower decoration that I found out on the street on recycling day somewhere in Brookline. I don't remember where the shiny silver-colored ribbon came from, probably a present or something. The old Syrian stamp was in a ready-packed collection of vintage labels and stuff from Paper-Source, and I grabbed a few pinches of glitter from the kids' arts & crafts box to sprinkle over the image as a final touch.
If I had had more time to do this, I would have made the book myself rather than buying a Moleskine. That would have made the gift far more unique. Also, notebooks and sketchbooks don't have to be expensive, so a customary decorated one can be made pretty cheaply for anyone who is creative and either doesn't have much cash lying around this time of year (who does?), or refuses to buy into the overly commercial aspect of the holiday season. Regardless of what goes into DIY gifts, they are usually made with love, which factory/sweatshop-made products definitely are NOT. If you don't have time to make your own gifts, then visit one of the many holiday crafts fairs this season. Here in Boston, there is the Holly Fair in Cambridge, and Bazaar Bizarre at the Cyclorama, this upcoming weekend. There you will find a lot of neat and unique crafts made locally and with love...and you'll probably find me there too, at either one of those places on Sunday, manning the comic-book table with fellow members of the Boston Comics Roundtable!