Sunday, July 14, 2013


I've been admiring the work of Anna Dabrowska (AKA Finnabair, or Finn) for years, and literally jumped at the chance to take a class with her at Michele's studio.  It took place on Thursday, and it was easily one of the best classes I've ever taken.

In case you don't know anything about Finn, she's from Poland, she designs for Prima and Sizzix, amongst others, and she is super talented, warm, funny, and a great teacher.  Just click on her name above and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Back to the class.  It was an all day event.  And when I say all day, I mean we started at 9am and finished up a bit after 6pm.  Michele provided lunch, so no one even left the studio for food; we just kept working.  Why do we say working?  It's really playing.  SO MUCH FUN!

So many goodies included in our class kit. Most are Finn's creations for Prima.   This isn't even the entire haul:



We used a Prima journal (Finn's design), took it apart and started decorating the covers.

In addition to all the embellishments Finn brought, we also could add our own favorite bits of grunge, so some rusty, crusty odds and ends from my stash found their way onto my journal covers.  In the above photo the covers had scrapbook paper glued on, the elastic closure was protected with masking tape, and we were ready to embellish.  I don't have any step by step photos, but here are some works in progress from around the room.
Marjie really isn't bored.  She's just waiting for glue to dry.  Click on her name to see the gorgeous pieces she created.

My friend Seth, dabbing his embellishments with Silks glazes (the most delicious colors in the world!)  If you don't already follow Seth's wonderful blog, The Altered Page, well, click on his name and get over there! 

Diane showing off her autumn colored beauties.

That's me in the middle, putting my journal back together.  In the back, Kelly, Karen, and Finn.  One of the (many) reasons I love taking classes at Michele's studio is the opportunity to create in the company of so many like-minded peeps in such a warm and inviting place.  Trust me, not all venues are so welcoming.
Finn, demonstrating a technique:
Aren't those sleeves the coolest?  They keep the paint and glue off her arms (and in the winter, off her shirt sleeves).
Marjie took this photo of me with my finished cover.  The color is a bit off, but I have more accurate pictures coming up.
Here are my front and back covers.

You can see how color unifies such a bunch of diverse elements.
The covers took all morning to complete.  In the afternoon we worked on some pages, and each double page layout featured different techniques.  All deceptively simple.  Deceptive, because they look like they took forever to do, and they really went very quickly.  Most people brought photos to use.  I didn't.  I brought some of the images I've collected.  I'm not even sure I'm going to insert them into this journal.  I like them well enough to mount and frame them. 
Finn taught three layouts, but by the third I was done.  Exhausted.  Happy, but exhausted.  So I only have two to show.

I love the technique of using scraps cut into squares and rectangles to create a graphic background.  Quick, easy, low-tech, low-cost, and very effective.  We also used stencils, sprays,shading with soft pencils,  and some stamping.  In the third layout, the one I didn't do, Finn demonstrated adding fibers and embossing to the pages.
Great picture of Michele and Finn:
And as always, we ended the day with a group photo.
Finn will be teaching in the US and Canada all summer.  If you can get to one of her classes, do it!  Here is her schedule:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Newest Toy

I preordered this little gadget back in February, and the company had delays in getting it out to vendors, but it finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I love it!  I've made plenty of envelopes with my score board, but this is so much easier, and the end result is perfect and professional looking.
I got mine at Marcos Paper, and I believe they still have it in stock.  (And no, I have no affiliation with We R Memory Keepers or Marcos Paper; I just love a good gadget).

One of my online groups is having a mail art swap, and judging from the sign up page, it looks like I'll have at least 20 pieces of mail art to get out.  This is where the envelope punch board comes in.  Like most of you, I suspect, I have piles of unused backgrounds I've made.....experiments, extras, even some journal pages I don't mind giving up.  I've been busy turning them into envelopes, and with very few additions (some stenciling or stamping or bits of washi tape) they are ready to go postal as mail art.

Here are just a few.  What do you think?

I used some of my favorite Wendy Vecchi stencils on these next few.  I dabbed Ranger's Embossing Dabber right through the stencil, lifted it off, then sprinkled embossing powder over the image.






These were made from gelli plate prints on deli wrap or old music paper (reinforced by pasting the prints on cardstock), and more Wendy stencils:
 This one, done on an old piece of sheet music needed reinforcing on the folds, so I used tape for that:


Wendy's Mail Art stamp set is perfect for this project, and I'll be using elements from it on all my envelopes.   Here's an example.  (I also used the dandelion from her Botanical Art set.)

This one features a great stencil designed by Ronda Palazzari for The Crafters Workshop:
I love the stencil of people holding hands; I've had it for ages and use it a lot.  It's from Retro Cafe Art.
If you happen to use paper that has art on both sides, you wind up with an envelope that is decorated inside and out:
I have a few more to go, and will probably add to some of these, but I've made a good start.
Oh, and by the way, the Envelope Punch Board makes MANY sizes, from the smallest gift card size to one that will hold a 6x8 1/2" card.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Recently someone mentioned how lucky I was to take such great classes in NYC.  While it's true that in the past The Ink Pad occasionally offered wonderful opportunities with well known mixed media artists (opportunities I took advantage of as often as possible), that was pretty much the only venue here in the Big Apple.

Until, that is, my friend Michele opened up her studio and began attracting so many of the world class artists I'd long admired.  And some I didn't know about.....yet.  So, I'm starting off this post with a great big shout out to Michele.  I love that she has filled her calendar with so many diverse classes that are just a short subway ride away.  Even if you don't live in NY, why don't you join her group so you'll be informed of upcoming classes.  Lots of people travel great distances to take a class; last year my good friend Elena flew up from Key Largo to join us for two wonderful days with Ingrid Dijkers.

Yesterday Michele hosted another stained glass workshop with the amazing David Jacobson.  David travels all the way from Michigan to teach us and provides every single thing we need.  I realized early on that this was NOT an art form I'd be doing at home, though I do enjoy it so very much.  How nice to come to a class totally empty handed (and often empty headed, though that doesn't last long; David is very inspiring and motivating), and leaving with a lovely finished product.  As a long time educator myself,  I can tell you, David has the patience of a saint!  And 36 years of creating gorgeous glass pieces.  His specialty is Tiffany lamp reproductions, and his work is outstanding.

Here he is, demonstrating for the class.  You can see how well he equipped the studio for us.

This was my second class with David (and his third time at the studio), and having some basic knowledge of glass cutting, foiling and soldering, I decided that I wanted to try something dimensional.....a hinged box.

Here it is!  I can't believe I made this....with ample help from David, believe me. 

I'd not been having the greatest week, so you can see I chose a very simple design for my lid; only nine pieces of glass to cut and foil.  Pat, on the other hand, went for a simply gorgeous art deco-ish design that had, if I counted correctly, 21 pieces on the lid.  I was only able to get one clear shot, just before David snatched it away to wrap it up for her.
Isn't it fabulous?!
Karen, who I often see at Michele's, is one who has embraced glass and does plan to do projects at home.  She also has the patience and talent to go with that desire.  She made a lovely candle holder, and when she got home she posted a photo of it where it will be living.  Here it is:
Where I simply selected the glass I liked and cut my pieces, Karen took her time and chose just the right part of the glass to cut, so the swirls of color were all going in the direction she wanted.  Wonderful!
And here is where my very plain (but much loved box) will reside, right next to the first piece I completed with David.

I don't know when David will return to NY, but whenever it is, I'll do my best to be there.  BTW, I don't have a link to any of David's work, so I went on a google search.  Came up empty handed, but you wouldn't believe how many David Jacobsons there are in the US who are involved in glass.  If anyone has a link to the CORRECT David Jacobson, kindly let me know.