Saturday, 7 November 2009

I'd never think to use *that*!

"It's a what?". "What have you used there?". "Ha!".

Over on our '12 Days' workshop blog we've been discussing our interest in using ephemera and found treasures in our work rather than rely on traditional crafting supplies. One of the happy side-effects of using such items is the response you get from people whose eyes settle on a particularly unique item and then come out with statements like those above. And it's always nice when your work get's a reaction!

We're giving our 'students' a break from tutorials over the two weekends our class runs through [You're still very welcome to
join in you know?]. Instead we're posting lots of little snippets of inspiration for students to browse, a bit like having a nice chunky magazine to settledown with and flick through on your day off!

One of today's snippets is a list of prompts and questions to get our 'students' talking about the kinds of unusual things they've brought into their work. I thought I'd join in here and have a little trawl through my past work. I was going to say I'd loooked through my 'archive' but that sounded far too grand!!

So, here are a few projects which, in one way or another, feature a slightly 'alternative' item ...or two.

Here's a shadow box from my craft-room wall which I filled with various faces and skulls. Pride of place is the head of a little boy ornament, dug up in my garden, and a pebble with a hole which could almost pass for a Phantom of the Opera mask!

Digging in the garden and walking along the beach are two of the most bountiful sources of interesting found items. The layout below records how, once I've unearthed my treasures [marbles, shells, keys etc] they often find a home amongst the flowers in one of our planters:
[Have a look here for a larger image, where you can see the gems peeping out].

My most recent use of off-kilter stash is this double layout about how James and I accquired similar bruises ... when you're starting point is a set of photos of bruised backs ... you've got nothing to lose when introducing odd items to your pages! What's the worst someone can say? "That's weird"?? Well, I already know that!!!

Between the pages I used the full cover and a page from of a comic-book and some vivid character postcards but perhaps the most unusual item on there is the red reflective lens [bottom left corner of the photo of James's back].I thought that its colour and shape reflected [no pun intended] James's paintball bruises! There's a close-up of both 'His' and 'Hers' in my Flickr gallery where you can read the journalling.Next, and at the risk of giving you the idea that I only make layouts with exposed flesh on them, here's how I fit a few vintage Playboy images on a layout! [There's a larger image here]:

[Oh and I also showcased a Playboy pin-up here!]

Moving swiftly on ... away from all that nudity and into erm... well, another vice .... can I interest anyone in a poker-chip snowman?
An idea like 'poker-chip snowmen' often results from analysing and scrutinising interesting everyday objects to see how they can be repurposed to my crafty ends. Like many crafters, I'm always on the alert for how something which might otherwise be thrown away.

I find that homemade mini-books make one of the most flexible projects into which you can combine eccentric materials. Here's a mini-book from last year [blogged here] whose covers were made from swatches of leather from a furniture shop! Then there's my paint-swatch-tabbed notebook [blogged here]:
Andfinally my mini-book with the egg box card cover [blogged here].
Speaking of egg boxes, you might want to save one or two between now and next weekend. I'm just saying ...

Well, I'm going to stop now because if I don't I'll end up adding photos of almost everything I've ever made. In short, I love using unexpected materials. But you've probably got that idea by now haven't you. Thought so!

Whether you're taking our online workshops or not, it'd be good to hear about the unusual items you've used in your work. So be brave, leave me a comment or link me to your work and get in first. This certainly won't be the last time I bore share with you my love of fascinating, free, found items!



  1. Wow...I've loved your work for a while (seen some of it on UKS) but lots of the projects you highlighted here were new to me and have inspired me to scour the streets, beaches and parks for "treasures". Most of the empherema I use are things like old magazines, tickets and books. I too have used leather scraps for a mini book (your's is better - and umh - finished, which is why I'm keeping mine under wraps for now).

  2. oh wow I really love what you have done with all that stuff. I will have to be really strict and actually use some of my collection of bits and bobs.

    I love to recycle and used my son's shirt buttons on a card back in October. Does that count?


  3. I have a trayful of pottery pieces we've unearthed from our garden and I need to do a LO like yours! Inspiring stuff.

  4. !LOL! I took a break from scrapping to check some of the blogs... the page I'm working on features an old Christmas card as the main photo, a couple mini reprints of vintage postcards, and a 60 yr old metal US social security tag.
    Def going to have to try out the poker chip snowman sometime. :)

  5. I love reusing and recycling, so I'm with you when it comes to finding ways to use up all those bits of ephemera! :)

  6. I am always amazed and inspired by what you pull together. I always collect bits from the beach and we have them dotted around the house. I just wish I could remember what came from where!

  7. I'd have to do an indepth looky-lou through my stuff to see if there might be something more unusual, even now I'm looking sideways into some of my stacked ephemera containers and I can't think of anything. It's been awhile, I think I'll go play on your photostream. Happy happies.


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