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Sometime last year Rent-a-Dad and I had a small get-together at our house for one of our nephews. During that time a friend was walking around our small living room looking at all of the artwork on display. She pulled me over to ask me about a few pieces not knowing that I was the artist or that art was my major in college.
In college I had majored in Art with minors in Art History and Business. As a college student I had this BIG lofty idea that I would get my master’s degree in museum studies and go on to either work with a museum, a private gallery, or in the acquisitions department (artwork as assets) for a major corporation. During my college career I had art shown in multiple venues including three pieces on display at the local art museum. I was even lucky enough to sell quite a bit of my art and chose what I wanted to keep for myself.
Post college… Well that was a different story. Life took a few turns I hadn’t expected (as it does) and I did not go on to pursue my master’s degree right away. I had an website and an online store for a while but it became more difficult to keep up with then I felt was worth it. I did put my knowledge and degree to work in many other ways and went on to be certified in Non-Profits Management. One day, if the mood should strike me, I do plan on getting my master’s degree… we will just have to wait and see in what field.
As for creating art post college, I was a member of The Art League in Alexandria, VA for two or three years. I almost had pieces in shows multiple times but ALMOST is not something a person can base a career on nor did I really have the time to fully apply myself. The adjudicators gave great critiques and the one that came up the most was “feel the artist has potential if she only took her time”. With the challenges life has thrown my way, I have not had a studio where I could be both as messy I want or as clean as I want nor have I had the time to be the artist I want to be. That doesn’t mean I have stopped creating. It just means what I create is meant to make me happy and others happy.
The project below is based on a piece of artwork I made in college in a textiles class. My friend had asked if I knew how to create something like it as she loved the idea of hearts, locks and keys.
The original piece (titled: closed heart) was created using paper I had made from tree pulp and dyed in the textile class, pieces of a rose bush, an antique lock and antique keys that I had acquired. The piece of artwork had to fit a graded theme: a book project. So I created a heart shaped “journal” that was permanently sealed with a broken lock and a variety of keys that the viewer could imagine might have fit the lock. My statement about the piece was that our hearts can become guarded and “locked” when love has gone wrong and a relationship ended badly.
I knew that was not what my friend wanted her piece to be about. I wanted the piece I created for her to be about her children and how they have the keys to her heart. I made this piece, with the help of her kids, as a Mother’s Day present. Something similar could easily be made for Father’s Day as the subject matter is something most dad’s can relate to as well.
Crafting: A Moment in Time
When creating a piece of art or a craft for someone that is going to reflect a moment in time, it is always good to know the likes and wants of the person you are making the piece for. In this case my friend loved the idea of hearts, keys and locks. Think your piece of art (or craft) through from start to finish before you jump into the project. I tend to sketch out my ideas and create a supplies list that way I know if the project is even possible with what I have or do I need to go shopping.
- pencil with eraser
- patterned paper (scrapbook paper)
- antique keys (or at the craft supply store the jewelry department has keys and the scrapbooking department has accessories that look like keys)
- antique locks (or at the craft supply store the scrapbooking department has accessories that look like locks)
- a 9×9 shadow box (size is your choice) I selected one with an old wood look because of using antiqued looking keys and lock
- push pins
- glue dots (regular and scrapbooking types)
1- Sketch out your idea. Here I decided I wanted to create a heart from the cutouts my friends hands and then a hand cutout for each of her children. I wanted to put a lock on her hand cutout “heart”, and for each of the kids to have a key in/on their hand cutout.
2- At the craft store I selected paper to represent the heart (flocked red), and a different piece for each of the children. I selected blue for the eldest, green for the middle child and something floral for the baby, which are all colors that have been used to represent her children in past projects.
3- Trace the hands you want to use. I then inked over the tracing and photo copied the tracings so I kept the original tracings pristine in case I made a mistake cutting out the hands.
4- Cut out the photocopied hand outlines and lay them on the backing of the shadow box to make sure you know how you want the hands to be positioned. I played with the ones signifying a heart until I was happy with the shape. If you think you won’t remember take a picture of the layout to help you when you have all the pieces ready to be glued down.
5- Lay the hand cutouts on top of the paper you are associating with that hand outline and trace with a pencil.
6- Cut out the hand outline. Erase any remaining pencil marks that stand out.
7- Lay the hand outline on the backing of the shadow box. When you are happy with the layout begin to use the glue dots to glue down the paper. Personally I liked using the scrapbooking dots for any paper that overlapped (such as the heart) but then liked using the regular glue dots to secure the paper to shadow box backing.
8- The antiqued locks I used for this project came from the scrapbooking department so they came with paper tacks. I debated using the pushpins to secure down the lock but in the end opted to use the pushpins to create a whole in the board where I could push the paper tacks through. I also put glue dots on the back of the lock to help hold it in place.
9- The antiqued keys I used came from the scrapbooking department as well. They already had a glue backing applied to them so all I had to do was remove the paper backing thus exposing the glue and placing the keys where I wanted them to be on the artwork.
10- Finally I re-assembled the shadow box. Your moment in time project is complete!