Five makers – the Collaborheartists –outlined creative explorations, a curriculum for experimenting in mixed media creative projects. In a few minutes we listed more than 18 techniques. A project book, nicknamed The Fat Book, would serve as a record of each month’s efforts.
We agreed to share responsibility for leading the group, as each of us specializes in a different medium. Among our parameters:
- projects will be 4” x 4,” the size of standard artist tiles
- each month’s leader will prepare a sample
- the 4×4 cards will organize for each of us as a book of techniques
- although ideas for future projects were outlined, we agreed to put a timetable on our learning each month for the following get-together
- we will sign and date each piece for authenticity
July, map month, was my responsibility. I prepared by pouring over Pinterest boards for ideas, viewing YouTube videos of aging maps and paging through old atlases. I experimented with coffee dye to age my map. There’s more art to the process than you might imagine.
To begin with, I used too much liquid which caused my maps to crinkle. It also diminished color. My near-collage, a map with brads representing places of particular significance to my life, seemed rather boring. Then I thought to add a copper heart treated with alcohol inks to the front of the project. Not only did the heart represent home, it was a good use of a former class project. On the back, I singed a quote and began to feel the stirrings of creativity.
On the day of our get-together, I summarized my findings for the group. For some reason, I had created a mind map of map words in order to stimulate thought. It worked as a thought starter for each of us.
Each of us worked on our 4×4 project. I played with browns and my thought: “Any Road, Any Journey, Any Time…YOU Are Key”. Stamps, ribbon, a tiny key and a highway somewhere illustrated my piece.
Suddenly the word “Cartography” stopped me. (The creative muse struck!) I envisioned a way to outline my creative journey: from potholders, to cross stitch, to embroider, to crewel, to dress-making, to crochet, to needlepoint, to tatting, to beads, to hand stitching.
I hurried to my box and found a hand charm. Replicating the spiral from the palm, I simply wrote the words in a similar shape. The back of my 4×4 card suddenly grew more important than its front.
Who knows! I may do something else with this idea, but for the moment I’m pretty pleased with my creative cartography.
Success. A creative endeavor I could not have envisioned prior to the effort. What artful mixed media project will you pursue this month?