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i forgot that i already scheduled a blog post for today so this is #2… ah well.
for those who know me, my deep adoration for poison bottles and specimen vials is pretty obvious. it’s a year-round, deep and passionate love, but during this time of year i think a lot more people share my penchant for such things. as such, i’ve just created and posted two new digital collage sheets for the altered bits site (click to enlarge):
you can find these and 7 other new digital collage sheets here: http://alteredbits.com/digital-collage-sheets.php
do you want to know how i create some of the aforementioned poison, alchemy and specimen labels i use in a lot of my assemblages and books? then read on!
this is an extremely easy process and it’s both fun and super cool looking. use them in a cabinet of curiosities or oddities assemblage or book, or just display them on a shelf. once my stupid over-priced epson printer is fixed (their warranty service is not my friend today — one would think for $2600 you’d get more than a year of coverage) i’ll be making lots more with the new labels i created. [cross your fingers my husband can fix printers — he’s super handy and has recently fixed a stove (twice), a washing machine, a toilet, a sink, a car bumper that decided to fall off, a rototiller, a few musical devices, a broken deadbolt and some other stuff — he’s pretty amazing so a printer should be a cake walk… but i digress…]
okay… to start, you will need this stuff or similar alternatives:
- a bottle of any sort, filled with your specimen(s), or whatever you’re using (there are usually lots of little bottles on the Altered Bits site).
- natural beeswax and something to melt it in
- acrylic paint (burnt umber is used above)
- a paintbrush
- a baby wipe or other moist wiping device
- some sort of scraper can be a carving tool, a super-sharp pencil, a thick needle, an awl, etc.
once your bottle is filled and corked (or capped if that’s what you’d doing), melt some beeswax. when thoroughly melted, dip the top of your bottle into the wax to cover it, and let it cool. keep dipping the top into the wax and let it solidify between dips until you feel it’s built up enough. i typically dip about four or five times for small bottles, more for larger. Set aside and let it dry/harden for about ten minutes.
with your carving tool (or needle or whatever you’ve opted to use), carve some random scratch marks into the wax. pierce it, puncture it, and carve it to give it an old or aged look. remove all little waxy remnants.
now whip out your paint and paintbrush. paint it all over the wax, taking extra care to get it into the grooves and divots in the wax. now wipe the paint off of the smooth parts of wax – the paint will stay pooled in the scratches, cracks and divots and look really quite cool.
(in the above specimen bottle i was going for a wormy-type effect but the green is a little NOT what i was going for. the strands that kinda look like gross tape worms are strands of hot glue i dried on parchment or wax paper and shoved inside — the green is natural food coloring but one of these days i’ll provide some way better coloring ideas. i made this about three… or five years ago and i’m smarter now.) ❤
you can find a PDF tutorial of this here, complete with at least one typo (scroll to the bottom of the page): http://alteredbits.com/art-tutorials.php i’ll actually be adding a couple more “waxen” tutorials (waxen book and waxen dolls) in the coming months as well as recipes for natural dyes, assemblage projects and other fun stuff.
actually it’s two give-aways. but one is now and one is in a week or two. it’s been awhile and since i’ve been trying to hoard stuff to put on my newly redesigned website (that i haven’t finished redesigning) i feel like i should get some stuff out the door… and what better way to do that than for free!?
first up, a big, fat bundle of 50+ vintage book pages (in english and other languages), a few collage sheet images (designed by moi) and little bits of hand-made papers (some even made by me)… and other pretty goodness. all you have to do is comment for a chance to win. like altered bits on facebook and have two chances to win.
next week: a 3d giveaway. i’m not totally sure what it will be yet, but it won’t be paperly or flat, and it will probably be rusty, old and/or bonetastic (i don’t mean that in a naughty way — i just mean it may have bones it in). ((well, i suppose to some that could be one and the same though, eh?))
the winner will be announced on wednesday, august 29th.
happy day and good luck, paper lovers! xx
i have had the honor and privilege of receiving a copy of the wonderful book “Steampunk Emporium” by UK-based jewelry maker, costume designer and crafter, jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt. “steampunk emporium” is about creating fantastical jewelry, devices and oddments from assorted cogs, gears and curios. it is vastly full of wonderful jewelry and costumes, many project instructions (20!) and a wonderful variety of intermixed stories. it’s quite a delightful book for anyone interested in steampunk, jewelry, costume making or just reading adventurous tales.
to be entered to win a FREE copy of jema’s book “steampunk emporium” from northlight books, simply leave a comment in this post before july 19th. limit to US visitors only, please. see below for the additional giveaway: a little altered bits bundle of steampunk and vintage bead goodness (no geographical restrictions — i’ll ship it anywhere).
don’t fret — if you do not win, you can still buy yourself a copy on the shop mixed media site here: http://www.shopmixedmedia.com/product/steampunk-emporium-z8074/ or any local bookseller anywhere in the world.
and now, for the interview…
Please tell us a bit about yourself and the art that you create.
My name is Jema Hewitt and I make unusual costumes, wedding gowns and jewellery, particularly Victorian-inspired steampunk styles. I live amid the rolling hills of Derbyshire and have an Aladdin’s cave of a studio in Nottingham. This area of England used to be the heart of the textile and lace making industry back in the Victorian era and I love the fact I am carrying on that tradition. My steampunk alter ego is “Emilly Ladybird” and I use that persona to create fantastical steampunk objects d’art.
What creative paths has your life taken to lead you to where you are today?
Oh so many, I was very fortunate to meet like-minded artists and craftsmen early on in my career and they have remained great friends, inspiring, swapping knowledge and contacts, giving each other jobs and helping find commissions. I worked freelance for so many different places too, always also working part time in shops and cafes to keep my rent money coming in. I suppose working at the bead shop in Nottingham was my first writing break – I did a puff piece for the shop which was published in a magazine and that lead to my first book which was most exciting.
Can you tell us about your art studio?
It is a tiny unit in an old Victorian hospital which had partitions put up in the 1970s to make it into light manufacturing units. It’s owned by the council and is rather unloved and neglected, but we keep our heads down so they don’t put the rent up. 😉 There are lots of wonderful artists and craftspeople in the building so it’s not lonely. My room has a huge window and is full of light, its packed floor to ceiling with cupboards full of fabric and trims and things with a wardrobe full of costumes and props. The studio is my “clean” space for fabric and sewing. My jewellery making tends to take place at home in the cottage, on the dining table. Fortunately my husband is very tolerant of my creative madness. I have boxes and boxes of clock parts, resins and beads hidden away under the stairs.
What artist would you bring back from the dead if you had the power to do so?
I would love to learn from Lalique. His jewellery is exquisite and I think he’d have been incredibly inspiring to be around, I’d love to see what he would do with our modern tools and materials too. I would love for Van Gogh to see how much his work is appreciated now too.
Where do you find your deepest inspiration?
From the people around me. They inspire, challenge and support.
Have any artists heavily influenced you in your artwork (known or unknown, living or not)?
I think some of my jewellery work is quite Alphonse Mucha inspired, it took a long time for me to find my own style; it’s hard when you are working as a commercial artist sometimes because you are always restricted by a client’s desires, you have to be able to adapt your style or mimic someone else’s. I’m becoming more and more interested in abstract pattern cutting techniques, Vivienne Westwood type Victoriana, proper punk haute couture, and I will forever be grateful to Donna Kato for inspiring me with her books on polymer clay techniques. My longtime friend and collaborator Lyssa has been a huge influence too. We started Kindred Spirits together and although she has gone down a different career path now, our house style was very much developed between us. We still get together every week to talk and enthuse! But really I suppose my influences constantly change as my work develops and explores new avenues.
Do you have a favorite piece of art that you have created for “Steampunk Emporium”?
I love the absinthe fairy necklace; it has that luscious Art Nouveau feel to it, while still being steampunky. I do like absinthe, especially with cream soda, so I’ll admit to a soft spot for the absinthe fairy! I’m also rather fond of the adventurers pocket watch.
If you could give one piece of your art to anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’d like to see Lady Gaga or Dita von Teese in one of my costumes, most definitely!
Describe a typical day in your life.
Patted awake by a cat or bunny around 9, gradually come out of my coma (assisted by a nice cup of tea from my hubby), then maybe go out for breakfast with him too. Arrive at the studio by 11.00 and do some pattern cutting or sewing, maybe have a client fitting or prepare for a workshop, exhibition or event. Work through lunch (I often forget to eat when I’m at the studio…). Order fabrics, do some taxes/book keeping or pay bills. Have a cuppa with one of the other studio folks or meet a friend for a chat, leave the studio about 6, get home and have dinner with hubby, watch some DVDs then do some jewellery making or writing, computer type things till eleven or so, then a bath and bed around midnight!
To be honest there’s no typical day though, I might get up at 5 am, drive to be on a film set by 6 and then spend the day loitering, or I might go to an exhibition and spend the entire weekend in fabulous costume, selling my wares!
Do you have any advice you would offer to an emerging Steampunk or jewelry artist?
Don’t undervalue your work. Price it properly even when you are starting out, charging for every minute of time spent on it. If that scares you, consider swapping rather than selling your pieces for things of equal hourly value, babysitting, accountancy or cake making for example.
Make sure your work is unique and marketable; try to find an area of design no one else has explored yet. Make a really spectacular showpiece and get it seen in blogs, Etsy, galleries… everywhere!
(this is the lovely miss jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt herself)
Where else, online or in print, can our readers find more information about you and your wondrous creations?
There are so many places!
And an Etsy page where you can actually buy some of my one off pretty things http://www.etsy.com/shop/SparkleyJem
I also have a blog which I rather sporadically post my epic costume making processes to http://sparklyjem.blogspot.com/
I write regularly for “making jewellery” and “making” magazines (UK) and I am featured in the new “Steampunk Bible” by Chambers and Vandemeer.
Finally I have written lots of books too, from tiara making to basic beadwork as well as the latest of course, the lovely “Steampunk Emporium”!
. . .
as a reminder, all you have to do to enter to win a FREE copy of jema’s book “steampunk emporium” is leave a comment before july 19th.
you will also automatically be entered to win this little bundle of rusty gears, cogs, watch parts, antique brass beads, sea green glass beads, and vintage pearly beads (from the 40s) in a pretty little organza bag from me — maybe you could make a pendant, necklace, brooch or some pretty earrings with them:
here are the contents laid out for you to see (probably a little more helpful):
good luck to all who wish to enter! i will be doing a random drawing on july 20th for two lucky winners, and will announce them that day. you may enter until midnight on july 19th PST.
(you can also read this interview on the altered bits website, or view past interviews via the links at the bottom: http://alteredbits.com/guest-artists.php)
what an exciting month july is! happy belated fourth of july to those in the states. we had a blast at our house.
The Pulse, founded by Seth Apter of the Altered Page, is a collaborative project that aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. More than 130 artists have answered a series of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented in a series of online posts which kicked off July 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The posts are chock full of AMAZING art and links to the artists websites — go check it out! This will be continuing every Sunday until about the Spring of 2012.
as a gesture of gratitude to all of my wonderful readers, i whipped up several little vellum envelope collage packs with collage sheet images, vintage book pages, printed papers and such to send off to five lucky winners (some also have vintage stamps, chipboard pieces, handmade papers and gears). i will be having a giveaway for four of these this coming weekend here, and one for someone on facebook. all winners will be announced july 10th. on a side-note, it’s just occurred to me that all but one of the packs have anatomical images so hope you like body parts as much as i do. most of the images are from new collage sheets that are not yet listed on my site. just leave a comment here or on facebook to be in the drawing.
last, and certainly not least, i wanted to share in advance that i will be doing an interview with jema “emilly ladybird” hewitt regarding her recent book “Steampunk Emporium” on the 11th of this month. i can’t wait to share this with those of you who are into steampunk and/or jewelry and/or oddments and/or costume design. there will be yet another july giveaway for this: one free copy of the book “Steampunk Emporium” and a little steampunk + other goodies bag from me with gears, watch parts, cogs, 1940s vintage beads, etc.
i hope you all have a magnificently creative start to the new month! i’m working on three new series and some paintings — if only i could just sleep once a week so i could get done all that is in my mind!!
there are lots of fun things going on at alteredbits.com for memorial day weekend! from now through june 1st there are heaps of freebies, sales and extras just for you.
first, get a medium or large frozen charlotte for a mere five cents when purchasing the “how to crackle frozen charlottes” tutorial. limit one per customer — only 20 listed. these will go FAST.
second, get TWO FREE DIGITAL COLLAGE SHEETS with the purchase of four collage sheets, digital or print, or equal or lesser value. or get $5 off the entire “collaged bits” collection (mention this in a paypal note and your account will be immediately credited the $5).
next, “crackled window effect” altered art tutorial price is reduced to $10 plus get a FREE digital collage sheet of your choice. this is a permanent deal, not just limited to memorial day weekend. woots!
FREE SHIPPING on all “Rare, Limited Quantity and One of a Kind” items, from this page of the altered bits site. (shipping will be credited immediately upon purchase and sent via USPS first class post) i will be having LOTS of new things coming in next month and i would LOVE to clear out this section as soon as possible. just leave a note in paypal about the free shipping to jog my cluttered memory. >>
BIG FREE BUNDLES with all purchases over $25 — it will be a delectable, mysterious surprise. 🙂
heaps of items are being added to the site this week and more sales and specials (and some give-aways) are soon to come so check back over the next week or three!
The time has finally come… the Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams Blog Tour has commenced!! Read through this post to learn about some of the MANY wonders of epoxy clay, find links to all participants in the tour, view the prizes you can win (there are 115!!), and see free giveaways for my readers too! You may want to grab a cuppa coffee, tea or a beer and relax for a few — this is a HUGE post with lots to take in and look at!
First, as many of you know, I’ve been friends with Miss Keriny for a few years now so I was “there” for the ride when she wrote this most amazing book. It was such an honor and a privileged to get to hear the little bits and pieces she shared with me (most of it was a HUGE surprise when the book came out, of course, but I did get secret little-tiny peeks and hints along the way). I was able to learn so many great things about the wonders of Epoxy and Apoxy Clays before the book was even released! I mostly starting using Aves Apoxy Clay as an amazing adhesive in my assemblages, but have also made molds to create smaller items. I am just now getting into “the bigger stuff” since reading (and re-reading) her book and just have to say that I love this stuff!! So when Kerin asked if I wanted to participate in this blog tour, I was giddy. (My son would have said “duhviously!” wich is a combo of “duh” and “obviously”). Like Kerin, I want the whole art world to know about this great and wondrous art material and its endless uses! Kerin is the queen of opening so many eyes to this wonderful stuff!
This is an example of my most recent use of epoxy clay… everything, including the metal objects, hand-made boxes, hearts, bones, gears and beads atop the pieces and other bits are attached using Aves Apoxy Clay. Additionally, I built up the anatomical hearts with this great and wondrous product before making molds of them so I can include LOTS of hearts in future projects. Additional photos of these two pieces can be found on my website if you are interested in checking them out in more detail.
First and foremost, I would like to present the sponsors of this GRAND EVENT…
Visit these participating blogs along the way — the following is a calendar of dates each participant will be posting their wonderful information, art examples and giveaways.
Remnants of Olde: http://RemnantsOfOlde.com/posts
Altered Bits: https://alteredbits.wordpress.com/
Flatwoods Folk Art: http://www.flatwoodsfolkart.typepad.com/
Lilly Bug Studio: http://lillybugstudio.com/blog/
The Altered Page: http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/
Little Bit Wired: http://littlebitwired.blogspot.com/
ICE Queen Zine: http://www.iceresin.com/category/inspired-remnants-blog-tour/
Happy Mother’s Day!
Strange Dolls: http://strangedolls.wordpress.com/
Brenda Schweder Jewelry: http://www.brendaschweder.com/
Vanessie Art Dolls: http://vanessies.blogspot.com
Lemoncholy’s Flight of Fancy: http://www.lemoncholys.blogspot.com/
A Year In The Life Of An Art Journal: http://oneyearartjournal.blogspot.com/
Marlaine Verhelst Art Dolls: http://marlaineverhelst.com/blog/
Mud Hound Studio: http://mudhoundprimitives.blogspot.com/
Yesterday’s Trash: http://michellereneebernard.blogspot.com/
Remnants of Olde – Alan Rogerson feature: http://RemnantsOfOlde.com/posts
Apoxie Clay & Epoxy Clays Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_158159677562761
Sponsored prizes that YOU could win (each of the blogs will be giving away these wonderful prizes to MANY lucky winners!). Please note that all physical prizes (i.e. non digital prizes) will be awarded to US participants only. Access to Online Workshops and Digital Collage Sheets will be sent anywhere, worldwide.
To be eligible, all you need to do is leave a comment to this post by May 26. Please note in your comment if you are a resident outside the US.
A) The book: Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams by Kerin Gale. This will be mailed directly to the winner from Northlight Books.
B) One Aves Power Pack (selection of their most popular formulas) from http://AvesStudio.com. (This will be mailed directly to the winner from Aves Studios)
C) Fluid Chalks Online Workshop by Lesley Venable on her The Art Of Altering site which features many other awesome online workshops. More information about this workshop can be found here: http://theartofaltering.ning.com/group/fluidchalksbackgroundsbeyond
D) Two Digital Collage Sheets of your choice by Alicia Caudle of Altered Bits (yeps, that’s me). You can see my unique and cool collections at http://alteredbits.com/digital-collage-sheets.php
E) Sample pack of Silputty 40 silicone putty mold mix from Silpak. This is the formula Kerin recommends in the book that has the longer cure time. If you want to order any of these materials or have any questions, call Jerry at Silpak 909-625-0056. He was her technical advisor for the book and so it’s great that you can talk to him directly and get any assistance you may need!!!
F) 1 OZ ICE Resin and a mixed metal bezel from http://www.iceresin.com/
Grand Prizes For Book Reviews
Any reader that writes a review ~ however short or long ~ of Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams on amazon.com before July 31, 2011 and sends an email with the title “Inspired Remnants Review” to email@example.com will be entered in a drawing to win one of these prizes. Please note that your honest opinion is wanted on this review. Please note that all physical prizes (i.e. non digital prizes) will be awarded to US participants only. Access to Online Workshops will be available worldwide.
A) The art piece featured on the cover of the book, “Sacred Totem”
B) Power Pack plus extra Fixit Sculpt clay from Aves Studio
C) A Frozen Charlotte Doll with digital tutorial “How To Crackle Charlottes” from Alicia Caudle of http://alteredbits.com (that’s me again! — see details on the tutorial below)
D) Resin Clay Pendants online workshop by Kerin Gale from http://MixedMediaArt.ning.com
E) Vintage Gentleman online workshop by Kerin Gale from http://MixedMediaArt.ning.com
F) Choice of any one workshop being taught by Kerin and Charley at Art Is You retreat in Petaluma, CA. The registration fee and workshop cost are both waived. http://www.art-is-you.com/mysitecaddy/site3/generalinformation-westcoast.htm
G) One copy each of Jen Cushman’s book, Explore, Create, Resinate and Susan Lenart-Kazmer’s book, Making Connections plus ICE Resin and a selection of bezels all from http://www.iceresin.com/
Altered Bits blog readers will also be entered to win one of these additional prizes (like everything else, all you have to do is leave a comment to enter):
First, PRIZE NUMBER ONE is a collection of three Frozen Charlotte dolls which I will mail to you bundled up with love and pretty wrappings:
…along with a PDF Tutorial I created called “How to Crackle Frozen Charlottes” (creative, huh!):
With this tutorial, you can learn how to create wonderful crackled and faux rust finishes for Frozen Charlotte and Charlie dolls and learn how I create those little 3d hearts on them. This is a great combo with Kerin’s book in that you can learn how to make molds of these girls, and create replicas in Epoxy Clay, then paint them up all pretty like these few examples:
And PRIZE NUMBER TWO (also only for my blog readers) is a collection of FIVE digital collage sheets of your choice from my website: http://alteredbits.com/digital-collage-sheets.php and http://alteredbits.com/collage_sheets.php (yep, I’ll make ANY of them digital for you). Here are just a few examples of some of your many options:
As if ALL of this hasn’t been enough…
During the blog tour (from May 1st through May 19th), you can get $5 off Kerin Gale’s ground-breaking and hugely inspirational book Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams bundled with her amazing online workshops (I have taken all of these workshops from Kerin so trust me when I say they are A-FLIPPIN’-MAZING!!). All you have to do is enter “Altered Bits” in the note section when you check-out through Paypal and you will receive the $5 back. What a fantastic deal!
Resin Clay Pendants Workshop + Book = $35 + shipping (only $30)
Vintage Gentleman Workshop + Book = $40 + shipping (only $35)
Both Workshops + Book = $70 + shipping (only $65)
Enjoy your journeys and good luck!!
OR, if you already have her book, any of her online workshops will be a mere $15!!! go peek at her shop now!
PLEASE NOTE: Just leave a comment for one entry to win one of these fabulous prizes (every blog on the tour has about this many so hooray!). Get more chances to win by sharing info about the book tour!!! When you leave your comment just say where you posted (facebook, twitter, your blog, etc.) Each post is worth one entry in my drawing!
it’s time again for one world one heart! actually it was time about a week ago but i was a bit slow… what else is new, at least for those who know me. for those who don’t, hello! i’m alicia of altered bits, a little online shop with mixed media and altered art goodies — and i have some goodies to share. i’m also a mixed media artist with an affinity for dolls/doll parts, anatomical “things”, rust and anything that’s old, tattered and interesting to look at.
this year i’ll be giving away three things. first up, a small frozen charlotte doll with a little bundle of gorgeous recycled sari silk ribbon in earthy hues:
next up, the whole “collaged bits” collection from altered bits in digital format (i’ll upload it to my server so you can download it). i created these sheets and images so you won’t find them anywhere else (if you do, tell me though ’cause they’re mine, ha!):
last but not least, i’ve pulled one of my anatomical collages to give to YOU. it’s entitled “still” and is mounted on black mat board. i am not as much of a collage person as i used to be as i prefer to create creepy little assemblages but i almost miss the feel and smell of paper when i leave it for too long.
you know the drill — just leave a comment and you could win one of these three items. winners will be announced on february 17th (the day before my birthday).
PLEASE MAKE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: i had a winner last year who left no email address or blog address so i was bummed.
now that i’m well again, and despite my broken riblets, i can’t stop cleaning and organizing. i finally finished the kitchen and am back to doing the studio. omg, i have WAY too much stuff!! as a result, i’ll likely be posting several giveaways over the coming weeks. just as cool, i already have FIVE huge bags full of arty goodness to donate to scrap (school & community reuse action project). if you’re from portland, you surely already know and love scrap. for those who don’t know, they are a non-profit and their mission is to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community. i didn’t mean for this to turn into an advertisement (even though they kick serious ass with their yummy section of re-use lace and glass and fabric and paints and wood thingies and rusty this and that, etc.)….
first, a little bundle of goodness, including two 1800s antique carte de viste photographs and a little brass photo frame with a heart (just from the 80s — had a photo of a niece in it at one time). will come wrapped in three vintage fabric pieces, and tied with a lovely recycled sari silk ribbon. could be fun to make some fabric collages or add to an altered book or whatever.
these are the four left-overs of all of the new coin charms i have bundled up and added to my site. i was going to keep them for myself but omg, i have WAY too much stuff. seriously — i could make a collage and an assemblage every single day for the next five years and the ONLY thing i may need to buy is nails and glue… and maybe not even that.
disclaimer: i have absolutely NO idea where this adorable little mermaid baby doll came from, if i bought it or if it was a gift. please don’t hate me if you gave this to me or i got it from you or whatever. it’s cute — just a little too cute for me so i figured i should give it to someone who would love it and put it to good use. looks hand-made from a mold, perhaps. has a hole through the shoulders so could be made into a big necklace or whatever.
all you have to do to enter is comment. if you want one thing more than another please specify. THREE winners will be picked by next wednesday or so. by “or so” i mean i am shooting to pick winners on wednesday but i may get side-tracked as i do that often. plus, the little man is going to gramma’s house on wednesday for FOUR days so i’m going to be childless and may lose track of myself for a bit.