Happy Birthday, Gauche Alchemy!

Hey everyone!  It’s Amy and Heather.

Whoo hoo!  Can you believe Gauche Alchemy is THREE years old? What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Stay tuned this month, as you will be getting behind the scenes glimpses of the innermost workings of Gauche and insights to our humble and crass beginnings…don’t worry, we won’t post anything toooo personal.  Or will we?  You just never know!

We have had a quiet summer – at least from your perspective.  The blog has been silent for the most part, while we scheme our evil plots and hatch our gauche plans.  We’ve got some terrific fun for you this month and in the coming months, starting with our guest designer, Dina Wakley!

As many of you may know, Dina has been an amazing creative force in the mixed media and scrapbooking world for a number of years.  She was, in fact, one of my first true crafty inspirations, and she remains one today!  Her unique style has taken her all over the globe teaching and sharing her love of art.  Needless to say, I was pretty darn excited when Amy and I scheduled a face to face meeting with her!

Heather and I had the pleasure of meeting Dina in person, as she is one of the few designers we’ve worked with who actually live in the same city we do.  It was a bit of hike to get to each other, as Phoenix is one large m-f’er of a city, but we had a lovely lunch with her at Wildflower Bread Company (where I ate like a pig bellying up to the trough, but that’s a different story).

Dina’s cutie patootie youngest son was there to act as photographer, and a good time was had by all.  Dina and Heather seem to be hatching plans to make art and bake bread from the whispers I’ve been hearing… now that’s an event that will require photographic evidence, cuz I can’t wait to see what THAT’S all about!

It’s true!  If I ever make it to her side of town, there will be baking and painting involved!  PS: Can you tell from the picture that it is about 179 degrees where we live?  Talk about a glow!  ** it is actually a delightful combination of oil and sweat, but we prefer to think of it as glowing.  Always a lady!**

And we have another bit of news for you – we are releasing a new kit NEXT WEEK!  I don’t want to give too much away, but if you like mail art, you are going to LOVE this kit.  The new kit has a smaller version and a larger version – one for every budget… and we’ll also be having a ton of giveaways and prizes this month to celebrate our third birthday and our re-launch after our summer of silence.  So make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook – some of the goodies will be given away there.  Also, if you don’t already have a Gauche Alchemy badge or blinkie on your blog, consider putting one up – we’ll be choosing blinkers (badgers?) at random to win fun stuff.

The Inestimable Sarah Fishburn

Howdy to all you cool kids, Nicole here, bright-eyed, bushy tailed and reporting for duty.

I’m super-excited to be sharing an interview with the always-inspiring Sarah Fishburn. I first became familiar with Sarah’s work in True Colors – an incredible collection of art journal pages and from what I’ve seen at Sarah’s website, she just keeps getting better! Once you’re done reading all about this talented lady, be sure to pop over to her site and be prepared to lose yourself for a few hours and come out dripping in paint and over-flowing with ideas.

Can you share  a little bit about yourself? I really like the phrase at your Etsy Shop, “A LITTLE BIT STEAMPUNK + A LITTLE BIT JACKIE-O” Can you tell us about that?

I was born in 1954, the year more kids were born than any other in the history of the world. I grew up sans sisters (3 younger brothers) here and there, the Midwest, California, but mostly the Southwest – Arizona and New Mexico. My husband Colin and I have lived in Colorado for about 25 years; we’ve been together for 37. I was attracted to him initially because he plays a mean flute. We have 3 fabulous daughters, September, Corina, and Sierra-Marie, and one equally fabulous son, Silver. We have 7 cool grandkids, from 1-12yrs. Only 1 kitty at the moment, hoping to get another pup sometime this year…we share a veggie garden in the front yard with our neighbors… I’ve never had a driver’s license. I do have a swell retro style Raleigh bicycle. I love to travel anywhere especially if there’s a beach involved, but at the moment I am working 7 days a week so feeling a bit fettered and frustrated at the lack of scenic change! I do like what I do though, and feel grateful to have 2 (outside of art) jobs. Colin just signed a lease on a building and will be opening a coffee house this summer, so we definitely need that bit of security – knowing we can pay the rent – while he gets established. I guess you could say my hobbies are watching movies (I’ll give anything a shot…) and reading (ditto).

I’m so happy you like my etsy shop motto! I can’t tell you! It’s a play on the well-known phrase”A little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll”. My style – and most of what I create – generally has just a bit of dark steampunk edge, mixed with a drop of elegance, ala one of the greatest style icons of the 20th century…

Show us a favorite project or two and tell us why you love it?

The girl in the doorway is my great-grandmother in a studio portrait at age 13. I loved my concept for the piece, and being able to use her image (everyone says I take after her, and she was an artist, too). I love what I wrote, and the overall fairytale look.

Done for a 26 person Alphabet collaborative that has been shown in several galleries across the US, this mixed-media painting (letter S) is totally autobiographical. I’m crazy about all the shades of red I was able to incorporate and the overall dark and abstract quality of the piece.

I’ve seen your work in some of my all-time favorite publications (True Colors, Complete Guide to Altered Imagery etc.) What are you working on now?

Right now I’m so busy at my day job that I’m mostly trying to get my studio redesigned to facilitate being able to work on anything at all, in 1/2 hour blocks! I am working on the 2010 summer/fall issue of my zine and also have a third book in mind for Angela Cartwright’s and my series “In This…”; we have yet to go full-steam on that though.

I wish as one of the True Colors artists that we could do a second volume – we certainly didn’t cover everything in the first…

You can catch a glimpse of some digital art exploration I did in Susan Tuttle’s new book Digital Expressions…

Where do you get inspiration?

I try to always be open to the possibilities no matter where I am or what I’m doing. There are inspiries to be found in posters stapled to kiosks downtown, in the shadows of houseplants on the wall in the late afternoon, in the movement of a curtain as it catches the slightest breeze from an open window…The kidz at the school where I work my day job are a fantastic secret source for me!

Steam punk style and houses make frequent appearances in your art. What draws you to these forms/style?

Turns out, Steampunk was part of my style before I even knew it had a name! I grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy and the combo of those and the mad Victorian sensibility that defines Steampunk just appeals to every fiber of my being. What could be more perfect for an artistic magpie attracted to sparkley bits embedded in machinery… Steampunk’s dark with the promise of light, it’s the poetry of machinery, in a flamelit world that lurks just past the periphery of sight…

Houses – now that’s probably a subconscious thing! I’ve lived in almost three dozen house and apartments in my life – sheesh. I’m definitely a nest builder – I would just as soon be arranging things prettily wherever I live as almost anything else! I’ve worked with a close friend and also my daughter in re-doing other people’s living spaces, too. Houses – and homes – were the subject of my first book In This House: A Collection of Altered Art Imagery and Collage Techniques.

Are there other images that consistently appear in and inspire your work?

I definitely use family photographs. Images of children for sure…flowers…I just went and peeked at my own website (!) and that pretty much sums it up, yup, children and flowers. BUT. I don’t always use them in the most expected way – that is – there may be something undefined, something darker, lurking just out of sight – a threat, or maybe just a mystery, with no real image to define it – a presence felt, yet unseen…

What products can you not live without when making art?

I love ALL of the Tūl markers and Tūl fine point black pens, Krylon X-metal paints, printable transparency sheets, my Canon Pixma Pro9000 printer, my sewing machine, a decent pencil (one whose lead doesn’t constantly break), a set of good colored pencils, and any tape, decorative or otherwise, I can get my hands on. Images of course. And though they’re not actually a product, and it might sound strange, I would be hard pressed to make my art without words – after all, I am a Narrative Artist…

What’s your process when creating?

It varies from one project to the next. In general, though, I go into a project with only the vaguest sort of notion of what I want to do. It usually starts with words – a phrase that I heard, or made up, and it’s my job to “illustrate”… hence, Narrative Artist. I delve into collected bits to create a background of papers and on top of those a splattering of paint, and then embellish with images, sketches, stencils, glitter…

Tell us about your zine and your experience publishing it.

Pasticcio Quartz (QUality ART Zine) comes out 3 times a year. It’s printed in brilliant full color by Lulu.com and at 8×8, our readers can easily toss it in their bags and have it ready to pull out to peruse at the drop of a hat! Angela Cartwright and I work on each issue for months in advance – we look for artists from all over the world to feature in a gallery called Palais d’Art. A fair number of guys usually contribute to the gallery – you don’t always see that in mixed-media magazines. We include articles on a myriad of techniques and other content to excite the interest of artists of all disciplines. A little Art History is covered in each issue – I write an entertaining and edifying feature called Art Attack, highlighting two artists from the past – a man and a woman – of whom our readers may or may not be aware. We also include an in-depth interview with an artist currently on the scene. Every issue also includes peeks at things each of us have done, and a lot of pure inspiration – quotes, book reviews, and more. There’s almost always a surprise or two included – maybe a page of clip art imagery, a fabulous recipe, an article written by a guest artist of renown… Here’s the  link to order a copy (we currently have 9 issues available and are working on our 10th).

Sarah has offered a RAK to you, our wonderful, creative readers.

If you want to win Issue 9 of Pasticcio Quartz, please leave a comment for Sarah.

The Amazing Melanie Testa

Melanie Testa, self-described author, textile designer, fiber artist and teacher is one of the most exciting women in todays mixed-media sphere. Her work manages to be both deeply evocative, personal and accessible.
Melanie graciously took the time to answer a few questions so all of us at Gauche Alchemy could learn both about her and from her.
Melanie in her own words:
I am married to a man I love, he supports all the crazy things I think up and has fun with me too. We laugh and play and act like kids together. We have no kids, excepting for the furry sort. Arrow is our cat’s name.
Show us a favorite project and tell us why you love it?
(Click on the pictures to be taken to Melanie’s Gallery)

This image was originally a journal page and it called me to make it into quilt art. I have loved drawing the pencil I draw an image with for a long time. It is iconic for me because I used to do it as a young’un, perhaps it was inspired by the first time I saw Escher’s work called, Drawing hands.
What are you working on now?
I have just begun a new project to highlight the Top 20 Common Birds in Decline. I have printed my first image and this bird is am Evening Grosbeak. I am in love with birds and will do almost anything to further their growth on this planet. It is my hope that the project will tour the country and raise awareness and money to help the birds along.
Who are your favorite artists?
Frida Kahlo and her raw and rabid emotions. Beside which with a quote like,
“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly.”
John Copeland‘s BOOKS. His art is too city forward, but his journals? Yes.
Baptiste Ibar, I know him personally.
Helen Frankenthaller. I saw her work at the Yale Museum of art and it made me start thinking about using monoprint to create grounds in my own work. I am indebted.
What products can you not live without when making art? What adhesives do you use to add collage elements to fabric?
I can’t live without Plexiglas, Procion MX dyes and freezer paper when working with cloth. When I collage with cloth I use Mistifuse, when I work with paper in my journals I use matte medium, gesso and glue sticks to paste imagery in there.
Do you consider yourself a modern quilter, a mixed-media artist or something different entirely?
I am an artist. I think when we work in mixed mediums with a crafty edge it is best to be vague for fear of the art establishment making unfounded judgements, it is sad but true. Among knowledgeable types, I call myself an art quilter.
You do a lot of work with nudes, has the human form as a subject always inspired you? Are your pieces based on real people or more an idea? Please tell us more about that.
I love to draw, love it. My figural work is is derived from actual people. I love working with nudes. Because we are human and have an intimate relationship with the human form, I think it is the most challenging subject to work with. The average person can detect the slightest mistake in rendering without hesitation. So working with the human form means an artist either has to get it right, know how to abstract, or stay away entirely.  I would like to work more with the male nude form,
There is a dearth of beautiful male nudes out there; leave the macho, strong male image to those others. I want to create simply beautiful male nudes.
I’ve read that your process starts with journalling and collaging a mixed media piece on paper to solidify your idea and then you translate that into fabric dyeing and whole cloth quilt making. What do you do with the original paper collages?
My journals, for the most part are private, created for my own artistic inspiration and exploration. They mean more to me than any piece of art I have yet made. I don’t really work on loose sheets of paper. And I don’t always reach for these journals when I start a new piece, I use my journals to remain inspired, to continue to draw, to remain balanced as an artist.
If you are anything like me, you are probably chomping at the bit to see more of Melanie’s work and to explore the techniques she employs further. We have a really exciting surprise for our readers:
Melanie has generously provided a piece of her art to give to one of you. Want a peek?

All you need to do to win is leave a comment telling us what form(s) inspire you and/or what you like best about Melanie’s amazing art. You can get a second entry into the drawing by tweeting about this giveaway on Twitter and a third by mentioning this post on FaceBook. Please leave separate comments for each chance to win – it’ll make the counting so much easier 🙂
Nicole (Perky Nihilist)
You can read another interview Melanie gave to Quilting Arts Magazine Here.
Look at more of her incredible art: melanietesta.com
Follow her blog: melanietesta.com/mtype

9/10 Winners Prefer Gauche Alchemy

Greetings Gauche-ites, how’s things? Julie here.

Way back in November 2008 I was one of the winners in the ‘Best of British Scrapbooking’ competition.   At that time I was guest designing over here and following my win, Amy + Heather were sweet enough to ask me to do a little interview-type-thing about myself for the blog.  [If you really want to know my answer to the question “If you were a piece of fruit what fruit would you be and why?” then you can still read it here!].

Now, back in the present day, here’s how I get to ‘pay it forward’…..

 In January, the UK mag ‘Scrapbook Magazine’ announced it’s ‘Scrapbooker of the Year’ along with 9 runners up. I discovered that [at least!] two of that talented bunch, overall winner Helen Salthouse and runner-up Sarah Piggott , were Gauche Alchemy blog readers so I wanted to give them a little winner’s party over here to celebrate their achievements and to share in some of their latest work.

Helen’s work using  has featured over here before when a layout she made using a Gauche kits was published last year [see the original post here]. Now she’s documented her win on this delicious, candy-coloured layout using various GA items including elements from the Pink Parts  and Scarlet Fever colour kits:

As we’re a nosey old lot here at Gauche Towers I asked Helen and Sarah to answer a few questions for us. Well, it can’t hurt to get a glimpse into the mind of a winner can it? Here’s what they said:

How would you describe yourself and your life?
Helen: The best way to describe my life at the moment would be chaotic, unfortunately.  I’m doing a Foundation Degree so that eventually I can be a teacher; it’s a long old process and I have to be working in a school while I do it, so at the moment I’m working four days a week plus studying.  That won’t sound like a huge amount to some people, but I still have three children at home and finding a moment to scrap or clean (!) is difficult.  Basically I’m slowly cracking up, but hoping to hang on till I actually finish the course!
Sarah: I’m a full-time mum of two boys, aged 3 and 2, so my life pretty much revolves around toddler groups, nursery school and shopping.. occasionally I manage to find time for crafting : ) When I should be sleeping, I’m usually dreaming about scrapbooking or making some sort of living from my hobby. We are currently in the process of selling our house and relocating to the South Coast of England.. although I’ll miss my friends here in London, it’ll be fabulous to live by the sea and near our family.

How did you feel when you heard you were a winner / runner-up?
 Helen: When I had the phone call telling me I had won Scrapbooker of the Year, I was surprised to say the least.  I have vivid memories of entering competitions in comics and magazines when I was a child, where the prize would be a huge pile of something – clothes or toys usually.  I never won anything, but was always convinced I would, and spent the time fantasising about this massive prize turning up on the doorstep.  I don’t think the prize is meant to be the most exciting part of winning this particular competition……Anyway, like I said, the phone call came out of the blue and I jumped up and down and squealed ‘REALLY?? OH MY GOD!’ like a big girl.  Needless to say I had a big grin on my face for a couple of days – and even my 18 year old was impressed!
Sarah: I’d just been thinking about the competition that morning when I got the email saying I was a runner-up. I was really excited, naturally!The first person I told was my man, who suffers my scrapbooking obsession on a daily basis, so hopefully he felt better knowing that I’d actually got some recognition for it!

Who was the first person you told when you found out you were a winner / runner-up?
Helen: The first person I told was my man, who suffers my scrapbooking obsession on a daily basis, so hopefully he felt better knowing that I’d actually got some recognition for it!
Sarah: My husband… I managed to wait til he got home from work to tell him in person. I said: “Guess what, I had some exciting news today.. I was runner-up in that scrapbooking competition!” His reaction? He laughed! “Oh, I thought you were going to say something important, like you’ve got a job or something.” You can imagine how the rest of that conversation went…

Here Sarah shares a layout depicting a big change heading her family’s way this year. She used elements from ‘Ball & Chain’ add-on kit plus sparklies from the purple and blue colour kits and the purple ribbon was the one from her Gauche packaging:

Has  winning changed how you feel about your scrapping now? If so, how?
Helen: I think it has changed how I feel about my scrapping a little bit, but it’s difficult to explain how.  The thing is that I know how hard it must be to choose winners in these competitions because I know how many talented scrappers are out there.  I probably wouldn’t have chosen me!  As far as I’m concerned it was just my time to be lucky.  At first I felt a bit pressured, having to produce layouts for a magazine article as Scrapbooker of the Year; I thought they might just be rubbish.  But I haven’t been struck down by lightning and no-one has laughed at me in the street, so now I feel much more relaxed about it and I don’t actually feel I have to have a style, I’m just doing whatever I feel like doing…
Sarah: I think perhaps it’s made me put more pressure on myself to use varied techniques and products and to produce ‘good enough’, original layouts. Having said that, I was really happy with the three layouts I produced for my forthcoming article for Scrapbook Magazine. I used some GA colour kit sparkly bits which added the perfect finishing touch to my pages.

How would you define your artistic style?
Helen:  It’s difficult to answer this one.  I like using paint, and stitching, and layers.  I like to alter stuff; I have problems using embellishments straight from the pack, no matter how much I like them.  And I like to bring together papers from different manufacturers, in combinations that catch my eye.  I spend ages rummaging through my paper drawers each time I start a page.  I keep coming back to a description that someone left in a comment on my blog – ‘funky with a vintage twist’.  I really love the sound of this, so I’m going to stick with it!
Sarah: I find myself tending towards bold colours and patterns – I’m not too great at doing subtle or understated layouts. I struggle to do ‘clean and simple’ – I always have the urge to keep adding more ‘stuff’ til it could be better described as ‘messy and over-complicated’. I don’t feel I have a definite style at the moment.. maybe one of these days it will emerge!

And finally, I couldn’t leave things without asking Helen and Sarah to confess to the strangest / funniest / most ‘gauche’ thing that you’ve done [on purpose, or accidentally!] while crafting:

Helen: Now, when it comes to doing funny or silly things, I’m incredibly boring.  I have racked my brains in the past trying to think of something that would make a person laugh, but sadly there is nothing.  The most irritating thing I do, on a regular basis, is to mark and cut patterned paper on the reverse side, only to turn over and find that I’ve included the manufacturer’s strip at the bottom.  I try and remember to cut this off now, before I start playing.  Oh, and I sent off a layout to a magazine, including my sketch in the box – except that it wasn’t the sketch at all, it was a random bit of stuff I’d downloaded and put in there by mistake.  Oops.
Sarah: While sorting through a bag full of skimpy undies destined for the bin, I couldn’t resist saving bits & pieces to use on craft projects – so now I have a boxful of marabou feathers, fishnet, ribbon and lace which will one day find themselves on a card or layout.. I just hope no-one asks where I got that from…

Thanks so much Helen and Sarah, for your great layouts and answers … and congratulations from everyone at Gauche Alchemy!   If you’d like to see more of their work see Helen’s ‘Little Birdy Scraps’ blog and Sarah’s blog  ‘Paper Obsession’ .

It’d be fabulous to know if we have any other Gauche-loving-prize-winners out there amongst you.  I’m almost certain that there will be …. so do let us know!

Oh, and speaking of winners …  I’ll be drawing a random kit winner and choosing the winner of the ‘Black Mixed Media kit’ naming competition this Thursday, Feb 11,  09:00 GMT]. I’ll then let you know on Friday who won.  If you haven’t already entered – just leave a comment on the competition post which you can find by clicking here

Julie 😀

Getting to Know Yuripee

As any one reading this blog is well aware, we here at Gauche Alchemy are huge fans of Japanese artist Yuripee. She sweetly agreed to answer a few questions for us. Before we learn all about this incredibly talented lady, check this out:

I know! I had the same feeling when I saw this too. Woo-hoo! Mixed with a touch of envy and a hearty helping of “get me to my paints – STAT!” This is one inspiring piece of art. WOWEE! I love the combination of paint and paper here and the film strip is the perfect accent. Gorgeous!

Without further ado, I’m pleased to present, Yuripee:

Hi! I am Yuripee, living in Japan with my dear husband and two boys. I used to be an athlete, loved sports before I was introduced to such a fun hobby, scrapbooking.

Show us a favorite project and tell us why you love it.

I prefer cool layouts rather than pretty ones with many flowers, glitter or line stones. This layout is the one that made me realize what my favorite style really was. I love the boy’s layout using my son’s old jeans, tear cardboard up and showing a toy car from the pocket.


Where do you find inspiration?

I usually get inspiration from books, magazines and even from hanger ads on the train. I also love to check my favorite artist’s works.

Who are your favorite artists?

These are my two favorite artists from Japan:


What product can you not live without when crafting?

I need gel medium and acrylic paint.

What is your process when creating?

I try to select colors I have in my  photo to match my paper, then I start to add more paper and embellishments. If I have particular paper in my mind, I tend to choose black and white photos.


Thank you, Yuripee for giving us this glimpse into your process. All of us here at Gauche Alchemy are big fans of your work.

Introducing Sherry Goodloe!

sherry goodloe portrait

Sherry Goodloe is one of my fav artists – she’s always got something good going on over at her blog. She is a sweet, sweet lady – one thing I love about the art community is how willing folks are to talk and share no matter how well-known, no matter how busy. I find that very rewarding. It makes us little people feel important. 😉

Another thing I love about Sherry is that she shares (maybe that’s why she’s called “SHERRY”?!) her techniques. She is more about the art than the ownership, and you gotta love that. We all inspire and take inspiration, and it seems that Sherry has, indeed, internalized that concept.

Sherry kindly obliged when I asked her for an interview.

GA: Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a divorcee with a full-time day job and trying my hardest to raise a teenage manchild on my own.

I love all types of mixed-media art and used to teach at least 3 or 4 classes every month. Lately I haven’t been teaching much. My life has just been so full these days.

Ticket Bowl

Ticket Bowl

(Want this piece?  You have until tomorrow at midnight to make a deal with Sherry!)

GA: Show us a favorite project and tell us why you love it.

My Jazz on Canvas series was a favorite project of mine. The old jazz masters reminded me of my dad and his love of jazz – which became a love of mine as well. Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Eartha Kitt, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and so many more.

sherry goodloe eartha kit jazzsherry goodloe bessie smith jazzsherry goodloe ella louis jazzsherry goodloe nina simone jazzsherry duke ellington(Want this piece?  You have until tomorrow at midnight to make a deal with Sherry!)

GA: What are you working on now?

For the past couple of months I’ve been making artist trading cards to swap on my upcoming Artful Voyage Cruise with Tim Holtz. Looks like there will be more than 150 of us cruising with Tim (October 11 – 18), so I’ve been quite busy with the atc’s!

(Aren’t you so jealous she’s going on this cruise? *sigh*)

sherry goodloe atc

I’m also taking KC Willis workshops (Collage Camp – a fabric collage class and Mixed Media Mania which includes three workshops – Alters & Shrines, Altered Books and Works on Paper over at her Lipstick Ranch on-line).

Big Eyed Girl

Big Eyed Girl

(Want this piece?  You have until tomorrow at midnight to make a deal with Sherry!)

GA: Where do you get inspiration?

I get my inspiration from just about everywhere! I always carry a notebook or journal with me and when I get an idea in my head I write it down. At 56, I’m finding that I suffer from CRS. LOL!

Little Man's Journey

Little Man's Journey

sherry goodloe little man's journey close(Want this piece?  You have until tomorrow at midnight to make a deal with Sherry!)

GA: Who are your favorite artists?

Ooooh, this is a hard one. I have so many favorites. One of my favorite artists that is no longer with us here on Earth would have to be Romare Bearden (9/2/1911 – 3/12/1988). His life and art encompassed a broad range of intellectual and scholarly interests, including music, performing arts, history, literature and world art. He was a humanist who supported young, emerging artists. I LOVE his collage works!

As for living artists, some of my favorites at the moment are Cindy Forrester, JoAnnA Pierotti, KC Willis . . .

Altered Composition Notebook (fabric collage)

Altered Composition Notebook (fabric collage)

(Want this piece?  You have until tomorrow at midnight to make a deal with Sherry!)

GA: What products can you not live without when making art?

This is an easy one. I cannot live without Golden’s Matte Medium, Black Gesso and my Tim Holtz Tonic Scissors!

sherry goodloe record cd clock

GA: What’s your process when creating?

The process varies. If I’m working on a canvas collage, then I get the focal point picture out and set it aside. Then I cover the canvas with gesso, start picking colors to use on the canvas, and then I hit the drawers and shelves and anywhere else I have “stuff” that I think I might want to use. When it comes to fabric art, I get out all of my vintage suitcases that are filled with fabrics, open them up and start “auditioning” fabrics to use. Then there are times when I just pull a few boxes of stuff out and just let the contents dictate what I want to create next.

Thanks so much, Sherry, for taking the time to share your little corner of the world with us! (Those vintage suitcases sound like Christmas morning… Yhmmm…)

The Talented and Lovely Lara

Did you know Gauche Alchemy has a Flickr group? We do! It’s a marvelous place to get ideas and inspiration. Lara is a gifted artist I had the immense pleasure of “meeting” though that group. She deftly mixes Gauche Alchemy kits and her own personal style into Art Journals, layouts and cards that defy all the typical gushy adjectives like stunning, jaw-dropping and amazing.

Here’s Lara, in her own words:

Scrapbooking / Mixed Media / Art Journalling – I had an identity crisis trying to figure out where i fit in! And then i decided, why do i need to fit in?!

And at this same time i discovered Gauche Alchemy and a whole boatload of new supplies and ephemera and exciting materials i had never thought to use before… But things that are strangely and comfortably familiar.

This last year has been a CRAZY time of transition and growth and change for me as I somehow thrusted myself into a new life chapter (innocent eyes blinking). Using these creative outlets have pretty much saved my sanity if not my life. And what i love about this medium is I don’t feel the need to be perfect every time – I’m not going into it trying to create a masterpiece … i’m just going into it to create something that hopefully makes me either giggle or hyperventilate.

(This layout seems so old school now, but i still get a giggle out of it.)

My style has changed dramatically this year as I’ve decided not to try to conform to any one medium.

Scrapbooking was waaaay to restrictive – as most of the things i create i don’t necessarily need to stand the test of time – they’re personal and really only need to be around 50 more years (hopefully) and if they do start to decay all the more scrumptious! So, i became less worried about acid-free materials. I also was asked to join the Gutter Girlz design team earlier this year which has pushed me to not only design out of the box but to address topics I may be too fearful to share otherwise.

The one product I can’t create without is acrylic paint now – i used to be sooooo scared to use it! But now I can’t imagine not using it which means at any given time I have three projects going as drying time forces a cycle.

(this was the first layout i EVER did with acrylic paint! I was still trying to fit into the “scrapbooking mold” 😀 )

I also can’t create without some sort of found object – which has saved me TONS of money over the years as i don’t go on spending sprees at scrapbook stores anymore  (just at Gauche Alchemy’s Artfire Store :-p )!

I have a couple of projects I’m particularly proud of…

Earlier this year my BFF graduated nursing school and I know she had always been interested in keeping an art journal but didn’t have time to do it during school. And that all the things she was collecting to put in the journal was stuffed in boxes and drawers – so i decided to make her a “Pre-Art Journal Journal” – something strictly made out of different size envelopes. It was so much fun to make i’ve been wanting to make one for me and perhaps to sell … but then i get sidetracked 🙂

I also was honored to be able to create a birthday card for Bono through the African Well Fund, a charity I’ve been involved with since 2003 – they even wrote a little story about the card:

Lately what I’ve been almost solely working on are art journals.

I really really love this format for many reasons – the size, the history one journal holds, practicing new techniques, holding a complete or near complete journal and seeing all the bits hanging out is one of the most inspiring and exhilarating feelings ever! Some of my favorite art journal pages are:

I don’t know if i have a particular process that i create with because i usually have 3-4 projects going because of paint and adhesive drying. Alot of times I find objects or images that inspire me and i just create around those. Challenge blogs are a huge inspiration for me. More often than not I come up with visions and ideas when i’m not crafting that i try to remember for later to try out. Sometimes it works, sometimes i forget – I’ve always wanted to get into a habit of carrying a notebook with me but i haven’t! Someday….

You can read more about Lara on her  art blog and see more of her work at flickr.