Paper Roses

IMG_8417I’ve been making framed paper roses! All designed and cut with my Silhouette Cameo. Shaped with a small paintbrush handle and assemble with a glue gun. The one on the bottom right is the prototype.

I made them from an old copy of the Reader’s Digest Guide to Creative Gardening that I bought a couple of on eBay.

They’re inspired by the book deconstruction project I did in my third year of uni (pictured on the right) which sadly didn’t survive past my uni years.

I’ve got plans for other framed paper flowers as well.roses-web5 roses-web6roses-web4 roses-web3 roses-web2 roses-web1

Silhouette Cameo

At the beginning of March I invested in a Silhouette Cameo cutter. After weeks and weeks of contemplating I finally placed the order and I was beyond excited when it arrived! For those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to this marvellous machine, it’s a fancy little thing that looks a bit like a printer but has a little blade instead of an ink cartridge. It cuts paper, card, vinyl and even fabric! (although I haven’t ventured into the fabric thing yet). It’s basically my new favourite toy piece of equipment. After I unpacked and installed my new wonder, the first thing I did was to open the accompanying software and personalise my machine with the free bonus file that came with it, so I could have a nice colourful control panel instead of the default white one. I then proceeded to test some cuts (all of which have since perished in my overly eager attempts to try everything at once) and then made a (very small) batch of (very simple) business cards for a friend. I managed to completely forget to take a photo of them even though they were lying around on my desk for weeks before I posted them to him. I tried my first vinyl cut – a number for the front door. We share a hallway with another flat and since they had a number on their door we never bothered getting one on ours till then.

I then spent quite a while trying to cut a little butterfly decal for the back of my phone – partly because I wanted something on it and partly because I wanted to test how long it would last. It took quite a few goes to convert one of my old drawings to a design that was simple enough to cut that small without getting ruined but eventually I managed. It’s still very much on there and is going strong but it’s partly covered in various colours of ink because I accidentally put it down on another project I was working on. (excuse the rather random mix of quality of photos, I used whatever I had at hand – compact, DSLR, phone)

first cameo projectsI’ve also made a few cards with a little help from my Cameo. Some include free designs included with the software, one has a design from the Silhouette online store, one with a background from Birds Cards, all modified a bit and one I did completely from scratch. They’re all pretty simple but I might try some more elaborate designs as I learn how to use my Cameo more and more.

silhouette car designsI’ve also cut quite a few of the designs from the Silhouette Store (you get free credit with your machine and when everything was half price for a while I took the opportunity to play around with some things) but there’s something more fun about doing your own things. I did a couple of pieces of artwork for a friend who wanted something simple with letters:

artwork They are both made by cutting out letters on my Cameo and then sticking matching colours behind the spaces.

My favourite project so far has to be my solar lamps though. I explained the project in a previous post but I just wanted to add a couple more photos of my work in progress and another shot of the final lamps.

lampsWIP lamps2 I’ve also used my Cameo in another project for Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative but I can’t show the finished work till it’s been on display down in Ayr a bit later in the year. Also working on a little craft project for a birthday present which involves both vinyl and card cut with the Cameo so I’ll be sharing that after the birthday in question. Loving this new gadget!

Solar Lamps

I was approached by the Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative to do another little project for them. This time it was for their annual Earth Hour event. Last year they created a solar garden with glow in the dark paintings and wind chimes created by local school pupils. This time it was a shop window display of solar powered lamps, again with designs by pupils from local schools. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it along to see the shop window in the High Street with all the lamps but I did get a look before the designs were applied to the lamps and they looked pretty good!

I did my own design of a modified version of Ayr’s skyline and used my brand new Silhouette Cameo to cut it out on vinyl for me. It took a while to even make the design cuttable (only having used the software for text until that point and having decided to design it in PhotoShop to start with) but with a little help from Joy over at Joy’s Life I eventually managed to get it to cut right and learned a few things on the way. I cut four of the same design and applied the vinyl to four solar lamps. I thought they turned out pretty well.

Solar Lamp4_web IMG_8068_web

Etchings by Robert Bryden

I was approached by the Townscape Heritage Initiative in Ayr for South Ayrshire Council to do some artwork for their town centre regeneration project. Every year there’s a Doors Open Days event where local buildings that aren’t usually available to visit to the public open their doors so everyone can have a look and a lot of special events are put on and this year they wanted some of the empty shop windows to look a bit more interesting.

Robert Bryden was an Ayrshire based artist famous for his etchings of scenes and characters around Ayr amongst other things and my project was to copy some of his etchings onto the windows of one of the empty shops in the High Street. The windows were painted with a mix of cream paint and water and I then used plastic clay modelling tools (you know the kind that have different ends and edges) to draw freehand on the windows from mirrored print-outs of the original drawings. It took me about a day and four completely worn down tools to realise that splashing a bit of water on the dried paint helped a lot but after that it came along quite quickly.

I got a few visit from the butchers’ across the road who thought it was very fascinating and from the local newspaper as well. On Days Open Days (7-8 Sept 2013) the shop was finished and available to come and see from the outside. It’s still there and will be for a while yet (although they don’t know exactly for how long yet) so if you want to see it, you should go down the town centre of Ayr as soon as you can! It’s in the shop that used to be the Ayr Bed Centre (and from what I’ve heard “The Rangers Shop” and “Burton’s the Taylor’s” before that) next to Watt Brothers.

I’ve added some photos from my work in progress. Hover over them to see the descriptions, click to make them bigger.

The empty shop before I started my etchings. My tools and the copy I worked from. My first window. Close-up of the first window. A view from the inside of the shop. Robert Bryden himself. Coat of Arms from the centre panel of Old Malt Cross. Coat of Arms from the inside of the shop. The final big window, Old Wallace Tower. The doors. The finished shop.

My Muse Project

Way back when I started drawing portraits, I tended to use photos as references (I still do a lot, actually) because 1. they always sit still and 2. it doesn’t matter how useless the result is because nobody has to see it. There is also the sneaky (and a bit cheaty) advantage that you can measure all you want and compare your drawing to the photo without showing a piece of paper into someone’s face. At this time I was a teenager with a bunch of online friends, one in particular who loved being the centre of attention so my “Received Files” folder was full of pictures from him and I would often find myself basing my drawings around these. Even when I started drawing other things and experimented with other things than pencil, his face popped up in my drawings over and over again. Every time my style changed, when I wanted to experiment with new materials and even when my interest in photography started, there was Matt. His love of attention and my fascination with him created the perfect circumstances for something I hadn’t had before – a muse. Nearly 8 years later our friendship is still strong and for my fourth year creative project in Digital Art at university I decided to base the whole thing around him. It took countless hours and nearly burnt out my computer’s graphics cards but after two meet-ups for photoshoots and a LOT of drawing with Photoshop’s Freehand Pentool, I had 16 portraits of my muse, created by painstakingly drawing each layer on top of each other. They range from 41 to 116 layers with an average of 66.25 layers and 1060 layers in total (if anyone is interested in statistics).

This project won me the award for Best 4th Year Creative Project 2013 at my university’s showcase.

The final pieces can be seen here and on my Facebook page and if you’re interested in seeing all the layers, here’s a video:

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