Monday, February 21, 2005

Art Makes Life Wonderful

Art Quote of the Week

"The artist is the person who makes life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful."

George Bellows

I love this quote. To me, it means that we give something to others every time we make and share art. And if this is so, what a responsibility to not waste our gifts!

Book Reviews

Instead of books this time, here some magazines that I find inspiring. I hope you will, too.

Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. Bimonthly. Created primarily to feature Mary's art, and full of cute stuff that may not appeal to many readers. However, I like it because in each issue, the editors feature two to three artist interviews. They go into the artists' homes, photograph their studios and art, and talk with them about their process. They've interviewed book illustrators, collage artists, doll makers, painters, and many more. If you like learning about artists and seeing their "stuff," check out this magazine. For more info, go to

Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Quarterly. This is a new magazine, only on issue 2 so far. It is a multi-media art journal, with articles and projects that combine fabric, fiber, paper, rubber art stamping, collage, paint, and ephemera (found objects). This is a great zine for visual inspiration. For more info, go to

Mini Project: Artistamps

What are artistamps? Also known as "faux postage," artistamps are pretend postage. It's easy to design your own using any art you have created (see photo at the top of this blog). Here's how I create mine.

How to: I usually adapt art from an existing piece to create my artistamps (for example, I may use an ATC--artist trading card). I scan the art and save the file as a jpeg. Since I know that I will drastically reduce the size of the original art, I don't always have to scan at 300 dpi. If you know that your stamp will be at 50% the size of the original art, for example, scan at 150 dpi. When you size it down, it will be the equivalent of 300 dpi. This helps reduce file size on your computer, too. If you don't have a scanner, a copy shop can scan for you.

Once my image is scanned, I use either MSWord or PageMaker to create the stamp. If the art I scanned already has all the stamp elements I want (border, denomination, text), I use Word. I open Word, insert my picture, and size it down to stamp size. For landscape oriented art, I like to keep the width at 1 to 1.25 inches wide. For portrait oriented art, I keep the width to 1 inch or less. Remember, stamps are small, and you want them to look like stamps when you put them on an envelope. Once I've sized the picture, I simple copy and paste it across and down the page to make multiple copies. Remember to leave plenty of room between images so you can trim your stamps later.

If I need to add a border or text to my image, I like to use a page layout program like PageMaker or Indesign. After I open a New document, I pull in my image and size it down. I then use the Text tool to add any text or denomination. I use the Box tool to add a border, if needed. When the stamp is just right, I group all the elements together. Then I simply copy and paste across and down the page to make multiple copies, like with the Word version.

When I print, I use the best print mode I can and print on "bright white" paper. If your printer allows you to "photoenhance," do so. This creates sharp, crisp scanned images.

Once printed, I use postage stamp scissors (they create a cut that looks like the edge of a postage stamp) to cut out each stamp. You can also just cut them out with a white border around them. Or, if you want the postage stamp edge but don't have the scissors, you can cut out the stamps with pinking shears and after the stamp is cut, with regular scissors, cut off all the sharp points of the "pinks" to get your fake postage stamp edge. Specialty scissors are usually available in larger craft stores.

Glue the stamps on your envelope with a glue stick. I like to glue them next to real postage for a more authentic look, and then they will get cancelled along with the real stamp.

For more about artistamps, go to

Knitting Knotes

Occasionally, in this section I'll try and describe my progress in knitting and what fibers, patterns, and techniques I've found useful.

During this past week, I learned how to "knit in the round" on circular needles. For a project, I selected a simple bag pattern from the book, "Felted Knits." When I've finished knitting this (in the next week or so), I will try my first felting "experiment" in the washer. I am using Paton's Merino 100% wool in royal purple. I've heard it shrinks like crazy, so I hope this will mean success when felting! More on this after felting...

Each of my boys now has a mom-knit scarf. I just finished Zack's, a garter stitch scarf using Lion brand's Woolease Chunky in "spice" (a wonderful dark orange). I knitted this on size 11 needles, which results in a thick, lovely fabric (very cuddly). This thickness would make great pillow covers, I think.

I also knit my first sweater--granted, it was a tiny "teddy bear sweater," but it gave me good practice on increasing, decreasing, and raglan shaping. I used a pattern from this month's Creative Knitting magazine (which I like for its easy, but varied, patterns). They recommended using Cozi yarn (a bulky boucle), but it was so bulky that I couldn't see the individual stitches. So I just changed to a regular worsted weight yarn. The sweater came out great and even fits a Barbie doll.

1 comment:

wall art said...

Else GREAT title Art Makes Life Wonderful. I am actually looking for horse articles related information to give my customers on my website. I paused at the title and ran out of time to read, but will book mark you and come back latter to check you out some more. I am off to find some other horse articles related blogs. Thank you.

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