Blessing Tree


Having had a bit of a creative slump lately, I was moping around at home trying to figure out something I could do to get me back on track.  I didn’t want to make a card (odd, for me, because I always like making cards) and my attempts at making a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired collage were all dismal and uninspiring.  So, what to do?

I have a box of “bits” that I hold on to for upcycling/altering or using in other projects.  It’s got tins and wooden blocks, boxes, decorations and papier mache forms.  Basically, it’s a box of crap that I have collected.  It’s a hoarder’s dream, but it does come in handy when I am stuck for inspiration and want to do something different.

So, with that in mind, I rummaged around and found these weird Christmas decorations.  I bought them years ago in a post-Xmas sale, so they only cost me 25c each or something (the original price was $9.99 – ridiculous!).  I thought they would be good for altering, stamping on, painting etc.  I liked the shape and the fact they had a good solid base, as well as being able to hang them from something.

Crazily expensive Xmas decoration!

I had been playing around with them for a bit when I decided to make a tree out of one of them.  Don’t ask me why.  I like trees, I guess, but I had never really had an urgent desire  to make a little mini-tree of my own.  This one came together reasonably quickly, once I got into it.  I covered the body/trunk in dictionary text and sealed it with gel medium mixed with a little black and brown paint.  I raided some sticks from the neighbour’s tree and made wee little branches with them, stuck into the holes in the wooden shape.

During a crafty session with my nephews and nieces, I made some teeny-weeny mushrooms and a little bird out of polymer clay.  After baking them and letting them cool, I painted them (with a lot of squinting) with acrylic paints.

Polymer clay teeny-tiny mushrooms and a birdie!
Painting mushroom # 1
Adding the final detail to mushroom # 3.  Do you know how fiddly it is to paint tiny little “gills” on a tiny little mushroom?
Wee birdie.  I didn’t make him too detailed.  Partly out of laziness, but mostly because I was scared of making a shemozzle out of it.

I then crafted a little bird’s nest from twine, which was oddly therapeutic. Just twisting and fraying the twine and making it a roughly bird-nesty shape.  I really do like making tiny things.  I don’t know why, but they are very satisfying and appealing, from a creative point of view.  I really do need to wear my glasses when doing this stuff though!

Mini bird’s nest!
Happy little birdie in a tiny nest!

Eventually, it was all put together (very carefully – it’s not the most robust of creations!), sitting on a base of sphagnum moss glued to a wooden lid, and I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s just for me.  No purpose behind it (not a gift or something to sell) – it’s just purely for me.  I added the “Benedictus” text (from an old large print dictionary) because, very roughly translated, it means “Blessed Be” which kinda resonates with me for various reasons.  I wanting to make some more things like this now.  I’m feeling the mixed-media vibe right now!  I’d like to try some tea-bag art next…will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

The final product.  Blessing Tree complete.  Blessed Be!
Lyrics Collage

Lyrics Collage

I have always loved songs.  Ever since I was a child, I felt there was a real magic in music and songwriting.  I remember sitting, mesmerised, on our charming lime-green carpet (hey, it was the 70’s ok?) in the sitting room, listening to the radio and singing along to the pop songs I heard.  I knew all the Grease songs off by heart.  I couldn’t read yet but I knew how the stereo worked.  I just loved music and felt better with it around.

As I got older, I guess I tuned in more to the lyrics themselves, what the artist must have been feeling when they wrote the words, and what they meant to me in turn.  I used to fill notebooks with song lyrics when I was a teenager.  They spoke to me in some corny way that I can’t explain.  I even tried writing songs myself but they were pretty bad, but I enjoyed the process.

A few years ago, I decided to combine two of my loves – music and collage – into one big piece of artwork for my wall.  I started off with an ugly old board-mounted picture that I painted over with white house paint so I had a smooth, clear surface.  I started cutting out letters from magazines and worked out what lyrics I wanted to put on the board.  I didn’t really have a plan, I just cut and glued as I went, fitting in lines as I could and trying to keep it straight.  The first few lines were a bit wonky but after a while they got into line and remained fairly even.

It took a lot of time.  About three months to be exact.  I could only really work on it at weekends and maybe some evenings.  It was very therapeutic – I could totally switch off while I was doing it and just concentrate on whatever letters I needed next.  I just used PVA glue mixed with a teeny bit of water.  I brushed it on with a paint brush and didn’t have problems with bubbling or rippling.

I still look at it every day and read the words.  It’s no great work of art but I love it and out of everything I’ve ever made, it is one of the most important things to me.  If you took the time to read it you would find out who I am, how I feel, my fears and concerns and also my hidden sides.  At the time I was making it, I was going through some stuff and so some of the words are really just me asking for help and wishing the world was a kinder place.  Some of the words relate to specific people in my life, places I’ve been, situations that I’ve encountered.  Some of them are just lines I love because they make me smile.

And, if nothing else, if I ever need to construct one of those ransom notes that kidnappers use in the movies, I will be well-practiced in the art of clipping out letters and gluing ’em on!

So, it means a great deal to me, that silly piece hanging up in my lounge room. Most people don’t take the time to really look at it when they visit – and that’s ok.  Do you have something you’ve made that really sums you up?  Something that just says “This is me?”   Because this collage is me, every little wonky letter and line.  You just have to look closely to see me in it.