Monday, 21 January 2013

Crafty Christmas

Happy New Year Everyone!

On reflection, the last session and following festivities brought handmade into the lime-light for us arty (and skint!) types. Christmas, and indeed the rest of the year, needn't be about excessive consumption but an opportunity to think about alternatives and share them with others.

One idea we looked at was homemade decorations using recycled magazine covers. These work quite well because of all the bright colours used in the graphic design and the paper consistency being quite thick and glossy. I usually make a perfect flower (or snowflake) shape with this design but didn't have a long-arm stapler to hand so had to staple along the length of the strips of paper instead of across the middle. However we all thought that the suggestion of a tree-of-life design was a nice decorative and seasonal theme which I elaborated on in my second test piece.

To make these all you need to do is cut 1" (2.5cm) wide strips of paper widthways along a page or sheet, stack them and one at a time curve the ends into the middle and secure with a little double sided tape.

A lovely bird motif with a hand painted beak was cut from craft foam and glued onto a wooden board to make a stamp for cards and wrapping paper.

To make a snow globe all you need is a jar with lid and something to seal it with, water with some glycerin added which allows the glitter to fall at a slower pace, some putty to secure your chosen object, paint to cover the putty and something to put inside your jar like this super festive...er...crocodile!

I also spent a weekend and some evenings making batches of edible gifts that included cheesy stars, ginger and orange stuffed dates dipped in chocolate and Xmas fruit biscotti. I packaged these in lots of 10 in cellophane bags, tied with wrapping ribbon and gave them out to friends and family over the holidays. These went down remarkably well with lots of positive feedback (pardon the puns) so I now feel inspired to bake for birthdays and other occasions throughout the year, as gifts that my budget can afford but show the thought and care that the recipients deserve.

When you've crafted, created, made and / or baked gifts for people it's always a nice finishing touch to present them in a creative way. Hayley showed us how to make these fabulous paper bags from newspaper which she then sprays a motif on the sides to suit the occasion. It was a little tricky for us first timers but well worth it. Should you wish to learn this skill for yourselves please visit www.youtube.com RENEW(HOW TO MAKE NEWSPAPER BAG):GLUE VERSION, there is also a STAPLE VERSION. There are many different ways to make newspaper gift bags online but I particularly liked these ones because they provide a simple solution to reinforcing the handles so heavier items can be carried.

The next Material Knowledge session will be on Monday 4th February 6-8pm, The Art Studio, Level 2, St Luke's Community Centre, 90 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AJ.

The floor will be open at the beginning of the session for anyone who would like to participate in a crit, these will be held monthly from now on and will be on a first come, first served basis, the rest of the session will involve discussion about the coming year and activities relating to Colour.

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