Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Time Mends Broken Hearts

Some background info:

Soooooooo ... this post is  part journaling and part craft blogging.  I've been thinking about this project for quite some time now and never really found the right inspiration or the right time to do it.  Well everything all came together over the last couple of weeks.

I think most of us by now have experienced some sort of deep hurt in our lives ... the kind of hurt that you cannot just forget about next week.  I've spent some time recovering from one of those painful experiences myself.  With the added pain (literally) of my Chiari Malformation and associated illnesses, as well as healing from multiple major neurosurgeries, I've rather run away from the emotional pain instead of facing it.  I've experienced more anger than healing and that's just added to the weight of this burden.

So now that I'm healing physically, getting stronger, and feeling better than I have in years, it's really time to face the heart brokenness and nurture the healing process there.   As I was walking this journey over the last couple of weeks, I saw the unique A Stitch in Time ... with a Twist Challenge hosted by Sue over at Frilly and Funkie and everything sort of came together.  Over the last few years, I had been thinking about how some of these really industrial-sized hurts take some industrial-strengthed mending over a great deal of time.  In my mind's eye, I saw wire being used to stitch the broken heart together.  As I thought about the time it takes to heal, I began to envision the springs of a clock as the wire thread and the hands of the clock as the needles used to do the stitching.  So when Frilly and Funkie's challenge came along, I knew it was time (no pun intended) for this project.

It has been an inconvenient time to be so terribly inspired to create:)  Last week, I started teaching classes again for Fall semester at our local university.  I have been very busy.  I'm still working 3 times a week with a personal trainer to build up my strength and stamina.  In the meantime, I crammed as much creative energy into every tiny bit of free time I had over these past few days.  And it has been awesome!!!!  As I've made a beautiful mess downstairs (trying all sorts of different techniques and ideas to bring what was in my head to life in mixed media), I've also made a beautiful mess unraveling the angry tangle of my heart.  It's been such a tiring, but very good experience.

To top everything off, my daily devotions (from In Touch Ministries by Dr Charles Stanley out of 1st Baptist Church of Atlanta) over the last two days have really just confirmed that this is the right project for the right time.  Monday's devotion was entitled God's Gift of Forgiveness.  Here are some highlights: "Motivated by love, God provided a way for our sins to be forgiven. ... God’s will is that we, as forgiven people, show mercy to those who wrong us—to the same degree that He forgave us in Christ.  ... Depending on how much hurt we’ve experienced, we may require time and healing before we can truly forgive. "  Today's devotion was entitled A Lifestyle of Forgiveness.  I think you get the picture :)

Thanks for letting me share with you a little of the "behind the scenes" details for this project.  Now on with all things crafty!

The project:  (I apologize for the picture heavy post!)

I started with an old, rusted, broken, plywood-backed clipboard that my mom found buried in my dad's stuff this summer.  When she saw it, she knew I would appreciate the vintage"found treasure" underneath the cobwebs and dust.

I dusted it off and began by using some multi medium to adhere a page from one of Tim Holtz's Ideology paper stashes.  The paper has calendar pages for January thru December printed on it.  It definitely fit my "long time" theme and made a great backdrop for all my other elements.  Some tissue tape was added on all for edges of the board.  I gave the background board a good wash of water mixed with Picket Fence Distress Paint.  Next I flipped through my Tim Holtz Found Relatives and came across a boy and a girl who did not look terribly happy in their picture.  I thought that perhaps they hurt one another and were suffering broken hearts.  They became part of my collaged background.  Now the entire clipboard background was given a nice coat of matte multi medium.

When that dried, I wanted to add some crackle paint over the background to give it a more rustic feel, so I swiped on some Picket Fence Distress Crackle Paint over various parts of the clipboard (even managing to smear some on the rusted clip at the top).  It gave a really nice fine crackle finish to the painted portions.  I wasn't really happy with my black and white background, so I began to add some color.  I mixed matte multi medium with Fossilized Amber Distress Ink  and Brushed Corduroy (LOVE this color combo) to create a warmer vintage feel to the background.

Now to add my elements.  I began with finding my clock.  Tim Holtz has an entire page of clock faces in one of Ideology Paper Stashes.  I grabbed that page and found a clock face to use.  I cut it out and then rummaged in my craft stash to find something to serve as the frame for the clock face.  Unbelievably, I found a metal ring that was the perfect size.  I used alcohol inks to grunge the gold colored ring and then adhered it to my clock face with matte multi medium.


 I wanted something 3-dimensional, yet cut-able, for my heart.  A cork square was perfect.  To go along with the stitching idea, I decided to cover my heart with fabric.  I remembered I had some burlap "paper" in a dark red from Christmas.  I cut out my heart shape (including the "cracks) and covered it with the burlap paper.  I didn't like the rough cork edges on the outside of the heart, so I spread on a thick layer of modeling paste around the outside edges.  (I really liked the rough cork as the texture for inside the "cracks" of the heart.  When that dried, I added some blots of Ginger alcohol ink in areas around the modeling paste edges and then used matte multi medium mixed with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink to add overall translucent color.  A black Sharpie pen was the a great way to add some bold outlining to the burlap paper surface.


I have a clock and a heart ... how do I use the clock hands to sew up the broken heart?  Back to my rummage in my stash.  I found a suitable-sized big and little hand for my clock and some heavy gauge black jewelry wire to serve as my clock spring/thread.  I added a few small gears to the center of my clock face and I was in business.  After wrapping the jewelry wire around a paint brush handle (to create the "springs"), I started to map out the path that each of my clock hand needles would take for their respective heart cracks that needed mending.  I used a my trusty black Sharpie to make the "holes" where the needle entered and existed as it slowly sews the heart back together.  I didn't actually "sew" with the wire :)  I cut small pieces of wire to create the stitches and lightly tapped them into pre-cut holes across the "cracks" to make my wire stitches.  Then I attached a "spring" section of wire from the clock to the heart (one for each clock hand and respective crack).  At the end of the row of stitches on  a given "crack", I created a hole for the clock-hand needle to come out for the next stitch and a new hole on opposite side of the crack where the clock-hand needle would stab into the heart to create the new stitch.  Fun!

I began the job of choosing my letters for the phrase "time mends broken hearts) and started placing them on my the clipboard background.  I realized that the corners looked a bit empty.  A ha!  I can use my new Tim Holtz Mixed Media framelits to create a sort of "caging" around the edges.  I grabbed some silver foil cardstock and cut out four of the honeycomb framelit corners.  I ran them through my Xyron Creative Station to put some adhesive on the back of these intricate diecuts.  Nice.  I added them to the four corners of my clipboard.  I used a Black Soot Distress Marker to create shadows on the clipboard within the honeycomb pattern.  Cotton swabs were used to smudge the marker and helped me wipe away any excess color.  Awesome!

Ok ... the corners don't look so bare now :)  On to the letters for my words.  I used some foil covered chipboard letters for the word TIME.  Again, I wanted a more rustic feel to them, so I covered them Ginger and Latte alcohol inks and then embossed them with Walnut Stain Distress Embossing Powder (that I applied in small sections with Ranger Ink's Perfect Pens).   They were a little dark.  So I gave them a white "shadow" with a white Sharpie Acrylic Paint Pen (great tool!).  I came back with some matte multi medium mixed with Antique Linen Distress Stain to tone down the white paint. 

I used some Tim Holtz Ideology letters for the remaining words.  For MEND, I used Tim's Label Letter stickers on some scrap paper left over from another project.  The word BROKEN was one of my favorite experiments.

I took the letters from Tim's Alphaparts and painted them with Antique Linen Distress Paint.  Once that was dry to the touch, I applied a thick coat of Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.  After it dried, I grabbed some Cranberry alcohol ink and applied just a drop at the corners of the letters.   The ink spread through the cracks of the clear crackle paint.  I learned to apply small dots of alcohol ink with the tip of a toothpick (instead of applying directly from the bottle) a little too late to be more deft with the ink application :).  A Black Soot Distress Marker was used to give some shading around these letters.

Finally, I decided that I wanted my heart mending to be "motivated by love".  I took some of Tim's grungeboard letters for the word HEARTS and painted them with Antique Linen Distress Paint.  I used Coffee archival ink to stamp some of the letters with quotes involving Love from some of Tim Holtz stamp sets.  I embossed the stamped sentiments with clear embossing powder. The letter "e" was stamped with a clockface.  I used some of Tim's Remnant Rubs (again involving Love) on the remaining letters.  Distress Markers were used to give a little color to the letters and a black Sharpie was used to give most of them a quick outline.  I did a layered presentation of the letters and adhered them to the heart with multi medium.

I think that's it!  I apologize for the very long post.  Forgive the typos.  I will try to edit it tomorrow.   Since this mixed media project was such a labor of love, I'm going to enter it in a few challenges. 

Frilly and Funkie's Stitch in Time ... with a Twist Challenge

Craft Stamper Magazine's 'Take a Technique':  Pens and Pencils Challenge

We Love to Create Challenge #17 :  Anything Mixed Media/Creative/Inky Goes

Mixed Media World's: Gorgeous Textures Challenge 

 Art Journal Journey:  Time

Hopefully, you've had some time to create heart-felt art this week.  I'll try to catch up on my visits Crafty Blogland visits this weekend.  Hugs to you all -- Mary Elizabeth


Valerie-Jael said...

LOVE your wonderful journal page, so many beautiful details to see, and the fabric additions make it very special! Valerie
Our them at Art Journal Journey is also time this month, would be great if you would link there, too.

Anita Houston said...

So nice to see you back, and what an awesome project you've made, and the feelings behind it just prove art is therapy. I'm so sorry for your suffering, not fun, but only God can get you through it. A very moving post, and totally wonderful project. LOVE the colors, the images, the heart, and the metal. Great find with the clip board too...LOVE!!!

Terry said...

Oh this is one incredible clipboard! All the elements have been combined so perfectly! This is a beautiful post! Sorry that you have had so much pain, but so good to hear that you are improving and that art has been an asset! I hear you as I also have used art as therapy to help with "deep hurt" and if fact today is 7 year anniversary of one! Take care! Love your art!

Valerie-Jael said...

SO glad you followed my invite and have joined us at Art Journal Journey, thanks so much! Valerie

die amelie said...

Thank you for this truly inspiring post and project, Mary-Elizabeth!

Reading your thoughts and watching them being reflected in your work was such a treat! So glad to hear that you are getting better and better all the time! :)))

The sewn heart is very touching. Especially the fact that it visualizes that there will always remain scars but yet healing has taken place as well. I admire and love artwork that mirrors real life in a rather subtle way! This piece is absolutely wonderful in all its depth and meaning.

Sending huge hugs from Vienna,
Claudia xxx

froebelsternchen Susi said...

A wonderful piece! Gorgeous artwork Mary-Elizabeth!
I love all about it.. such amazing details!
Super that you linked it to Art Journal Journey!
Welcome to the party there!

Meggymay said...

An inspirational post. Beautiful art work with so many details, made more interesting with all the close up photos.

Nancy Dynes said...

Your project is stunning! I am so happy that your art is instrumental in your healing process. Many people underestimate that. The way you've combined the elements, the rich color and texture, all come together so beautifully. Thank you so much for joining us at The Frilly and Funkie challenge!

My name is Erika. said...

Cool texture here! Love this saying too. It is a great project and a perfect piece for tthe theme of time.

~*~Patty S said...

Greetings from AJJ
You created such a beautiful and meaning piece.
The details are WOW!
May you continue to find healing in art and creativity.

Candy C said...

Mary Elizabeth...this piece is INSPIRED!!! I would have loved it even if I had not read your blog post but after reading it, your piece has even that much more meaning and inspiration behind it! This is a masterpiece! And I can so identify with it's meaning. I totally love everything about this piece. It all works so perfectly together. The honeycomb corners are just amazing and they frame your sentiment and the beautiful art within so perfectly. Your broken and mending heart is just poetic. Love the dimension of your piece as well. And...I appreciate you sharing a piece of your heart with your readers. I could really relate and it your words have helped me a little bit to begin the forgiveness process with someone who I really have had issues with for a while. Thank you! :)

Buttons said...

Oh Mary, you've completely won me over with this piece of amazing altered art! I love every single inch of detail, texture and colour and boy, can you tell that your heart and soul has gone into creating it. Alongside everything else you've got on your plate to deal with my hat well and truly goes off to you. Thank you so much for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Jenny x

Sara Barker said...

Oh, My Gosh, Mary Elizabeth! What an amazing work of art! I love that it has such meaning and healing in it! Almost everything I make comes from some "issue" I'm dealing with or something I must face about myself or life. So happy to hear I'm not the only one! Your artwork certainly reflects that your "heart" is in this-really no pun intended!) I so enjoyed reading your post--well, the first half; I need to come back later for the artwork details, so it is pinned! I am just staring at this and I know I will come back to it time and time again! Hey! I see you and I have once again chosen the same element on our latest creation! I will have to tell you perhaps in a personal message about why I originally thought to choose our sullen looking pair for mine. My tag came a long way from where it started, that's all I'm sayin'! Love that you have included that devotion--my sisters, my Mom, and a few others share a morning devotional via text messages--go technology! Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog, too! Hugs!

Marjie Kemper said...

This is one fabulous piece - not only gorgeous but so meaningful as well. Love the way you've used the wire and stitched the heart. Hoping your recovery continues at a good pace. Hang in there!

Cec said...

Your post and your project are so inspirational. I love that you have altered the clipboard and there are so many fantastic details to look at with so many wonderful techniques. Thanks for joining us with this beauty at Frilly and Funkie.

Shelly Hickox said...

Wow! I peeked in here from Frilly and Funkie and had to tell you how much I love this piece! Not only is it incredibly inspiring as art, I love that you invested so much of yourself into it. Art is so very healing. You've really touched me in a very personal way with this. Hugs and thanks so much for sharing.

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Your creation is absolutely gorgeous, lot of interesting things to see...amazing!! I wish you speedy recovery and lots of happy time in your craft room. Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing love! You are so kind!! xoxo

Barbara Schiassi said...

Mary in the summer I have really a very short time to comment on the blogs! With my children home from school ... I have to dedicate myself to them! But this work is stunning! I adore every little detail! You are fantastic, original and so creative! Thanks for your kind words on my blog!!! Barbarayaya

Astrid Maclean said...

Oh Mary, what can I add to all the things that have been said already..... This is such a moving post, your honesty really touched my heart and what an amazing journey you have been on.... This piece is a triumph of love, forgiveness, creativity and sheer beauty! A truly stunning piece of art and thank you so much for sharing both your inner and outer process!!

Redanne said...

Mary Elizabeth, this is a truly stunning piece of art! I was so moved by your thoughts and experiences, you put into words what some of us can only think... I am so sorry that you have had to face so much sorrow and pain but then pleased that you find such a release in your art. The heart in your piece expresses so much and is so beautiful and I love how you brought so many of the other elements together - how lovely too, to make use of something that belonged to your Dad, it just makes it all that more special.. You are a truly inspiring lady! Big hugs, Anne xxx

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

This is indeed a triumph, Mary Elizabeth! Your details are incredible and kudos to you for creating a piece with so much personal meaning. I know you have had a long and painful struggle with your illness and it's wonderful to know that you are healing and improving. I really enjoyed your step out and your explanation of how each detail ties in with your healing process. The clock hands sewing up the broken heart is absolutely brilliant as are the ways that you accomplished it with the jewelry wire. I hope you will frame your masterpiece and hang it somewhere where you can see and enjoy it every day! Congratulations on being chosen our Funkie Favorite over at Frilly and Funkie. Thanks so much for sharing this with our team and our visitors!


butterfly said...

Please, please don't apologise for the post length… I would happily have stayed twice as long looking at photos and reading about this amazing piece of mixed media art. The thoughts behind it are so clear in the work, and the creation of those wire stitches and clock hands as the needles to sew the broken heart back together is an outstanding piece of inspiration. All the lettering is fantastic - just love the stamping and rub-ons on the HEARTS word. The silver foil honeycomb pieces are fabulous too. There is such beauty and love and care in all the details, and I'm so happy to hear you are giving yourself some love and care in starting to heal the cracks in your own heart.

It's absolutely true that time can heal a broken heart - sometimes takes a LOT of time! - though I don't think you are ever quite the same person afterwards. We change in shape through those deep relationships, and we change in shape as we recover from them too. In any case, I'm so glad you shared both your heart and your artwork with us. Thank you.
Alison xx

Sara Barker said...

Yippee! I'm so happy for you, Mary Elizabeth for winning at Frilly and Funkie...well deserved!!! Hugs!

Kathy/NorthCarolina said...

Mary Elizabeth, imagine my delight when I read that you had won the challenge at Frilly and Funkie this time around! I have just spent a delightful time, drinking my morning cuppa and reading your amazing blog post. What a wonderful creation...and the story behind it is so moving. I love the color palette you selected to work with, I love the thought process that went into this very meaningful piece and I loved getting to know you better. Congrats on winning the challenge, but an even bigger cheer for choosing to live a life of forgiveness. That makes you a real winner in my book. Love and Hugs!

Karen Petitt said...

Anything I can say does not appear to be enough, this is beyond gorgeous, your skills and putting so much of your heart into creating this: it was worth it!! This is gorgeous and wonderful and I hope it really does heal your heart and your physical strength improves over time too. Awesome project, thank you for sharing it with us and for telling us how you created it too, I saw it on Frilly & Funkie and had to come and take a closer look Karen x

Gio said...

wow, I'm in awe! Brilliant design and gorgeous details!Thank you for joining us at the Craft Stamper Challenge :-)

Ellie Knol said...

Gorgeous creation... thanks for joining in the TIMI challenge!

xxx Ellie Knol xxx

Brenda Brown said...

This is a very touching and poignant post Mary Elizabeth but one that lightens the heart with the strength you show in what you believe and how you go about resolving the after-effects from the pain and hurt you have felt. This is a beautiful project and demonstrates the feelings and the love you have inside of you as well as the talent and skills you have and use to create such wonderful works of art. Love it.
Have a great weekend.
hugs Brenda xxx