Sunday, March 12, 2017

Returning from Adventure

I know ... it has been too long since my last visit to Crafty Blogland.  I apologize to you all my friends.  The last few months have been full of adventure, busyness, and some challenges.  But I have continued to craft and I'm back to see what you all have been doing.   I have missed you all.

I am going to share some of my adventure with you.  In January, I spent a week in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.  My university has established a partnership with a university in South Africa and my dean sent me there to meet some new colleagues and hammer out  details of this partnership.   The trip was made on relatively short notice and I missed the first week of classes here.   Needless to say, it had taken a great deal energy and time out of my schedule to prepare for the trip and work out post-trip reports and plans.  I have loved the whole process (even the 32 hour one-way travel time) and the people that I met and with whom I now work.   To celebrate this adventure,  I created a special crafty tribute to South Africa.

The piece started with playing around with Tim Holtz's Life Adventure stamp set  (devoted to South African imagery).  I created a stamped (with Jet Black Archival Ink) collage on one of Tim's Mixed Media Heavystock Tags.  Oh ... I love this surface!  I used some of the Distress Crayons and a Water Brush to color the tag.  It's amazing how well this tag surface holds up to water.  Wow!  I used Pumice Stone and  Hickory Smoke on the lovely elephant.  (I must confess.  I did not see any elephants while in South Africa.  Sigh!  I saw monkeys though 🙊. )  The "sun" images were colored with Mustard Seed.  I used Antique Linen, Carved Pumpkin, Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Hickory Smoke and Ground Espresso to color the background of the tag.  So easy to play with water and color on it without ruining the tag. I do think the postcard address stamps make a wonderful background for the tag.  I added a jute tag tie and backed the tag with black cardstock. 

I decided to make a stylized South African flag to be the background for my tag.  I grabbed an 8.5 in x 11 in piece of Tim's Mixed Media Heavystock paper.  Now I wanted to play with Distress Ink on this surface.  I started by sketching out the outline of the South African flag on this paper.  I cut out the pieces that would later be colored green, red, blue and black.  I think chose several stamps to create background images on these pieces.  These stamps were stamped first stamped with with Colorsnaps' Top Boss embossing ink and then covered with American Crafts' Zing! Brown Sugar Embossing Powder.  After heat embossing the stamped image, I used Distress Inks to color over the stamp images.  Oh ... this paper takes Distress Inks so very well.  For the top red piece of my flag, I used Inkadinkado's Ornamental tile stamps.  I colored it with Barn Door, Festive Berries, and Frayed Burlap Distress Ink.  I edged the piece with Ground Espresso.  I spritzed it with water.  Gorgeous!  I used a stamp from Tim's Floral Tattoo stamp set for the black piece of the flag.  It was colored with Black Soot and Ground Expresso Distress Ink.   I was thrilled to find the perfect sentiment for this piece in Tim Holtz's Small Talk stickers ... "life was meant for a great adventure."

The middle piece of the flag (colored green) was stamped with the "Africa" stamp from 7Gypsies Legend stamp set along with one of Tim's amazing flourish stamps.  I used Peeled Paint, Mown Lawn, Frayed Burlap and Ground Espresso to color this piece of the flag.  The blue piece of the flag was stamped with another of Tim's Floral Tattoo stamps and colored with Faded Denim, Blueprint Sketch, Faded Burlap and Ground Espress Distress Ink. 

I then used Collage Medium to glue the pieces of the flag on an 8.5 in x 11 in piece of cream cardstock.  I painted, with a water brush), the cardstock background stripes of the flag with Fossilized Amber Distress Crayon (for the yellow stripe) and Picket Fence (for the white stripe).  I added a Ground Espresso Disress Marker outline around all the mixed media heavystock pieces.

 To celebrate my return to the online crafting world, I would like to enter this piece in:

Simon Says: Make Your Own background at Simon Says Stamps Monday Challenge

A Vintage Journey's All Aboard Challenge (Happy Birthday AVJ!  -- love your challenges)

This piece just does not do justice the beauty and richness of my South African experiences.  I just found out that I will be heading back to South Africa for a month this summer.  I am so excited to continue my adventure there.  In the meantime, I am on spring break and trying to catch up on grading.  I fear that I've not quite caught up from missing the first week of classes.  I've been running and running this semester, but always behind in this race called life.  However, I sincerely hope to catch up with you all as well this week.  Hugs!!!  Mary Elizabeth


Lucy said...

I keep thinking that I have ordered everything I need for quite a while and then I see a project like this and find ANOTHER stamp I simply must have. This is a beautiful project to celebrate your trip to South Africa - really beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Brenda Brown said...

Your adventure sounds amazing Mary Elizabeth. How wonderful to travel to SA and have such amazing inspiration around you. Love the resulting work with the beautiful design, colours and imagery. Hugs xxx

butterfly said...

Yay - welcome back! Your South African trip sounds like a great adventure, and I love this beautiful piece you've created to commemorate it. Just the elephant tag alone would be enough - fabulous shading and great background stamping to complement the sketchbook look of the elephant himself. And I love your resist designs created for the flag, adding such fantastic detail to each colour area. Brilliant work!
Alison x

Team Clark said...

Wow, what an amazing journey! Welcome home. Such a lovely tribute to African culture is this patchwork of beautiful patterns. I love how you used the elephant stamp, a favorite. Thanks so much for sharing with AVJ for our birthday challenge! <3 Hugs, Autumn

Sandra said...

This is amazing, love all pretty pattern syou've made and made it into the flag of South Africa. The tag is such a fabulous touch. Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. Hugs, Sandra

Valerie-Jael said...

That must have been a wonderful trip. Love your art, really beautiful, and good to see you back in Blogland. Hugs, Valerie

Anita Houston said...

That elephant always makes me happy. What a special tribute to a fantastic trip I'm sure. Gorgeous papers too! Cheers!

Barbara Schiassi said...

Wow Mary welcome back! Your adventure sounds wonderful! I'm so happy to see you again in Craftyland! your work is fabulous and so inspired by your journey! fab! Hugs Barbara

Redanne said...

This is a wonderful and inspired piece of art Mary Elizabeth, I just love that you made a stylised flag and the elephant tag is stunning! How wonderful to make a trip to Africa, although the travel time must have been exhausting! I really hope that you might be able to visit another time and get a little sight-seeing in... Hugs, Anne xx

Sara Barker said...

Mary Elizabeth, I was so excited to see your beautiful artwork in the gallery at A Vintage Journey, and now to visit your blog to learn of your great adventure! What a year it's been for you! Your elephant tag is just gorgeous, as is your stylized flag! You have made an incredible comeback into blogland! Thank you for sharing it all with us at A Vintage Journey! Hugs!

Jenny Marples said...

Truly spectacular Mary Elizabeth! I love the patchwork quality to the patterned flag and the elephant tag perfectly captures the beauty of this magnificent animal. Thank you for sharing your adventures and for joining us at A Vintage Journey xx