Thursday, 14 February 2013

Journey to Yourself by Alison Bomber

Hello everyone!  Alison (butterfly) here again with my second Guest Designer piece this month. Long Post Warning: get your cup of tea before you start!


Lots of inky fun in making this one, Distress Inks, Perfect Pearls, Distress Stains galore, and gorgeous stamps from several different Artistic Stamper plates, with the main focus on the glorious Gibson Girls.  (All the ingredients are at the foot of the post, with links to take you straight to them.)


Despite all the fun, the project has ended up having a slightly melancholy, or at least contemplative, "story" to it, which wasn't where I'd planned for it to go at all.  But these creations sometimes have a mind of their own it seems.


I've always loved Charles Dana Gibson's drawings of turn of the century American girls, it wasn't until I was stamping and looking in detail at these particular images that I realised that, for me, they also have a definite sadness within them.


I started with the fabulous Vintage Valise die from Tim Holtz, cutting the main body of the suitcase from the Kraft Resist sheet of the world map.  I daubed Distress Stains in various blues along with Picket Fence direct onto my craft map, and swept the kraft resist paper through it until I liked the look of it.

Using the Picket Fence means that the blues keep their colour integrity better than if you use them on kraft by themselves, which can make them look slightly greeny.  The strappings were cut from Kraft-Core, sanded and inked, and I used tiny brads to attach the strap holders (which I used the other way up to get the plain kraft side, inked).


The luggage label comes from the AS Labels plate, and encourages journeys of all kinds: Seek, Question, Explore the outside world, and the inside one.


I wanted to be able to put things "inside" my suitcase, so - having done two virtually identical cases - I had to work out a way of creating a pocket, preferably one stable enough to allow the suitcase to stand up...


Let's hear it for ice lolly sticks (that's popsicles if you're here from across the water) - one of the most useful things to have in any craft stash!  I used two (one cut in half) to form a framework inside the suitcase, glued with Glossy Accents, and left overnight to be sure of a good firm hold.


At this point, I was thinking that I would fill the case with tags depicting a young girl travelling the world, exploring, discovering and generally having a fantastic time.  But, as I said, as I stamped the various images they started to tell me a very different story.  And the voyage became less an actual journey, more a journey of exploration into the girl's inner self.


So there are two sides to each tag... the front, which just shows you the surface, the exterior, and then - when you turn over - the interior questions bubble to the surface, revealing what's going on behind the eyes.  I honestly didn't go looking for any of these phrases; they arose as I was inking each tag - they seemed to come from the girl(s) themselves.


I started with luggage labels which had previously been stained with tea and coffee, which gives them a wonderful vintage feel straight away.  Once the images were stamped, I blended Chipped Sapphire, Stormy Sky, Vintage Photo and Wild Honey Distress Inks onto the tags.  I've been careful to leave at least the faces un-inked by extra colour, so that they stand out at the centre of each tag.


I spritzed and flicked with water after inking, and then finally added some gilding by spritzing Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold onto the mat and splodging the tags onto it - again avoiding the faces, so that you'd be able to "read" what's going on inside.


So there's the woman reading her letter...  I stamped her in Coffee Archival both on the tag and on a separate piece of paper so that I could cut a mask. And then I stamped the Calligraphy Mat around her, using Cobalt, to represent the letter she's reading.


I haven't examined the Italian in close detail but in my "story", it's a love letter from an Italian count, approved by the girl's parents as a suitor to her hand.  Everything is tumbling forwards towards the wedding at great speed.


But in the angle of her head and the weight of her shoulders it's clear that for her it's not so clear cut, and so on the opposite side the question reveals itself as she reads his declarations of love.  It's lurking in the corner, in the depths of her mind:  Yes, but do I love him?


The woman with the book - to me it seems like a musical score; she's holding it at exactly the angle to read or sing from as a performer - has a look as though she's hearing something, but is not sure what.  On the reverse, we see that this is not the first time:  Sometimes I wonder... Does no-one hear the same music I hear?


She's masked again, and this time it's music which is floating in her mind. The music stamp isn't the AS one, I'm afraid, but they do have a marvellous music manuscript background so I've popped a link to that at the foot of the page.

The girl with the glorious hair piled high has a look which you could mistake for arrogance or disdain, but when you look again, there's a pain and a defensiveness somewhere at the heart of it... the chin just a little too lifted, the eyelids just a little too hooded, hidden.


She shares her secrets with us on the reverse, surrounded by flower images from Botanical Plate #1: My beauty is not all there is to me.


The utter dejection and exhaustion is easy to read in the girl resting her head on her hands.  She's probably the one who started me off looking more closely at the others.  Again I cut a mask so that I could stamp the Europe Map Background around her.


I positioned it so that you actually get a slightly removed masking effect - the thoughts hover a little way away from the main image of the thinker.  Her question is clear... in all the travelling, in all the bustle of society events, where does she belong, how does she fit in:  Where is my home?


And finally the wonderful image of the girl seated on the floor, her skirts pooled around her, in a moment's respite from the social whirl of arrival at a new hotel, dining, dancing.  The lovely vintage hotel stamp is again from the Labels plate.


There's such yearning in the angle of her body, leaning forward, listening intently as though to catch the meaning of life, the universe and everything, on the brink of discovery:  Sometimes I can almost understand why.


For the tag trimmings I used Chipped Sapphire and Stormy Sky Distress Stains to tint lots of seam binding, and Vintage Photo and Antique Linen to alter the slightly pinkish tones of some lace from my stash.  I knew these would all be peeking out of the top of the case, so they needed to tone with the suitcase colours too.

Wow... a longer post than ever - sorry!!  I'll have to come up with something very simple for my final project later in the month... two photos max!  Thank you so much for taking the time if you've made it this far, and I hope you've enjoyed the journey.

Alison Bomber
Words and Pictures

Ingredients: Gibson Girls Plate #1Calligraphic Mat #19Europe Map BackgroundMusic BackgroundBotanical Plate #1LabelsVintage Valise dieKraft Resist Paper StashKraft-Core;  Distress Inks: Chipped Sapphire, Stormy Sky, Vintage Photo, Wild HoneyDistress Stains: Antique Linen, Chipped Sapphire, Picket Fence, Stormy Sky, Vintage PhotoArchival Inks: Cobalt, CoffeePerfect Pearls Mist: Heirloom GoldSeam binding;

37 comments:

Debi said...

Stunning!!!

Artyjen said...

Wow! How fabulous ;) xoxo Sioux

Yvonne Garner said...

Phenomenal Alison! Bravo! Hugs, Yvonne

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...a visual feast Alison, so much detail and thought has gone into this amazing piece, genious use of lolly sticks too...awesome work...Melx :)

May said...

WOW!! What a creative piece.. so many wonderful tags each with a lovely image & detail.. Love the suitcase brilliant use of the lolly sticks..AmAzing work yet again Alison... Hugs May x x x

Helen said...

Alison, these are beautiful!! well worth the long post, thank you!. I agree, the girls do look sad, and you have captured them perfectly.

toni said...

Beautiful project Alison love the colours and the fabulous stamps you've used. I've had my eye on these lovely ladies for a while, my resistance is definitely lowering after seeing what you've done with them x

Julia Dunnit said...

Lovely stuff, am happy to read that the 'feel' o fit all changed as you were working and you just went with it..so much more expressive I think. Love the colours and blends you've achieved on the tags. Suitcase is an inspired pocket!

chrissies said...

This is just wonderful and all of the colours and images are just right for the piece.

Love Chrissie xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Gosh Alison, I am so happy I am on holiday right now so could take the time to read your description from beginning to end ;o), this is not only a feast for the eyes but a feast for the mind too! You have totally brought those Gibson Girls to life for me, I shall never look at them in the same way again! A completely inspired piece and with all my favourite colours.... What more could a girl want with her early cuppa? (coffee in my case). Absolutely brilliant piece!!

isisimaginings.com said...

That is completely stunning. And I love the story you gave it, so creative.

Jacqueline said...

That is absolutely beautiful! Just adore everything about that piece! Thank you for sharing!


Jackie xx

die amelie said...

Thank you, Alison,

for loads of picture-poetry! Never enjoyed my cup of tea more than with this special "ingredient"!

Awesome stamping and creativity!

Hugs,

Claudia x

Buttons said...

Fabulous Alison!! As ever you put so much thought into your work and have really built a story into this to bring it to life even more. Loving the mix of stamping/colours which you do so well. Hugs, Jenny x

craftytrog said...

Such a marvelous, thought-provoking piece Alison! I love it!
Alison xx

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

What a great vintage suitcase Alison with a gorgeous series of tags inside. Great artwork, as usual!! :-)

Bye bye, Alie :-)

Andrea Small said...

Beautifully deep reading of the images - another of yours that makes me want to look for a long time...
Andrea xx

Nan G said...

Oh Alison, love the story line for each tag! The suitcase is fab. I so enjoy reading your posts!

Paper Profusion said...

Fantastic crafting Alison! I wish I was heading to an airport right now! Stunningly done and thank-you for all the little tips along the way. Nicola x

Marlies said...

Another beautiful creation. The blue and brown colors fit together so beautifully.
And then the lovely ladies stamps and ribbons.
The stories told are exciting. And the travel bag is beautifully made​​.

Greetings Marlies

inkypinkycraft said...

Great make Alison , fab colours too! Trace x

Sue C said...

Wow again Alison ! This project is absolutely stunning ! Love the colour palette and the stamped images are just gorgeous ! Sue C x

Chrissy said...

Fantastic project Alison, I love use of the popsicle sticks...for me it is toothpicks...gotta have them..lol..love your brief case and tags, so clever..

Luv CHRISSYxx

Dorthe said...

Alison, this is a gorgeous project, -the bag is wonderful, and I love your telling,with the girls.
Your colours are just fantastic, a very special art piece(s)
Hugs,Dorthe

Redanne said...

You are such a wonderful story-teller Alison, I will never look at these beautiful stamps in the same way again. A stunning project. Hugs, Anne x

Bonnie Irvine said...

I love her story even though she is not yet happy. The tags are absolutely beautiful and illustrate her inner journey so well. The suitcase is a wonderful container for these amazing tags. I hope there's one more that you haven't shared where she finds what she is seeking :) Gorgeous Alison.

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, it's breathtaking.

Ascension said...

Absolutamente precioso!!!!
besitos ascension

Linda S. said...

Hmmmmm, with all due respect, has anyone ever told you that you have an over-active imagination? I have one, as well. Outstanding work on this project.

Anita Houston said...

A plethora of goodness! What a fabulous project!

Chris said...

A fabulous project Alison and I love the story within. X

Kezzy said...

Wow awesome creation, I really love the out of the box idea, fab :-) Kezzy xxx

Janny Jager 't Hooft said...

Fabulous Alison.

Greetings Janny

Jennie Atkinson said...

Just catching up! Stunning project Alison, I love the way you have used the suitcase template. These are my all time favourite stamps too!

Lucy Edmondson said...

This is amazing, Alison. As you know, I love the way you write, and your imagination. I seem to remember that Charles married one of the Astor girls, and she and one of her sisters posed for him? I love the story you have woven from their expressions and postures. I have this set of stamps and I love them,

Lucy x

2amscrapper said...

I enjoyed reading your post and admiring your art work.

Sandy said...

It doesn't come any better than the designs and emotions of Alison Bomber.
Sandy