Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Paper Lanterns

It's been a week since my last loosey goosey lantern, and I am pleased to say that this weeks back to crafting has been much more successful and I am now back into the swing of things.  Turns out that my new collection of prayer papers from Hong Kong are very thin.  My mini lanterns needed much heavier papers, so only one of my new HK papers made it into this set of lanterns.  For this series, I decided that I was going to make all of them adhesive and tape free.  I used only little brads.  This posed a nice technical challenge, especially for making the lanterns actually hold a flameless tea light.
Here they are...

I made 7 little lanterns out of paper, mini brads and an 1/16 inch hole puncher.

Figuring out how to hold the tea lights was hard for some of the designs, this one was pretty easy.  Plus, all the tea lights need to be able to be dropped in from the top of the piece.

This was the toughest lantern to figure out, it's fairly fugly underneath, so I won't show you in case Martha Stewart is reading.

Although I intended these to be hanging lanterns, they would also work really well as table top lanterns, maybe at a fancy dinner or a party.

I am definitely enjoying making hanging paper objects and I think for my year of getting back to craft I will continue making paper ornaments, lanterns, garlands and banners.
I think for all my upcoming crafting projects I am going to make a goal of not buying anymore stuff!!  It feels so good to use all the supplies I have.  In fact, imagine if you will, a year of crafting and buying NOTHING!!!  A radical thought indeed.  Has anyone done this, if so, let me know!!
xo Lolo

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Letting Go, or, Make This Project Better Than I Did.

As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times I have encouraged my students to just let go, to play with their materials, to not focus on perfection and the end product, to just go for it and see what happens.  Well, this is certainly easier for some than others....

After my last post about my Chinese prayer papers, I decided that this was the year I drag myself away from Adobe Illustrator long enough to get back to crafting.  I decided to use my new papers to investigate and explore lantern forms and to cover my house in adorable little paper lantern garlands.

I have indeed made paper lanterns before, and this time I was going to step it up a notch, make beautifully crafted forms that would compel Martha Stewart to hire me as a freelance crafter.  I was going to make refined, sophisticated yet playful objects that would be splashed all over Pinterest.

For my getting back to crafting lantern I decided to take a different course than the one I would expect myself to take, and the one that would make you ohhhh and ahhhhh.  Instead, I abandoned all I hold dear as a crafter and I just went for it, with no plan, no thought of where I was going, working totally in the moment, with no thought as to what the next step would be.  That actually sounds like I was art making, and indeed there are tons of artists who work this way, with carefree abandon, and I always admire them...but I am not one of them.

About an hour into my letting go lantern, which I thought would be a round a 2 hour project, I realized that I hated the product I was making, and to be honest, that did put a damper on the process.  But, I forced myself to see it through to the end and 6 hours later I was putting on the finishing glitter glue touches.

I documented most of the process.  This piece looks like an explosion in the craft aisle, but I think it could be a potentially great project.  There are tons of variations, and if I was not so over it I would have added dangling dodads of sorts from the bottom.  You can do that...

I started by connecting 4 scrappy pencil drawings, then began collaging on top of them.  Next time, I would start with 1 long piece of paper rather than 4 separate pieces, and I would use a heavier paper than cheap-o sketchbook paper.

Part of my not planning or designing meant a lot of ugly stuff.  I removed a huge chunk, covered up things with paint, and now I am moderately satisfied with images.  The yellow lotus came from my Hong Kong papers.

For the bottom I cut a heavy piece of card board, then glued paper onto both sides.  I used this awesome tool to punch holes in it.  I actually don't know what its called and its not labeled, but I got it at Michaels, and I highly recommend checking it out.  I punched the holes hoping that light will shine through them, and also I can use the holes to hang dodads from.

For the top, I only covered 1 plane, and I punched a hole in the center.  Before I glue the box shut, I will make sure to have inserted this cord with a bead, so I have a way to hang the lantern.

The top view of the top.

Gluing up.  After closing the end walls, I inserted the cardboard bottom, and glued from the inside.  Then I glued in the top, but I glued from the top since it was all sealed up by then.  This was the worst part of the process.  My walls were all irregular and distorted from using paper too thin, so it was very messy and hard to glue.

And there you have it!  The door will give me access to inserting a flameless tea candle, and it should let the light shine through.

It needs a handle, I think for the next one I will do that.   That cool punching tool will also set grommets which is what I would do for adding a handle.

So there you have it, me at my loosey goosey-est.   It's lumpy and bumpy, there are glue stains, and there are gaps in the corners.  I am hoping to bring some of this letting go to all my work this year, my surface designs as well as my crafty projects.  Making this piece reminded me of being a kid, and just making stuff for the love of doing it, with no agenda for where it was going to end up, or who was going to see it.  I would say "ahhh, the good old days"  but actually, these are the good old days...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Almost Chinese New Year!

Well, it's not quite Chinese New Year yet, but I have just returned from an amazing trip to Hong Kong, where I visited my inspiring and beautiful sister Karen, her sweet as can be husband Dean, and my lovely niece Sacha.  Hong Kong was wonderful.  We ate, we walked, we visited Buddhas, and of course, we shopped.  OK, I shopped, and as I unpacked my bags, including the new adorable pink butterfly one I desperately needed to transport my new goods home,  I realize that I was a wild woman!

As a passionate surface designer, artist and crafty gal, I feel compelled to purchase paper goods from every place I visit and Hong Kong proved extremely fruitful.  I consider it research, really...

The bulk of the paper goods I got came from a prayer shop.  These amazing shops contain paper goods with traditional Chinese imagery such as lotus's, chrysanthemums, dragons and Chinese characters.  All the paper goods from the prayer stores are intended to be burned in temples during holidays, funerals, and during everyday praying.  It's hard to believe these papers will be burned, they are so beautiful.

Lots of the papers actually represent everyday objects such as clothing, cell phones and houses.  The houses were like paper doll houses, they were amazing but I didn't see any packed flat, and my luggage was already busting at the seams so I will have to wait until my next visit to get one.
Most of the papers I got were packaged in mysterious bundles.  I will unwrap them now, here goes...

A stack of lotus flowers with lots of gold leaf-ish accents.

Beautiful mini traditional outfits.

Yipee, with enough outfits to cut up and still have some left over!

I unfolded this and it's actually a huge bag.  Isn't it amazing!!! Wish I got 2!

These are life size shirts and include pants as well.  I love the variety of flowers on the blue one, and how they are clustered together.  Must remember this for my own flower designs!

An Indian paisley in purples, yum!!

A mysterious bundle, I wonder what's inside?

Woo hoo!!

Another bundle, bigger, fantastic exterior paper, can't wait to see what's inside...

But of course, a complete life size outfit.  Hmmm, I don't think those shoes will fit me...

One final bundle, nice and chunky, will if be the best bundle of all...?

Holy bundle indeed! 

I am delighted by my Chinese papers, they are so beautiful and are going to be inspirational for my own surface designs and patterns.

I have decided that 2013 is the year I go back to serious crafting.  I will balance my time between surface designing on the computer, and crafting in the studio.  My first project will be to make little lanterns and hanging ornaments with these papers and the rest of my pretty huge paper collection. 

Until then, jet lag is forcing my eyes shut...Happy Year of the Snake!!