Hello everyone... welcome to September, and the start of a new challenge theme at The Artistic Stamper (also at Our Creative Corner, of course - but, as always, you'll hear more from me about that on the 15th of the month).
Our Artistic Stamper challenge this month is Autumn, and I'm so looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
Even though this time of year definitely has a melancholy tang for me, I love the colours and images of autumnal crafting.
This is a long and photo-heavy post, I fear - since this tag went through many, many layers in development.
I'm glad I have a pictorial record of the journey, because there were a number of stages along the way where I could happily have stopped and been very pleased with the result... so now I can return and, to some extent, re-create those stages for future creations.
Also, the tag proved pretty hard to capture on film - the final layer of crackle glaze means you really have to have it in your hands, able to tip and tilt it, and then all the hidden beauties deep in the background reveal themselves in turn.
I tried to get the sense of all the layers of mulch and decay as all the living matter gathers on the forest floor to provide nourishment for next year's growth... with a layer of the most brilliant reddened leaves scattered on the top.
So, it all started with a jumbo tag (size 10), and some Distress inks - what else? I used Tim's wrinkle-free distress technique with various inks and stains, including Picket Fence, which gives you that lovely opacity.
And I think I may have had a touch of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls powder in there too...
Next step was some stencilling using the Crafter's Workshop mini Flower Piecing mask and some Vintage Photo Distress Ink.
Definitely a look I love, and will return to - possibly as soon as I've finished editing this post!
Stamping next... and some of the fabulous images from Katy Fox's Encyclopaedia Botanica...
...summer flowers and insects which are now retreating into the background as we head into the autumn chill.
Then I needed something to give us more sense of that damp, rich, moist autumn morning feel, so a touch more colour was in order...
Another stage where I really like the complexity.
And that lovely dictionary text in Coffee Archival is also from Encyclopaedia Botanica set, by the way - I guess that's the encyclopaedia bit!
I also like the idea of a kind of dewy spider's web look crackling across the whole tag like the webs in the grass every morning at this time of year...
While it does mean that you lose some of the details in the background, I really love the effect overall.
But, as I say, it really helps to have the real thing to look at so that you can turn it to catch and deflect the light sparkling off it.
Next step: the words.
It's an obvious quote for Autumn, I'm afraid - the opening line of Keats's Ode to Autumn, but it really did seem perfect for the sense of the richness of nature as well as the moist decay I was playing with.
I used one of my leftover salty Dylusions ATC backgrounds to stamp the words onto.
I never thought I'd use this particular one - far too vibrantly red/orange for my usual tastes - it was just me playing at the time.
But it captures those vivid autumn leaf colours so well, and provided a really great contrast to the earthy colours of the background.
I used the little Hero Arts alphabet of course...
The leaves were an obvious choice...
And the Ornate Plate demanded its place too. I love how it looks all rusted up.
One last little remnant of the ATC was pressed into action inside the Ornate Plate.
I embossed the word 'autumn' in copper embossing powder, but it didn't have quite enough definition, so I outlined it with a fine black PITT drawing pen.
Finally, the topping... twine and raffia for a rustic look, and some crinkle ribbon dyed with Dylusions sprays and Distress Inks to pick up the colours of the quote on the tag.
In the sun, those Dylusions colours are so intense!
I do hope you'll come along and play with us at The Artistic Stamper - I'm looking forward to your Autumn projects.
But I really don't want to go without trying to give you some sense of how the whole thing sparkles in the sunlight... so I'll leave you with that, and the first verse of Ode to Autumn.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to lad and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To shell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.
From Ode to Autumn by John Keats
I'd like to enter this in Craft Mojo's September Challenge which is Autumn Colours