Category Archives: Collage/Mixed Media

Tiny House 4

You may remember back in the fall I took an online class on making Tiny Houses. I wrote about that experience in a series of posts which also showed you the houses I made back then.

And you may also remember the little people figures I made out of eydrops vials.

I have given these figures to people, with a cohort going to some nearby friends. For Christmas, I made a Tiny House for these little figures and gave it as a gift to these friends. Now I will show it to you.

It’s made of two boxes, one stacked on the other. It’s much smaller than the earlier Tiny Houses, only about 6″ tall, so that it could better fit the scale of the little people. Take a look.

Front and back:

I extended and reinforced the lid of the box so that it would be stiff and provide a nice wide base to make the house more stable. I put a garden scene on it because the recipients are avid gardeners.

There are three rooms in the house:

Now I’ll show you random details of the house. As you can see, I really enjoy embellishing all surfaces.

I’m going to say it again. Making a Tiny House is a lot of fun.

Tiny House 3

In September 2021 I took an online class through the Smithsonian called “Build a Tiny House”. I joined people from all over the US in building our own versions of the tiny house. I made three of them and I’ll show you the results in three different posts.

Thank you to my classmates and to our teacher, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard.

Here is my third house. Since our class was only three sessions, I wanted to finish this house before the class ended. So, I did some pre-work. I painted all surfaces of the boxes I used for the house. Some people in the class had specific plans they were carrying out, but I preferred to design as I went – therefore I painted and prepared all surfaces of the two boxes I intended to use, thoughI was not sure how I would put them together to form a strucure.

In the end, it worked out. Here is the third house.

You can see that I got more ambitous here. I used another cardboard shipping box for the main portion of the house, with a smaller shipping box cut down for the upstairs, and a portion of a box that originally held coffee to create the bay window on the side.

You can also see that I favor a dollhouse approach – with an interior and exterior. In the future I might try some houses that are just exteriors, with no inside, but if I do, I envision them being smaller. Maybe I could make them into a village for my toy cars???

Anyway, here are some details. In this house, for instance, like the previous one, I made a front door that opens and shuts.

There is also a roof garden. I thought the roof looked too bare when I added the second floor so I had the idea of enclosing a section with painted cereal box cardboard and making a little terrace.

And here are some more details of interior and exterior.

If you decide you’d like to try making a tiny house, collect your materials and dive in! It is a lot of fun.

Tiny House 2

In September 2021 I took an online class through the Smithsonian called “Build a Tiny House”. I joined people from all over the US in building our own versions of the tiny house. I made three of them and I’ll show you the results in three different posts.

Thank you to my classmates and to our teacher, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard.

Here is my second house. I took two cardboard shipping boxes and stapled them one on top of the other. I cut dome of the flaps off and used them to make interior walls. As in the first house I used paint, printing, markers, and papers to create the interiors.

Here are some details.

One thing I wanted to do was add interior walls, but how to secure them to the structure so that they would hold? I decorated the walls first. Then I took a strip of paper (in some cases I used paper tape, which has adhesive on it already, like an envelope – or you could just use tape, but I didn’t want to use tape because it didn’t accept paint in a way I like. If I had had washi tape that would have worked well too).

I cut the strip the length I needed and folded it in half the long way. From the side it looks like an L. I put glue on the back of the L and pressed it into the angle between wall and floor.

I did this for each part of the wall I wanted to secure. Then I painted or collaged or whatever I wanted over it – or sometimes I left it with its original look. You can see it in the house setting in the following photo.

This method works well to join any two pieces you want, at any angle. I also used it for roofs, for instance.

You may have noticed that the house has some furniture. Cardboard chair and a table incorporating a spool. And there is an occupant. This person is a simple paper doll figure that I stood up on the balcony.

Tiny House 1

In September 2021 I took an online class through the Smithsonian called “Build a Tiny House”. I joined people from all over the US in building our own versions of the tiny house. I made three of them and I’ll show you the results in three different posts.

Thank you to my classmates and to our teacher, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard.

Here is the first house I made. I used a shipping style small-medium cardboard box set on end and added an attic made of cereal box cardboard. Here are views of the house from front, back, and sides:

Materials used included acrylic paints, markers, fabric, paper tape, magazine pages, and some odds and ends of items I found around the house. I painted, printed, and scrawled all over this house before I was finished.

Here are some detail pictures:

It took me about a week to put this all together, including making the rickety chair (I tried several different methods and finally figured out what worked best for me). I did explore creating some origami furniture but I just can’t figure out the diagrams, so I gave that up.

Tiny People Made from Eye Drops Vials

As you may remember, I have been having some eye issues over the past three months and they continue to go on. I am getting closer to finding out what may be causing my vision loss and hope to know more very soon as to what the next course of treatment will be and what I might expect in the way of stabilization of my vision.

But, as part of the process, I have been doing intensive rehab of my corneas and eyelids. As part of this I take a LOT of eye drops. I use the single use vials because they have no preservatives, but that means there are a lot of plastic vials to be disposed of.

What to do? Well, when I first saw the shape of the vials I thought they looked like small people figures, somewhat like worry dolls. Immediately I knew I would be making tiny dolls, and what they decided to do for their careers, well, that was up to them – solve worries, live in tiny dollhouses, drive small cars, relax in the lush jungle foliage of a potted fern…

So let’s get going and I’ll tell you how I make them.

Here is a used vial. I take the lids off and let them sit a few days to dry out. Note – You will notice that in the following samples I didn’t do this, since when I wanted to make the demo photos I did not have any vials-in-waiting that were quite ready. But in general I save up a group and make quite a few dolls at a time.

Here are my supplies.

You may be wondering about the pliers. I have two sets – both from my jewelry class. They were very inexpensive.

I take the heads off the dolls while I am putting on their arms.

Then, I untwist a paper clip (I like the larger, stronger ones) and push it through the plastic “body”). This takes a little effort but it gets done.

Then I use the clipping area on the yellow pliers (close up to the hinge there is a sharp part to cut wire) to even up the “arms”. I then use the rounded pliers to form twirls for hands. I don’t try to make a pose with the arms at this time – I wait until the doll is finished.

Next, I get out my assortment of tiny fabric scraps and threads. I think you could also use paper or yarn as well, if you wanted to.

I make these women (they are all always female. Like every other figurine I make) with two basic outfit styles: wrapped thread skirt and wrapped cloth top, or cloth skirt and wrapped cloth top. You might come up with other ideas, it is up to you. For the thread skirt lady, I put some glue on the vial and wrap a lot of thread around and around until I cover up the glue.

For the cloth skirt ladies, I put glue on the vial and stick on a tiny piece of fabric so that it covers the whole bottom section. It doesn’t take much. Here are the two figures with their skirts done.

And, notice that they both have their arms in the air. I flip them to this position while dressing the figures because it gives me more room to work. It also makes me smile to see these tiny figures flexing their muscles or high-fiving me!

Next, the tops. I take a strip of fabric (and it doesn’t have to be very wide at all):

I put a line of glue on the front and back of the figure and begin to wrap the fabric in a figure-8 configuration – around the body, up to the shoulder, around the neck, back down, around the body to the other side and over the other shoulder in the same way. I add dots of glue as I go along to secure layers. Sometimes I don’t have a long enough strip so I just glue on another piece of fabric and keep going.

When the tops are done, the figures are dressed:

But sometimes I want to add more to the outfits. Maybe another fabric detail, or sometimes I use thread to wrap around the bodies in a decorative way. I gave this lady a couple of sashes.

Here are the two figures, all ready to go…

I could stop here, but I think they need faces. This is hard for me to do given my eyesight, so I take my time and if I make a mistake, I wipe the ink off ASAP before it dries and try again. What writing utensil do I use? After trying various pens and so on, I have settled on my cheapie acrylic paint pens.

They are used for painting rocks, and they write on anything, and once they are dry, their marks adhere well to the plastic surface, in my experience. Here are the twosome from above, now with faces:

Now, here are some shots of figures I have made. I have given some away and I’d be happy for anyone who wants three (always at least three, so they do not get lonesome) to let me know and we can work out sending some, maybe.

Or, you could make your own. Look around and see what materials could work for you. If you don’t have eye drops vials, how about twigs or even rolled up paper? No fabric – try paper. Glue? I bet you have glue!

Your imagination will guide you!

Five Stories for Five Years: Satyagraha and Ernest Jones

Fictive Dream, the online magazine devoted to the short story, is celebrating five years of publishing with a special event, Five Stories for Five Years. Editor Laura Black commissioned new stories by several authors from the beginning days of the magazine and they are being presented the week of May 17-21, 2021.

I illustrated each story, and I’ll be showing the art each day during the run of the event, right here.

Today’s story is Satyagraha and Ernest Jones, by Mike Fox.

I made four versions for this story in my intial work, but neither Laura or I were satisfied with the results. I didn’t even show her two of them, I felt they were just not good enough.

Laura sent me additional details of the story and then I created this image, which was exactly right.

Sometimes it just takes time.

Go to Fictive Dream, read the story, and see what you think.

Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020 Page 46

In March-June 2020 I created a sketchbook full of art made from odds and ends I had saved. The book has no words, just pictures. I am showing you the whole book, two facing pages at a time. The book was finished in June. I made it to help myself feel better as I passed through the early days of the pandemic.

Here are the project’s specifics.The book is a mixed media sketchbook that’s 5.5″ x 7.5″. I used collage materials including magazine pages and scraps of my own discarded artworks, as well as acrylic paints and inks, India ink, and pens, regular brushes, and bamboo brushes.

This page is the last one in this book. As such, it does not have a companion piece – there is just the back cover of the sketchbook.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this book over the past few months. If you want to look back over it, all the posts are entitled “Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020…” – search under that term and the posts should come up.

If you have any questions about techniques I used, just ask!

And now, here is the last page. But…don’t worry. I have another sketchbook finished and ready to be shown. Soon….!

Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020 Pages 44 and 45

In March-June 2020 I created a sketchbook full of art made from odds and ends I had saved. The book has no words, just pictures. I am showing you the whole book, two facing pages at a time. The book was finished in June. I made it to help myself feel better as I passed through the early days of the pandemic.

Here are the project’s specifics.The book is a mixed media sketchbook that’s 5.5″ x 7.5″. I used collage materials including magazine pages and scraps of my own discarded artworks, as well as acrylic paints and inks, India ink, and pens, regular brushes, and bamboo brushes.

Here are the pages as they appear in the book:

Here is a more detailed look at the images.

Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020 Pages 42 and 43

In March-June 2020 I created a sketchbook full of art made from odds and ends I had saved. The book has no words, just pictures. I am showing you the whole book, two facing pages at a time. The book was finished in June. I made it to help myself feel better as I passed through the early days of the pandemic.

Here are the project’s specifics.The book is a mixed media sketchbook that’s 5.5″ x 7.5″. I used collage materials including magazine pages and scraps of my own discarded artworks, as well as acrylic paints and inks, India ink, and pens, regular brushes, and bamboo brushes.

Here are the pages as they appear in the book:

Here is a more detailed look at the images.

Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020 Pages 40 and 41

In March-June 2020 I created a sketchbook full of art made from odds and ends I had saved. The book has no words, just pictures. I am showing you the whole book, two facing pages at a time. The book was finished in June. I made it to help myself feel better as I passed through the early days of the pandemic.

Here are the project’s specifics.The book is a mixed media sketchbook that’s 5.5″ x 7.5″. I used collage materials including magazine pages and scraps of my own discarded artworks, as well as acrylic paints and inks, India ink, and pens, regular brushes, and bamboo brushes.

Here are the pages as they appear in the book:

Here is a more detailed look at the images.