Saturday, September 27, 2008

CARDMAKING: From Concept to Reality, Article 1

I’ve been doing a lot of introspection lately about the craft of cardmaking . . . . . . particularly in regard to where a cardmaker finds his/her “inspiration” to create new card designs, and then, once that inspiration occurs, how does the s/he bring those designs from “concept to reality” ?

As for me, I get the inspiration for my various card designs from lots of different sources . . . . such as colorful or special themed scrapbook papers, beautiful or unique embellishments, animals and nature, a poem or saying, a life event, or even a “challenge” by a client or fellow cardmaker to produce a card along a certain theme.

From the point that I get an idea for a card, how I go about developing that card design will vary…. For example, if my “inspiration” comes from a particular patterned scrapbook paper, I’ll start with the patterned paper and build a card design either around the color scheme or theme of the paper, sifting through all my papers and embellishment to find just the right combination. Other times, I’ll find a great quote, print it on a piece of cardstock, and then pick the papers and embellishments to go with that theme. Or, I might see something (a tree, an animal, a flower) that inspires me to create a paper piecing, and then the paper piecing becomes the focal point of my card design, with the overall card design evolving around that.

For today’s Blog post, I thought I’d show an example of one of my handmade card designs that evolved from a poem. The origin of this card was a rather lengthy poem (author unknown) that one of my card clients/friends sent to me, posing to me the challenge of incorporating it into a sympathy card. After a little tweaking, my friend and I came up with a shortened version of the poem (The original poem was actually about a “ship”, but I changed that to “boat”.)

A boat sails, and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon,
While someone at my side says, "She is gone."
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all……
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "She is gone",
There are others who, watching her coming, take up a glad shout,
"Here she comes!"

I couldn’t find any paper that lent itself particularly well to this poem/message, so I decided to try my hand at developing a paper pieced sailboat. I was lucky enough to find an image of a sailboat in a cutout from a brochure I had saved. (I'm ALWAYS cutting out and saving pictures and sayings that I see in magazines and catalogues, and adding them to my “inspiration” file!)

Not being an artist by trade, but having some limited skill in sketching, I managed to come up with a sailboat drawing of my own, using the little sailboat cutout as a guide.

And from this drawing, I developed a paper piecing pattern for the sailboat. Then I used the pattern to cut out the pieces of the sailboat from various scraps of textured Bazzill cardstock that I have around, punched out a large circle (the moon, or maybe the decide!) from deep yellow Bazzill, cut out a few free hand seagull silhouettes, a mast and a tiny flag, and came up with the following sailboat design.

Since all of my cards are fully lined with another layer of plain acid free white cardstock, I printed the text of the shortened version of the poem on the inside upper liner of this card. The inside bottom of the card remains blank for the sender’s handwritten message.

Over the next week or so, I hope to show other different examples of how some of my favorite handmade card designs have come to be.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from my fellow cardmakers (and indeed, other craftspersons and artisans as well!) about how you get your inspiration, and once inspired with an idea, how you bring that idea from CONCEPT to REALITY.

Until we meet again..........I wish you calm seas and smooth sailing.


Lisa said...

Great article Jan.! My ideas come from everywhere I guess you could say. Sometimes they just 'appear' in that brain of mine. Other times it's from a magazine. I love color, and I love paper, and I really love embellishments, so a lot of the time, that is where my ideas come from. I love certain color combos too. Pink/brown (haha...your favorite.!), red/blue, yellow/gray...the list goes on.
Thanks again for a great artricle and a GREAT paper pieced card.!

Scrappinren Creations said...

Love your cards, and your sailboat is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

beautiful cards! I don't work with paper... but inspiration comes to me by thinking "what is the orrosite of what I would wear?" I like to wear plain boring colors but LOVE to make bright flashy jewelry!