Tag Archives: mixed media

Mixed Mania

Mixed Mania: Recipes for Delicious Mixed-Media Creations


This summer I have been looking at a lot of books, buying them and checking them out at the library. I decided that perhaps some reviews were in order. I look for books that might give me inspiration, teach me a new skill, guide me through a project idea or lead my artwork in a new direction. I also browse books that might aid me in my classroom instruction, or ones that might provide students with ideas and inspirations for their own classroom projects. Here I will attempt to share the ones I like and didn’t like, and would love your feedback! 

Mixed-Mania is written by Debbi Crane and Chery Prater. As new media changes the way we communicate,  it is interesting to know that they collaborated long-distance on this book. But it is even more interesting to know that they had not met in person and were introduced online through mutual art connections. They worked on the book entirely online and only met in person a couple of times, yet they banter as if they have been life-long friends. I marvel at this dynamic and think about how this sort of thing would not have happened as easily fifteen years ago.

This book is written in the style of a cookbook. I love this because I also like to read cookbooks. Plus it is a very unique spin on how to offer up the ideas and instructions that is different from other art project/technique books. I particularly like the Substitution Chart… like if you just don’t have Diamond Glaze you can use any 2-part epoxy resin for the same effect. (OK so I still don’t have any of that, but still it is a good chart.)

It starts with some “Creative Kitchen Basics” (A discussion of the elements and principles of art) moves into some “Artistic Appetizers” which are easy projects, then some “Main Courses” and “Special Occasions” that are larger projects including several fabric related pieces. At the end there is a gallery, which I always love and some templates for the included projects.

Each project is set up with shopping and ingredient lists, followed by step-by-step instructions and pictures. Most of the bigger projects are broken down into smaller parts and start with some text about the inspiration and back ground of the project. Throughout the book there are snippets of the creative dialogue between the two writers, which is fun.

I haven’t done any of the projects, but many of them look a lot like things I have already done. I would certainly recommend this book for people new to mixed media. While the images are inspiring and fun, I didn’t really see any great new skills for me to learn. So this one will be going back to the library.

Playing Favorites: Mixed Media

When haven’t I created something that was mixed media? Paint, paper, fabric and embellished with stuff… would probably describe anything I have made. So to pick a mixed media favorite is going to be very, very difficult. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite of the ones displayed in Seth’s blog for Playing Favorites: mixed media 1, because I love to look at other people’s mixed media art as much as I like to create my own. It is obviously a well loved art form, since he had to break it into two seperate posts to contain all the wonderfulness.

Art Lives Here Doll

This is a wonderful mixed media doll sculpture that I made at ArtFiberFest a few years back. She is my favorite because it was really my first time really embellishing the heck out of something and I LOVED it!

Where does art live? When does the muse come to visit? Will she arrive in her fancy frocks or grungy jeans ready to get down and dirty? This doll represents my muse when she is dressed to go to the gallery and make an enterance. See larger detail images here  This doll is created with a base body of a men’s tie. It is embellished with buttons, beads, feathers, ribbons, tulle, coins, sequins, paper, wire and many different types of fabric. Her stamped face is sewn in and painted on paper with watercolors. Little pockets are sewn onto the front in sheer ribbon and each pocket is stuffed with yarn, beads, gold powder, other fabrics, sequin waste and even tinsel. Inspired by Kate Lyons and her dolls.

Who’s Your Dada?


My first class at Artfest 2008 was Opie and Linda Obrien for Who’s your Dada Dolls. We all received the same head and block for a body, but it is amazing the different things that came out of that class. I find that incredibly fascinating, the different ways to solve the same problem that can come from a group of very creative people. (Here are some examples from show and tell night) I was also amazed at how little Jen brought with her… I had tons of stuff! but her work was amazing none-the-less. I kept offering her some of my junk… but apparently she likes a challenge.

Opie and Linda are a hoot and I learned some VERY cool things about apoxie sculpt. A material that I had never heard of let alone tried. On my first piece, I really only used the apoxie as an attachment substance. It worked well to connect a plastic comet to the doll head and the heavy wooden wings to the wooden block body. The material takes paint easily and blends in to the sculpture, in addition to being a super way to attach awkward pieces. I would love to explore it more, perhaps. I really want to move beyond mixed media and sculpture in general to focus more on fabric. I do love sculpture so who knows what I will do! I wish I had learned more about wire and sculpture attachments but Opie and Linda had too much desire to do things for their students.

SM100I brought some wings that have been in one of my mixed media drawers for awhile. These went on my body right away. But then I was stuck on how top heavy my piece was turning out. While I pondered this problem, I walked the room to see what other people were creating. Then I worked on some more sculpting material on a second piece, also with wings. I am not much of a clay sculptor, but I was so impressed and inspired with what some other classmates were designing, I had to try something a little more textured and design oriented. This little bug was the results.



 Luckily on the walk back from lunch I found a couple of sticks that looked like they were legs with high heels. Turns out they were the perfect finish to balance out my first piece. I love these two dolls together, so I have named them “Little Boy Bird and Bitsy Bug“