One Stencil, One Image Transfer, Two Journal Pages - Part II Warmup Exercises to Spice It Up
7 Swans A Swimming : Altered Book Mixed Media Panel

The Prince of Buttons: November Ribbon and Trim Mixed Media Artist Tribe Challenge

“Hank truly wanted to believe that his brain was mightier than his sword.  But when he tried to use calculus to rule his subjects, the damn Buttons just kept on multiplying.  And that my friends, really set him off on a tangent...."


Mixed Media Panel by Jill McDowell

This month, Gwen challenged the Tribe to use beaded and embellished trims in a project. I have to tell you that I really had a difficult time picking out which trims I wanted to work with. The Ribbon, Trims, & Textile Section of Gwen's online shop is a feast for your eyes. Rich organza and sari trims adorned with pearls, rhinestones, and mirrors; colorful peacocks, elephants, and flowers stitched with silk and gold bullion threads; luxurious sari patchwork ribbon embellished with intricate embroidered designs, jewels, and sequins. Darn Gwen!  How can I be expected to ever make up my mind with so many choices? 

Clearly, if I was to going to take on Gwen's challenge, I needed a plan...

So I set off to make a mixed media wood panel inspired by the art of Lin Collette.  I simply adore Lin's quippy, quirky little collages and the story lines that go with them on Instagram.  Her posts never fail to make me chuckle.  (Check mark in the style box.)

Next I needed a charmingly, albeit flawed main character to quip about.   One of the Princes from Gwen's Irresistible India Collage Cutouts fit the bill. He's always been one of my favorites.  (Check mark in the theme box.)

Finally, I set off to find trims to work with.  When I got to the Irresistible India Trim Section, I knew that I was in the right place and chose these three beauties.  (Check mark in the color palette box.)


And the rest is history.  Here's how my panel all came together.

I started off by collaging a 10" x 14" wood panel with stenciled book pages and some Chiyogami and mulberry paper from the shop.  These are the stencils that I used:


I added depth by glazing, sanding, re-glazing, edging, re-glazing, and stamping over the collage until I liked what I saw.  And then I probably added a few more layers of glazes for good measure.

I painted in some of the background spaces and then auditioned my Prince on the panel. Hmmm, maybe just a tad bit too frilly...


Perhaps adding something just a little weird would add to his quirkiness?   So I rummaged through a stash of parts I’d picked up at an MIT Tag over the summer.  (FYI, an MIT tag sale is a really good place to find weird, recycled parts. Many of these I found free for the taking.)  I wonder if an old camera lens is odd enough?

IMG_4842 I began to build a throne for my Prince to view his subjects from. He'll definitely have a unique perspective on things....


I used a metal finding as a frame, glued a mathematical table that tied in perfectly with my theme onto the base, and aged the throne with Distress Oxides.  (But alas, who would have guessed that in the end all of this would be covered over?  So glad I snapped a pic before it was buried.)


I found a piece of Turkman jewelry from the shop that reminded me of a sword.  I set it on a bed of jewels snipped from my trimmings laid over an old enamel pin, (originally an obnoxious yellow) refreshed with acrylic paint. Finally, I strung some beads on a thin piece of wire, curled the ends, and used it as an embellishment.


Of course eventually I concluded that the sword embellishment needed its own base. So I built one with painted fabric leaves and more trimming snips. 


I laid everything out on the table, (sorry no pic this time) and still thought it looked a little bare.  So I hunted through my stashes.  Bingo!  Anybody else have a button box?


I picked out a few interesting ones and painted them with a wash of teal acrylic paint.


Then I filled in the empty spaces with buttons, glue, and another wash of teal paint.   I even added a free hanging chain of beads for good measure.  

I glued down my supporting star, the red and gold scalloped trim, rolling over it with a brayer to make sure that the glue made good contact.  (Did I mention that I am totally in love with that red and gold scalloped trim?)  I found a little piece of coordinating trim from my stash that would add some blue and enhance the red.


Next I glued my Prince and his Button Entourage onto the wood panel and decided to bling out his throne. So I snipped some more jewels from the trim, glued them into place, and topped it off with a bale from an old necklace to make the throne more fitting for a Prince.


Somewhere along the way I managed to string some more seed beads on a piece of wire and added a jewel on the end.  I wrapped it around the camera lens for a little pop, (as if my Prince needed any more dimension...).


To tie it all together, I added a piece of an old slide rule that I’d been hoarding. Apparently someone named Hank had used it years ago.  Suddenly my Prince found his name.


I think that the Gods were all in alighnment on this one as all of the pieces seemed to fall in step with my theme.  I'm really happy with the way Hank, my Button Prince turned out. Here are a few more pics of the finished panel.  


Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  And I am so thankful for my family, my friends, and all the support that you have shown me as I started exploring my artistic side this year with this blog.  I really do appreciate all the kind word and encouragement that you've given me.  Thank you all so much.  I hope that you have an incredible Thanksgiving shared with your family and friends.  Until next time... Hugs, Jill

P.S. We all know what comes after Thanksgiving....  Be sure to keep your eyes open for details of Gwen’s Cyber Monday Sale.  It’s going to be her biggest sale of the year.  So big, that she’s extending it into Tuesday.  (And check out the trims while you are there.)  More info to follow.


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