Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#creativetuesday #4 | found-papers artists books

images: a journey through both of my books 

Another #creativetuesday is here and I thought I'd share my 2 latest creations - 'found-papers' artists books. This comes from enjoying time on the PaperLove course.

There are reams of collected, hoarded, squirreled and folded papers that fill the many crevices of my home. I love the touch, feel, even smell of paper. Paper with history; paper with substance; paper that holds potential; paper that needs intervention and paper that tells a story. 

Gathered here are different sized pieces from:

- vintage book pages (blank)

- vintage art catalogue page

- hand-made paper

- watercolour paper  

- cartridge paper

- tracing paper

- brown kraft paper 

- Somerset paper

- a photocopy

- magazine page

- screen prints I've done 

+ more

Assembled by size, weight, texture, interest and stitched together using waxed linen thread.

I used these as 'vessels for ideas' - I love that notion! Once made, I started to work in to the pages. There are some layers of collage with varying paperloves of mine, then I re-discovered my spray paint and whole pages became blanked out in a coat of black and the occasional strip of black releasing alternative narratives within an image.

This may well be a new way to feed my work and project ideas: sketchbooks with context and history i.e. I didn't simply walk in to a shop and buy a sketchbook! I love things that have a patina of age, of being handled, of well, so many stories.

Some images from magazines, postcards and other sources, I covet so much, that to copy and include seems a good way to view and play without 'ruining' the original. Sometimes I live in fear of 'ruining' an original of something because the image, the paper, the whole 'idea' holds so much potential, and once I have done something to it, I may be committing it to a final symbolism, or existence, coded once and for all and no longer open to many possibilities....

In fact screen printing works well for this challenge, and I will be including some of my creations here soon for a #creativetuesday.

What projects, ideas, loves, passions, creations have you been working on, or tinkering with? What materials does it involve? What images on your camera, or notes in your sketchbook? (Yes, photos, words and squiggles are included too!) Do share with a link (URL) to your online home or place where images or words exist for those of us here to peak at :)

Instagram & Paris

I am off to Paris this week - if anyone has recommendations of where to visit, do let me know.  I will be posting some of my adventures on instagram, so if you're not already following (and want to), head over here for more: https://instagram.com/ameliacritchlow/ 

It is my intention to use instagram (more) as a way of adding snippets of my day-to-day life with a considered and artistic touch. I love photography as much as paper, and, well, lots of other art techniques.


Oh, and I am loving the links, connnections, and richness that is forming over on my paper | texture | form board on Pinterest (you might want to peak ;) ) Or start your own board....


Friday, 27 March 2015

Where to get non-traditional art materials from (for experimenters)

the stick with ink on is a BBQ skewer ;)


Spring is in the air. Ideas are brewing. Art is being created and I would love to know - where do you get your art materials from?

I've been thinking about this a fair bit recently as I often find myself in the most obscure places gathering materials for my art projects. So, I thought a post about it would be an idea. Here goes:

- carboot or yard sales - when I was doing my art MA I was creating installations with fairy-tale like narratives. I would often go to my local boot sale to source old and odd items, such as vintage scissors, jars of ink, mirrors etc

- eBay - eBay is an amazing place to buy art materials from. I found intriguing items for the project mentioned above. Also great for vintage postcards and photographs to work with or household trinkets and ornaments to make sculptures from 

- charity shop - similarly if seeking clothes or fabric to do stitched art on and need something with a history, apart from one's own wardrobe, buying reclaimed clothes to cut up from here, to patch, dye and stitch, is a great resource. I have also bought old linen from street sales in France.

- cosmetics shop - in the past I have used cosmetics for work including staining (those who have done the experimental art e-course with me, will know about this ;) ) Nail varnishes (polish) are like enamel paint, and there's liquid liners or coloured rouges/blushers to experiment with!

- the stationery shop - Who said paper? Oh how I love the stationers for all the potential paper cutting, tearing, hole-punching, ripping and layering. I love the squared graph paper - see artist Abbi Torrance who uses graph paper to draw on - and then there's tracing paper that is lovely to layer on top of other papers/colours, and of course hand-made papers that can be put through the printer to get gorgeous prints on. Hole punches can be bought here - see this recently discovered artist. And then there's pencils and glue to glue collages with...

- museums - partly what precipitated this post is because I found myself at the local science and natural history museums recently buying crystals and even a 'grow your own crystal kit'.  See artist Karen David. I have this idea that I would like to collage with crystal and rock etc. On speaking to a friend it's possible to make one's own crystals with copper sulphate and knotted string - has anyone done this experiment? Also, solar paper can also be bought from museum's often - I'm keen to take some 'sunlight' photographs soon

- hardware or DIY shop - this leads me on to the hardware shop. There is SOOO much to be got from here. White spirit to mix with oil pastels, or string to create an Eva Hesse or Richard Wentworth art-piece with. Maybe copper sulphate can be bought here too? Wood for painting on (I've bought many wood off-cuts from my local hardware shop), sandpaper and bleach to 'erase' with (presence and absence and all that) ;) and household paints to paint with, wallpaper to collage or create installations with + more I'm sure...

- the great outdoors - oh my and this is all for FREE. What is possible to collect here is immense. Flowers for petal collages (try collaging flower petals on to old photographs), leaves to print on or with, or use for stitch inspiration (veins of leaves are amazing), stones or rocks for creating an Andy Goldsworthy's with or for collaging (that's what I'm planning - if it's even possible!?) Mud to paint with, berries to stain and colour with, twigs to create mobile art or installations, or as I do, try sharpening a twig with a scalpel and dipping it in ink to draw - it's amazing! Create a collage of debris from found items

- library & second-hand bookshop - I have often bought old books, magazines and even ordnance survey maps from my local libraries. I will cut up book pages, use collage from the magazines and of course maps are great for art. Possibilities: collage on top, reference the lines, use as inspiration for an individual style map or mapping and print and use element as a starting piece for an art project. The same applies to second-hand book shops

- fabric shop - I love the fabric shop for all the embroidery threads to stitch with, to muslim, voile, linen and cottons to make a canvas with or stitch in to. See artist Alice Wilson who uses voile to stretch over a frame and then paint and draw on to so the image can be viewed on two sides (Alice has a show coming up at ArtLacuna next month by the way). I've also recently been buying fabric paint to paint on to vintage french linen with and have used calico in the past to do Watercolour painting on - very interesting effects

- the bin (or trash) - I love my recycling bag for all the potential bottles, card, paper etc. I will often recycle envelopes in to my artists books. Items can be used to create debris, card or paper collages or use items to create installations to photograph. See this artist's photos of plastic bags - they look amazing! And loo roll art from Yuken Teruya. And Sue Webster's shadow art - see what can be done with a mountain of plastic!

This makes me want to run out and start gathering materials to do all sorts of experimental art projects with :)

I love to extend the possibilities. Think outside the box. In fact it's got me fired up for running another experimental art e-course. I want to add to the course and am plotting and planning at the moment (I'm aiming for later this year). You can of course hear more via this mailing list: experimental art mailing list.

Where you gather your materials from? I would love to hear - and add to this list........


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

#creativetuesday #3 | paper sculpting

As a result of doing #creativetuesday I have felt more immersed in the creative zone. This is good. It's funny how parameters can work positively and get results. 

This process is like a peak in to how I work and think. Building on from last weeks 'presence and absence', I have continued to explore these possibilities and see where else I can take what I have been working on (above).

Structure, construct, geometry, bio-morphic, bio-molecular have all recently come in to the equation. I can't seem to string the words together to explain how/why because this is a process based, well, process.... The links are visual at this stage.

Where does identity start? How are most things - physical and metaphysical - constructed? Does art emulate life/nature? Maybe it is all linked, like circles, yes circles, growth, expansion are all good......

I will stop there.

Paper is such a key medium to my work. The above image is utilising waste - waste images, waste waste (I won't tell you just yet what the circular pieces are from that the paper sits in ;)

It is this love of paper that finally tipped me over in to taking Rachel Hazell's PaperLove e-course. I LOVE paper and it's fun being on the receiving end of assignments and being part of a group. Well, I love any excuse to make too :)

So here are some more of the paper play and paper sculpting I've been doing......

There is something truly satisfying about playing with paper. I am getting lots of ideas!

And I'm still obsessing with Pinterest, adding to my paper | texture | form board - wanna see? Check here: https://www.pinterest.com/ameliacritchlow/paper-texture-form/

So much one can see, make, do, perceive, connect, muse on..... ah, the list goes on.

What creative projects are you working on? What Pinterest boards do you have or love? Any paper art projects out there you enjoy? Do share ;)


Saturday, 21 March 2015

'How To Make an Origami Envelope' with Flow Paper (by Rachel Hazell)

Dear friends,

A guest post! Yes, I'm trying another new experiment. I've invited Rachel Hazell to do a lovely paper tutorial. Great timing as Easter looms. Righto, I will hand straight over to Rachel.....


Hello fellow paper people! 

Thank you Amelia for inviting me to create a guest blog post for you. This comes from the Isle of Iona, (www.ionahostel.co.uk) where I am preparing soup and goody bags for the Driftwood Bookbinders who are arriving. 

We are going to think and write and fold and stitch all the long weekend. Because everything to do with travel, stationery, correspondence, maps and handwriting gets me super excited, I’ve chosen to produce instructions for an origami envelope made from a paper square. Compose a thoughtful message on one side and follow the instructions below to construct a neat self-contained vessel. Happy folding!

You will need:

Paper. Experiment with different thicknesses, but somewhere between 80gsm and 160gsm is ideal. I’ve used paper from Flow Magazine’s Book For Paper Lovers. Packed with pattern (AND bunting, AND labels, AND stickers, AND postcards, AND wrapping paper….) www.flowmagazine.com You probably need it.


Cut paper into a perfect square, by folding one corner of a rectangle diagonally. Use a bone folder to get your creases crisp.

The triangle’s long side is going to become the bottom edge of your envelope.

Roughly divide the long side into thirds, fold in one point. Just under a third is better than over. Guestimating is fine!

And then fold in the other point, which will meet the other end, just about.

Fold this top point back over itself, exactly half way across the bottom line.

Lifting the point up to a ninety-degree angle, gently open out and push it down flat to create a square-shaped lozenge.

Finally bring the top triangle down to meet the bottom edge, crease, and then slide the point into the lozenge to seal.

Perfect for billets doux, notes on presents, a literary advent calendar, and whenever you need to send a special message…

Try with manuscript paper, pages from old books, thick wrapping paper…. I’d love to see what you create!

Please share on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Paperphilia 
Twitter @BookloverRAH 
or Instagram @paperhazell – thank you!

Rachel Hazell’s five week e-course PaperLove, packed with bookart, calligraphy, collage and more origami starts March 23rd. See: www.rachelhazell.com/ecourse/


Thanks so much to Rachel. I know what I'll be doing this weekend! An idea for #creativetuesday? ;)

Back soon,


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

#creativetuesday #2 | presence & absence + playing

I got slightly panicky I might have nothing to share this #creativetuesday, however, I realise I have many ongoing projects & thought processes that are manifesting themselves bit by bit around my house and studio. It's just a case of selecting (and choosing not to be too self-conscious) about what I share given it's finished (or non-finished) state. It's about the journey right? 

So today, whilst in between domestics and small biz admin, various art manifestations were popping up. Things I had lying out on the table, coming together in 'thought-photographs' (I like that description - just came up with it!). 3D things that emerge out of my sketchbook (this being a reason I don't/can't always work in a sketchbook). And so a bit of erasing here and some photo-taking there and this here is my #creativetuesday #2 'show and tell' above.

I have been going a little crazy with ideas due to conversations about upcoming art projects later this year and thinking about natural 'structures', and what informs my practice + identity. It seems lately that presence and absence have been touched on again.

It is these combinations and ideas that have seen me rushing to the Science Museum and Natural History Museum in London this last week to buy non-traditional art materials (notice clear quartz crystals in the 2nd image). I'm not sure where I'm going with this...... maybe this is why art tutorials can be hard at times as much is about thought, concept, organic distribution and unrolling of ideas ,'the unthought thought', only discovered through process, exploration and play within one's given area of interest.

I am doing a collaborative project with another artist whose work looks at identity through architecture. Later I had another conversation about architecture as structure, leading me on to first 'structures' in the natural world - stone, crystal etc, hence my above mentioned visits to said museums and first dabblings in to new ideas......

I am still processing. This is why I love it (art). It throws up as many questions as answers and it is deep in the centre of enquiry that the most comfort (& discomfort) can be found. It is like poetry and philosophy all rolled in to one. It's the place where the biggest mysteries can be felt, seen, heard and even missed - but the pleasure comes from trying to look, from trying to place it. That's the best description I can give as I think words lack at times, and that's why visual language can be so potent - it's a whole other language all together.

I have been finding some of the most interesting images on the net and Pinterest and sharing + creating some new boards too: experimental photography and drawing - please feel free to check them out.

And remember, if you'd like to share your own creative dabblings from knitting to sketchbook ideas, to sound projects and writing (whatever - it's about creativity!) the idea is to copyy any URL with images of your creativity such as blog, flickr, pinterest, twitter, website - wherever it may be - and paste the URL in the comments below. If you're not ready and/or you just want to look, that's fine too, but go on I dare yah to share ;) I will be doing more anyways.

Back soon.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

#creativetuesday #1 | postcard experiments

These are some postcard experiments I've been playing around with. 

They could be transient, just explorations in themselves; they might lead to somewhere (new ideas?) or stay as they are. I start the process and then leave them be for a while, looking at them and quietly thinking what I might do next as I go about my day to day things.

I visited a local gallery recently and bought lots of postcards of artworks and had fun cutting, scalpeling and layering - you know, just playing and experimenting without having definitive thoughts of what the end 'product' might be. 

There are a few bits added from mags, but mainly postcard. I like the 3D idea too...... miniature paper worlds fascinate me.

I've been exploring in Screen printing too, but will probably need to develop these ideas before sharing ;)

If you'd like to get creative and want some ideas, the jealous curator is running a creative UNblock series over here.

I've also just got my hands on this book: Paper Made!: 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper - I'm looking forward to doing something from here too.

If you have any experiments you've been working on, or creative projects and endeavours up online anywhere, please feel free to share in the comments by linking. I'd love to see, or hear, or read!


Monday, 9 March 2015

inside my #sketchbook | ideas and processing

Admittedly, I'm rather a 'neat' artist. I make a big mess, but have to have a clear space before I start and when I'm getting overwhelmed, have to clear up a bit more to continue :)

I started this morning with a 'morning' collage (right-hand side). I often have paper to hand as I adore paper in a massive way. I utilised part of an old screen print (I'm doing a screen printing class at the moment), some photographic prints from old projects and other images and paper I've collected along the way. I placed and glued intuitively to get warmed up in to the creative act. (The work on the inside jacket of the sketchbook is an old book page with ink and bleach from a while back.)

In my Workbooks I talk about doing 'morning drawings' also and this was another page in my sketchbook from today. I had this idea about drawing models in situ - my daughter has left me some strange magazines and as you may know, I'm fascinated by the way we are portrayed in main stream imagery. I thought by taking the photo into drawing, something else would arise...... I'm still playing with this idea. Maybe I will do more..... (and yes, blu tac is a good eraser!) 

This then lead to the idea of printing another image directly onto watercolour paper and painting with watercolour. (Oh and the collage on the left-hand side next to the turquoise one is a collage that found me - i.e. debris that collected on the table and I thought it looked rather good!) I find the next image haunting. How gaunt and skinny... it disturbs me. To add to this disturb I removed the face and replaced with a black and white copied image of a natural landscape against the deep turquoise green of the room. Models are often identity-less, we see the bodies but don't know the names or personalities. The replacement of the face attempts to explore this concept. Again, I am thinking through doing. There are no conclusions at this stage. A methodology and form of research through the act of making, drawing, collaging, removing and painting in my sketchbook.

Finally, I dreamt up this idea of taking the geometrical work I have been doing (see post below), into 3D. So the last image is my first forays in to this. I found a template, cut it out and applied to a magazine page and folded and glued into a pyramid. This too is only the beginning.

It's quite strange putting my baby/sketchbook ideas out there (out here). I will continue to work with these ideas and have many more ideas to explore + further delvings in to what I've already started.

I will be back tomorrow for another idea I'm working on for #creativetuesday. Lots of creativity at the moment. I do hope it lasts. Although, it's not always easy!