Inspired by | Abeltje

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha ValkIt’s cold! But it’s also the 10th…  So I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by to share!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

This time the theme is a book. But not just any book, it’s a classic Dutch children’s book:

Abeltje

The book is written by Annie M.G. Schmidt and published in 1953. It was her first complete novel.

I grew up reading Annie M.G. Schmidt and I think I’ve read most of her children’s books and stories. My absolute favourites are the ones that are illustrated by Fiep Westendorp, but those weren’t available in Riikka’s local Finnish library, so we went with Abeltje instead.

According to Wikipedia the book about the lift boy who flies around the world in a department store lift is translated into Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish. Not in English, but there’s a plot summary on the Abeltje Wikipedia page in English.

Abeltje is one of the few Schmidt books that I do not own. I have memories of it being read to me in first grade and I always thought I had read it myself later on, but… now that I’ve re-read it, I’m not so sure anymore. Most of the story surprisingly didn’t ring a bell at all!

I’ve also never watched more than a few snippets of the film that was made in the nineties.

To me it was like reading a new book. A book that was already ‘old’ when I first learned to read… And it’s mind blowing to find out that this 64 year old book isn’t dated.

I’m curious to read what Riikka has to say about this, as I think she has read to book to her kids. There is of course mention of phones and typewriters, instead of cellphones and computers, but I’m pretty sure kids still know what they are and it didn’t seem like the story took place more than half a century ago. Not to me, anyway!

The book

A sure sign that the book is still popular among kids, after all these years, is that all copies were checked out each time I went to the library. I even tried reserving it, without any luck. So I went to the thrift store to find one. And… I did!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

It was an oooooold yellowed paperback, but the cover looks pretty cool and there are black and white illustrations inside by Wim Bijmoer.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

And just in case I wasn’t aware, the former owner wrote on the first page that Abeltje is the first of two books. The second one is ‘De A van Abeltje’, but there are also editions where the two books were published in one volume. I’m not sure if Riikka read either one or both, but I haven’t read the second book.

A paragraph

This book is another mammoth… Which means that you can easily have a years worth of inspiration from just one page of this book: there are the characters, the clothes with shiny buttons, sequins and ostrich feathers, the department store with all kinds of merchandise, the adventures in different countries, the singing, the rabbit…

I just didn’t know where to start!

So I decided to start with one sentence or paragraph.

I opened the book to a random page. This is where it landed:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

And luckily for me, there, between the words ‘Toen werden…’ and ‘… wat een grote!’ were all the words I needed to create this:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

It isn’t the best illustration ever… But I had fun creating it and in the end that’s all that matters!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Now hop on over to Riikka’s blog Paperiliitin to find out what she thought of Abeltje and of course to see what she created!

Have a wonderful day!

Inspired by | Tea

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi! It’s the 10th again… Time for another Inspired by!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

This month’s theme is a beverage we both love and drink everyday:

Tea

I don’t remember how I came up with this month’s theme exactly, but if I have to take a guess, I think I had either tea packaging, a tea story or tea dyeing in mind and as Riikka and I are both tea drinkers, it just made sense!

Riikka sent me tea, called Lumi-kellot, which Google Translate tells me are snowdrops. At first glance I thought it would be a winter tea, flavoured with cinnamon or apple or berries, but it isn’t. It’s banana tea!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

Anyway: I really wanted to try tea dyeing, because I had never done it before. Well, I have… I’ve used tea splatter in workshops by the fabulous Finnabair, but that’s about it.

I grabbed some watercolour paper and I chose four teas from my stash that I thought would make different tints of colour: the black banana tea, a Christmas tea that I hoped would make the paper turn pink, nettle tea and remnant of rose green tea. Then I put the kettle on and the experimenting began!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

I flooded, submerged, steeped and double steeped the paper and I dripped tea onto it. I even attempted ‘watercolouring’!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

The black banana tea worked the best and it turned the paper a lovely tea colour. The Christmas tea didn’t turn the paper pink, but a nice lighter tea colour and the flowers and other stuff in there made nice marks on the paper.

The nettle tea turned the paper a beautiful soft green and the rose green tea just gave the paper a faint yellow colour. I think that I could have gotten more colour out of that one if I would’ve had more tea leaves.

marshavalk_inspiredby_tea-1-2

ATC’s

So… my take on the theme was mostly tea dyeing and then I thought: oh, but I also have to make something!

I’ve drawn as a pastime over the holidays, because it was something I could do in the company of others and I could easily stick a couple of pens, a pencil and some paper in my purse.

I also already made some tea inspired prints in November, so kind off inspired by that I created a couple of fun ATC’s with the tea dyed watercolour paper.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

Conclusion

Tea dyeing is as fun as I guessed it would be. I’m inspired to try other dye methods too, but maybe I should wait for Spring or Summer to experiment more.

marshavalk_inspiredby_tea-5

I used up some watercolour paper that was collecting dust in my craft space. It’s too textured for my taste and it was hard to draw the tea cups on, because of the bumps. But… I went with it. I also used coloured pencils, which I hardly ever do and I even broke out my sewing machine, which I don’t use that often any more!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

This was a good experiment and a good exercise in looking what I have on hand and using stuff I usually don’t give a second glance. I call it a win-win!

Now, let’s take a look at what my awesome friend has created. Visit Riikka here: Paperiliitin!

Edit: I’ve created an Inspired by | Tea board on Pinterest, if you would like to see more tea inspiration!

Creative JumpStart 2017 | Let’s Jump!

Creative Jumpstart 2017

Happy New Year! And… We’re off! Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017 has officially begun and I’m super excited that my video is up today!!!

I can’t wait to see all the other videos and I’m excited to see what the Jumpers are going to make inspired by those videos. Creative JumpStart really is the best way to start a new creative year!

Haven’t signed up yet? No worries! It’s not too late to join in! Go to Nathalie’s site to find out more and sign up!

Here’s a little sneak of what I’ve got in store for you:

Marsha Valk | Creative JumpStart 2017 Sneak Peek

Note that all links in this blog post are affiliate links, so if you decide to sign up through these links it is possible that I will get a percentage of the sale.

Creative JumpStart 2017

Creative Jumpstart 2017

Yay! I’m sooo excited to announce that I’ll be participating as a teacher in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017!!!

Nathalie Kalbach is running it for the 6th time and this will be the 4th (!) time I get to be a part of this awesome, annual, one-of-a-kind online event!

It’s just the best way to start a new creative year in January. You learn techniques, discover new materials and connect with other artists and crafters.

Throughout January participants get access to 27 downloadable videos from 27 featured teachers, called ‘JumpStarters’.

See for yourself:

Click on the image below to go to Nathalie’s site to find out more and sign up!

Creative Jumpstart 2017
Note that all links in this blog post are affiliate links, so if you decide to sign up through these links it is possible that I will get a percentage of the sale.

You get 27 videos for just $40 (USD) if you sign up before November 30th.

In December the price will be $45 (USD) and once January is here it goes to its normal sale price of $50 (USD).

Sooooo… what are you waiting for? Have you seen all the amazing artists that are teaching?!!

Sign up here at: n*Studio CJS2016 – Let’s Jump!

Inspired by | British Vogue – Sept. 2016

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Ah! It’s the 10th of the month! That can only mean one thing: I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by to share!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

Fall fashion

Even-though we’re experiencing something of an Indian Summer here in the Netherlands, for this month’s Inspired by, Riikka and I decided to go with something autumnal.

The September issues of all the renowned fashion magazines are always filled to the brim with the new international Fall/Winter collections and I’ve been wanting to do something fashion (magazine) related for a while now. I guess the time was right, this time!

We decided not to go with just the term ‘Fall fashion’, but to pin it down to one magazine. That way we would have the exact same base to work from. We picked British Vogue because Riikka instantly liked the cover and more importantly: we both could purchase it locally.

I think I’ve written about this before, but I have developed this new found interest in fashion magazines. For years I had little to no interest in them. If I could not afford, buy nor wear anything displayed in them: what was the point?

I only set eyes on them at the hairdressers and only if there wasn’t anything else to read. Until… something clicked. I was flicking through a L’Officiel and I had the sudden urge to take (photographic) notes. I was inspired! Afterwards I decided to buy the issue and I’ve been looking at fashion magazines with different eyes ever since.

It’s not that I regularly buy them now, but I will, if I’m in the mood. Fashion magazines are great for collage, if you are looking for faces to sketch, for colour inspiration, texture inspiration, material inspiration or when you just want to be wowed. Vogue is especially good for that. It’s fascinating. To me, anyway!

As said, I had no interest in fashion magazines for years. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact: when I was looking for my old school planners the other week, I was surprised by the amount of perfume, make-up and fashion clippings I found pasted into them!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

I was also reminded of my love for collage back then. I know dada was discussed in art class and I wonder if I was influenced by seeing photos of Hannah Höch’s work. I can’t remember! Sometimes I wish we could have had Pinterest 25 years ago, because I bet I would have started a Pinterest board about her.

So… what to do for this Inspired by?

Here’s what I wrote down:

Collage

Transfer (like Birgit Koopsen taught in Art Journal Summer School 2016)

Colour inspo

Embroidery/patches

Macramé

Jewels

And then I just grabbed my copy of British Vogue and started ripping out pages. I focused on reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples and I pasted snippets to cardstock bases of 14,5 x 15,5 cm.

This is not a random format: I measured the pages of the art journal I wanted to paste these in. That way I would not have to trim the collages in order to fit them in later.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

My goal was to ‘do’ and not ‘think’. One of the unfortunate decisions I made because of that, was that I choose to paste with Mod Podge Matte. I was almost out of Liquitex Matte Medium and I thought it would be OK.

I was wrong… The decoupage glue made the paper wrinkle and buckle and it was way too thick.

Later on, when I started painting and writing on the four pieces I ended up finishing, I also discovered that on top of that, the dry Mod Podge layer reacted differently than expected to my paint markers and I could not write directly onto it with my white charcoal.

Lesson learned.

Anyway, here are the results of my collaging:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

This one is inspired by the embroidered patches that are on trend right now.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

For this one I used a transfer technique Birgit taught in Art Journal Summer School this year. (Here’s a video she made with the same idea)

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

This one was inspired by an ad. All text on these pieces are just random sentences taken from the interviews in the magazine. I was surprised by how easy it felt to do this. It was awesome to not have to think about what to write for a change!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: British Vogue

When I look at this one now, I doubt it’s finished yet. It was inspired by all the bling that’s making a fashion come back. The bottom half is very, very wrinkled and you can’t see it, but I added a thin layer of gold paint on top of the yellow collage.

Conclusion

Oh how I love to cut and paste! But I definitely need to restock on the Matte Medium. I love the size I chose. I love how easy it was to just take random text to write. And I’m not done with this British Vogue yet. To be continued!

Now, I can’t wait to see what Riikka has made. Go and visit her at Paperiliitin!

Let’s Jump!

Marsha Valk | Creative JumoStart 2016

Today is my day on Creative JumpStart 2016!!!

Have a look at all the wonderful art the inspired participants created this month:

MarshaValk_CJS_PinterestBoard

Here’s a sneak peek of a page I did to prepare for my CJS video:

Marsha Valk | Creative JumpStart: Sneak Peek

Can you guess which artist I was trying to translate?!!

Head on over to the Creative JumpStart 2016 class room to see how my project turned out!

Not signed up yet? No worries: registration is still open! Videos will be online until November 2016, so there is plenty of time to catch up!

Inspired by | Deko

Inspired by: a monthly challenge by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Oooh, it’s November 10th already! Which means I have another instalment of Inspired by to share with you!

Inspired by is a monthly challenge my friend Riikka and I started over 3 years ago. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

For this month’s theme Riikka sent me an envelope that I shared on Instagram.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Deko

In the envelope I found some awesome goodies and… the October issue of the Finnish home decor magazine Deko!

I love all things magazine and I’m especially fond of home decor magazines. Flipping through the magazine I immediately saw plenty of jumping-off points.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Deko

As it happens I also had my own home decor on the brain. This has everything to do with Marie Kondo’s magic tidying up method. I read the book in May and I dove right in: not a thing in my home was left unturned.

After a while I became less of a fanatic and there is still plenty to de-clutter left, but… Loads and loads of stuff was purged and most rooms and closets became a lot more spacious. And although that was the point, it also became painfully clear that some of my stuff and some of the rooms are in dire need of an update.

So if I’m honest, seeing the clean and perfectly styled Scandinavian homes on the magazine pages made me a bit sad. Because I wish I could update everything in a flash. And I just can’t…

I can also partly blame this on Marie Kondo, because after reading her book I became much more conscious about what I buy and even where I buy. In a nutshell I’ve discovered that there really isn’t much stuff that sparks my joy. Also: the stuff that I do think is amazing usually is high quality and doesn’t come cheap.

And then there was something that came up in a conversation I had with Petra last week. We spoke about scrapbooking, journaling and documenting life among other things. I’m not really documenting anything on a regular basis right now. Not in a journal, not in a scrapbook, not in a planner and not even here on the old blog!

Petra gave me more than a couple of things to think about and when I came home I went through my 2015 photo library. I was curious to see what events I had photographed, what events I probably would have scrapbooked in previous years and if there were any photos that would make more sense if there were some words written about them.

Cue Marie Kondo again… In my May/June library there were loads of photos of piles of stuff, tidy shelves and neatly folded towels! And I had a story to go with them!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Deko // scrapbook page

Accompanied by some of the decorative elements that I found in Deko – of course! Like black and white doodled wall paper, yellow accents and blonde wood. I even formatted the text like in a magazine, just because it sparked my joy!

Do you have a favourite home decor magazine? Tell me in the comments, so I can check it out!

Then go to Paperiliitin to see what Deko-inspired project Riikka has created!

I’ll be back later today with an Elizabeth Craft Designs project, so be sure to check that out too, especially if you’re looking for an easy peasy Christmas project to make!