n*Studio | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Coffee Filter Flowers

Just in case you missed it: it was my turn on the n*Studio blog last week! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad used what we already had, in an attempt to make our carbon footprint just a tiny bit smaller.

I recycled a recent project idea and shared another take on my Gelli Arts® Gel Printed Coffee Filter Flowers. These are so much fun to make!

Read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Marsha Valk

Curious about my project for October? Head on over here: Colors Are My Friends – Marsha Valk

Materials used
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Amsterdam Stencil
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Batik
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Buenos Aires
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Chicago Stencil
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Manhattan
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Mesa Verde Stencil
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Ornament Wallpaper
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Santiago
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Toledo

Other:
Gelli Arts® 12″ x 14″ Printing Plate
4″ Pop-In Soft Rubber Brayer
Coffee filters
Acrylic paint (Royal Talens Amsterdam Titanium White)
Spray bottle with water
Spray inks (Ranger Dylusions: Vibrant Turquoise, Calypso Teal, Royal Talens Ecoline: Light Yellow)
Buttons
Embroidery floss
Glue dots (Scrapbook Adhesives Dodz)

Please note that though most of the stencils were given to me, I will not benefit from any sales generated by the links!

n*Studio | Live Like it’s Spring

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Live Like It's Spring

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here!

Live Like it’s Spring

Last month the assignment, in short, was ‘Create in the Spirit of Spring’, using any of the new Wanderlust stencils.

It made me think of ‘When it’s Spring again I’ll bring again…’ Tulips from Amsterdam! Created in my craft room about 50 km east of Amsterdam… but that’s near enough I think ;-).

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Live Like It's Spring

You can read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Live Like it’s Spring – Marsha Valk.

And just in case you are curious about my creative and photographic take on today’s Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge prompt, then head on over to Nat’s blog too: Out and About – Marsha Valk.

Materials used
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Amsterdam Stencil 9″x12″
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Buenos Aires Stencil 9″x12″
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Manhattan Stencil 9″x12″
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Mesa Verde Stencil 9″x12″
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Santiago Stencil 9″x12″
Stencil Girl Products – n*Studio Toledo Stencil 9″x12″
Copy paper (80gsm)
Drawing paper (Fabriano, 160gsm)
Gelli plate (Gelli Arts, 5”x7” and 8”x10”)
Brayer
Acrylic paint (Royal Talens Amsterdam)
Matte medium (Liquitex)

Please note that though a couple of these materials were given to me, I will not benefit from sales generated by the links!

Inspired by | Eino Leino: Nocturne

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

It’s the 10th and I’m back with a regular instalment of 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 the theme is (again) something we’ve never tried before. I think the first idea was to find something that would evoke a feeling. And Riikka immediately thought of a poem.

The poem she chose for us to work with is:

Nocturne by Eino Leino (translated by Keith Bosley)

The corncrake’s song rings in my ears,
above the rye a full moon sails;
this summer night all sorrow clears
and woodsmoke drifts along the dales,
I do not laugh or grieve, or sigh;
the forest’s darkness breathes nearby,
the red of clouds where day sinks deep,
the blue of windy hills asleep,
the twinflower’s scent, the water’s shade
of these my heart’s own song is made.

You, girl as sweet as summer hay,
my heart’s great peace, I sing to you,
O my devotion, tune and play
a wreath of oak twigs, green and new.
I have stopped chasing Jack-o’-Lantern,
I hold gold from the Demon’s mountain;
around me life tightens its ring,
time stops, the vane has ceased to swing;
the road before me through the gloom
is leading to the unknown room.

According to Wikipedia, this is the most famous Finnish poem and it describes the natural mystique related to Finnish summertime. Leino wrote it in July 1903 and it was first published in 1905.

I’m sure Riikka has a lot to say about Eino Leino and this poem in particular. I, on the other hand, don’t think I can even begin to grasp the entire meaning of the poem. I’m guessing most of it has gotten lost in translation and I suspect hidden meanings or cultural references, but I have no clue what they are.

The feeling

I do know that Leino was a neo-romantic, so it makes sense that this poem is about feelings/emotions, love, nature and death/ending.

To me, it describes that feeling you can have at the end of summer. You just don’t want it to end, but there’s the inevitable change in the air and a yearning for new adventures.

Anyway, that’s what it evokes in me. That feeling of the last day before school would start again after six weeks of summer holidays. You don’t want the holidays to end, but you also look forward to seeing your friends (or colleagues) again, going back to a normal routine and the return of crisper air.

The words (in this translation) also seem to describe a meditative state: standing still, aware of all the sights, sounds and smells around, feeling feelings, listening to the heart.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

The project

It’s weird to think about the end of summer, when spring has barely begun!

I thought about the end of summers long ago, I thought about the last BBQ of the season in recent years, I thought about the end of vacations, of other things I never wanted to end… And I decided that I didn’t want to go there. Not literally.

I also really liked the images that formed in my head through the words of the poem. So I asked myself what I felt like doing (Gelli printing… what else!) and then I went to work.

First I sketched a landscape, then I cut out each element so I could use them as masks and then I started printing.

Once I had everything printed, I went back in with more acrylic paint, water-soluble crayons and a fine-tip paint pen.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

I worked on two prints at the same time, thinking that if I messed up, I would have a duplicate. They both ended up pretty decent!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

Conclusion

Despite that I didn’t want this to be about my own memories, they’re still there. A real sunset (without clouds moving into view at the last moment) is still on my bucket list, but pine trees, a lake, smoke, the stars and a full moon are all things I associate with summer and (one or more) vacations.

It’s funny how that works!

Now… I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to learn more about this famous Finnish poem and what it means to Riikka. You can visit her blog here: Paperiliitin!

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | …

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

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

Hi there! It’s the 10th! Which today for the first time in almost 5 years (!) unfortunately means that there is no Inspired by post…

The reason is that my friend Riikka and I have teamed up with someone special to create with something in particular. But the ‘something’ isn’t here just yet… So stay tuned for that post later this month!

In the meantime we’ve decided to share what’s going on/what we’re working on…

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

WIDN
What I’m doing now is obvious… I’m writing to you!

It’s part of my admin day. On Mondays I’m usually tackling boring computer stuff, e-mail, invoices, receipts and such.

So it’s not the most creative workday of the week to share with you, but it is reality!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

I taught two super fun Gelli printing workshops yesterday at the Handlettering Academy organised by Creative Xperience.

I still had to unpack all of the workshop stuff this morning and clean the used Gelli plates, brayers and painty stencils.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

These brayers (now all clean!) were kindly lent out to me by the fab Esther of Artchicks Studio!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

I was hoping to have some time left to play… But I haven’t gotten around to that yet. So I’m going to leave you with some of the examples I had prepared for yesterday’s workshops instead:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

You can read about Riikka’s current goings-on at Paperiliitin. And remember that we’ll be back later this month with a real Inspired by project!

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | La La Land

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha ValkIt’s the 10th and 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.

As we were preparing this in the month of the Academy Awards, the theme almost had to be another film… And what better film than:

La La Land

I’m going to keep it short this time… I was so excited to see this film and luckily for me, it did not disappoint! It was total bliss from start to finish. And I seriously wanted to (tap) dance all the way to the car when it was done.

City of Stars

I’ve listened to the soundtrack on and off ever since. The songs are real ear worms: I could not get rid of them, even if I wanted to. So when it came to my project, I knew I wanted to do something with the lyrics and preferably a mono print.

I got the idea to look into the galaxy painting trend from the stars and the planetarium in the movie. I’ve wanted to try this for a while now and I found a great step-by-step watercolour tutorial by Gaby Friedman, that I just followed.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

I had two test runs: one in a journal to test the watercolour technique and then another one to test the Gelli printing.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Then I made the mistake of changing my paper. I used a mixed media paper for my test print but it buckled heavily. I decided to use a watercolour paper for my second ‘real’ print instead.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

The result was stunning, but… the paper ripped badly when I removed the masking tape that was supposed to keep the border around the print nice and crisp.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

So I went back to mixed media paper and did a third print. Which didn’t turn out bad, but I liked the second print better. Oh well…

Handlettering

I left the handlettering for the next day. And because I had let it percolate for a bit, I decided not to use the lyrics, but to go with the ‘ear worm’. I used all three prints and my test page to play around a bit.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Conclusion

This was a fun exercise! I loved playing with watercolour again!! I also knew this already, but sometimes it’s good to take breaks and think about things for a while instead of getting it over and done with. I’m happy with my results!

Now head over to Riikka. I can’t wait to see what she has come up with!!