Prompted Intuitive Collage

Cleaning out some bins and baskets in the studio over the weekend - came across a bunch of old works I'd forgotten about, including this Asian flavor mixed media postcard. Done using a prompted intuitive collage technique (yes, I know prompted & intuitive seem like they'd cancel each other out, but just trust me, it's a fun process)

I may have a tutorial on this technique somewhere in an earlier blog post, and if I find it I will update with a link to it here. But in case not, here's the breakdown of this card:

PROMPTED COLLAGE - "Legendary & Beautiful" - April 2, 2007
started with plain white cardstock, cut down to 4x6 inch postcard size
I have a container with the prompts printed & cutout on individual slips of paper, and they are:
3-D - chalk - charcoal - draw - ink - magazine - paint - paper - pastels - pattern - pencil - photograph - sand - stamp - scratch - smudge - spatter - surprise - text - wipe - write
and I draw one out at a time - that's the prompted part! the intuitive part is obviously however you choose to interpret and use the word you've pulled.


1 ) STAMP - rubberstamped cherry blossom branches in black StazOn ink
2) PAINT - painted entire card surface with watercolor wash
3) PAPER - added some Asian joss paper acccents
4) PENCIL - colored in the branches of the cherry blossom stamps
5) SURPRISE - added printed image of geisha
6) DRAW - used silver pen to add swirl accents at edges
7) MAGAZINE - added title text from magazine clipping
8) CHARCOAL - edged the magazine text with charcoal
9) SMUDGE - smudged the charcoal to blend it in
10) 3D - added the shimmery butterfly (a broken necklace bit)

Sprayed the card with matte acrylic sealer and called it done!

Hope you liked this little blast-from-my-artistic-past! I used to use this technique all the time to jump start me when I was feeling stuck on a piece or just not feeling particularly creative, and I'd totally forgotten about it until I was cleaning things out! So now I am looking forward to using it again real soon. Print out your own prompts (doesn't hafta be my exact list - use whatever you want!) and have a fun time making something, with just the *teeniest* bit of guidance You'll love it!

xoxo gem

Paper Alpha Project

Finally! A new post, and a "new" project :)

Follow along if ya wanna make something similar

(not that ya couldn't figure this out on yer own, I mean really. How easy could a project BE?)

Paper Covered Wooden Alpha Wallhanging


Choose your letters and papers. I'd wanted the word


to hang above my artspace, and my kids got me the letters for like my birthday or Mother's Day

(LAST year.)

and so I already had them here. Mine are white-painted wood and about 7" tall. If you've been to the craft shop or discount store you KNOW they have a dozen styles to choose from, so just get whatever size or type you like! Then I collected up some semi-complimentary scrapbookpapers, but you could use bits from your scrapbox, vintage book pages, wrapping paper - whatever!


Apply adhesive to the FRONT of your letters. I used gel medium, but you could use whatever type of glue ya want - even a gluestick. Yep. Gluestick.


Lay your letter facedown on the paper - I'd precut mine to about the size of the letters, and lined up at least one edge, just to make the cutting easier and to not waste too much of the paper. You can also hold it up to the light and see if you like the "arrangement" of pattern on the letter and if not scoot it around - if ya use repositionable glue - that, or figure your approximate placement before applying glue. I didn't care so I just went with the "however it lies" approach :D


Press down real good! You want your paper to be really well adhered to the letter, so make sure you press out any bubbles & wrinkles, and really get the edges good too.


I had a sort of assembly line process, so once I did the previous steps for each letter, I stacked'em up to let them dry. I actually let them dry/cure overnight, but not for any benefit - I just ran outta time to work on them any further the 1st day :D But yeah, they should be completely set & dry before ya cut.


Cut away the excess paper. Now, the way you do this is kinda up to you & however you find it to be easier. I used a craft-knife and laid the letter flat & facedown on a cutting mat, and trimmed around the edges. I found it to be a little hinky 'cause the wood was pretty soft and my blade kept digging into it. So on some I tried using scissors on the edges, and the blade to cut out the middles

(like on the A and R)

- I say it's your choice because no matter how you trim the paper away, you are still going to have to do the next step:


(for which there is no picture cause I was so busy and focused on it I forgot to take one.)

But you need to sand all the edges now - both to remove any leftover hangy-bits of paper, and to sorta age the edges a bit

(if that's a look you wanna go for

). I used a foam sanding block - I think it was actually a nail file thing for fake nails, but it works great cause it's flexible and can mold to the shape of the letters plus it's got a few different "grits" of sanding material. So anyway I just used that to rasp off whatever paper was uneven or leftover along all the edges of the letters. I also took this time to reglue any loose paper along the corners and edges. There weren't many 'casue I'm a pretty good gluer :-p


Now you can skip this step if you want, like if you used really pretty coated or fancy papers or something - but I went ahead and sealed mine with some acrylic sealer - I used matte finish here but you could go gloss or spray it with glitter or whatever the heck!


You are now ready to hang your fab new motivational phrase

(or kids name or house numbers or whatever you made!)

on your wall - go for the funky haphazard "drive a nail and hang the letter" approach or do the anal retentive thing and use a laser level and snap a chalkline

(hello! - waves to all you Type A's out there - hehe)

All I really ask it that you #1) don't wait a year to complete this super simple project like I did, and B) ENJOY IT!

*plus I dig that if you mess up or just wanna do a different look later- you can just yank'em down and recover with something else! Like you don't have about 169 pounds of random scrapbook or saved papers lying around to pull from. You know you doooo. And they're just sitting there. Mocking you.


or at least this weekend ;-)

xox, gem

*** UPDATED APRIL 2014 ***

Just to show you - I've since re-papered those letters (a couple years ago actually) and moved them into a different spot:

Plan to do a studio room tour in the near future! so you can see this whole space :)

Dollhouse Deco

"Where oh where did November go,

oh wherrrre oh where can it beeee?"

Welcome to "the Season", I guess.


. This will probably end up my only post for December, so ... anyway! On to whatcha came for:

Here's the most recent deco booklet I had the great fortune to work in - made by the wonderfully talented Arrow for Pequad, and currently making the rounds over at ... It's a beautifully crafted dollhouse themed deco and while I usually shy away from posting other people's work, I really wanted you to see the front cover of this deco (

I did ask the maker for permission first, of course


It's got great layers of textured and patterned paper, and there's real eyelet curtains in the windows! How cool is that?! The front doors open to reveal two sets of blank pages, for the artists to work on, which are also house shaped. The recipient for this deco, Pequad, uses a Kewpie doll image alot in her work, and it's also her icon/mascot on the Nness site, so that was my starting point for my page idea: I was going to make a Victorian inspired house and somehow incorporate little "pequad" dolls (

sidenote: I remember once she told a story about how she got her user name and it involved Kewpies and how her family calls them pequads - for some reason that I forget now. Anyway that always stuck with me and so whenever I see a Kewp I automatically think "pequad")

I took a sheet of patterened scrapbook cardstock weight paper that I thought looked wallpaper-y, and aged it a bit with an acrylic paint wash, then did the same thing with some scraps to make floor dividers:

I printed some vintage images of household furniture and items in greyscale - and in an effort to be unique I decided I was going to make my page interactive, so! I made little pockets on some of the furniture pieces: The chaise, chair, cushion, bathtub and even the hatbox in the attic all have little pockets to tuck the dolls into. Actually the seat area of the chair was too small for a full usable pocket so it has a strip across the front that will hold the doll in place. I made the pockets by printing a double quantity of images and once I had cut the item out I then used the second matching image to cut the pocket section from, and glued it down to the full piece, making sure to leave space for my dollies to fit into! And that brings us to:

I wanted this deco page to be very personal to the recipient, so - I actually have in my possession an old vinyl Kewpie doll that I took pics of (

I got it awhile back cause I planned to make something out of it, came in extra handy for some printed projects ...

) and I used those as my dolls. What you don't see here, because like a dolt I forGOT to take pictures of this! GRRR. - is that I made a backside image to the dolls as well, mmnhmmm, with their lil beehinds showin' - then I sandwiched them together with a length of ribbon in the middle that would later be attached to the page so you could put the dollies in the various pieces of furniture, but not lose the dolls. Cute, right?! I added wings that I painted with iridecent paint (

yep, those have backs too

), and then as a final touch I made each dolly a crown and a party hat - one to wear, one to keep up in the hat trunk in the attic.

Once I had all the pieces done, I glued the other end of the ribbons to the backside of the room page and added a top layer of text weight paper just to cover the ribbon ends - then glued the whole thing down to the blank page in the deco booklet. (

Waiting in between steps for all the glues to dry & cure, of course

!) I wanted this to be a special page and I feel really lucky that I got to start the deco off, so now all i hope is that she likes it and that all the little interactive bits hold up and work as I intended ...

and I know it looks a little weird with the doll's feet disappearing into the chaise, but it was the best I could do

! :D

Oh yeah! And after all that, know what's my favorite part of the deco? The last-minute addition of the framed family photo in the "Parlor" - it was originally going to be an old cross stitch sampler but luckily a more creative idea surfaced before I glued it down ...

Later, I got another project I gotta get back to, so maybe I'll have something new to post in a few days after all! Seeeeeeyuh!

~ gem ~