12 May 2018

how it all began


My inital thought was that Bianca – that's the name of my (as soon became apparent ex-) muse – was once again languishing in another splendid sulk somewhere. She was absolutely nowhere to be found. This wasn't necessarily unheard of – she did after all have other people to inspire, but I could usually rely on her turning up around tea time, proclaiming famine and ransacking the fridge. But as the evening hours coalesced into night, I concluded that she was gone for good. And maybe that was for the best. I did struggle to deal with her recalcitrance, and the long-suffering boredom with which she dispensed her pearls of inspiration from perfect lily-white hands into my clumsy, sweaty, grubby palms. Although I always received these offerings with a choking, tearful, runny-nosed gratitude and spent small fortunes on arts and crafts supplies to tempt her, it would seem that Bianca had had enough of me. I probably shouldn't blame her. I'm really not the easiest person to get on with. But I do need a new muse!

So, at 9.00 am yesterday morning, I went to my local Job Centre. Special requests such as muses are handled on The Off. To get there, you have to bypass the front desks and turn down a corridor with what seems like an infinite number of doors. Keep going to the end, and turn left, left again and then once more, where the corridor somehow lengthens and changes from the sterile white walls and brown laminate doors to The Off, with its scuffed green walls and shabby woodwork. Even the air smells different, not of boiled coffee and wet coats, but freshly green with a hint of lilacs.

After what seemed like forever, I reached the door I was looking for: peeling red paint and tarnished brasswork, with a plaque proclaiming 'Works Office'. Underneath was a schedule listing the opening hours, though I knew from experience that these appeared to be optional – it really was coincidental whether the office would be manned or not. But today was a lucky one – the handle turned, and I walked into the dusty room, where dust motes danced in the bright sunshine which came through tall, rather dirty windows on the left. There shouldn't really be windows there, in reality – having walked down the corridors as previously described – you should be in the middle of the building, but this is The Off, as I keep on reminding myself. 

Today the office was manned by BryEnn, a skinny man of indeterminate age with lank dark hair swept back off his forehead. He was seated on a very tall stool, in front of a very tall desk on spindly legs – looking at his very tight trousers and equally tight t-shirt, I did wonder how he had managed to get up there at all. BryEnn was busy on his mobile, and held up a finger to indicate he would be only a moment, so I took a seat at one of the normal-sized chairs that were lined up at the back of the room. Only one of them had four legs, so I cautiously seated myself on this one and waited for BryEnn to finish what was clearly a very important phone call. It took a long time. Eventually he finished, and looked down his pug nose at me from above. 'So, what's up?', he said. I shuffled, somewhat embarrassed. This was not even close to being the first time I came requesting a new muse. 'Well, you see..... Bianca has left...' He waited, clearly enjoying my discomfort. I exhaled. BryEnn rolled his eyes and sighed very deeply, before lifting the lid on his desk to bring out the application forms. 'These need to be completed in tripli-, no, quintuplicate' he said, with a rather sadistic gleam to his eye. 'I'm glad to see you're expanding your vocabulary', I replied, with as much dignity as I could muster. BryEnn snorted through his pug nose, managing not to inhale any of the piercings which adorned that little protuberance. 'Yeah, whatever', he said in a bored voice, returning to his mobile and starting to furiously type something. I waited a little bit until it became at clear that this was all I was getting out of him today. Walking out the door, BryEnn called after me – 'Yeah, don't call us, we'll call you!' 'Long live bureaucracy', I muttered under my breath. A wee cup of tea and a buttered crumpet at the local cafe and I'm somewhat recovered from my ordeal.

And now it's just a question of waiting... I shall let you know as soon as I hear anything!

© charlotte kristensen 2006

10 May 2018

Try It On Tuesday - stencils or die cuts or both!

Dear Alice

This little canvas has actually been lying about for a wee while - I kept on going back to add to it (or remove something from it) but think it's as good or bad as it's going to be now :/  So when I saw that Try It On Tuesday were challenging us to use stencils or die cuts, or even both - well, this one fits the ticket, I guess.  The windows are die cut out of both card and foam, then painted and stamped, and the background is stencilled with embossing paste as well as just colour.  So, this is Leopold Place No 14, where several people make their home:

Top left we have the Janssen family, who unforunately have all come down with the measles.  Next to them lives Carlo who is an accountant by day, and does drag cabaret by night (he's very good, I'm told).  Then there's Yvette, who may or may not be a witch.  On the ground floor, it's the older folks (no stairs, thanks!) - Margerite and Henri who have been married for 78 years; Ms Beecham who used to work as a quantum physicist and still does experiments in her flat; and lastly, Salvatore Morello who writes poetry and keeps budgies.  I'm happy to say that they are all courteous neighbours who tolerate each other very well.  Even if the budgies do sometimes make a lot of noise, baby Janssen throws the his toys about on the floor, Carlo sheds sequins on his way out, and Ms Beecham's experiments shorts out the electricity. It's just life.


7 May 2018

PaperArtsy May Challenge - Boxes

Dear Alice

I got this box kit from Calico Craft Parts a while back, but only got around to making it up now - I'd seen Claudia's fabulous project on their blog, and thought 'so ein ding muss ich auch haben!!' - which is German for 'I *gotta* have one of those, too'.  And as the theme over at PaperArtsy  this month is all about boxes of every shape, sort and colour, I thought this would fit the ticket.  I used almost all of my PaperArtsy Perrella stamps - I just never get tired of those ;)

So here's the box all empty and forlorn:

And here with a couple of tags and ATCs:

I quite like having somewhere to put these things and being able to look at them, instead of them being put away in a drawer etc.  Now I've just got to make many more tags to fill it!


6 May 2018

Sunday Postcard Art - crowns & wings

Dear Alice

Below you will see the picture of an unexplained story: one morning this man - a man of industry, a pillar of society, a serious man - woke up and found himself adorned with several pairs of wings, as well as a very fetching paper crown.  He was not unhappy - it could have been much worse (think Kafka), and he enjoyed his metamorphosis and from that day onward spent his days flying about doing many good deeds - soup kitchens, kitten rescues, charity fun runs etc etc .  He never again set foot in a boardroom, and his family thought him a much happier man.  So, a story with a happy ending, for once!

Also, the story fits the theme over at Sunday Postcard Art where it's all about crowns and wings, but that is entirely coincidental, of course!


27 April 2018

april challenge at That's Crafty! - going round in circles

Dear Alice

Well, this is the third and last bus of the month, I think.  Over at That's Crafty! we are encouraged to go round in circles, so this is what happened in my art journal.  I think these pages would belong to an amateur biologist - let's call him Eberhart Grubenhauser!  So, Eberhart was busy cataloguing the local wild life, with a little help from Tim Holtz and Andy Skinner (the stamps) and there's also some of Seth Apter's Baked Texture powders to mimic that chitinous look on a beetle's back ('chitinous' is a marvellous word, isn't it?)

The background is the usual - gessoed book pages and Distress Sprays, with lots of text and subtly layered stamping.  Poor Eberhart needs a cup of tea after all that work - so I better be going ;D


26 April 2018

country view crafts april challenge - pimp it up!

Dear Alice

You know what they say about buses? - so here's the second one in two days ;)  To be fair, most projects *have* been lying around for weeks!  But over at Country View Crafts, the April challenge is to pimp it up, so I found one of many soup tins that I've collected (you just never know when they might come in handy!)and prettified it with some Lost Coast Design Frida stamps:

I think I might make some more, they would be nice and bright on my craft table!


25 April 2018

art journal journey april challenge - 'recycle & collage'

Dear Alice

Well, it's been a slow month, but wanted to join in with the April challenge at art journal journey.  The theme was exactly to my liking - recycle & collage.  I used some old book pages for a background which were gessoed and painted with quinacridone gold, before using some packaging material obtained from that very fulfilling relationship with Mr Amazon!!! - I cut out some silhouettes and peeled off the top layer of paper before painting and smooshing colour around.  Then a wee bit of stamping and scribbling, and lastly some Dymo to finish off:

At least it looks like spring has arrived, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a long, bright summer - like the one of 1984 LOL!