Friday 15 March 2013

The Wood Beyond the World

     Am I allowed the name of a book as a title of a blog post? Well, this one seems appropriate because it was written by William Morris and the subject of this post is a wall hanging I made in the style of or inspired by William Morris.

    The lovely Buttons over at Frilly and Funkie set the challenge and WOW!!! I was amazed by it...I am afraid I had not heard of William Morris before but I loved the examples I saw and the DT creations were amazing as always. I had to do this challenge...First, because I didn't know about this theme I had to do a bit of research on Google, I spent a long time gazing at the wonderful designs and I was ready to start....

    This is going to be quite a picture heavy post as I did a step by step photo record of it and I think that is the best way to see how it was done rather than wade through my ramblings...I will narrate it a bit of course! Make a cuppa! ;o)

     So off we go.....First of all I decided to make a tag (no surprise there!) and I needed to make a background. I found this monochrome patterned paper in my paper stash and, inspired by Button's stamp and paint technique that she used on her DT card, I decided to paint this with Distress inks.

I stuck the paper onto a card tag and covered it with two coats of Gesso (sorry forgot to pick the camera up - but I think you will get the idea! - It was paler than before and had a better surface to paint on)

I chose these Distress Inks

I began to paint but I really didn't like the edges not being although it isn't very true to William Morris style (though I did find some dark edged leaf images) I chose to outline the leaves and flowers with black fine liner pen

All the outlines finished...

The finished painted background....I enhanced the shading that was already in the monochrome print by adding darker layers of ink. I thought, at this point, the image was a little too vivid and I wanted a more vintage look for this background....

So I added some Pumice Stone DI all over the tag. I was a bit worried at first that perhaps I had ruined it...You know that thought of "Oh No! what have I done?!" and of course removing the Pumice Stone DI would be impossible....after a while it did start to appeal to me and now I really like the muted antique finish of the background

The challenge requirements stated an animal should be included. I don't have many animals in my craft collection...(I don't think I could have got away with a bright pink die cut teddy bear!)
I hunted through my stamps and found the Tim Holtz stamp of a bird on a branch. I stamped it onto white card after wiping the ink very lightly onto the stamp. I didn't want a bright ink image, just a hint of an image so I could paint it with distress inks.

I covered it in a thick layer of gesso to make the image even paler

Then I began to cut around the image with a craft knife

I painted the bird with Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Scattered Straw, Fired Brick and Pine Needles DI's. Yes, I used a bit of artistic license here in the birds colouring! The branch was covered in Walnut Stain DI but I found the ink faded too much so I used French Roast Fresco paint instead

I wanted the bird to 'stand out' somehow and I considered various options before deciding to use a thick covering of Crackle Glaze. When it was dry I dabbed Walnut Stain ink over the crackles before wiping away to leave the cracks highlighted.

I put the bird onto the tag background...(No photo - I was sitting there trying to figure out what to do!).........hmmm.........This won't work....The bird (as sweet as it is) didn't look very good perched onto a tag....

I had some die cut card frames...Perhaps I can use that. I knew I didn't want to use the card though and I suddenly caught sight of the balsa wood collection perched on the top shelf.
I got a piece and drew around the die cut and began to cut out the frame.

The tag was no longer a tag....I was making a frame

I didn't want the frame to be this natural colour. I knew a dark wood colour was best because I wanted this creation to look like an antique. Although I do have wood stains I was reluctant to use them (because of the lace decoration to be mentioned in a moment...) I needed the colour of the frame to be a Distress ink colour so that it matches the decoration- I chose Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain blended together over the frame.

I cut the tag down to the right size and glued the two parts of the frame together.

I cut some lace die cuts to the size needed and dabbed them with Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain DI's 

I stuck them to the edges of the frame - I wanted them to blend into the frame and instead of looking like lace they hopefully look like a wood effect decoration

Now my favourite flowers and leaves time! I dabbed some Peeled Paint DI over some die cut leaves

and a spur of the moment decision - I stamped some script over them very lightly in black archival ink. I blended some Vintage Photo around the edges of the leaves

The leaves were coated in crackle glaze and when they were dry they were dabbed with Forest Moss DI. The flowers were covered in Antique Linen DS and edged with Vintage Photo DI before attaching some of my favourite copper brads to the centres

 Rusty wire looped at the top of the frame was needed so I could hang this frame up. A skewer was used to make the holes in the wood.

I decided to loop the ends together and add some swirls to the ends to hang down from the top of the frame

I wanted the bird to perch on the frame and it needed some support so it didn't dip into the background. I used pieces of balsa wood because it was the exact depth of the frame.

I painted the balsa wood support with the same French Roast Fresco paint, because (I am so fussy about details like this) I wouldn't want any chance of seeing the pale wood...(I know! I am too fussy for my own good at times) The white you can see here is wet glue!

And here is the finished William Morris inspired frame....

I really enjoyed making this and I will hang it up in my art cupboard to remind me of a very happy crafting day. One very good thing to have come from reading about this challenge (and all the subsequent research I had to do because I was unfamiliar with the style of the challenge) is that a crafting obstacle has been removed! I have been wanting to make myself a footstool for ages and I had the tapestry material ready but I couldn't begin because I had no idea what design to have...Now I have finally found the style I want! to get sewing ;o)

 Thanks for visiting and if you are still here after that mammoth post thank you for persevering! Hope to see you soon!

I would like to enter this for the following challenges -

Frilly and Funkie - William Morris Style
Country view challenges - Pick and Mix
Stamping Sensations  - The Great Outdoors
Fashionable Stamping Challenges - Swirls
Inspiration Journal  - Add a little P.O.P


  1. What an amazing creation... so many details and little birdie...just fantastic! I love your step by step picks, thank you for sharing!

  2. That thud you just heard is my jaw hitting the floor!!! This is a masterpiece Laura. SO GLAD you did a step by step so we could see how much time/effort/patience/thought went into creating it. The finished plaque is out of this world! (are you getting the fact that I love it yet?) Highlights include the painted, faded background, the way you have worked on that stamped bird/branch, and the most wonderful frame. So glad you've been inspired to create this and now move onto a footstool. You should be very proud of having accomplished this and I am thrilled that you shared it with us at Frilly and Funkie. Hugs, Jenny x

  3. Completely wonderful - the painted background, the crackled bird, and I love the lace detailing on the frame - a fabulous make!
    Alison x

  4. Wow, this is stunning, Laura! What a fabulous piece of work. The background is just beautiful, the wood effect lace works perfectly, and I love the leaves and flowers. Thank you for sharing it with us at Stamping Sensations for our Great Outdoors challenge, and good luck.

    Lynne x

  5. Oh I do like that Laura! I am passionate about William Morris, who will feature heavily in the Gatsby house when it finally gets built. Lots of time for you to make some miniature Morris panels for the study ;-)

    The colours are, once again, gorgeous.....

  6. Beautiful piece of it!!

  7. A fabulous piece of artwork Laura and that bird looks stunning with the crackle glaze.

    Thanks so much for joining in our 'Great Outdoors' theme at Stamping Sensations this month.

    B x

  8. Wow Laura I love this ! The background is fantastic and the bird and leaves are wonderful and I love the lace around the frame. Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Sue C x

  9. Fabulous Laura, a really stunning piece of art. Your steps show how creative you are and the inspiration and direction you were going with this. I hope you are very proud of what you have achieved. You should be because it is a real inspiration to others.
    Thanks for sharing another entry to Country View Challenges.
    Have a great weekend.
    hugs {brenda} x0x

  10. Totally stunning artwork! Valerie

  11. Wow Laura, this is beyond beautiful! Absolutely stunning and lovely to see the process, thank you so much for the inspiration. Hugs, Anne x

  12. Wow what a project Laura, its truly amazing. Thanks for joining us at Stamping Sensations.

  13. Oh Laura, that is so very clever and I really enjoyed reading the details of how you created it. I am so envious that you can a) use a knife to cut out intricate shapes, b) use wood as easily as paper in your crafts and c) sew! Can't wait to see your footstool - bet it turns out to be a beauty. x

  14. Wonderful! Hard to believe you had never heard of Wm Morris by looking at your project. Really well done!

  15. Absolute stunner Laura - everything works so well together but I especially love the fantastic frame, bird and foliage. Thanks so much for all the deets. Nicola x

  16. wOOw Laura, I am speechless! You could not have captured the Morris's style in any better way! I absolutely love it how you created the background and the sweet little birdie with the touch of crackle. What a stunning hanging! Lots of hugs xxx
    Ps. Thank you so much for joining us at the FSC! xxx

  17. O MY WORD!! This is a Fantastic piece of art... WOW!!! Such attention to detail,Perfect Morris...The bird, design, colours...Love it all... Hugs May x x x

  18. What a lot of work Laura ... and you didn't even know where it was heading!! As you went along you must have worried that you would ruin everything that you had already done - doesn't bear thinking of really!! Well done ... it turned out brilliantly and I am in awe! x

  19. Oh my goodness, wow, I love this, it's gorgeous!! Came over from F&F. Hugs, Wendy

  20. wow what an absolute delight. there is so much to marvel at ehre a truly gorgeous piece of work !
    thanks for joining us at our first challenge at country view crafts of anything goes. hugs trace x
    thanks also for linking to frilly and funkies William morris inspired challenge!

  21. That's a fabulous creation with great details. Looks really wonderful. Thanks for joining us at Fashionable Stamping Challenges this fortnight.

  22. Thanks for joining our March challenge at Inspiration Emporium!

    Laura, what an outstanding piece of art you have created...I love reading each step in it's creation. Outlining your image sure made it pop! I just love this.......

    ♥ Sue Kment

  23. Laura, stunning, brilliant, fabulous, beautiful!!!!!!!. Loved the explanation of how you did it. Have a great week, cheers, Di

  24. Laura this is simply beautiful. I loved seeing the steps that your making journey took you through. I absolutely love the bird - anything crackled gets my vote! You have taken your art to yet another level with this piece. I hate the word but it's awesome!!! Many congratulations for your win at F&F!
    Hugs, Juliaxxx

  25. Laura: Congrats on your win for this project at the Funkie Junkie blog. Well deserved!!!!!

  26. Hi Laura, my jaw dropped too when I saw your absolutely stunning creation which is definitely a well deserved win over at Frilly & Funkie.
    The detail is awesome and it's so lovely to see how it all came about too.
    Thanks for sharing it with us at FSC and our swirls challenge.
    Hugs, Fliss xx
    PS: Thanks for joining me as a follower and guess who's here now lol

  27. Are you and Alison related? Just wondering. What a gorgeous make!!! Congrats on the win!!! Gorgeous!

  28. Wow, Laura, A very deserved Congratulations on winning the Frilly & Funky challenge. Your creation is really mind blowing and I love it to pieces. Hugs Rita xxx

  29. WOW! This is so beautiful. I love William Morris and the whole Arts & Crafts movement and you really caught the flavor of it. Thanks for joining in our march challenge at Inspiration Journal. =)

  30. Gorgeous creation, thanks for joining Stamping Sensations, good luck.
    Happy crafting
    Tracy x

  31. Absolutely delightful - how clever you are and you made one gorgeous thing-a-ma-jig!!!!!!


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