Saturday, May 22, 2010

From the Humble Crayon - Exciting Techniques for making Resists (part 1)

I have been experimenting with several tools for making resist designs.  When I was in first grade I  remember using crayons to make a design, and then painting with water colors over it to allow the initial design, the resist to show through.  I thought it was practically magic, and I think that's when I fell in love with making resists.  I was really excited to learn about "grown up" ways to utilize this technique in my current projects.  

About a year ago, I was reading through a stack of recent issues of Cloth☉Paper☉Scissors, one of my favorite ways to search for inspiration.  Cloth☉Paper☉Scissors, is an amazing arts magazine published 6 times a year that focuses on "collage, mixed media and artistic discovery" (see below for some contact info).  Since I was struggling with a lack of inspiration, I felt I just needed a jumping off point.  I came across an article (or possibly an editorial) about letting go, and reaching for tools unfamiliar to us as artists.  The article said to let my imagination go wild — layer different media, use different tools, rummage through your junk drawer for ideas and inspiration!  I looked everywhere and could find nothing -- not a crayon, not a fancy art marker -- nada.  Out of the corner of my eye, as I rummaged in the bottom of a drawer, I saw a piece of something that looked promising.  It was a little like a crayon in size and shape, but was nearly colorless like a white candle.  Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was a piece of  a colorless solid lubricant, in stick form, used for lubricating stuck or stubborn zippers, sticky windows and squeaky drawers.  The lubricant is called Ezy-Zipper Glide (see below for contact information) and turns out to be a really great item for making wonderful resists.  It is harder than a crayon, and is shaped like one with a point when you take it out of the package.  Be aware that it is also breakable like a crayon, too.  It makes a firm colorless mark, and for a fine point you can sharpen it with a good quality sharpener. 

In the piece featured in this post (see above), most of the white space was where I drew with this lubricant, and the colored space is from Copic re-inkers where drop by drop I allowed the ink to bleed, creep, and merge.  Copic inks are alcohol inks distributed by Imagination International, Inc. of Eugene, Oregon (see below for contact information).

Of course you can use crayons for making resists.  But if you want to learn about a number of creative and great methods for making resists, please look below for a great book that showcases some great resist techniques.  In the next post we will  continue to discuss a few of the exciting and fun techniques I've tried in my own work.  
        Ezy-Zipper Glide by Prym-Dritz Corporation

Copic Refillable Inks (re-inkers)

Cloth Paper Scissors
Journal Spilling by Diana Trout, 1st Ed. 
       Copyright © 2009

Thanks, guys!!  Watch for From the Humble Crayon - Exciting Techniques for making Resists(part 2), coming soon. MEANWHILE: Do *you* have a favorite resist technique that you like?  Is there something you want to say about the resources or book I've mentioned above?  I'm eager to hear what you think!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Etsy Treasury

Exciting news crossed my path today as I thumbed through a mountain of mostly junk email. A diamond amongst the junk, was a delightful note from the shop owner and artist, Abby, of BirdOnWireStudio. This studio is located on artist and crafter's website and shop venue, It turns out that Abby is curating a Treasury (much like a collection) entitled Dizzy on the Etsy site, and she was writing to inform me that she had selected one of my items (see above) for inclusion in the collection.

I didn't know much about these Treasuries, so I found a bit more from the Etsy site: "Treasury East" is an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery. The collections have no limits and no expiration. Beautiful, diverse collections may be featured on Etsy's home page. A Treasury allows an artist to collect several favorites among the items for sale on Etsy, and to create a cohesive group of similar items. The similarities could be in design, function, form or otherwise, and offers an additional opportunity for the lucky artist(s) featured in the Treasury for some additional exposure on the site. Although Dizzy is one of dozens of current Treasuries, I am nevertheless delighted to be included in this online collection.

More Swirling Ink news coming your way soon! Like what you see? I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line at!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How it all started...

My first forays into making art allowed me an opportunity to find a new voice with my family that I hadn’t experienced before. In communicating with them about my memories from an earlier time with them, and by highlighting and capturing our good times from my perspective, it allowed me for the first time, to really express my love for them in a way that I felt they could really hear me. I wanted to engage with each of them in an intensely personal manner to express my deep love for each them. This, and what I soon realized was a form of stress management, was the initial purpose for my artistic creations.

Here are some of the things that I recall doing in this effort:

• I made each of my nieces, when they were still babies ABC books using photos, stamped images and stickers of items - A through Z. I used photos of me in A is for Aunt Lynn, L is for Lynn, and S is for someone who loves you. The books were filled with familiar examples of how the alphabet and these people and items were part of their lives.

• I made my sister a tiny covered 18-page accordion fold book, documenting those very special moments between sisters that we will never forget. Most, funny to us, but surely tender and intensely personal details that came from my heart.

• I was having a very difficult time communicating with my father earlier in my adulthood, and at that time,  I designed a couple of books for him. This was a small accordion style book, featuring my clearest childhood memories of funny things that had happened between us or within our family.  These memories ranged from commentary on my driving lessons, to the time he put a tiny bit of cooked hamburger on his nose for the kitten,  resulting in a nip none of us will ever forget.  These were the memories that both my sister and I found wildly hilarious as children.   These events had become family stories that had amused all of us time and again.  And whether it was true or not, I felt that my artistic efforts directed toward my father made something different in our relationship and I began to heal.  I have understood since then that there really is something therapeutic is art for adults as well as children.

There are just a few of  the projects I worked on. When I look back now, I wonder if I somehow lacked  my own true voice during times of deep emotions.  It seems more and more clear to me that my artistic expressions allowed me to communicate with my family better, and allowed us to truly bond as family also.

More to come... :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Greetings from Swirling Ink!

My name is Lynn Falkow-Short.   I am a paper crafter and mixed media artist. Most of my creative time is in working with alcohol inks combining elements of scrapbooking, journaling, book and card making.

For close to 25 years, until January of 2010, I worked as a medical social worker. About a year ago, I became ill with fibromyalgia and diabetes. After unsuccessfully trying to manage these challenges and still work full-time, I wound up deciding to take some time off in an effort to regain control of my health issues. As stressful and frightening as this was initially, I have been able to find a wonderful silver lining in the form of paper crafting and mixed media arts as a counter to all of the anxiety, stress and even depression that I was experiencing.

I was never someone who felt especially artistic. Although very musically inclined, I could barely make a stick figure when putting pen to paper. A few years ago I discovered that I actually had some creative abilities, and beginning with a scrap booking class, and I eventually found myself working with every product I could afford, ultimately developing a technique that is completely new and unique!

This blog features some of my musings as a “new” mixed media artist. I have developed a strong interest in working with alcohol inks and have a large collection of inks from the Adirondack, Jacquard, Copic and many of the old fashioned Tria refills (pre-cartridge). I find that these inks create amazingly vivid and intensely colored creations. Much to my surprise and delight, it appears that I have developed a unique method of marbling with alcohol inks and some other unusual items, and the results are something I’ve never seen anywhere else. I’ll be sharing some of the results and will be asking for feedback soon.

More than discussing the tools of my creations, I am interested in exploring the emotional side of putting art out there for one of the very first times. For me this has been wildly personal, confusing and at times frightening. I'm eager to hear the insights of others on this topic.  Looking forward to an exciting exploration!