All it took was running across one little photograph found online today to make me jump from my seat and rush to the studio. Mimicking this funky, completely unrelated, flea market finds strung along twine, by stylist and author, Hans Blomquist, could not be resisted:Once in the studio, I grabbed a tray and began filling it with bits from drawers and bins. Sticking with a color palette of black, off-white and brass, I started by collecting dimensional objects that weren’t too heavy.Then on to ephemera, a nice stack of random papers, pages, labels and such, including my mother-in-law’s Catholic School report card from 1947.For stringing I used my go-to Tim Holtz Hinge Clips, some vintage office supply signal clips for thinner paper, and chunky black and white baker’s twine. I draped the twine between vintage brass upholstery tacks, leaving a length hanging down on each side as tails. I began assembling my bunting banner by first distributing the weight of the heaviest pieces, then adding lighter items in between. For the best flea-market-style decor, the more random the elements the better! Here is the final display over my sofa, across my (purposely-empty-) vintage printer type trays. Now that flea market season is upon us, watch for small, inexpensive items to collect for your own funky bunting!
Spring has surely sprung here in Northern California- My husband’s been out planting vegetables in the back yard, our sheep are grazing through fresh new pasture grasses, tank-top weather is upon us, and the Inspired Barn studio windows are wide open!It’s been a busy few months of designing and crafting around the studio. I recently rebranded my blog and social networks from Just Something I Made to Cathe Holden’s Inspired Barn: Creative Lifestyle.And… if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been working extra hard on ME! Since last October I’ve been on weight-loss and exercise programs that are working out pretty darn good. As of today I’ve lost right close to 70lbs with just a bit more to go and a goal of maintaining a healthy weight for life. Good health brings extra energy and confidence and will surely bring even more creativity! So stay tuned for some pretty exciting things to come.
Speaking of creativity, I just announced a new workshop for June- Ephemera Collage Decor with Custom Stencil. I will be teaching a cool way to balance your art through color, texture, and pattern. You can find more information and register to attend on my EVENTS page.
Next month I fly out to sunny St. Louis to Mary Engelbreit’s studio to celebrate her 40 years in art licensing. (Pinch me!) Along with a handful of incredibly talented women I’ll be teaching a craft workshop to 22 special guests. I can hardly wait to share all the fun. I’ll be streaming good stuff LIVE on the Cathe Holden’s Inspired Barn Facebook Page, so be sure you’re following!
I made a new friend recently who, after visiting my barn studio, stated that she has several large canvases started but can never seem to make the time to finish painting them. Therefor she may feel reserved about starting any other new creative projects. I think many of us go through feeling creative but having limited time and resources, and often limited space, to create. We also feel at times no creativity flowing at all. For any who aren’t creating art or crafting on a daily basis, or do but find themselves lacking motivation, often the most achievable-yet-gratifying projects are those can be started and finished in one day from conception and sourcing supplies, to making the project, and, of course, clean-up. Often, a project that can be squeezed in after dinner or on a Saturday morning can be just enough to exercise your creativity.Another friend of mine, a professional artist, suffered a series of life challenges and became artistically stuck and was avoiding her studio completely. To pull herself out of that negative current state, she devised an exercise to get her juices and motivation flowing again. She purchased packs of 3-inch square stretched canvases and every day committed to decorating just one. This was a very achievable daily project that could take minutes or hours, depending on the mood. She decoupaged vintage ephemera scraps, painted, and sketched. After weeks of merely moments in the studio, she’d finished multiple canvases, each representing a day in her struggle and efforts to overcome it. All the finished canvases placed together created a meaningful assemblage of beauty in healing. I am so inspired by her story that I make an effort create routinely, on even the smallest scale, no matter how stuck I am for creativity or time. Which brings me to stencils and decoupage.Stencil art is a fun, quick, and satisfying craft. Stencils can be used on so many surfaces with supplies such as paint, ink, texture paste, bleach, embossing ink and powders, glue and glitter. With all supplies in hand, a stencil project can be done in merely minutes yielding exciting results. Decorative vinyl and coated paper stencils can be purchased in stores and online. If you have a digital cutting machine, they can be cut from coated card stock or stencil material using SVG designs purchased and downloaded from the internet. Stencil canvas, clothing, thrifted paintings, blank wood boxes, frames or boards, greeting card background surfaces, a suitcase, a lampshade, a rug… there’s just no end to the things you can stencil in a short amount of time.Decoupage is a meditative craft that can enhance many objects such as boxes, wood scraps, and wood or canvas boards into beautiful home decor. Images and graphics printed from your computer to plain paper (using water-resistant inks) can be ideal for layering with Mod Podge, or other decoupage mediums. Trimming the multiple printed or photocopied images for future use can be a pleasant project in itself.Of course, if you have a whole day to create, combining decoupage with stenciling you can attain many layers, incorporating paints and rubber stamps, to craft larger mixed media projects. You don’t have to be an expert or know your paints and pastes to get moving, just get moving. Experiment! You can also search YouTube or online craft video channels to learn about techniques and products quickly. Then get right back to creating.
For more visual inspiration, follow my Instagram feed @catheholden.
And remember, maybe all you really need to get out of that rut and jump-started back into creativity is a pack of 3-inch canvases.