I’m often asked if I have a favorite issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, and I always reply honestly that it’s impossible to choose—each one features such distinctive, captivating mixed-media artwork and projects that I couldn’t possibly say which is my favorite. However…if you happen to be missing a few issues from your mixed-media magazine library and would love to hear about a few very special articles that will take your skills to new heights, make you feel more accomplished, add that special something to your style, and make you a happier, more well-rounded person, I’m happy to oblige. Here are five I think are worthy of adding to your collection:
• Books with a purpose was the theme of our September/October 2016 issue, meant to inspire artists to not only make books, but fill them with great content, too. “Collected & Bound” features amazing books by Marcia Derse, a mixed-media artist and fabric designer. A little backstory on how this article came to be: We share an office with the staff of Quilting Arts magazine, and all of us love revealing fantastic finds with each other, such as a new artist, the latest supply, or the occasional cute cat video. A colleague came by one day with a box filled with Marcia’s handbound books. I think I stopped breathing for about a minute, transfixed by the incredible artwork before me.
In one book, pages were filled with fabric and paper scraps, postcards, and postage stamps; pockets holding photo treasures; hand-sewn pages, and even her grocery list. Another book revealed rainbow stripes from a new watercolor palette, and yet another was made from an old ledger and contained only white and off-white elements. I think about these books often, and how much their energy and style have influenced me. No doubt you’ll be inspired by Marcia’s story of how these books came to be, and by the books themselves. Definitely put this one on your list.
• The January/February 2016 issue was our surface design issue, and this one is filled with great ideas for making paste papers, using monoprinted papers in collage, and combining encaustic with spray paint for great layered surface effects. One article to note is Diana Trout’s “Foiled Again,” which includes several techniques for adding foil to mixed-media artwork; in this case, cards. Now, I’m not super big bling girl, but foiling is in a different category. There’s something about a hint of metallic shimmer that gets my heart racing, and Diana’s tricks and tips insure great results. These techniques can easily be incorporated in art journal pages and collage, too, adding that unexpected and beautiful hint of shine that takes a piece to another level.
• I’ve long been a fan of Rebekah Meier, and her beautiful artwork has been featured in Cloth Paper Scissors many times (don’t miss her article “A Holiday Mandala” in the November/December 2017 issue)! If you love the look of mixed-media layers, Rebekah is your go-to artist, and in “Fragile Fusion” in the March/April 2012 issue, she details a fantastic technique that incorporates delicate papers for creating layers. You need this in your mixed-media library! Using napkins, tissue, and double-sided fusible web, she shows how to build up these lightweight materials into something sturdy, adding paint, stenciling, stamping, and more. Rebekah even includes suggestions for what to do with the papers, including using them for book covers, journal pages, ATC cards, beads, and die-cut embellishments. This is a must-have for layering fanatics who are looking for ways to expand their skills.
• Shirlee McGuire’s stitched characters captured my attention the minute I saw them, and I was thrilled when she agreed to do a project for the November/December 2014 issue. Using free-motion stitching and vintage finds, such as old lace, ephemera, and buttons, she shows how to fashion whimsical characters with a lot of personality. She even includes instructions for making a tufted chair for the figure to sit on. As a unique finishing touch, create tiny tea-stained love letters to scatter around the piece. Use the same techniques to make fun jewelry and embellishments for collages and books.
• Botanical illustrations have always fascinated me, so no surprise that I loved Susan Black’s modern take on them in “Botanical Collage” in the July/August 2013 issue. No fancy drawing skills needed for these vibrant, expressive collages that make you happy just looking at them. These are must-have techniques for any mixed-media magazine library.
Susan starts with coffee-stained pages, then creates simple, stylized drawings based on actual flowers. She shares so many great ideas for building the collage that you’ll want to try them all as soon as you read the article. I’ve had this one earmarked for such a long time, I decided it was time to give it a go.
I was out of coffee and used walnut ink instead, which made a very similar kind of wash on the paper. If you’re going to do one, you may as well do several, so I tore various size pieces of watercolor paper, and did a wash on all.
Next, I created a sketch on tissue paper and transferred it to the watercolor sheet. Susan offers different types of transfer methods in the article, and all work really well.
Then it was time to add lines and color. Susan suggests using a dip pen and permanent ink for the stems and details; the ink gives the piece a lot of depth an interest. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to add color to stems and leaves.
For the collage bits I went into my stash of scrap papers and pulled out a bunch, staying within a color palette. Then I added details with more ink and opaque paint pens. This technique is a keeper, and I’m so glad I have more papers to work on, because I can’t wait to create more.
See what you miss when you skip a copy of Cloth Paper Scissors? If you need back issues to create a complete mixed-media library, do it now, and then go have fun making something!
Your printed copies of Cloth Paper Scissors deserve a beautiful home! Try these fun mixed-media techniques for decorating plain magazine holders in no time.