Find the Magic in Your Materials

When I ask artists what inspires them, time and again they tell me they’re inspired by nature in its various forms. How can that not be? We’re surrounded by natural elements that make us pause in appreciation: a remarkable sunrise, a romantic sunset, or the mysterious moon.

The artists in the newest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (July/August 2015) have an affection for nature that radiates through their work, and they’re ready to teach you how to tap into that beauty and wonder for your mixed-media art.

Mixed-media art by Kim Owen |
“I found inspiration in a deer, and gave him a body made of tree roots,” says Kim of her mixed-media art.

“I feel that my role as a mixed-media artist is to find the magic in my materials,” Kim Owen says in Layering the Unexpected, which features the image above. “One of the many things I’ve discovered is the joy of using tea bags in my art. Once cleaned and dried, the paper of the tea bags takes on an antique, sepia quality that’s slightly translucent. It’s the perfect material for a mixed-media collage.

Experiment with different tea bags, though, since not all are created equal. Some bags are larger, and different teas can produce different colors. With the tea bag paper as a starting point, it’s time to let your imagination roam. Add found objects and ephemera to evoke another time; look to nature for uncommon ways to express common forms.”

Kim goes on to give step-by-step instructions on how to print your chosen images on tea bags, to be used for collage art and more. In this issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you’ll also learn how to personalize a messenger bag with painted flowers, make a summer-inspired treasure box with embossed metal, and create a variety of other mixed-media art pieces. One of the aspects of nature that inspires me is how it constantly changes. Whether we notice it or not, day to day, everything is a little different. Perhaps flowers become a little bigger, perhaps trees are a little older, but nature is always renewing and evolving. How does nature inspire you? Tell us in the comments section of the blog, and spark an idea for your fellow artists.

Finding the magic,


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