Where do you go when you’re looking for creative motivation? Mixed-media artist Rae Missigman turns to her vision board: a colorful collection of ideas that serves as an artistic prompt and reminds her to create every day. In this tutorial from our January/February 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Rae shares a series of techniques you can use to create your own unique vision board. We hope your new vision board helps you achieve all your artistic dreams and ambitions!
Vision Board by Rae Missigman
My intention is to create every day. I have learned that even if I only get 15 minutes in the studio, it is more than enough to stay inspired, and it has been a great exercise in staying creatively active on a daily basis. My focus is always to incorporate three key elements in my work: color, layers, and texture. I have always had a vision board hanging in the studio as a reminder to stay creative. Using the board as a springboard to being inspired, I can glance at it while working and find myself realizing a component of color or texture is missing from a current art piece, or use it as a reference point for a favorite go-to technique. Keeping the board updated with new ideas, colors, fabrics, or trending techniques is a great way for me to stay ahead of my own creative curve. I decided to create a new vision board to use as an artistic prompt, and I wanted something unique. This board is a collection of simple, yet bold and colorful reminders of the things that motivate me to create everyday. I am happy to share three of my favorite techniques with you.
- Background fabric(s)
- Sewing machine and thread
- Seam binding or ribbon
- Shallow pan
- Spray bottle with water
- Spray inks, several colors (I used Ranger Dylusions Ink Sprays.)
- Small clip
- Jewelry pliers (I used bent-nose pliers.)
- O-ring (I used an 8mm jump ring.)
- Watercolor paper
- Coloring media (I used Golden® Artist Colors acrylic paint and Derwent Inktense Blocks.)
- Gel pens
- China marker
- Permanent marker
- Expired credit or gift card
- Yarn or heavy-duty string, a variety
- Darning needle
- Corner rounder
- Needle, for hand sewing
- Small comb
- Tree branch
- Rag rope
Create the background
1. Choose a substrate for your vision board. I decided to use fabric in natural shades. I love the organic feel of a neutral background and the look of the raw edges against all my bits of inspiring color. I tore large scraps of linen and muslin fabric, layered them, and free-motion stitched around the border with a contrasting thread. Once the background was created, I added my inspiring bits.
2. Think about the things that inspire you. Determine which will be included on your vision board and how they will be represented. Is this board inspiration for a particular project, or is it to be globally motivating? For example, if your goal is to try hand lettering, you could incorporate hand-drawn fonts as inspiration.
3. Gather and use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques to complete your vision.
Make colorful tassels
When I catch a glimpse of these beautiful handdyed tassels, I see streamers of loose and beautiful color. I love the idea of creating color patterns that cannot be repeated. No two are alike. Each one inspires me to think outside the bounds of the color wheel, and pushes me to mix and blend colors in a whole new way.
1. Measure and cut 2 pieces of seam binding or ribbon, one 36″ and one 6″. Place both pieces in a shallow pan and spritz them with water.
2. Spray short lines of spray inks across the lengths of ribbon in several colors, overlapping the colors slightly as you go. (FIGURE 1) Spraying the inks in rainbow order creates a pretty finished piece.
3. Wearing gloves, gather the inked ribbons, and gently scrunch them into a loose ball. Over scrunching will cause your colors to bleed together. Set your ribbon ball on a protected surface and let it dry completely.
TIP: Save the leftover ink in your pan to dye your mini art journal pages.
4. Fold the long length of ribbon end over end until it measures approximately 6″ long. Twist it tightly at the center, and secure it with a clip. (FIGURE 2)
5. Open the O-ring with the jewelry pliers, and attach it around the twisted center. Use the jewelry pliers to close the O-ring. Alternatively, you can slip the gathered ribbon through the O-ring, if it fits.
6. Holding the O-ring, fold the gathered ribbon in half at the center and measure down ½″ from the ring. Wrap the short length of ribbon around the folded ribbon several times at this spot. (FIGURE 3) Tuck the ends in to hide them, or knot them to secure. Optional: Trim the ends of the tassel.
Design mini art journal pages
I love to hang miniature art journal pages on my vision board. They are a reminder that all I need are a few moments and a handful of easy-to-reach supplies to make something beautifully layered.
1. Measure and cut 2 pieces of watercolor paper. I used 3″ x 4″ and 4″ x 6″ pieces. If desired, round the corners before proceeding.
2. Mist a shallow pan with spray inks and water, or use the leftover ink from the tassel, and lay the papers face down in the pan. Allow the papers to sit for a few seconds to absorb the ink, carefully flip them over, and then lay them flat on a protected surface to dry.
3. Add stickers, stamped images, and loose pencil sketches and lines to the painted papers. (FIGURE 4)
4. Add more color, filling in around the work completed in step 3. I used acrylic paints and Inktense Blocks to add small sections of bold color. (FIGURE 5) Let dry thoroughly.
5. Make additional marks with a variety of tools, such as gel pens and china markers. Because this is my visual prompt for layering, I like to incorporate different markmaking implements when creating these small art journaling springboards. For instance, combining wet inks and waxy pencils can produce surprising and beautiful results. While the wax pencils do the simple job of mark making, they also create a colorful resist for the layer that comes next.
6. Add a pop of texture by machine or hand stitching the edges of your mini art journal pages, and finish with a bit of journaling. A permanent marker works well for this.
Other ideas for mini journal pages
• Drip permanent ink on your page and use a heat tool to move the ink around before it dries.
• Add a few drops of blending solution to your page, followed by 1–2 drops of alcohol ink. Tilt your page to allow the two to mix and move around.
• Dip an old toothbrush in wet paint and use your finger to flick the bristles, spattering the paint across the page. Or, dip a detail brush in wet ink and tap it to scatter the ink in small pools across the surface of the page.
• Pick up wet paint with a small piece of sponge and rub the sponge along the edges of your page to create a loose, colorful border.
Create a tiny weaving
I love to surround myself with colorful bits of fabric and yarn, two favorites when it comes to adding a tactile touch to a project. The texturized surfaces of small weavings flaunt their pattern and color, inspiring me each time I glimpse them to include some texture in my work. To me, texture is that one final detail that can’t be ignored.
1. Measure and cut slits approximately ¼″ deep and ¼″ wide on both short sides of an old credit or gift card. Bend every other tab slightly forward.
2. Weave a length of heavy-duty string or yarn around each of your tabs, leaving a 3″ tail on the back side of the card, going from one short end to the other and back again (This is your warp). (FIGURE 6) Trim the yarn, again leaving a short tail. Tape the tails down to the back of the card.
3. Cut short lengths of yarn or string, approximately 3 ½″ long, and create a slipknot over each warp string to create small rya knots. (FIGURE 7) Gently tighten the knots, and slide them down to one short end of the card. Repeat across the mini loom, creating as many rows of rya knots as you want. Use a variety of yarns, if you like.
4. Thread a large plastic darning needle with a length of yarn that is approximately 4 ½ times the width of your mini loom. Thread the needle under the warp closest to 1 edge of the loom and just above the rya knots. Pull through, leaving a short tail hanging off the side of the loom. Take your needle over the next warp string, under the next, and over the next. Continue weaving over and under each warp string until you reach the far side of the mini loom. (FIGURE 8)
5. When you reach the far side, loop around the warp string and continue working your weave back in the opposite direction.
6. Use a small comb or your fingers to gently push the weaving down, close and tight to the bottom of your loom, after each few rows.
7. When you reach the end of the length of yarn, tie on a new piece and continue weaving. As you work your weaving you can tuck the knots to the reverse side.
8. Stop weaving approximately ½″ from the top of the loom, trim the weft yarn, leaving a 6″ tail, and give the weaving a final comb down.
9. Lift the warp strings gently off of the tabs at the bottom of the loom, and then lift them off the tabs at the top, pushing your weaving down one final time. Snip the warp strings, (FIGURE 9) and knot them toward the back of your weaving. Use a needle to tuck the tails in on the reverse side of your weaving. Tie a piece of yarn or string onto the top of the weaving for hanging, and attach it to your vision board.
10. Finish your vision board with a hanger. I crocheted over a branch and added some handcrafted rag rope, which made a pretty and vibrant hanger. (SEE OPENING IMAGE.)
My vision board is a colorful and collective reminder to get creative and stay creative. For me, this means staying true to what I love. As I create, I change. I am constantly learning and morphing, and my work changes along with me. Because of this, my vision boards change over time as well. Bits and pieces are added and taken away until eventually the panel is new, inspiring me to create something unique all over again.
Rae Missigman is a self-taught mixed-media artist, who loves to create, blog, and instruct. She has a passion for repurposing found items and turning them into something beautiful. She has a fondness for both pattern and color that has led her to create outside the lines, resulting in artwork that is both complex and polychromatic. Rae‘s new book will be published later this year with North Light Books. Visit Rae’s website at rae-missigman.squarespace.com.
Looking for more mixed-media inspiration? Make Carolyn Dube’s artsy dice, then roll the dice and create away!
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