I have a large family and I’ve always wanted to create a unique family tree for my Grandparents. Because my family is so big and continues to grow I find it difficult to include everyone in a traditional family tree with names and birth dates. By using creative prompts as inspiration from challenges around the web I was able to create this Tree collage on canvas. Instead of names I used images, quotes, and a lot of symbolism to portray my family and how we love and grow together.
The Kraft Journal’s challenge this week is “Your Favorite Things” I could not decide on just a few things so I used MANY….Distress Ink, Bird Stamps, vintage ephemera, Kraft Paper, Stampers Anonymous stamps, Dollar stamps, and most importantly anything and EVERYTHING Tim Holtz! Whew…I think I covered most of my favorite things.
Embossing with Sizzix
Over at Simon Says Stamp and Show the challenge is to emboss as well as the CSI Project. Well emboss I did!! I embossed everything. I dry embossed, I embossed on metal, paper and everything in between. The Grungy Monday challenge at Studio L3 is to use grunge board which worked out perfectly for the embellished stamps and die cuts I wanted to include in my design. Finally, the Texture it Challenge at Inspiration Emporium. Favorite things, embossing, Texture, and grunge board does a better combination exist?…I don’t think so
I used Kraft paper and a Tim Holtz Alterations Wood Grain embossing folder to create the trunk. For the branches I used the same, tore them into branch like pieces and used the stitch stamp from Stampers Anonymous to make the tree look like it was stitched together. The stitching was embossed and the trunk was colored with Distress inks.
For the leaves I used 3 different Tim Holtz Alterations embossing folders. I love how each embossed image created a different shade of green when I went over them with Distress Ink. I used Kraft paper for the leaves as well….have I mentioned how much I LOVE the look of Distress Ink on Kraft? I also used the Sizzix Branch with Leaves die I thought I’d never use again after making this Bird Card….(it’s now my favorite die) sometimes it’s good to be wrong
Creating a Background with Vintage Sheet Music
I created the tree and embellishments before doing the background. In my experience with collage it has always helped to have the main pieces of the design done before committing to a background. I like to move things around and find the best fit before I break out the adhesive. After that I just look at the glue and it scares me so I move things around again just to be sure. That is exactly what happened with this background.
I spray painted the canvas with Valspar Stained Glass paint and layered pages from a VERY old children’s song book. This is the same book I used to create this Baby Collage. After tearing a page out I realized the book was over 100 years old! Ah well…I checked Ebay shortly after that discovery and found that the book was only worth about $35. Since it was already missing a page I figured it wouldn’t hurt to rip out a few more…that is why I bought it after all. There were a few holes peeking through after gluing everything down….ever so carefully…100 yr old paper is not exactly sturdy. I decided to use my Fiskars Funky Heart punch to fill in the gaps.
I wanted the hearts to stand out a little so I outlined them with Tattered Rose and Worn Lipstick Distress ink.
Create Faux Patches with Stamps and Kraft Paper
I used Kraft paper stamped with a plethora of different background stamps to create faux patches to border the canvas.
Mostly Stamper’s Anonymous Stamps were used for the backgrounds and sentiments but a few Dollar bin finds and Hero Arts sets are mixed in. All of the sentiments were embossed with Ranger fine detail clear powder and stamped with Black Soot Distress Ink.
I didn’t want to take away the focus on the sheet music background and the tree so I bordered the edge of the canvas with patches colored like the sky….and used the stitch stamp on all sides.
Creating Embellishments with Grunge Board and Grunge Paper
Now for the Grunge board embellishments….I alternated between grunge board and grunge paper to vary the depth.
I mounted craft metal on grunge board and cut the lock and key using Tim Holtz Alterations Hardware Findings die from Sizzix. The metal was sanded, hammered, inked with Brushed corduroy Distress ink, brushed with perfect pearls and embossed with Black Soot embossing powder….along with the screw brads. I used the left over scraps to stamp and emboss some of the hearts and attached tiny metal star brads above them. I used the same star brads to attach the chains also.
The birds were stamped and embossed on Kraft paper that had been stamped in white with a sheet music stamp….I wanted to keep the sheet music theme going throughout the design. They were then colored with Distress inks and an aqua brush.
I love how the white sheet music is just peeking through the black. This was the first time I used an aqua brush to color….let me tell you I’m a BIG fan now! My absolute favorite embellishment is this birdcage which I created some time ago…probably when I first got the Tim Holtz Caged Bird die. I’ve been saving it for the right project.
The bird was cut twice. Once with the stamped background and colored with Distress inks and second from a Vintage Bible…also colored with distress ink. The cage was cut from gold shimmer card stock and distressed with perfect pearls blue patina. I then added perfect medium to the cage and bars and embossed with Black Soot embossing powder. Finally, I added the charms and chain. My favorite is the heart locket. I used a Victorian Cat stamp set to stamp the cat face and filled it in with Crackle Accents.
Here is a close up…
I put my heart, soul and a lot of symbolism into this tree collage. The lock and key symbolize my grandparents as they are the “key” to our family. The branches and leaves represent how our family has grown just like a strong tree. The birds represent the dependablility of our family. Like birds leave their nest when they are able to fly we too can fly away and have personal life experiences but can always return to our “home tree”. The hearts that surround the tree are a symbol of the love that surrounds our family.
Sadly, my grandfather became very ill this past October. I was told that there was very little time left so I brought the Tree Collage to his bedside. He had been pretty unresponsive in the days prior and was unable to speak. My grandfather has been one of my biggest supporters of my art for as long as I can remember. I sat by his bed and explained what each element of the collage symbolized and his eyes came alive. Although he did not speak his eyes followed as I pointed around the canvas. He squeezed my hand and I knew he understood. This was the last moment we would shard together. He passed away the next morning. I was filled with sorrow but yet thankful that the last moment we shared was through art. For that I am eternally grateful and it serves to drive my creativity even further because I know he is looking down….with pride.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened!” – Dr. Seuss
Thanks so much for letting me share the story behind this collage with you.
Have a artfully blessed day,