Friday, November 21, 2014

new stamps and GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to have four new rubber stamp sets in the shopIt's exciting to be able to offer a variety of my own drawings and designs as rubber stamps to use in your mixed media projects. And today I am giving away 10 sets of stamps (scroll all the way down for details).

I teamed up with my UBER talented husband Andy to create this lovely set of FLOWER GIRLS STAMPS. He drew the faces and I drew the flowers! There are all kinds of ways to use this set- draw or doodle around the faces, stamp flowers around the faces, use the flowers to create patterned paper, use the faces in mixed media projects- the ideas are endless!

I am obsessed with geometric patterns so I created a GEOMETRIC STAMP SET  that I would use in my own projects. This set is perfect for creating all kinds of patterned paper- I'll be using it to make my own wrapping paper and tags this Christmas!

I love using arrow images in my own work so I thought it would be fun to create a simple SET  OF ARROWS that can be used in all kinds of projects- repeat to make patterned paper, create unique greeting cards and tags, use in scrapbook pages or art journals.

During the holidays I am always doodling wreaths- on wrapping paper, cards and tags so I thought it would be handy to create a SET OF WREATH STAMPS that can be used for holiday crafting.


Check out how I mount my stamps and the different ways that I use them HERE

More ways that I use my rubber stamps HERE

You can see a few different ways that I create and use handmade stamps HERE

How to use stamps with clay HERE

Use rubber stamps to make rubbings HERE


And today I am giving away all four new sets of stamps to 10 readers!

Enter to win by leaving me a comment- tell me 1 thing you are grateful for today.

I will randomly select 10 winners later this weekend and will update this post with the winners.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

november layers

November in Oregon is funny- some days are cold, while others are crisp and sunny. I've found that once fall hits my best bet is dress in layers. And while it would be really easy to start pulling out sweaters and jackets, I try making my spring and summer clothing stretch a little bit longer. Here are a few of my favorite tips for fall layering-
  • Wear a fitted long sleeve t-shirt under short sleeves.
  • Throw summer dress or tunic over a pair of fitted jeans.
  • A bold and colorful jacket will bring any outfit to life!
  • Hats and scarves are the best accessories to have on hand in case the weather changes.
  • Skinny jeans look great under oversized, flowy or bulky tops.
  • Don't be afraid to mix color, pattern or texture.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

paper ornament wreath

Over the years I've had lots of fun coming up with all kinds of unique wreaths and this year I've got some fun ideas up my sleeve.

Since I have been busy creating hand made art journals, I now have TONS of leftover strips of paper scraps and I came up with a fun way to put those scraps to use- creating paper ornaments!

I can remember creating paper ornaments from strips of construction paper back in elementary school and I love the idea of using this concept but with unique paper.  

To start I grabbed 4-5 strips of paper.

I bent the paper into a circle and using hot glue attached both ends.

Next, I bent another strip of paper over the top of the first and continued bending and gluing strips of paper until I formed a ball.

All those paper balls can be used for ornaments or even a garland!

I used mine to create a big colorful wreath by gluing all the paper ornaments to a wooden embroidery hoop.

I love how fun and colorful the wreath turned out! It can be used as non traditional holiday wreath or even something that can stay up year round. Three cheers for not throwing away scraps!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

introducing a toddler to galleries and museums

Over the last couple of years I have shared a lot of information and inspiration about making art with a kid and now our family is entering into a new phase- beginning to learn and view art at galleries and museums and today I am sharing a few tips that I have discovered.

Before diving in, I gotta just be honest and tell you that visiting a gallery with a toddler is WAAAYYY more scary and intimidating to me than letting Lucy get messy with paint. Toddlers can be grabby, unpredictable and have a short attention span (at least mine does) and once in a while there are those public behaviors or outbursts that make any outing "interesting". All these factors make walking into a gallery or museum with a 3 year old feel challenging. But viewing art, visiting galleries, learning about artists and their techniques, discussing art history and engaging with creative communities is a huge part of my life and something that I want to share with Lucy. While I don't expect her to share my passion, I do want to introduce her to the beauty, imagination and  the excitement that goes along with viewing art.Today I've put together a few tips and tricks with the hopes to inspire those of you that are parents to try introducing your kids to museums, galleries and live art!

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Obviously creativity is a really big part of our lives- all three of us make art and work on creative projects every single day but another layer to creativity is learning about other artists. A great way to start looking at art (before heading into a museum) is to read books about art and artists (above are a few of our favorites). Since Lucy was born we have been reading art themed books to her. Her middle name is Matisse so we have a lot of books on her namesake but she loves looking at my old Art History text books and flipping through pages of art or craft magazines. It seems once she hit 2 years old she really began to understand the correlation between all those artists making art and her own creative process. 

Heading into a fancy gallery with a toddler is a pretty daunting thought so we started the process with public art- statues, murals, installations and anything creative outside. Viewing public art is a really accessible way for anyone of any age to walk up to art and begin creative conversations.

So maybe a gallery or museum with lots of breakable objects and expensive art is not the place for your kid (yet). Try working up to the experience by visiting more accessible spaces- coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, boutiques and art supply stores often have small exhibits on their walls. Outdoor art festivals and even farmers markets can also be a great way to begin looking at art and handmade things. 

In my experience anything new that we are going to do goes way smoother when we spend time talking and preparing for it. Lucy loves to talk, imagine and explore just about anything so "hyping" a trip to a gallery by discussing the things we will see, how we will "look with our eyes not our hands" and asking her what she wants to look at- has made art outings easier for everyone.

Someday we will take Lucy to a fancy gallery opening but not any time soon! For now we have found that heading to a gallery or museum works best for us during non peak hours- typically the mornings. This way we can take our time, focus and have space to explore without the pressure of navigating crowds 

One of my favorite parts of introducing art to Lucy is the conversations that we have during and after. I like to ask her open ended questions like- What do you see? What color is that? What do you think is going on? How does this painting making you feel? These are actually all questions that I ask myself when I am looking at art so it is really fun and inspiring to talk (with a 3 year old) about the same things I am thinking about!

Going to a gallery or museum provides inspiration like nothing else can and I want to share with Lucy how these little outings can be the beginning of a new idea or project. A great way to do this is to pick something you saw and structure a project around it- playing with watercolors, talking about shapes and abstraction, creating a story with a picture, cutting up paper and collaging are all examples of inspiration we have brought back from our art outings.

Monday, November 17, 2014

doodle platter

I've been sharing a lot of traditional pottery and glazing inspiration but with the holidays rapidly approaching I wanted to share a more accessible (and even last minute) idea for creating unique dishes! I love using creative and personalized dishes for entertaining and  gift giving.

While there are a lot of tutorials floating around about using a Sharpie on dinnerware (and then baking in the oven to set), I've found that the Sharpie technique doesn't hold up to washing or wear and tear. My favorite pen to use for decorating dinnerware is the Pebeo Porcelaine 150. It is non toxic pen that is permanent and dishwasher safe once heat set.

IMPORTANT NOTE: there is mixed information about the Pepeo pens not being food safe- While Pebeo states that their pens contain NO toxic ingredients, they do not recommend using them on surfaces that come into contact with food (confusing). After some extensive research, apparently they do not recommended on surfaces that you would eat off of with silverware. This is because the paint can be scratched or chipped with metal utensils and bacteria can grow under the edges of the damaged paint, causing sickness. 

Short story- use the pens at your own risk :)

THESE PENS are promoted as food safe pens if you are looking for another alternative. But the safest option is to draw on dishes that are only decorative or on the outside (of cups and bowls) or parts of dishes that will not come into direct contact with food.

With all that said I went ahead and created my platter thinking it would be a fun to use for a candle scape, cupcakes or even lined with a colorful cloth napkin and then piled high with dinner rolls!

I purchased a plain white platter and then used my pen to doodle and draw all over the surface.

TIP: if you are not comfortable drawing or doodling off the top of your head, try sketching out your design in a light colored water soluble pen. Then draw over the top with the Pebeo pen. Any remaining lines from your preliminary sketch can be wiped away with a damp towel.

Filling the entire surface like I did can take a lot of time but the end result is SO fun!

The last step is to let everything dry for 24 hours and then bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 300 degrees F. Once cool, your dinnerware is dishwasher safe!

I've got a couple more dishes Thanksgiving table next week- I love that simple materials can add a little art and creativity to a holiday meal!

P.S. I've got a fresh batch of handmade art journals over in the shop HERE

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a pottery collaboration (now in the shop)

I am super happy to announce that the first batch of collaborative pottery is now in THE SHOP

For those of you new to the blog of if you missed my previous pottery posts (HEREHERE and HERE)- my parents are potters and I've spent my entire life around clay.  I was introduced to clay long before painting and spent a great deal of time dabbling in pottery as a kid. Growing up my mom and dad ran a successful pottery business from their home studio- I spent my childhood watching my dad throw pots on the wheel and my mom run a wholesale tile business. For the last couple of years I've been tossing around some ideas about collaborating with my parents on some fun clay pieces and FINALLY I have time in my schedule to make it happen. 

The first batch of pottery is cups. I love unique glasses and cups- I use them for storing paint brushes, supplies, for flowers and for beverages. So I enlisted my dad to make some really simple, tall, skinny cups without handles that I could then paint with my designs. Since I am crazy passionate about handmade products and about sharing the creative process I thought it would be fun to share our process, the time and the love that went into this first batch.

This is my dad- he has been throwing pots since his early 20's and is crazy good at it! I've been watching him transform a lump of clay into something beautiful since I was a kid and I am always in awe of how amazing the process is!

         throw from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

After the cups were finished they needed to be trimmed this happens when the clay is firm enough to be handled without damage but not quite dry.

Trimming removes the excess clay typically on lower part of the pot and helps to refine and clean up the shape. Once the pots are trimmed they are ready to dry (here is Oregon it takes a couple of days for pots to dry- even longer during the wet cold winter months).

After the cup dried, they were ready for the first firing in the kiln called a bisque firing. A bisque firing is what transforms that clay into ceramic material. It is also (typically) a necessary step in the glazing process.

Then was time to glaze everything- I used what is called an underglaze for this process (Duncan E-Z Stroke in jet black).  This process was really time consuming for me since it involved lots of brushwork. And since I have a crazy busy schedule during the day, the only way I could fit this project in was to work on it in small chunks of time each evening after Lucy went to bed or early in the morning.

In the last few years, I have spent most of my time on sharing inspiration and teaching so it felt really nice to just sit and create something new. It was totally worth the late nights, stiff neck and cramped hand muscles :)

After everything was glazed, it was time to wax the bottom of the cups! For those new to pottery, you are probably thinking...Another step?! How many steps does it take to make a pretty cup? I'm here to tell you it takes a lot of steps! 

Applying wax to the bottom of pottery is often necessary to keep liquid glaze off the bottom of the cup. Since we dip the cups into a clear shiny glaze, we want to keep that glaze off the bottom otherwise it will stick to the kiln shelves. The wax resist keeps the clear glaze off the cup and then burns away in the kiln. Yes, even Lucy got in on the action waxing a couple of bowls that she glazed!

And then each cup gets dipped into a big bucket of clear glaze and yes it is green but it fires clear.

The last step was to fire the cups again and then unload the kiln. This has always been my favorite part of the entire process- there is nothing better than seeing the final transformation!

And there you have it friends! A peek inside the the pot making process. This was so much fun for me and really special to get to work with my dad. I've got another batch of pots coming soon- this time around it will be bowls made by my mom and glazed by me so stay tuned for more of our family collaborations. In the meantime all pottery is now in the shop HERE.


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