This autumn has been magical here in Finland, warm and gentle, filled with sunshine. The nature is gifting us some extra time to enjoy and relax and gain strength for the long winter.
It inspired me to make some (a lot, actually) ATC cards using dried flowers, just to remind you how wonderfully, delightfully generous nature can be, providing so many gifts for us, if we just stop for a moment and have a proper look. Also, I wanted to make something quite simple and quick, something that’d be lovely and relaxing to make, with only a few incredients. Just think about a quiet, peaceful autumn evening, soft candlelight and your favourite music, cup of tea, some dried flowers, lace, and inspiration…
There is still time for you to have lovely walks, picking a few leaves or flowers or plants for your crafty projects. Imagine, how wonderful it’d be to use them during the long, dark winter months, and decorate your artwork with some wonders of nature!
You can use pressed plants or plants that are just dried naturally. For example, fern leaves and delicate flowers are extraordinarily pretty and add just an eloquent touch to any kind of work, and dried stems and cores add beautiful dimensional effect.
I have made an ATC card and an ATC coin, but you can easily adopt the same technique and idea for any kind of artwork, really. Tags to decorate your journal or to send as happy mail, greeting cards, gift tags, or even a bit different, soft and personal Christmas greetings!
I used tiny pieces of my botanically dyed lace and fabric (you can use whatever you like, coffee or tea dyeing is very good option too), with some crinkled cardboard from an old cardboard box, tea bags, tiny scraps of vintage paper, and birch bark from a tree that fall in our backyard during the huge autumn storm we had some time ago. (If you happen not to have any fallen birches in your back yard, please remember not to rip off any barks from living trees. Use only bark from fallen, dead or cut trees. And, obviously, it is entirely optional in your work, I just wanted to use it so it could live on in my art, this wonderful, huge, ages old tree.)
Soft Matte Gel works brilliantly with dried flowers; when you gently add some gel and cover the whole flower with it, the flower will be much more durable and stronger and won’t break so easily.
So, first I added Soft Matte Gel to the flowers and stems I wanted to use and let them dry. (With pressed flowers this won’t be necessary, you could just easily attach them to your work with Soft Matte Gel right away.)
Then I attached a piece of a tea bag, vintage paper pieces, birch bark, and crinkled cardboard with Soft Matte Gel to the card and let it dry.
I added a gentle wash with Heavy Gesso to create a certain softness into my work and let it dry. Then I took the lace and fabric bits, ripped and teared the edges to look worn and tattered, and attached them with Soft Matte Gel to the cards.
I attached the dried flowers on top of the fabric with a bit of Heavy Body Gel. With really thin, delicate flowers (like the fern I used in my ATC coin) Soft Matte Gel is definitely better, but for more sturdy ones, Heavy Body Gel was a better choice to make sure they really hold.
Then, I complemented the vintage look with a botanical label. I made a whole sheet of plants I have collected from our own garden, and you can upload it in my blog – the texts are in Latin, English, and Finnish. (I dyed the printed sheet with tea, coffee, dark cacao powder and cinnamon.)
Liquid Acrylics are my absolutely favourite products, and I love to use them pretty much everywhere. I usually use them without gel mediums, as I love the watercolor effect they give if I blend them with water. I adore the old, tattered look I can create with them and if wished, make the artwork to look just the right amount of “mouldy”, like it’d been found from an old, dusty attic.
And that’s why I did here, too. I highlighted the edges and parts here and there using a blend of Burnt Sienna, Umber, and Black Ink, with a lot of water.
I used some gesso for final touches; with a dry brush I added gentle, soft, white touch here and there, and then sprinkled a layer of gesso on top, like the softest first kiss of snow. I love using gesso like this, softening the artwork, as I think there can never be too much softness and gentleness and kindness in life.
I hope you got inspired and when you next time go to a walk, will take a deep breath and relax and enjoy the autumn sun in your face, let the gentle wind caress you, and collect some plants for drying, and then, on a lovely, peaceful, delightfully long, darkening autumn night take them out, and create your own kind of autumn magic.
Here is my YouTube video tutorial.
If you can't see it, here is direct link.
Thank you so much for keeping me company, and wishing you a magical autumn,
Products I have used - all the images linked to Mixed Media Place online store: