Our sweet river town of Petaluma, California is home to some pretty special movers & shakers, The Fabulous Women, who’s mission is this:
We are a local group dedicated to supporting meaningful causes. Our small nonprofit brings light and hope to families who are going through extraordinary hardship. We provide emotional and financial support to families facing various challenges. We strive to find positive messages in every situation that we encounter. Our group helps the community: Learn important lessons, Heal through difficult experiences, Find gratitude in their own lives, and Bring awareness to issues that impact the community as well as individuals.
Fabulous Women also raises awareness and donations for local organizations that provide positive resources for our community. Every cause that we champion gives us an opportunity to empower the next generation and model kindness through service and charity.Each year they host Festival of Trees in downtown Petaluma, featuring upwards of fifty 4-foot Christmas trees, decorated by local businesses and individuals, to be auctioned off for charity. This will be my first year contributing and I’ll be handcrafting all of the ornaments for my tree. I found an antique photo album loaded with cabinet card photographs from late 1800s at one of the vintage shops in town that was the inspiration for my first set of ornaments. I trimmed down full-page mats into individual frames and embellished as little assemblage art collages, then put back in the photos unharmed. The winning bidder can choose to replace any of those photos with their own family pictures if they wish through the slide-slot in the back of each. Please forgive the glue & ink fingers in video below.
Below are a baker’s dozen Antique Album Photo Ornaments that I completed today. I’ll be crafting additional smaller ornaments to add to the tree as well. Stay tuned for the final reveal at the end of November!
I’ve been having the best time creating mixed media art this year. Dedicating most of my time to assemblage work since January 1, I’ve experimented with so many different supplies, tools and techniques learning many lessons along the way. I’m really glad that you’re along for the creative ride. Here are my most current pieces to date and a few details about each.
The 1932 license plate was the start of the theme for this assemblage. I googled sedans of that year and lucky me, I had a little Japanese tin toy car of just the right model year that I’d recovered in a grungy barn dig a few months back. I added only vintage decals to modify it.
The box was a very old container for tool dies. I lined the edges with vintage cigar box paper strips and propped up the wire hinged lid from the back with small brackets made from erector set pieces to create a sort of building facade. The orange label inside the lid was a great start to for collage including a vintage trade card clipping of birds stamps.I lined the back of the box with vintage wallpaper stenciled with modeling paste using one of my custom stencil designs. I placed an old real-photo postcard from around the same era as the license plate to give the illusion of the car driving toward a building with people coming and going. I added a couple of patina’d antique brass embellishments to create more relief.
This may be one of my favorite assemblages so far. The yellow wood background piece was the lid of an broken jewelry box with the most fantastic crackled decal. The little lead cowboy is affixed atop an old cotter pin tin. I created the stencil by knocking out sections from a typed and outlined word in Adobe Illustrator then sent to my Silhouette Cameo to cut from cardstock.A little aluminum Good Luck token screwed into drawer handle backplates and attached to lengths of a metal folding ruler made a fun prize ribbon rosette. The cap gun is wired into and old metal food can that my neighbor found while back-roading in California Gold Country. I rolled the lid back and sprayed it with clear enamel to seal the rust. I lined the can with a section of printed metal from a flattened vintage coffee can.
My oldest daughter, Jamie, asked me to create an assemblage just for her. To me, there is no greater flattery. This is that piece reflecting my hopes for her to travel far in love, career, and life.I trimmed the old cigar sample box with custom-designed paper tape that reads “Ascend”. Once again I stenciled the background with one of my designs. The balloon was crafted from a vintage French rolling toy I found on eBay. Using the scrap from the same vintage coffee can mentioned in the “Good Luck” piece above, I formed a hillside structure to sit in front of the sweet vintage wallpaper illustration. The little tin roof is made from the same biscuit tin as used in the the “Charm & Charity” assemblage below. The trees were crafted from grungy, old paint brushes sawed at the cuffs.
A more fragile piece, this assemblage includes a tree branch from my back yard which protrudes through a hole in the old wood box holding a nest found in my late father-in-law’s vineyard made mostly of horse hair.The little British man’s wheelbarrow is filled with tiny blue eggs to match the larger faux ones in the nest. The background is vintage wallpaper stenciled with one of my designs and rubber stamped.
“Charm & Charity”
The background panel of this piece is a dove-tailed panel from a disassembled old blasting box.The lid of a vintage candy tin made the perfect frame for this assemblage. I cut the oval hole, attached glass from behind, and lined with vintage ballchain.I used stencil paste, and again, one of my stencils on a section of an old book cover trimmed to fit inside a cruddy cigar box as a background piece for the candy tin frame.The inset pedestal/background piece was cut from a large, damaged biscuit tin trimmed out and folded to line a small Tim Holtz idea-ology Vignette Box. The little lead woman figure was repainted to coordinate with the floral frame and secured into the little tin-lined box. Side note: When I posted this particular image to Instagram during the process of painting, one follower commented that it looked as though she was using a selfie stick. Ha! It does!!
The box frame for this assemblage was an old, narrow drawer lined with vintage wallpaper, a stenciled word, and small paper prize certificate from a pet exhibit. I left the little drawer pull knobs in tact (at the top). Inset is a vintage candy tin of which I cut an oval window from the lid.I designed and printed paper cigar box trim that reads meilleur ami, French for best friend.Inside the tin I made a metal platform covered in a book to center the small vintage lead dog in the window, and background from a vintage trade card graphic, and faux Petaluma postal rubber stamp.The window is trimmed with distressed Dresden foil.
I love to complete each dog themed assemblage with a vintage dog tag.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my latest work. My assemblage art is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
Last week Tim Holtz sent me a pack of his new idea-ology Decorative Deer, just one of the exciting new products in his 2016 Christmas product release. These tiny, adorable resin figures, in two sizes, have a million and one applications, holiday or any day!To transform the deer, I utilized products from the studio I use in my assemblage art to turn items from plastic to metal or concrete in appearance. And in this case, turning a little resin deer into one resembling a vintage garden ornament.Project ingredients include: Tim Holtz idea-ology Decorative Deer, J-B Weld KwikWeld, Sophisticated Finishes Rust Antiquing Set, a wee bit of moss, and a few tiny pebbles from the ground outside my studio.J-B Kwik is a fast setting, two-part epoxy cold weld system that I use frequently for connecting metalwork in my art, but can also coat small objects or areas quite nicely to give them a metal surface. Once mixed the J-B Kwik becomes solid and hard in 6 minutes, so one needs to work fast keeping projects or project sections small.Using a flat wooden sandwich pick (which I also use to stir the two-part epoxy) I coated one of the smaller of the two deer, set it atop the tin lid of a 1-ounce metal favor tin and added more epoxy to secure it, creating a textured surface to simulate the ground.Within minutes the surface was dry and hard and ready for smoothing with a narrow Crafty-Cat sanding needle for any areas that needed it.I then coated the entire deer and lid with the instant iron base coating, and once dry followed with a few coats of the rust finish. A good amount of detail in the deer is lost when coating with the J-B Kwik, so if you are going for a less rounded look, that step can be skipped and the following step used directly on the resin deer figure.I attached a small bit of moss and some tiny pebbles.Now I have a sweet little container for notes, what-nots, money gift, or party favor.
Hi, I’m Cathe (pronounced the same as Cathy). I’m a graphic designer, crafter, creative blogger, & flea market enthusiast. I live just north of San Francisco in lovely Petaluma, California with my husband and our three college kids.
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