Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

Tuesday Huesday: Mellow Yellow Home Decor

I used to have a room painted yellow, back in the days when when I was young and carefree.  It’s very difficult to be in a yellow room and not have it brighten your mood!  Speaking of yellow rooms, I was very interested to learn that yellow is a hot home decor color right now – specifically, yellow mixed with neutrals. This makes sense because yellow mixed with electric blue might give you nightmares, or the feeling that you were being attacked by Big Bird and Cookie Monster.  Nobody wants that!

I came upon the first photo in Elle Decor and the second in Traditional Home – both are perfect examples of incorporating yellow into your living situation without having it be too overwhelming/overpowering.  I think the yellows bring brightness to a room quite nicely, and the same can be true for your next craft project.  Here’s the color palette I was inspired to create.

This palette was created using FolkArt Acrylic colors (from left to right): Buttercup, Taffy, Linen and Mushroom

August 30, 2010

Make It Monday: Dressed Up Dish Towels

I’ve always been scared of fabric paint – it seems so . . . permanent!  I love that stencils exist, however, because I can be assured of some pretty painting without being scared to make (and then ruin) my own design.  Not so very long ago I painted these dishtowels with FolkArt Fabric paint for Think Crafts – and I wanted to share them with you today. The holiday season is coming, and you are going to need gifts. I’m thinking these dishtowels (purchased from the Dollar Tree) would be perfect for someone deserving on your list. Check out the full tutorial here, then visit the Stencils section of the Plaid website to get inspired for some stencil projects of your own.

PS – FolkArt Fabric paint is awesome, and you are going to love it. It’s bright and is very soft, even after washing!

August 28, 2010

Saturday Find: Aged Cabinet with a Painted Door

I’ve got to give a shout out to the FolkArt users overseas – there are so many of you who make beautiful projects with acrylic paint!  A perfect example is this cabinet from, a site in Argentina.  The artist is Leonor Esposito, and she uses both FolkArt Acrylics and Enamels on this aged cabinet with the look of lace on the door. I’m inspired by projects from other countries; many of them have gorgeous paintings and architecture that outdates ours by a long shot – and these provide inspiration to so many projects. Cool, huh? Visit the project here – if you can read Spanish, great, and if not, go here for Google Translator.

August 27, 2010

Interview with Steve Slotin – Slotin Folk Fest

Steve and Amy Slotin have been procuring the largest Folk Art festival around for 17 years. Their annual Folk Fest in Norcross, Georgia draws exibitors and collectors from all over our nation.  You will not find a better venue for Folk Art, Self-taught Art, Outsider Art and Southern Folk Pottery. Steve took a few moments to tell us what he and Folk Fest are all about.

Steve and Amy Slotin of Slotin Folk Fest

Steve and Amy Slotin, producers of Folk Fest

What do you feel is the role of the American Folk Artist?

 I think the role of the American Folk artist is to give true vision to the American experience from Grandma Moses to Clementine Hunter, rural life is immortalized in their paintings. The academic art world is constantly searching for the next great thing with the European influence and sophisticated art training, but this will always seem foreign to what is genuine and truly American. These self-taught artists draw on their experience of culture, their isolation – both physical and mental, religious zealousness and the sheer need to create and beautify their own environment. American folk artists are uninfluenced artists, the roots of what is truly unique about our way life.

What are some interesting Folk Art style trends you have noticed recently?

This field is not about about trends. The commercial and contemporary art market is really different from self taught art world. These artists never really considered themselves artists, or considered that their art would be a valuable commodity so they didn’t create the work to please others. True self-taught art is uninfluenced by the outside world and trends. Collectors may have trends. Museum shows have trends, galleries have trends, but the artists themselves are driven to created without the art market, we sought them out. If they are copying trends they may not not be a true self-taught artist.

August 26, 2010

Technique Thursday: Using White Transfer Paper

I have a confession. Until yesterday, I had no idea how to use transfer paper. I thought I could get through life without learning this little tidbit, but then I realized that since I really enjoy painting I should acquire this skill.

And then there was the dark surface.  Black, to be exact.

Regular transfer paper is gray, right? That’s all the transfer paper I knew of, until I was told about white transfer paper.  You see, I had a black pumpkin that I wanted to paint a skull on, but it required transferring the skull pattern I had to the surface of the pumpkin.  With a little help, I learned the ins-and-outs of using transfer paper.  I’d love to share with you today.

Luckily, the supplies for transferring a pattern are minimal:

  • Pattern (got mine from Microsoft Clip Art if you can believe it, isn’t he wonderful?)
  • Stylus
  • White transfer paper (that’s it on the left, looks brown but will transfer white)
  • Tape

So how do you start?

I grabbed my pumpkin and taped my pattern to the top of it. You just want to secure it in one place.

The next step is to have Chris, your local resident transfer paper expert, teach you what side is correct. THIS IS THE BAD SIDE.

This is the RIGHT SIDE. You can remember because it is the lighter side – the side that will transfer to your surface.

Slip your transfer paper RIGHT SIDE DOWN underneath your taped pattern. You obviously want to make sure that the transfer paper is all the way under all parts of the pattern that you are going to transfer.  I then secured the bottom with a piece of tape.  Depending on your surface, you may want to secure more sides with some tape. I didn’t because my surface was round.

Use your stylus to trace all parts of the pattern. I had a great time with this for some reason. I guess I’m easily entertained.  If you can’t remember if you traced over a particular part of your design, the stylus does a very nice thing for you, which is leave a groove in the paper where you traced. So you can actually run your fingers over it and tell.  Did I mention that I’m easily forgetful?

Peel the transfer paper off of your surfaces and behold your work. Amazing, huh? I was shocked to find that my transfer paper had worked great!  Now I realize that I can transfer nearly ANY pattern to ANY surface, and I’m pretty much forever changed.  Come back soon to see what I actually do with this pumpkin. I think you’ll love it!

A special thanks to Chris Williams, one of our contributors, for showing me how to use transfer paper and for the hand modeling.

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August 25, 2010

17th Annual Slotin Folk Fest

Folk Fest is the world’s largest folk art show and sale hosting 100 galleries and dealers from around the nation specializing in Self-taught Art, Outsider Art, Folk Art and Southern Folk Pottery as well as Anonymous Antique Folk Art. The Slotin Folk Festival was held last weekend in the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross, Georgia. We had a chance to explore this mammoth of a folk art festival.

Slotin Folk Art Festival

Popular booth display Texas Trash and Treasures (above) by Richard and Linda Hamilton at the Folk Fest is complete with “rust and dust and unnecessary stuff.” Richard is the builder/craftsman; Linda is the designer. “Between the two of us, we make one good person,” says Richard. He makes their wares from rusty pipe, roofing material and crushed Christmas ornaments to boot and boasts his unconventional use of materials and tools, such as a plasma cutter. “Andy Warhol said, ‘Anything you can sell is art’,” he reminds me. I asked Linda who she is designing for when she is working. “For people who buy. Make what sells and let’s make a lot of it.” Richard and Linda have a more conventional persona than many artists, they even dedicate their postcards to “…our customers, without whom we would be broke and have to get a ‘real job.'” But Linda eventually admitted that she really tries to design pieces that make people smile.

Norcross Georgia Folk Art

The unique technique used in these paintings (above) by Sherry Cook is called “encaustic.” Oil paint is mixed with microcrystalline wax for pigmentation and then melted. The molten mixture is applied to wood panels or paper and allowed to cool, then marks and carvings are made in the layers. Multiple layers create rich surface textures.

Folk Art Painting

Former Plaid designer Kathleen Taylor had been designing prints, note cards and wall art for retail production when retail hit a slump. So she started painting again and has “not been this happy in 5 years.” From Kathleen’s website, “Painting is my first love. It’s a means of expression that is a special gift. I can tell stories and work out issues on flat surfaces. When the work is going well it is truly a Zen kind of experience. When it’s not flowing, it’s best to walk away and work on something else. Or eat cake.”

Bebo Folk Art

Middle Tennessee artist Bebo (a.k.a. John Paul Daniel) signs a piece purchased by Sabra Barnett of Birmingham, Alabama. Sabra’s new decorative sign says “Trust God, Clean House, Help Others.” Bebo refers to his work as “outsider art” because he is an untrained artist. Many types of paint are incorporated into Bebo art. “People give me paint a lot. They send Plaid because it says Folk Art on the label.” Daniel suggests that art collectors “Buy what you like, what moves your spirit.” We agree, and add that you should craft what moves your spirit, too.

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August 24, 2010

Tuesday Huesday: Big Blue Room

I truly believe that blue is the best color in the world, although I’m guessing that some of you might disagree with me because you have your own personal favorite. Blue is mine, really in any shade if you want the truth.  Although I do like rooms that are completely decorated in tones of blue, I was so pleased to discover this room in the latest issue of Woman’s Day Easy Decorating.  The addition of greens, purples, browns, yellows, creams and even a metallic mirror accent works. I think it would work on some of your painting projects too, so I’ve created this color palette for you.

PS – Dear Santa, I need that green velvet pillow and the matching rug.  I’ve been very good.  Thx.

This palette was created using FolkArt Acrylic colors (from upper left going clockwise): Coastal Blue, Jamaican Sea, Antique Copper (your accent color), Yellow Citron, Light Lavender

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August 23, 2010

Make It Monday: Fancy High Chair

I’ve never seen a high chair like this, so I had to share – isn’t it beautiful? Kathleen from Musings from a French Cottage rescued it from a barn sale three years ago and finally was able to re-do it, and the results are stunning. Kathleen spray painted the chair ivory, but what I think is especially brilliant is that she added an Apple Barrel glaze. Not too shabby for the price of a bottle of craft paint!  Learn more about what Kathleen did here.

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August 21, 2010

Saturday Find: Paint Your Clothes

With back-to-school already happening for some and looming for others, I thought this post by Heather at Dollar Store Crafts would be timely. You can paint your clothes, and you can do it with acrylic craft paint that you already have on hand.  Read more about the process here.

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August 20, 2010

TGIF Project: Spunky Metallic Pumpkin

I already know what you are going to say.  “Amy, I can’t paint a pumpkin – it will rot before Halloween.”  Yes, a real pumpkin will.  Have you heard of Funkins?  They are artificial, carvable pumpkins, and the best part is that they can be PAINTED, like the one above from Cathie and Steve.  I’m so excited about fall and pumpkins that I can barely contain myself, so if you have a chance you need to head out this weekend and start your decorating. I’ve seen these fake pumpkins in all of the major craft chains.  Find the instructions for this metallic pumpkin (which sorta reminds me of a robot and I like it) right here.

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