We’ve recently launched a new Craft Project with Diana Ching who will set a series of creative projects every Thursday on our website and social media to give you ideas of things you can work on at home to build your own piece of art over a period of weeks.
So this is week three of The Craft Project and it’s aimed at providing enough scope for more of you to have a go, whatever your subject and craft preferences. This time the challenges are a) choosing your own subject matter b) interpreting it any way you like and c) working small-scale. How can we bring all those elements together in a single project? Read on!
You’ve heard of concertina/accordion “books“? Basically, a long sheet of paper folded into sections (let’s say four) giving you a space to display separate pieces of work on a specific theme. It’s a nice way to practise and combine creative ideas on a subject that interests you; you’re working fairly small which may be new to you but is very achievable; and you can keep the finished work refer to in the future and recall which ideas you like and may want to develop. You could also give the book away as a little gift or set up an exchange with like-minded friends (which might be the topic for another week!)
The first thing is to come up with your subject matter – something that interests you or means something to you. A few ideas:
* animals or birds
* flowers or plants
* fruit or veg
* trees or leaves
* something foodie (eg fruits, cakes)
* an item of clothing (eg shoes)
* something around your home (eg jugs, vases, mugs)
* children’s toys
* a holiday or special event (eg wedding)
* abstract shapes
You will have easy access to some of these to work from and you may have photos, magazine images or old birthday cards that you can use as reference, and there are plenty of images to be found on the internet of course. You can either work the same image in different ways, or choose different images within your subject – it really doesn’t matter.
Once you’ve decided on your subject, think about how you can come up with different versions of it using whatever art/craft techniques you like and have materials for, eg:
* a simple pencil sketch
* a textured charcoal drawing
* a full-colour image using paints or pastels
* paper collage
* rubber stamps and inks
* scraps of fabrics, threads and embellishments to make a little patchwork or applique piece
* combine some of these together for an interesting effect
In some cases you can work straight onto the book page, if you wish, or you may prefer to work separately and stick it onto the page when you’re happy with it. Obviously if you choose to work in fabric, it would be the latter.
The overall idea, as with the other projects, is that you do it however works for you and have fun with it. You don’t have to use four different techniques. You could paint or draw all four pieces. If you enjoy paper collage, go with that. If you like sewing, see what you can do with fabrics, buttons, beads etc. And you don’t have to do four pieces – just do whatever you can. It can be as simple as you like!
To make the accordion book: size-wise, it doesn’t matter, but my suggestion is to use a piece of heavy paper (eg watercolour paper if you have it) or lightweight card, approx 4” x 16”. You can stick two shorter pieces together if necessary. This will give you a book with four pages, all four inches square – but make it bigger or smaller, as you wish. Take the strip of paper and fold it in half so you have a nice crisp fold in the centre, then turn it over and fold both outer edges to the centre to form two more folds. This makes the zigzag form with four “pages” that will stand up on its own (see pic 1 of book with blank pages) or can be folded back on itself (if, say, you want to put it in an envelope).
Consider the order of your work on these pages so the overall effect is pleasing (see pic 2 with different interpretations of flowers). You might like to add quotes or short poems on some pages.
To give you more ideas of working to a theme, here are two more examples (not in accordion book form but the principle is the same) – Pic 3 is of jugs and Pic 4 a number of images suggesting a beach holiday, both using a mixture of painting, drawing, stamping and collage. As I say every week, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Do it your way and above all, have fun!
I look forward to seeing the results on this post – and please also say if you have any thoughts/requests for future projects, this is all about what you’d like to do! You can send photos of your creations to Connie at MFT by emailing email@example.com – please mention whether you give MFT permission to share them on social media and whether they can mention your first name or if you prefer to stay anonymous. Thank you!