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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

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Art from the Heart: Mixed-Media Collage - Catherine Matthews-Scanlon You've seen this stuff before. It's been popular for the past several years, growing out of the scrap-booking fad. Charm bracelets with scraps from cute vintage photos, little pendants with words (often inspirational) in them. Or combine the two elements and call it collage! If you're feeling really artistic, you can add a third element or a patterned background.

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I'm not trying to knock these crafts. Sometimes they're pretty. They're affordable to buy and not hard to make for yourself. Best of all, they can be personalized with words or images that have special meaning to the wearer.

Unfortunately, the usually aren't. They're often made generically, the same three "inspirational" words (I've seen dream, imagine, believe, love hundreds of times) in a choice of a couple colors and sold literally by the basket. You often find them in bowls by the checkout in gift and whimsy shops, next to little rocks with the same words painted on them. They're the craft world's version of the impulse buy.

Would you like to make your own rather than spend $9.95? Maybe sell it on etsy to cover the materials cost? Then this is the book for you! It is essentially a few patterns to make some not very original items. If you like your arts and crafts with more art in them and are looking for new ideas or to see what other artists are doing, try Diane Maurer-Mathison instead.

Does it seem like I'm being really hard on this probably very nice lady who (she says herself) was really into scrap-booking and wanted to diversify? I'm actually trying to be nice because I recognize that this is a niche that is for people who are not me. But really even within this style of crafts I don't think she is particularly good. Her designs seemed generic and the elements she selects often don't mesh well or combine interestingly. Of course they may have personal meaning for her, but from a purely aesthetic standpoint they are pretty mediocre. And I really disliked how she used cutesy contemporary fonts like Curlz with vintage images.

The two example at the beginning are not actually Matthews-Scanlon's, by the way; they are just examples in case you can't picture the type of craft I'm talking about. The author explicitly asks that none of her images be reproduced without her permission, so I didn't. It wouldn't have been easy, anyway, because when you google her you get almost all things she's selling and classes you can pay to take with her, not her work. Almost every artist I know (no matter how amateur and self-proclaimed) has "art" on their site menu: she has "buy my stuff!"

Well, a gal's gotta make a living.