etsy friday finds 03.15.13

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Before I head out to enjoy some green beer and bar food at my favorite local Irish Pub, Celtic Crossing, I wanted to share a belated Etsy Friday Finds. This week’s theme is all about the Luck of the Irish. Green, horseshoes, Guinness beer, lucky quotes, beer and some more green.

To view my Etsy Friday Finds posts from the beginning, click here and scroll to the bottom. Enjoy!

#3 – lemon green beanie hat from esty shop caramel knits
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#9 – medium footed green bowl from etsy shop Land M Studio
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CLICK HERE or on the screenshot image below to go directly to the Etsy Treasury to click thru and admire your favorite items.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Memphis. Good luck with your hangover tomorrow.

– lindsey archer

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tuesday transfers 03.12.13

My sister and I recently converted our back room from a library/sitting room to a library/office. We bought a wide table from a thrift store, then refinished and repurposed it as a two sided desk to fit both of our computers (instagram image here). The back wall of the now-office features two large windows and a pair of glass doors that open out to our back deck, which gives us a nice view to look out onto when our eyes aren’t glued to our computer screens. You know what other purpose those glass doors serve? They let our dog outside.

I’m sitting here at my desk, writing this post in our library/office as Maddie is staring out of those two glass doors, longing to be outside. And now she’s barking. As part hound, Maddie has one of the loudest barks for a 50 lb. dog I have ever heard. She likes to bark and whine and howl to get your attention because she doesn’t understand that a simple paw swipe on the door is efficient enough for me to let her outside. Then, less than two minutes later, she is flinging herself against the glass door to be let back inside. Over and over again. Hard. Because apparently a zombie apocalypse has broken out in our backyard and why am I just sitting here typing on my keyboard when I should be leaping up from my chair right now to open the door for her before she is attacked by the flesh eating zombies? After a few more body slams into the door, I oblige and let her inside. She leaps around the house, goes to fart in the living room (or whatever it is she does when we’re not in there with her) and is back in front of that damn glass door within two minutes. Barking and howling and jumping to be let back out as if she has completely forgotten about the zombies outside waiting to attack her.

Rinse and repeat.

Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on writing a blog post when you have a bi-polar dog in the room with you? Obviously you do now, considering I’ve written about my new office, Maddie and the zombie apocalypse without one mention of what this blog post is supposed to be about.

So, moving on to Tuesday Thursday Transfers*. To catch up on all my Tuesday Transfers posts, go here, scroll down and start at the bottom.

This week’s photo transfer artwork is another round of tumbled marble tile coaster sets (I blogged about my first sets here). In keeping with my most recent Etsy listings, I’ve tried to include more props in the photography here (as always, click on images to enlarge).

First up is my favorite Ernest Hemingway writing quote:

Write drunk; edit sober

Just like my first coaster sets, these coasters are made by transferring custom graphic images to tiles of tumbled marble. I did these coasters in three shades of green, since we’re coming up on St. Patrick’s Day this Sunday. And because green is my favorite color. I also added in my great-grandfather’s vintage Underwood typewriter as an accent for the Etsy listing photography. This set is available in my Etsy shop here.

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I previously made a set of colored Elvis Presley coasters, but I wanted to keep this one simple. So, I kept to a black and white theme. Since I don’t own a guitar, blue suede shoes or any other Elvis memorabilia, these photos didn’t include any accents. Just Elvis coasters. These are available in my Etsy shop here.

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For this next coaster set, I took a vector graphic of a vintage typewriter and added it to three colorful backgrounds. I figured the pastel blue, mint and yellow-green hues were perfect for the spring/Easter season. These are listed in my Etsy shop here.

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Next up, who doesn’t love wine? For this marble coaster set, I drew up three vectors of different shaped wine glasses in Adobe Illustrator and paired them with coral/orange and shades of mint green. Then, of course, I grabbed three wine glasses from my cupboard to use as photography props for the Etsy listing. You can view them in my Etsy shop here.

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That’s all I have for today (sorry Tuesday Transfers is on Thursday this week). Next week’s transfer series will be all about this quote:

Dreams don’t work unless you do.

Also, check back tomorrow for my latest Etsy Treasury. It’s either going to be about traveling or St. Patrick’s Day. I haven’t decided. Now, excuse me. Maddie wants to go play outside with the zombies.

– lindsey archer

*I apologize for the erratic nature of this blog post’s opening. My dog is crazy.

tuesday transfers 01.29.13

I’m in the process of establishing a routine rhythm for my blogging schedule. Others refer to it as consistency. I know. Crazy concept, right?

To launch this newfound consistency, I’ve decided to introduce two new blog series that will hopefully help me keep to some sort of regular writing schedule. The first of which premieres today—as you may have noted by today’s blog title—called Tuesday Transfers.

I really wanted to post these on Mondays so I could call them Monday Morning Wood because apparently I have the mental maturity of a 13-year-old boy and that title makes me giggle. Every time. Then I decided it would probably be best for everyone if I went with something a little less prepubescent boy and a little more grown-up adult woman.

So, Tuesday Transfers it is.

This new blog series is going to be all about my art pieces. Due to the fact I physically transfer images to wood and other surfaces to produce these art pieces, the title fits.

My sister and I are hoping to participate in more than just the Cooper Young Art Festival this year. For this, we’re going to need a substantial inventory to keep up with what we hope will be an increase in sales. By posting finished products weekly here on my blog, I’m hoping it will keep me from my usual artistic process of wait until the last minute. That’s the goal, at least.

If you want to learn more about my actual process of transferring images to wood, you can view my blog post about it here.

First up today, we have two pieces featuring one of my favorite—as well as most popular—quotes:

So many books, so little time.  – Frank Zappa

Unfortunately, this red piece has already sold.

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This version with black graphics against a yellow painted background is available in my Etsy Shop here.

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Next up are two of my Memphis Typography pieces, the first of which is comprised of 31 words/phrases that encompass the attractions and hot spots of my lovely hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. With blue and black ink on a painted white background, this block features the following phrases:

Levitt Shell, Memphis, Beale Street, Tigers, Grizzlies, Autozone Park, FedEx Forum, National Civil Rights Museum, Elvis Presley, Graceland, B. B. King’s, Rock-n-Roll Blues, Memphis Cotton Exchange, Arcade Restaurant, Redbirds, The Zoo, Lorraine Motel, Stax Museum, Sun Studio, Orpheum Theatre, BBQ Fest, Poplar Ave., Memphis in May, Pink Palace, Botanic Gardens, Huey’s Restaurant, downtown, midtown, The Pyramid, Mud Island & the Peabody.

As these usually don’t last very long in my Etsy Shop, this one sold last week.

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This next version features only black graphics on a teal painted background. Slightly larger in size, this block is more for hanging on the wall, as opposed to resting on a mantle or bookshelf like the white/black/blue piece. To fit the different size and shape, I switched around the typography and added in a few places, resulting in 33 total Memphis places:

Levitt Shell, Memphis, Beale Street, Tigers, Grizzlies, National Civil Rights Museum, FedEx Forum, Autozone Park, Elvis Presley, Graceland, B.B. King’s, Rock-n-roll Blues, Memphis Cotton Exchange, Arcade Restaurant, Redbirds, The Zoo, Lorraine Motel, Stax Museum, Orpheum Theatre, BBQ Fest, Poplar Ave, Memphis in May, Pink Palace, Botanic Gardens, Huey’s Restaurant, Downtown, Midtown, Mud Island, the Peabody, The Pyramid, Sun Studios, Cooper Young, & Mississippi River.

This Memphis wood block is available in my Etsy Shop here.

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I don’t know why I’ve recently become obsessed with the birds on a wire theme, but I absolutely love it. Which makes no sense considering I hate real, live birds almost as much as I hate wiener dogs (a lot). Both are yappy and annoying.

This block features black graphics transferred to a painted blend of gray, yellow and white. It actually matches my recently updated bathroom perfectly, where it is currently hanging until it sells in my Etsy Shop here.

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That’s all the wood pieces I have for today. To view my full Etsy Shop, you can click here.

Check back this Friday for the premiere of my next blog series—Etsy Friday Finds.

– lindsey archer

upcycling paint

If you missed my last post about my process of salvaging wood and transferring images to wood, you can catch up here. If you don’t care about the process and only came to look at the pretty pictures, that’s okay, too.

Other than quotes and graphic design elements, I also like to transfer prints of my original acrylic paintings to wood blocks. To me, a piece of art on wood is infinitely cooler than ink on a sheet of white card stock. These pieces were all made from the same recycled pile as my salvaged quote pieces.

This first one is a print of my purple piano painting, which I like to refer to as ticklin’ the ivories. Don’t ask me why. I was just proud I actually came up with a name for one of my paintings. Far more creative than red skyline or blue guitar, don’t you think?

As you can see on this wood art piece, the transferred image doesn’t end up being an exact replica of the original artwork. I played around with the colors a bit in Photoshop. Also, some of the ink inevitably rubs off during the transfer process, giving the overall piece a distressed, vintage look (or as Kristen calls it…shabby chic). I currently have two sizes of this ticklin’ the ivories wood art available in my Etsy shop here and here.

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I stain the backs and edges of all my wood pieces in a red oak finish. I love how it brings out the detail of the wood grain and knots, as you can see on the back of red bridge painting print here:

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I told you I wasn’t usually very creative when it comes to naming my paintings. This one is from my acrylic painting of Memphis’s Hernando de Soto Bridge at sunset. Or sunrise. I’ll let it be whichever one you like better. This is available in my Etsy shop here (great Memphis gift idea).

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Then we have the red skyline/cityscape print (view the original here). If you can come up with a more creative name for any of these pieces, please do tell. This is available in my Etsy Shop here.

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I like how you can see the textured detail from the original painting—which is more noticeable in this close-up below—despite the fact this is merely a print transferred to wood.

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Last up today is the Blue Memphis Bridge @ Sunset. This is in my 2nd favorite of the paintings currently hanging up in my house (which you can see here). The original acrylic painting is spread across two canvases, so I had to work a little Photoshop magic to turn it into one print. This was initially painted a few years ago as a present for my sister when she lived in Nashville. Luckily, we now live together and share basically everything, which gives me the added bonus of having this piece now hanging up in my house. This item has already sold in my Etsy Shop, but I’ll definitely be making some more in the very near future.

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I’m hoping to post at least once more before Christmas (more wood prints or a Project 365), but if not…Happy Holidays to everyone!

– lindsey archer

 

salvaging quotes

I’ve written briefly about how my sister and I use only salvaged wood to make our art pieces. It all started because we were being cheap and the quality unfinished wood at Lowe’s and Home Depot is a lot more expensive than one might think. Add that to the fact everyone and their mother were pinning projects made from reclaimed palettes all over Pinterest, we thought…we’re artistic. Why aren’t we doing this?

Plus—bonus—now we get to say we use recycled wood because we’re trying to save the environment, yadda, yadda, Go Green! It’s a win-win, really.

At first, leading up to Cooper Young Festival, we would simply drive around our neighborhood, tires screeching against the pavement for every random pile of scrap wood or discarded palette that caught our eye. Similar to how we happened upon our vintage doors, most of it had to do with luck. As is the custom with luck…it eventually runs out. That’s when we realized we needed to develop a smarter approach to our wood collecting venture.

Solution? We started stalking contractors.

Okay, stalking is a strong word. We’ll go with lightly following.

We have a friend whose boyfriend does some construction/contracting on the side that we have taken to calling weekly to see if one of his side jobs happens to be throwing out any wood anytime soon. The first time we called, he was building a deck for someone out of beautiful cedar wood and didn’t need any scrap pieces that ended up being cut down to under 6 ft. Uh…can you say, jackpot?

The art I’m about to show is salvaged from his latest project (a front porch, maybe?). I still can’t believe people throw this quality of wood out on the street to be picked up with the weekly garbage.

If you’d like an insight into how exactly I make this art, keep reading. Otherwise, just skip the next four paragraphs and enjoy the pictures (as always, click on images to enlarge).

After having my dad cut the wood down to manageable art pieces, I start off by sanding the unfinished wood as smooth as I can get it. I then stain the back and sides/edges in a red oak finish, while painting the front either white or a color, depending on the graphic I plan on transferring to it. I print the graphics and/or images in reverse from a laser printer (FedEx Office uses laser printers and is relatively cheap if you’re like us and don’t own one—inkjet printers won’t work because the ink is water soluble) on standard copy paper (thinner, the better). Once all the paint and stain has dried, I apply a generous coat of gel medium to the front and flatten the image (facedown) onto the wood.

After letting the image sit overnight, I take a wet rag to the wood to gently rub off the paper fibers. The gel medium works to absorb the ink from the image, which is what you’re left with on the wood after all the paper fibers are rubbed off.

Once all the paper is rubbed off, I distress the wood by hand with sanding blocks to give it that vintage, shabby chic look. Finally, I top off each piece with a final protective coating of polyurethane and I’m done!

The whole process is tedious and can sometimes be rather time-consuming. On numerous occasions, my sister and I have come extremely close to hiring someone to pre-sand our salvaged wood, because depending on how large of a collection we gather from our friend, it can take hours upon hours to get all the pieces smooth. Also, sometimes the paper acts like a clingy boyfriend and refuses to let go easily. I’ve scraped my fingers raw multiple times in my attempts to get the paper fibers completely off the wood. Though, overall, I still believe the finished products make the process worth it. Every time.

First up today, my Memphis City Typography on wood. The dark stain really brings out the detail in the wood, as you can see in the image of the back.

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Here’s a full front view and a close-up. This piece has already sold, but I plan on making some more over the next week or two.

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Next up are two larger but thinner pieces on which I applied Dr. Seuss and Oscar Wilde quotes.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? -Dr. Suess

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. -Oscar Wilde

These two pieces are available in my Etsy Shop here (orange) and here (green).

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And because I’m obsessed with books, I had to add in one using my favorite quote about reading, by Frank Zappa.

So many books, so little time. -Frank Zappa

I think the Harry Potter books as props add a nice touch to these images (who hasn’t read and fallen in love with Harry Potter?). This piece is available in my Etsy Shop here (books not included).

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I love the back of this piece. Some may see it as damaged, but I think it adds character and makes the piece more interesting.

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I saved my favorite for last. A typewriter vector graphic paired with everyone’s favorite Hemingway quote about writing.

Write drunk; edit sober. -Ernest Hemingway

Such great advice, Hemingway. This piece is available in my Etsy Shop here.

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That’s it for today. Check back soon for some of my paintings transferred to wood. Then, next week I’m planning on catching up on my Project365 posts. Stay tuned.

– lindsey archer

painting premiere

I get to start this post off with some good news, which is always nice. The paintings I’m about to show you, as well as the pieces I recently wrote about here and here, will soon (if not already) be hanging in an art gallery. Nicole from Allie Cat Arts approached both my sister and I on Etsy about showing some of our stuff at her gallery in our lovely neighborhood of Cooper Young. Located at 961 S. Cooper, the gallery is only two blocks from our house.

I’ve never had my work in a gallery before, so I’ll be honest. I am freaking out a little. It always feels good to have someone you’re not related to appreciate your art, though it still seems slightly unreal. Now, for those who message me on Etsy asking if I have a shop in Memphis, I’m one step closer to saying yes. Next time you’re in the Cooper Young area, please stop by Allie Cat Arts to see some of our work, along with the work of other great local Memphis artists.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about some paintings. These are the last of my first round of experimenting with gel medium I don’t know what I’m doing series. We’ll call it EWGMIDKWID for short. This is one of the first abstract skylines I painted using the mixture of gel medium and acrylic paint. While I like the coloring and the actual size of this canvas the best, the paint could have been thicker. I wasn’t quite sure what the gel medium would look like once it dried, so I was somewhat shy with slopping the thick, white, glue-like substance onto my canvas. What did I learn? Gel medium dries clear. I shouldn’t be shy.

For those who are wondering, these skyline/cityscape paintings are not reproductions of any actual skylines or cityscapes. I went more of an abstract route and painted random building shapes and sizes. We’ll call it Skyline à la Archer, as in it came straight out of my head instead of from a real picture. Or, you can use your imagination and pretend it’s your city and I painted this just for you. Regardless, I plan on attempting a few paintings that resemble real city skylines. Some day. Maybe soon.

This next blue skyline/cityscape is my favorite. Well, other than the big ass blue canvas, which happens to be remarkably similar to this one. Because I got over my shyness with using the gel medium, this painting is extra heavy on the texture. When I first envisioned what I wanted to accomplish by mixing gel medium with my acrylic paints, this is it. It only took me eight or ten tries to get it right. Not bad. Plus, I love how the yellows and blues ended up blending together here.

This last acrylic painting translated very well into a print, which I hope to add to my Etsy shop very soon. And unlike the skylines/cityscapes, this is an actual reproduction from a real city. While still slightly abstract, I modeled this painting off of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, which connects Memphis, TN to West Memphis, AR—via Interstate 40. I feel this bridge is an iconic part of my city’s skyline. I love creating art pieces around it, so I definitely have more Memphis bridges in my future.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these three paintings are now available at Allie Cat Arts. Fellow Memphians, if you’re in the mood to support some local starving artists, please stop by and take a look at all the great pieces Nicole has hanging in the gallery.

Up next is another Project 365 post. Stay tuned.

– lindsey archer

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