Mixed Media, ATCs and More

Mixed Media – The New Name for Arts & Crafts? It is not your granny’s crocheting !

By definition Mixed Media is the combination of using more than one type of crafting technique on a project, stamping & painting, or inking & distressing are only examples of the range of possibilities that fall under the umbrella of Mixed Media.

A few people outside the world of papercraft have poo-poohed Mixed Media as a new term for plain old arts & crafts, to which the Mixed Media gang have returned with ‘it’s not your granny’s crocheting!’

What is Mixed Media today? If mixed media is using multiple mediums it could be an altered canvas, Altered Book, Artist Trading Card (ATC), Art Journal, Decorated Journal, Mail Art, or Recycled & Refurnished products from around the home.

In the spirit of trying new techniques and skills that really are much easier than you might think I am giving my own little summary of some of my favourites.

Altered Books

“An Altered Book is when we take an old, unloved, discarded book and ‘alter’ with embellishments or additions to return it to that state of being special and unreplaceable.”

This is about the nicest thing I have ever heard about Altered Books or Mixed Media as it really captures what we are all about, recycling bits & pieces with our own personality to create something uniquely ‘you’.

There are lots of good instructional manuals on how to alter old recycled books for you too chose from. Many techniques used in Altered Books can easily be transferred to your scrapbooking pages, stamping, embossing, windows, pockets, collage and fold up flaps. Scrapbookers often use the similar process in creating Altered Books from newly purchased books or board books.

Links to where you can find out more about Altered Books include This Yahoo group has 7,500 members around the world who contribute to a huge reference section and gallery. It is rated as an adult content site.

Art Journal or Decorated Journal

Art journals or decorated journals are similar to keeping a diary but done mostly with pictures and images. Working with visual images uses a different part of our brains than words which makes for a playful and creative adventure.

Art journals are often recommended as part of artistic development or for people dealing with challenges in their lives as an outlet and a process in which we illuminate our inner selves. Art journals can be cut out collage of pictures and printed papers or drawings and doodles.

ATCs = Artist Trading Cards

As their name indicates, ATCs are tiny collectable pieces of art with a long history and only 3 rules.
1.An ATC generally are 2 ½ x 3 ½ inch

(64 x 89 mm) approximately the size of a deck of playing cards.
2.Art on one side, your contact details on the back and they are numbered.
3.ATCs should only be traded with others and not for commercial purposes.

Legends claim that ATCs span back thousands of years and that artist trading cards were traded between artists as a sample of their style or techniques. Sometimes the cards were used in lieu of a business card by artists, with art on one side and contact details on the back.

The official story is more recent with a Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann created a show based on ATCs in 1997 and started a trading session in Calgary Canada.

Cards can be made in any craft medium, scrapbooking, watercolors, collage and the loose term of Mixed Media.

A offshoot of ATCs are the “art card, editions and originals” (ACEO). ACEOs originated when artists began to create cards specifically to sell. Now there are “Inchies” as well that are simply a one inch by one inch ATC.

Catslife Press has a range of stamps designed at the right size for use on ATCs. Emily Falconbridge Deck of Me = 52 weeks of ATCs on you

Mail Art

Mail Art is another paper craft with a long history. You have probably already tried this yourself. Have you ever kissed an envelope or written S.W.A.K. ? People have often decorated their envelopes with doodles and sayings. At various stages of history and for different reasons, artists have created art specifically for sending through the postal system.

Mail art can take the form of a handmade postcard or decorated envelope, a natural extension of card making and great way to use up paper scraps. You should check your local postal service for specifics and regulations on dimensions or issues affecting postage that would be charged for sending your art through the mail. We must be respectful that we live a less innocent time, much of the traditional mail art styles are things that would now attract concerns about security. Acting appropriately sometimes means enclosing your art inside a plain brown envelope.
My inspiration :

Recycled & Refurnished products
These are the altered clocks, altered canvas and million and one other items that scrapbookers have been painting and decorating. There is no end to what a creative mind can alter with pretty paper and glue. The critical choice is using the right adhesive products for the things you are gluing to and how to finish your project to allow it stand up to wear and tear.

Allyson Bright Myer recently published a book titled Idiot’s Guide to Altered Artin pages 103 and 199 you will see my projects