Sunday, April 1, 2012



Hello again and welcome to My Mojo Monthly April! It's been a sunny week and that makes a day at an inky table even more wonderful! Whatever your crafty passion may be, I want to encourage you to enjoy and explore creativity in your own way. This month it's a dose of Tagology to inspire and boost the Mojo! Firstly, let's talk to My Featured Artist, the man from My Crafty LIfe who most definitely can...Dan!

FIVE QUESTIONS TO MY FEATURED ARTIST... Totally original in style, a natural with all things inky and such a unique eye for design! Dan doesn't often spill the beans, so I was really excited when Dan said yes to MMM and even more so when I read the interview. Dive in and savour...
Who is Dan in five words? I find this kind of question so difficult, I've scratched my head a bit thinking about an answer! Creative, loyal, friendly, loves to-learn-new-things. (Cheating, I know...)
Where are you right now as an artist? One thing about the crafting world, you can never sit back and take it easy, there are always new products to discover and learn to use! I would say that now, as always, I'm in the process of learning to use new tools and materials to add to my crafting "toolbox" of techniques. In terms of my crafting style, I'd say I've been fairly consistent from day one. I like to use bold colours and strong graphic imagery.  
My second language is British Sign Language. I have spent a lot of time in the Deaf community, which has given me years of experience of communicating and telling stories visually, which I think is reflected in the composition of my pieces and my approach to them.
That might be why I mostly prefer not to use text in my work, unless it is something that expands on what I'm trying to say in the piece, so I'm much more likely to use alphabet stamps or computer printed words to create my own text rather than use pre-made quotation stamps.
Which of your creations is closest to your heart? 
Although I often make pieces that I would consider simply decorative, the creations that are closest to my heart are definitely the ones that are trying to tell a story or put over a point of view.  
A theme that I come back to time and again is that of role-playing, masks and disguises. I see myself as a very private person and sometimes the face I show to the world doesn't always reflect what is going on in my heart or head and I frequently explore that in my pieces. 
 I love to include people and characters in my work and am always on the lookout for more large, clear face stamps to add to my collection. (I know that some people aren't fans of Tim Holtz's "David" stamp, for example, but it's one of my favourites because I see so many possibilities to use it in different ways.
Where do you find inspiration when feeling Mojoless? I would love to say that I gain inspiration by visiting the blogs of all the talented crafters out there, but unfortunately I can't do that. There is so much stunning work out there and I find that when I see someone else's work, the devil sitting on my shoulder tries to persuade me to copy it! In many ways it limits my ideas rather than expands them, so I try not to look around the blogosphere more than I have to! When my Mojo has deserted me I find the best thing for me to do is just to sit down with a blank sheet of card and start playing around with inks, paints and stamps. Something useful usually comes out of it!
You are going back-packing in the Himalayas for a year and may only take 3 crafting items. Which, and why?
Stamps! They are at the core of everything I do and I'd be lost without them. Ink blending tool. Of all my tools I'd say it's far and away the one I use the most. Distress Ink pads. My staple and first choice for colouring and stamping.
Dan designs for Simon Says Stamp Stamp & Show, visit his fabulous blog here and be sure to check out his amazing templates at My Crafty Files too!

Back at HQ...
Thanks so much for sharing with us Dan. Amazing creations and a really fabulous story behind all those beauties!!! So this month my theme is Tagology! Tags...probably the 'most made' runner up after cards in the crafty world and of course a Tim Holtz speciality indeed.
I think dabbling with tags is great as their size means you can create a completed piece in no time...and yet their shape still gives them a certain artistic standing.
I'm quite a fan of ink and stamps when it comes to tagging it but for once I thought I'd go down the paper route. I love creating triptychs of tags as it gives you more room to develop an idea and I also think they make a great alternative to  card to cards. So armed with just paper, scissors and glue I got snipping. The wonderful designs from Graphic 45 make it even more pleasurable. Now I know most of us have sky high stashes of papers, so grab those blades and make that first cut...
Playing with design papers means you have an abundance of ingredients immediately at hand and you can spend more time working on composition and imagery - without the grubby fingers! I bought just four sheets from the Olde Curiousity Shoppe range. They are bursting with wonderful quirky images, rich colours and potential and where a real delight to play with.
I've just enjoyed the great on-line course from Mr. Holtz. Tags galore. But I was thinking what am I going to do with all these lovelies? So I came up with a Tag Bag! Just in time for lots of mini-eggs... I started by colouring two Manila tags with Mustard Seed, Broken China and Fired Brick Distress Stains.Then I over-stamped the dots in Picket Fence Stain.
I overstamped lots of images using Distress Inks for a faded image and Archival Inks for the stronger designs and added some random stitching. I folded the top over to create a front flap, lined up the holes with the second tag and then folded the underneath section to create a base. I then folded about 1cm of the base up to create a flap to glue the back tag to.
The side gusset is wrinkled and inked Kraft Glassine Paper. Just a rectangle cut with extra flaps for gluing, pinched in the centre to encourage a fold. I attached a Hitch Fastener to the bottom tag which fitted perfectly over the hole and makes a great little 'catch'. VoilĂ !
Another simple and fun idea. Tags also make great bunting and a change from the normal shape. It's also a fab way to display all the tags you might be creating. I'm thinking of having a string around my entire craft room...for decoration and inspiration. Otherwise they often end up just lying in a cupboard, feeling unloved.

l used my uber-fab eBay find of Acey Deucy wooden stamps by the talented Lynne Perrella. There are four ladies and a book so I strung them together - both literally and in mood with a quote from Louisa May Alcott of Little Women fame...
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
To finish, I'm just sharing an older piece I created about 18 months ago when I applied for the Design Team at Simon Says Stamp & Show (which I'm glad to say 'got me hired' and I'm still a part of!)
To show how far you can go with tags. All colours, sizes and techniques set on an old book cover...

Challenge, Nice Stuff and Info...
And we're done! My Mojo Monthly is all about the why, the what and creative adventures of crafting! So please do feel free to join in and share your artful take and thoughts on Tagology! Whatever your style...
Thank you so very much to everyone for playing along last month. Congratulations to our March winner Kate with her beautiful altered box. Well done Kate and in May we'll be meeting the very talented Lin Brown!  This month's giveaway is this wonderful book from Lynne Perrella which is bursting with wonderful imagery, ideas and thoughts to inspire!

My Mojo Monthly welcomes all hand-made crafters and artists. A few guidelines on submitting your work:
- In the spirit of MMM please write a few lines in your post about your creativity and why you want to share your work.
- You are very welcome to share challenge pieces, just tell me a bit about your inspiration.
- Please link directly to your post and not your blog so I can find you.
- Please add a link in your post to My Mojo Monthly, thanks!
- You may enter more than once, but multiple challenge photos without description will be removed.
- Feel free to take the MMM button for your blog - please do!

Once again I'd like to express my huge thanks to all of you for such enthusiasm and wonderful creativity - making this all so worthwhile for me. It's good to be doing this together! I'm looking forward to seeing all your April lovelies!  
Stay inspired...


Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Really enjoyed Dan's interview, a great insight and I love his bold designs. Love your tagology pieces Sarah, very creative , particularly your little bag and bunting. Was also great to see your piece for the SSSS DT application too, I remember it so well. Take care. Tracy x

Kaz said...

Really fab interview with Dan, his work is very inspiring and it was great to see his really cool art work too. As always Sarah loving your work, the little bag is so cool!
Hope to catch up with you soon xx


Cardarian said...

Interesting interview with Dan, I love his colorful style! I hope I will be able to participate in this months "tagology" - I was too busy to participate in last months MMM although the theme did suit me - oh well!
Lots of hugs

Nancy Wethington said...

Sarah, I am in awe of your imagination. Your art is phenomenal.

Lesley Edmonds said...

Really interesting interview with Dan. Thank you. As always creativity is awesome and so inspirational. Love that little bag you made. All gorgeous!

Esther said...

I love tags - and your inspiration is amazing Sarah, especially love your Tag Bag ! Great interview too ! Esther xx

Hettie said...

Great interview and fabulous insipirational pieces you have done Sarah. I WILL be joining you this month now that I am almost finished with Mr Tim's Chemistry Lab!! Sorry I missed last month.

505whimsygirl said...

Hi Sarah,

I enjoyed reading Dan's interview. All the tags on this post are fabulous. I've never linked up to MMM but can see this happening in my future!


fatmonica said...

It's a great interview with Dan and I've enjoyed my visit to your blog so I'm going to follow to see more!

Martha Richardson said...

Fab post and looking forward to joining in the MMM fun!!!

Alexandra Lundgren said...

WOW! What a wealth of inspiration!!! Thank you and I can't wait to PLAY!!! :)

Marjie Kemper said...

Great interview with Dan! He was the one who inspired me to use my David stamp for the first time last month. I'm loving your tag bag (totally!) and happy for you on your Acey Deucey score... love Lynn's stamps!

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Super tribute to tags, Sarah! I too am a huge fan, just don't make them enough. Your pieces are all amazing, as always. I especially love your tag bag - you are so creative! Beautiful colors and stamping on it too.

So nice to see Dan in the spotlight here - such an interesting and informative interview with him!

I will definitely be back with a tag at some point this month - I love that we have lots of time to join in the fun.


Kate Yetter said...

All these projects are amazing! I love your canvas of tags.

Heidi said...

Wonderful conversation with Dan!Gorgeous projects!

Maggie said...

Great interview with Dan I love his work, and some fabulous inspiration from you Sarah, I have just linked my piece for this months challenge :-) Love tags!


Hettie said...

Hi Sarah, Managed to sneak mine in this month. I do really love your bag and need to suss how you have done it!