Monday, 16 January 2017

Encourage Your Hopes - ATB by Julie Ann

Hello and Welcome to my first project of 2017 here at Calico Craft Parts blog! It's wonderful to be creating again after the Holidays and what a privilege to have Calico Craft Parts to play with. For this project, I chose to alter an Arch style Artist Trading Block.

I've noticed that many artists and crafters choose a theme word for the year. For this project one word in particular suggested itself - Hope. Hope has always been a significant word to me, but this year - more than ever - I find myself turning the idea of 'Hope' over and over in my mind. 

With all the unrest and shocks of 2016 fresh in our memories, Hope for 2017 is going to be quite a challenge. With this ATB I wanted to encourage myself - and others - to choose Hope over Fear and not to be tempted to give up our individual quests.

The ATB is easy to assemble using a strong, white glue that dries clear. I wanted to enclose two of my own little wooden houses, so I experimented with them inside the ATB pieces before gluing. You can probably see that everything has been given a coat of Gesso as a foundation. I kept the edges clear of paint and Gesso by using masking tape.

To create the impression of an arched window on the plain panels of the ATB, I drew around a piece of card, using the arched aperture panel, stuck this on with a piece of double-sided low-tack tape and then applied Texture Paste through a stencil.

Hope looks both inward and outward, so I wanted my ATB to be a fortress and a refuge, but also a window onto a bright and hopeful world.

As I worked, concepts that give me hope formed themselves: blue skies, birds building with tireless industry and the reminder that Hope is all around us if we will only open our eyes to it.

I like to use hinges on my houses so that I can arrange them in different configurations.

Thomas Hardy's New Year poem about Hope amid Despair, The Darkling Thrush and one line in particular, was like a melody in my mind as I worked, Hardy glimpses the rather bedraggled thrush in a bleak January landscape and muses on his heartfelt singing, wondering if the bird knows  'Some blessed Hope' of which the poet is 'unaware'.

I was very happy with the roofing on the 2 little hinged houses. I used Texture Paste through a stencil onto strips of painted card, with a layer of DecoArt One Step Crackle and a Staining Medium mixed with blue Acrylic Paint to accentuate the Cracks.

My ATB is dedicated to Queen Hope who goes out into the World, gentle but courageous. With her shape-changing powers she can speak to us through Nature, sometimes in the form of a graceful deer...

sometimes through bird-song like Hardy's Darkling Thrush!

She holds the key to a better World...

and she asks us to trust her as we step into the unknown, to keep questing after Peace and Truth and to have the courage to look for answers in the challenging or scary places in our lives. 

Thank You so much for stopping by today. I wish you joy in all your creative endeavours.

Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Arch Style Artist Trading Block
Sheet of Tiny MDF doors and windows
Leafy Vine Corner Embellishment
Sheet of Mini MDF Oval 
Small Standard Art Doll Kit Style 2
Sheet of MDF keys and escutcheons
Sheet of Mini MDF crowns
Birds on a branch
Running Buck Shape


  1. It is good to see you back Julie Ann! I love your ATB and the story behind it as ever, gives us plenty to think about. Happy 2017!

  2. Wow - what a fabulous project, Julie Ann! The details are all so amazing... the textured roofs on the houses, the shimmering rusty look of the ATB, your magical people and creatures - so much to feast the eyes on. And I love how you've attached that word band too. A delightful read for Monday morning this week too... we need to hold on to positivity.
    Alison x

  3. While I love and appreciate the techniques you've demonstrated here so beautifully, for me, the real pleasure is in being escorted through your personal Realm of carefully delineated Archetypes and Environs. Hardy has often seemed to me to be the very voice of thrills me to be introduced to this moving and Hopeful poem. Thank you.

  4. This is absolutely brilliant, Julie Ann! Love the story behind the make, the rusty look and all the beautiful details and textures! Eye-candy!

    Claudia xxx

  5. this is so marvelously done! hope for all. xo

  6. Such a beautiful project Julie Ann and a gorgeous story behind it all too. I love your magical people and the wonderful houses x

  7. Thank You all so much for the lovely comments on this little ATB. As always creating it from Calico Craft Parts gave me such a lot of pleasure. xxx

  8. Oh julie ann this is enchanting! I love queen hope and i love your little wooden houses with the playing card faces. I love that you hinged your atb; you must be a dolls house fan,

    Lucy x

  9. Oh, yes, I do love dolls' houses, Lucy. Thank You so much for your comment. xxx