Monday, 14 August 2017

Not all those who wander are lost - Artist's Trading Block Cube Kit by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! It's good to be back at Calico Craft Parts Blog. I hope you've been enjoying a really creative summer. I'm still playing with the tiny canvases I have accumulated over the past few years! They were so miniature (8.5 cm x 5.00 cm) I hadn't been quite sure what I would do with them. For this nautical project, I decided to use one of them as a focal point on a medium size Calico Artist's Trading Block Cube Kit.

I started by creating a miniature mixed media reversed canvas with a nautical feel.

Even though this was a minuscule canvas, I went to town with layers of gesso, muslin, heavy gel medium, bead gel, some pewter coloured grains and different shades of blue and green acrylic paints.

I wrapped the muslin right around - back and front - fixing it down with fluid gel medium. On this side of the canvas, which would normally be the front, I layered some fragments of tea-bag papers and used a touch of pearly glaze to create the impression of stormy seas.

Flipping the canvas back onto its reverse side, I added this wonderful Calico ship in a bottle and some tiny shells.

A little grey-board heart with a face created from my own art work and a golden crown provided the finishing touches.

Once my elements were all stuck down, I put the tiny canvas to one side and started to assemble my cube kit. I like to have a 'dry run', sticking down my papers and assembling the cube without glue to start with, so that I get an idea of how it will look. These papers are copies of old maps from the British Library scanned into my computer and printed onto good quality copy paper. They are stamped and aged with inks and diluted acrylic paint.

I can then take it apart and play around with different Calico Craft Part embellishments until I'm satisfied with the arrangement before sticking everything in place. As you might have noticed, I started with the word element, 'Adventure Awaits' and then went with the slightly more mysterious, 'Not all those who wander are lost'.

This map paper so intrigues me I feel sad that I will have to cover it up. However, because I have scanned the images I know I can use them again on other projects and also tiny pieces appearing here and there can be even more intriguing!

Such a fine galleon I didn't want to cover it up too much! I decided to use a smaller embellishment so that she was mostly visible in all her glory!

I kept the natural wood effect of this shell and simply added a piece of broken jewellery for colour and 'bling'. The block has little wooden beads to serve as feet. As I was creating this piece I could almost hear the sound of the wind whipping at the canvas sails and the cries of the sailors! I wonder who the princess with the heart-shape face might be and where she is bound on these choppy seas?

Although we can no longer venture into uncharted waters to explore new worlds; tropical seas teeming with Queen Angelfish or sandy beaches where no human foot has trodden, every day can still be a magical voyage into the unknown. We just have to navigate by the stars of our imagination and use the compass of creativity.

There are treasures beyond price out there, if we keep our eyes open and steer our course right.

Thank You so much for stopping by today. Whether your summer has involved a sea journey of many miles or simply blissful hours spent dreaming in your own back yard, I sincerely hope it's been a happy time for you. Until we meet again in 2 weeks' time, have fun!
Calico Craft Parts Used
Artist Trading Block Cube Kit, medium size
Wooden Word Elements - Travel and Explorer
Ship in a Bottle MDF Wood Shape, Style 2
Hearts, mini greyboard shapes
Sheet of mini MDF Crowns, Style 3
Sheet of mini nautical shapes, Style 6
Seahorse Style 3 MDF Wood shape
Queen Angel Fish MDF Wood Shape


  1. Gorgeous project, Julie Ann! I love the old map pages too, great idea to scan them so you can re-use them again and again!

  2. Oh Julie, your way of telling adventures are fabulous, and your creations so amazing.
    I love your Queen Angelfish, and you are so right , being there only takes a little imagination and creativity , for some lucky ones of us. This is so gorgeous Julie. Xxx

  3. A true treasure of the seas - I love the use of the ancient maps, and in your storytelling world, I feel sure that at any moment we will reach the edge and find that "here be monsters"! The heavy textures on the tiny canvas are fantastic, and I love the rich tinting of the images - a properly medieval feel to the colour palette. A delight.
    Alison x

  4. Unbelievably cool! Amazing details and gorgeous composition. Hugs, Autumn

    1. Thank You so much, Autumn. Your comments always bring me joy!

  5. Thank You so much for your lovely comments, Helen, Dorthe and Alison. xxx

  6. Julie Ann!!!! This absolutely blew me away when I saw it!! How fantastical is this?! Really ,truly a mini work of art! I just love love how you spend time designing such clever pieces! You really do know how to rock Calico's products my friend!!
    Jackie xo

  7. Oh, thank you so much, Jackie. I do love working with Calico Craft Parts. xx