Blue Box

blue box

New Prayer Box–this one is all blue and silvery.  I seem to have spent most of the time lately in the goldish, bronzish, coppery area and thought I’d take a break and move into the cooler silvers and pewters for a change.

Box is made of paper and painted with blue acrylic on the outside and silver on the inside. The writing inside says ‘O Lord, fill my mouth and write upon my heart that which you would have me say.”  There’s a decoupage image of the Holy Spirit stained glass window in there, too.

silver inside

 The feet of the box are really cool looking silver beads.

silver feet

The underside has an archival sticker of a black flower–daisy like shape–with dots! 🙂

underside

The lid is really an integral part. The outside is painted with blackboard paint and then trimmed in shiny blue nail polish. The inside of the lid is archival paper that has a really neat felt texture to it. It’s been lightly distressed and silvered.

chalkboard lidinside lid

And HERE’s why the lid is integral…..the star shaped chalk. The lid is designed to be used as a mini blackboard for words or phrases or whatever the recipient wants.

stars

And the tissue paper that wraps around the chalk and goes in the box is the same type of black and white daisy like flower.

stars

This box is a gift for a specific person and not a found art piece, so I can’t post this till they’ve received it! Mailing it today (June 18)

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Why Did I Make Chalk? Because I Can!

plaster of parisI made chalk this week………. Yes, I said chalk.   Well, made in the sense of mixed up plaster of paris and put in a mold to make shaped chalk. Why? Because I can, that’s why.

 I told a friend I was making chalk and she laughed at me. Now, this is not the first time she’s laughed at me, that’s for sure, and I doubt it will be the last either. Why on earth would I want to make chalk?

And again, I say, because I can.

I do not like that we just buy everything automatically. I know, I know, I bought the plaster of paris and the star-shaped ice-cube trays. But there’s something of my action, perhaps even a touch of my own creativity, in the finished project. It wasn’t that difficult to make, though it was more effort than just buying a box of chalk. Somehow, though, our society always defaults to–go buy it, get it the easiest and fastest way because quick, simple and path of least resistance is always the best choice.

And I disagree. A lot. There is a joy in making things for the sake of being able to say or even to just know in your own head that you made that item. A few years ago I was shopping with a friend in one of those large department stores at the mall (not the same friend as above) and she brought me a lovely lace shawl. It was black acrylic machine-made lace and it was pretty. ‘Look!’ she said, ‘it’s only ten dollars! And you spent way more than that on the yarn for that shawl you’re knitting. Like, four times as much. And you could have gotten one for only then dollars. Ha Ha!’ She’d missed the point altogether. Sure, I could purchase a shawl, a sweater, a scarf, a pair of gloves or mittens or whatever for less money and time than it takes for me to make them. It would make Christmas and birthdays a lot “easier”and “cheaper”  but would that automatically make them better? No, I do not think that it would. In fact, I think it makes them less.

There is a satisfaction and sense of self I find in making things that I cannot find anywhere else. I believe that if we are made in God’s image (and we are) and he was the creator of the universe (and he is) and he made everything from daisies to giraffes, turtles to amethysts, babies to ladybugs, clouds to the roots of oak trees and everything else in between (and he does) then perhaps we are close to God when we make things, too. Einstein said that to bake a cake truly from scratch we must first create the universe. So maybe when we make things, as we use the things that God has made, we are close to him. Maybe he even works with us.

Now I have no hatred of machines. In fact, I find them fascinating and love to take them apart and put them back together again! What I do dislike is being given the answer for every need and want in the form of a pre-made, pre-packaged, easy-to-use item found on the shelf at Wal-Mart. So I reject that as being the only answer and, instead, put it among the options which include home-made, hand-made, self-designed, crafted and created.

Oh, and these little chalk stars will likely show up in a new prayer box…….because I also just got a can of blackboard paint, too!

Guerilla Artists

On Sunday I purchased what may be the best book EVER. Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith. I love it and I so wish I’d found it before I did the Art Craft Prayer workshop. It’s by the same woman who did Wreck This Journal and a few other things like it. Her blog is here.

It has lots of practical things in it for doing stuff akin to the little prayer boxes, specifically like the tiny one I left at the chocolate shop. They are less complex, mostly, but all in the same family none the less.

 

Perhaps one of my favorite things she talks about is chalking. That’s similar to what I think of as graffiti but done with chalk. The impermanence of it and the thumbing-your-nose-at-authority-while-still-not-illegal quality are both intriguing. Just imagine someone getting mad at you for “defacing” something by what you’ve written or drawn–aside from obscenities of course–and then watching it all dissolve and melt away with the rain. I also like it because of a beautiful piece a friend of mine did a couple of years ago. One night when he couldn’t sleep, he went outside his apartment and drew a beautiful image of Christ on the cross in chalk on the black asphalt parking lot. It was beautiful and it only lasted for a few days until it rained.

 

notmypicture

 

Another thing I liked about GAK was its ‘maker’ feel. The author gives how-tos for:

Homemade stickers–both lick and stick and not lick and stick

Home made wheat paste–an environment friendly paste which degrades and dissolves over time for adhering posters, signs, etc to anything outdoors.

Make your own stencils

A recipe for moss paint

And many other things, too

There are commercial things you can buy for nearly all that….well, except for moss paint. I’ve never seen that in a store….but is it always necessary to buy everything? This book acknowledges the joy of making materials themselves as part of the craft and the creating.

 

If I had a grievance with the book, it would be that several of the links in the back are either broken or out of date. I’m certain that many of them were working and active sites at the time of publication but it is disappointing all the same.

 

Also, I would like to have seen more office guerilla art since so many spend their lives in a cubicle world. She tipped her hat to it and encouraged caution, but that was all. Aside from defacing property, which would no doubt result in immediate dismissal if discovered, this is could be an area in great need of art. Or at least a random act of grace.

 

In all, an excellent book worth every penny. Buy it. Read it. Do it.