The Documented Life Project challenge for Week 31 was to add a pocket in which to store treasures from the week. Hmmmm…. Admittedly, I have had a busy week with not much time for my creative cogs to whir away but I did not find myself immediately inspired by this prompt. When I did have a thought, it was to go totally minimalist and simply add a small envelope to stuff full of ephemera generated across the week – receipts and such-like – but then I realised that would be a waste of my time and exceptionally dull. If I was going to apply no effort because time and imagination was limited then I might as well just not bother. My next thought was to take the prompt literally and create a pocket in which I could place artistic representations of things I actually had in my pocket across the course of the week. However, the realisation dawned that I really did not have the time to paint an iphone, make sets of keys, draw pebbles and hair elastics. As fun as that approach might have been, I had to steer the middle ground: balance time pressure against some creative endeavour. I was over-thinking it. The week was almost over and my page was still blank. I had to just go with the flow and make that page not be blank any more.
I am not generally drawn to pink in my art work so I decided to challenge myself this week and use pink. I regretted it almost instantly. As I sloshed paint across the page, it looked OK. As soon as I smooshed it with a wet wipe, the diluted pigment meant it started to look insipid. I tried adding purple for a bit of a kick and then some aqua blue for contrast. No, still too pastel and wishy-washy. Well, it’s all a learning experience. Still trying to save my background, I stamped on some chevrons and butterflies but I used white ink so it didn’t really achieve much other than to eliminate some of the sugary pink. Background resuscitation abandoned, I moved onto the pocket element. I found a ghost print from one of my monoprinting sessions that was pinkish (but a much warmer-toned, redder pink) and had the shape of a bird and a swirling branch and some flowers on it. I folded it into a pouch and adhered it to the confection background. Instant clash. It looked pretty horrid. So I tried to pull it all together by drawing on some dots and dashes in stronger colours that highlighted the details on the pocket. Still not working. Clearly this was not my week.
I still had not figured out what I was going to shove in my pocket. I had one single checkout receipt so decided to abandon the idea of curating ephemera from the week. Mulling over the word “treasure”, however, I had an epiphany: my most treasured things are my kids; and what are my kids right now but untapped free creative labour. So I cut out four heart shapes from card stock and asked them to draw something they loved on the heart they were given. The oldest drew a penguin because he has a thing for penguins; the 8 year old drew a pig because he knows I love pigs; the 7 year old drew a shark because he and I love sharks; and the youngest drew a zombie because I love zombies, we all love zombies, everyone should love zombies. I drew some dots and dashes along the edge of each heart just to tie them into the background and pocket.
I then stamped the phrase “pocketful of love” onto the pocket and it actually looked OK except that I used black ink (because I only have black, white and brown stamping ink) so then I had this black element that was too dominant on the page. I just seemed to be generating problem after problem this week. Definitely not my week. I decided that using a letter X stamp to look like stitching around the edge of the pocket might work to ground everything and emphasise the pocket. Almost as soon as I started stamping those X shapes, I knew I shouldn’t have started. They just looked ugly. I had pretty much given up by that juncture so I just stamped all the way around the three stuck sides of the pocket. You can actually detect from how misaligned they are that I had given up all hope of rescuing this page. My last attempt at eradicating the candy floss grossness of the background was to glue on some pretty little flowers a fellow DLP member had mailed to me and sticking some washi tape down an exposed edge. I then popped the stars the boys had made into the pocket. Job done. Challenge completed. Just in time for the next challenge.
We learn from our mistakes so that’s this creative rain cloud’s silver lining.
I love the pocket idea! Welcome to America!
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