Thursday, July 30, 2015

Top 10 Trends in Mixed Media

Twice a year, the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) publishes an in-depth report describing the trends within the craft industry. This publication is a snapshot of the products, supplies and techniques that are hot at the present time and likely to emerge in the upcoming months. It makes for a fascinating read for all crafters, artists, manufacturers and retailers interested in better understanding the "State of the Union" of our community.

The report covers the following areas: general crafts, children's crafts, home decor, jewelry arts, mixed media, needle arts, paper craft, and wearable arts. As a designer member of CHA and part of the Trends Committee, I was responsible for the section on mixed media. I have summarized 10 mixed media trends for mid-year 2015 below. Click here to read the full report.


--Art Journaling: with a shift toward more authentic, raw journaling and less emphasis on pretty pages

--Bible Journaling: faith-based journaling directly into bibles is on the rise

--Text and Lettering: a hot trend from 2014 continues in many forms

--Paint Mediums: more and more companies are diving into the paint business and paint pens are a hot product in 2015

--Fine Art: crosses into mixed media via the popularity of encaustic and cold wax techniques, portraiture and watercolors

--Stencils: continues to ride a wave of popularity with text, geometric shapes, nature, portraiture and and background designs trending as themes

--Fabric and Fiber: crossing into mixed media in many forms

--Surface Design: renewed interest is evident on fabric and paper, both digitally and handmade

--Sketching: a continued resurgence in sketching and drawing is evident

--Coloring books for adults are hot, hot, hot

Seeing your own trends? Add you thoughts to this post in the comments section...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spotlight: Kecia Deveney

Back in the day, when I first started my blog, I often highlighted other artists in Spotlight posts. My friend Bridgette Guerzon Mills was the first. Other artists that I spotlighted included Judy Wilkenfeld,  CW Slade, Barbara Kleinhans, and John Copeland

It is fascinating for me to read through my Spotlight posts now, as they were written about 8 years ago. Happily I can say that I find the work of these artists every bit as compelling today as I did way back when.

In thinking about these posts, I have decided to occasionally write new spotlight posts, bringing you the work of other artists - some that may be new to you and some that are likely to be familiar faces. 


Today...the spotlight is on Kecia Deveney.

Looking through my emails, it seems that I first connected with Kecia online in early 2009. We met for the first time in a workshop in 2009 and then again in 2010 when I took a class from Leslie Marsh that was held at Kecia's magical studio and home (check out this short video of her kool kitchen). Since then our paths have crossed many times, most recently when we both taught in Australia as part of Art is You in 2014. Some of you might remember that we shared a crazy 52 hour trip from NYC to Sydney. How did we survive? By collaborative journaling in the airport of course...

Kecia brings a special energy to all that she does and her work brings a smile to my face. Whether two-dimensional or three-dimensional, all bright colors or limited monotones, laced with humor or on the edge of darkness, her work is always filled with life. She works across an endless number of mediums and she is equally talented in them all. I am the lucky owner of a number of her pieces, my absolute favorite being this guy who hangs out with me in my studio...

Just a small sample of her work follows


To learn more about Kecia, stop by her blog or website. And tell her Seth sent ya!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Week Links: 60

Join me every Sunday when I share some of my favorite links I discovered in the previous week.
All previous links can be found here.

And here is Week 60...

Heather Day considers the process of accidental painting.

Meet Fiona Dempster: the Type Detective.

Caterina Giglio asks: What is art?

Christine at Scrap Time shares her experience at the CHA Summer 2015 Paper Arts show.

What do you think? Did Starbucks rip off this artist?

This book (Natural Processes in Textile Art) from Alice Fox looks special.

25+ bloggers have dug up Buried Treasure and reposted their favorite post ever in my annual online collaboration.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mixology 101.2

Mixology 101

This series of pop-up posts will focus on sharing ways in which I combine hand made art with commercial products. Since becoming a blogger for Spellbinders in 2013, I have had the opportunity to explore many supplies coming from the craft industry and to learn how to put my own twist on them as I add them into my artwork. The posts in this series may focus on completed art, process, product, and/or any other aspect of mixed media. So put the mix in the media and let's get creative...

This project started as a demo I made in May at a collaborative workshop I taught with Mary Beth Shaw at her studio in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The cover felt unfinished so I decided to create more dimension by adding some die cuts. People often use die cutting as a way to add focal images to a project but I often integrate them into the background. I used Spellbinders new Sapphire Mini Die Cutting Machine and their line of Sapphire dies - currently exclusive to Joann. To all those peeps out there who are curious about die cutting but haven't yet taken the plunge, this machine is affordable, portable and a good fit for a beginner. 

I used my own hand painted paper to die cut as a way to add my own style to a commercial product. I love text as much for the design element as I do for the message, so I started with the Sapphire Numbers and Letters Two die set. After the letters were added to the book cover, I outlined them with a white gel pen to make them pop.

I had already stenciled the word inside when I first made the book and decided to highlight it by using a die cut from one of the 6 dies in the Sapphire Simply Tags set. The industrial look of this blends well with the background design. To finish it off, I added a section of a postage stamp and two nail head brads to the ends.

Next I used dies from the Sapphire Basic Circles set. When you nest two different sized circle dies before you run them through the machine, you end up with a loop. I made two loops and added them, along with some additional letter die cuts, to the background. A white gel pen was used to add some shading and dimension.

I repeated this process using dies from the Sapphire Basic Rectangles and some hand cut paper as well.

In the end, I think the addition of the die cuts was the perfect touch to add layers, textures, design and dimension to the cover. 

For those of you what want to explore products directly from Spellbinders, they have generously provided my blog readers with a special code that can be used to save 20% off items in their online shop (doesn't include shipping, tax, or machines). Head to their store and use code 20OFFSA.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Digging Deep

Time for a treasure hunt! This post is my own contribution to the 7th annual Buried Treasure project. You can find the links to each and every participating artist in the previous post on my blog.

Buried Treasure is an opportunity to reflect. In looking back through the 1400+ posts on my blog, I am reminded of so many creative experiences that have truly filled my soul. At the same time, I am able to see the changes over time in both my artwork and my life as an artist. This review also has me looking forward, contemplating how things will change in the coming years.

These feelings led me to dig up my post from December 31, 2014 (slightly edited) - a meditation on and reflection of the many experiences of life.

As the Sun Sets....

and I look back on my recent experiences...

I think about all the new discoveries I have made...

I think about the hills I have climbed that were well worth the effort...

I think about the the fact that I am one year older...

I think about the flashes of synchronicity that seem to seek me out...

I think about the losses that still hurt...

I think about the decisions I made even when things were not clear...

I think about the strength we all have despite the the way of the world these days...

I think about the joy that this community never fails to bring me...

And I think of what the future may hold and about the possibilities that have yet to unfold...

Thank you all for continuing to be such a big part of my journey. I look forward to all the future adventures we will have together.

Buried Treasure 2015

Welcome to Buried Treasure: an online, collaborative project that invites art bloggers to go into the depths of their blogs and dig for buried treasure. Each participant was asked to repost one (or more) or their favorite posts from their own blog. There are so many brilliant artists out there but so little time to explore all their work fully. This gives us all an opportunity to see highlights from posts we may have missed from so many of our favorite bloggers!

Click on the links below to go to the blog posts of the participants. Please check back here often as I will be updating this list continuously as more people post. The links are numbered so you can keep track of what you have seen. Believe you me, this will take you more than one sitting. Please note that I will soon add a link to this post from my sidebar so that these links will always be easily accessible!

If you are a blogger on a treasure hunt and you do not find your name on the list, please email me and I will add your link. And it is not too late to join in. I will be adding links until Sunday, July 26th. So if you are interested in digging for treasure on your own blog, click here for the details.

1.   The Altered Page
2.   Bolton House
3.   MK Designs
4.   Jo Murray- Art
5.   Creativity Continium
6.   life as a five ring circus
7.   Studio Ramblings
8.   des couleurs, du piment et quatre bras
9.   ess-arr
11. Altered Book Lover
12. Approachable Art
13. credmayne
14. Creatingwithoutcrayons
15. a colorful journey
16. Halle's Hobbies
17. artjuvenation
18. Back on the Floor Again
19. Pages in Time
20. Stitchworks
21. Stampendous
22. Blue Twig Studio
23. Chittle Chattle
24. jacki long
25. Joi@RR
26. johanna - mixed media fun
27. Sisterhood of the Muse

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stamps & Stencils

I created this journal page using my new stamps from Impression Obsession and my new stencils from StencilGirl Products. It is exciting for me to see just how well they both work together.

To celebrate the release, StencilGirl Products is holding a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to their online shop. You have until end of day July 24 to enter. Details on my blog here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Treasure Hunt

7th annual Buried Treasure
Still time to join the collaboration coming this Thursday 7/23 

So many little time. With so many wonderful art blogs to follow, it is difficult to always find the time to keep up with every new post -- let alone have the time to visit the posts that were put up before you discovered each blog.

So...six years ago I started an annual treasure hunt. Buried Treasure is about digging deep to uncover some hidden gems. The premise is simple. This Thursday, July 23rd all participating bloggers will re-post one (or more) of their favorite posts that ever appeared on their blog. As you might already know, I don't like too many rules when it comes to art. So anything goes.

Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to participate. On the 23rd, when the project goes live, I will post a list of all participating artists on my blog so that you can be sure to find all the Buried Treasure. Feel free to let your own readers know about this project by spotlighting it in a post prior to or on reveal day.

Please cut and paste your original post into a new post. Let your readers know that it is a part of the Buried Treasure collaboration and include a link to my blog. That way, everybody can find the links to everybody else. Please (and this is important) email me your link when your post goes up. It will be the only way I will know to add you to the posted list on my blog.

And if you cannot wait until reveal day, you can click here and here to be taken to the links from 2009, here for the posts from 2010, here for the links to the posts from 2011, here for those from 2012, here for the links from 2013, and here for 2014. These are also always available on my sidebar.

Happy hunting!

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Stencil Release & Giveaway

Rolling out new designs is definitely a favorite activity and today I am happy to be able to share with you my newest stencils from StencilGirl Products. All my new designs as well as my earlier stencils are available now from my online shop and from the StencilGirl website. They will soon be on the shelves of stores and additional online sites as well.


I've got two releases to share with you today. First comes 3 stencils within the Text and Texture collection..

Each of these new stencils offer grungy elements of text and design. They are 6" x 6" and filled edge to edge with both words and shapes that are ready-made for adding to and layering within your artwork. I chose the words in these stencils to be introspective and to reflect a range of moods, feelings and emotions. This range makes them especially suited for journals, mixed media artwork and more.




To celebrate the Text and Texture series, I have invited 5 incredible artists to use my stencils in their work. Stop by the following sites to see the results...


The second collection is my newest addition to the Insiders-Outsiders line. This grouping of stencils is designed to be interactive, with the 4 new Insiders designs fitting perfectly within the outlines of my previously released Outsiders stencil.

This Techno Collection is designed to capture an industrial techno feel. These 4" x 4" stencils come in the shape of a circle, square, tag and star. Each of these designs nests within the outlines of the same shapes on the 9" x 12" Outsiders stencil.

Or they can be used on their own.

 Techno Circle

 Techno Square

 Techno Star

Techno Tag



To celebrate my new stencil designs, StencilGirl is hosting a blog hop and a giveaway. The prize is a $25 gift certificate at StencilGirl Products. To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this post. Then click over to the other blog hop participants and leave comments there as well. Each comment is another chance to win. One comment per post please. The giveaway closes July 24 at 11:59pm CST.

StencilGirl Talk
Seth Apter (you are here)
Mary Beth Shaw
Mary C. Nasser
Carolyn Dube
Gwen Lafleur
Kirsten Reed
Janet Joehlin
Maria McGuire