Sunday, 10 February 2013

Making your own Paper Designs

Where do you get design ideas from? Is a question I frequently get asked, or sometimes it's "Don't you worry about running out of ideas?

Well the answer to the first is "My brain, it just works that way" and the 2nd is "No, see the answer to 1!

That sounds a bit brash now I read it again. But if I show you what happened when I had collected the following from a boot fair (Swap Meet) and a local Auction perhaps you will understand. I got sheet music and the watch parts at the auction. A shell bracelet at the boot fair and some beads from  my friend Danielle.

Browsing through the watch parts one piece caught my eye, because it looked like a wing. So now I started to search for a body, beak and face. Then I needed eyes, beads were an obvious choice, feet well those shells fit real good and just the right size too. Legs, bit more of a hunt, tried tooth picks, they looked horrible with the metal. Hmm, then I found a box of these wire thingys - have not a clue what they are - but hey great legs. And there my Mad Bird was born, from this also came the name of my business - Mad Bird Designs UK.

I tried him out on lots of designer papers and old newspaper adverts, none suited. He lay unmade for a few days. Then I was tidying my book cupboard and found a French song which is about birds, well ducks, at least I think it is. Long time since I did French at school.

It looked good as a background and I had an old box frame that was just deep enough. So he was glued and fixed. Of course I took pictures.

Another thing that helps me with my art is that I get OCD (obsessive compulsive) about things, it hinders daily life sometimes but for practicing art its great :-)

On my previous computer I had a Coral Photo program. I loved that software and was pretty annoyed when the computer died. Never mind my lovely son managed to salvage all my pictures for me but not the software. It had a really neat function the Kaleidoscope pattern. You could center on part of your picture and then press the button and you got these great patterns. Move the center and you got another one. 

and another

Once I get into something I like I play for ever so we get another.

and finally

So you see what I mean when I say my brain just works that way. Really to me, its nothing more than playing around with what you have to hand. But more than that it is allowing yourself the luxury of indulgence of doing what makes you happy.

Another thing that helps me is to swap from one medium to another, so textiles one week, collage another. That way you don't get bogged down with one thing and if you get stuck on a project (yes I do get stuck) you can turn to something else. That lets your brain work on the problem in the background. 

Also I spend a lot of time sorting and resorting my junk. Moving it round to try to make the piles smaller, never works. But I do often go "Ah that's just the thingy (I've got a lot of thingys) for that box I've been stuck on". Then the junk gets stuffed back in the box or cupboard and all thoughts of tidying are gone.

And I forgot to say (now editing) that I use these designs as backing papers on some projects.

Have fun making your art. Why not use some of these ideas to make your own projects or experiments.

THINGY = a thing you have, that you don't know what the heck it is, but it is just the thing for your ART.


  1. Love the story of the making of the mad bird xx

  2. More creative work!!!!! Hope we can have a work shop on make a kaleidoscope.....xx


Your comments are all read and appreciated. Hope you will forgive me if I miss commenting on your comment, I will be busy doing art :-) x Joan