Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I've mentioned before, I belong to an ATC Club (Artist's Trading Cards) that has been meeting at our local stamp store for the past four years. Five of the members are original to the group.  We meet once a month, trade our ATCs, talk a lot, and someone does a demo. Lately, we've been meeting earlier for dinner at a local restaurant.  We go on road trips to stamp stores, shows, and to each other's homes to work on projects.  The ATC ladies are some of my dearest friends; they are so funny, creative, and supportive.  

The gentleman to the right is from the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz collection, CMS072. The trimmed bird cage is a Memory Box Poppy Stamp die.

Each of us takes a turn to select the theme for the month, and this month it was Steampunk.  Because we select the themes a year in advance, we've been collecting gears, stamps, hardware, charms, and odd bits and pieces for months.  We all admitted that we have enough stuff to do hundreds of steampunk ATCs.

I used a combination of rubber and digital stamps. The lady to your right is the first one I picked up; it's a Stampington rubber stamp called "Temptress." I cut out a stencil of her to white wash the design paper background, blurring the edges, before embossing the lady on top.

Viva Las Vegas Stamps has a great selection of steampunk stamps, including the darling elephant and giraffe ones here.  I also bought the horse, fish, cat, and camel. 

Leslie named the elephant "Metalaphant."

The elephant and giraffe paper is something I've had in my travel stash forever, made by Paper Pizazz. 

VLV also carries the coolest steampunk tape, which comes in big rolls like packing tape. I used the hinge design to connect the two parts of my Crystal Palace ATC, but VLV also carries O-ring, tower bolt, and strap designs. 

Because steampunk merges the Victorian and the industrial, I made an historical ATC celebrating the Crystal Palace. (You can see shades of my former career as a teacher of British literature here.) Our group likes ATCs that give the background of things. The image of the Crystal Palace is off the Internet and printed on design paper. The Victorian gentleman is also a VLV stamp.
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building (1,851 feet long by 128 feet high) originally erected in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The six-month event, originally conceived of by artist and inventor Henry Cole and heartily supported by Prince Albert, was designed to showcase the industrial, military and econmic superiority of Great Britain. Over 6 million visitors viewed more than 14,000 displays and inventions from all over the British Empire, including a Jacquard loom, an envelope machine, a stuffed elephant, a collection of the largest gems ever mined, the McCormick reaper, daguerreotopes of illustrious Americans by Matthew Brady, new Colt firearms, and a dirigible. The Crystal Palace was almost outshone by the park in which it stood, which contained enormous sculptures, exotic plants, and a magnificent series of fountains. Some 120,000 gallons of water were piped through daily, an engineering feat in itself. The Crystal Palace was later moved to Sydenham Hill and was the site of many events until destroyed by fire in 1936.

The rather bawdy steampunk chick is a Kenny K digital stamp; this one is called Scarlett West. The Spellbinders banner die is designed to match JustRite stamps, but I stretched a VLV "Steampunk" stamp in a curve to stamp on it instead. The background paper is DCWV's Tattered Time matstack, which is just full of great embossed papers (4.5" by 6.5').   

The gears on these ATCs are from various sources: Tim Holtz, watch parts I bought on E-bay, washers from hardware stores, and charms from bead shops, stamp stores, and E-bay.

Vincent Ballard provides beautiful free digital images on his blog Crafty Moments, and he's really into steampunk lately. This is my favorite and was so much fun to color and decorate -- although I am still peeling  Glossy Accents off my finger tips.

Check out Vincent's blog. His artwork and cards are amazing, and he's such a nice guy. Some stamp company ought to commission him to design their stamps.

I love cats even more than I love stamps, and their mysterious ways just lend themselves to steampunkery. The globe is an Internet image cut out, the cat and the saying are VLV, and the cat's glasses are twisted jump rings I bought at the bead shop. 

It's hard to tell in the picture, but the eyes and the fur are enhanced with Twinkling H20s.

The corners on this ATC and the bawdy chick ATC are made with Cheery Lynn Lace Corner Deco Dies B.

This last steampunk ATC is alcohol inks on dry embossed metal; the F.E. Linus stamp is Stampendous; and the background page is from an old literature text of my mother's. I have trouble tearing up a book, even an old one, but the pages in this one are yellowed and crumbly, and I have all the poems and prose in other texts.  I thought "The Bird" poem by 17th-century poet Henry Vaughan was propitious in the circumstances.

There are nine ATCs and nine ladies in our group, the same number of pockets on the acetate baseball card sheets we use to display them. Most of us do nine different designs, but occasionally, either because of time constraints or a design just too good not to duplicate, someone will do all the same. Everyone has a different style; I can usually tell whose is whose without looking at the back. In my next blog entry, I'll show you some of the others that I got to take home. I have four binders full of amazing small works of art, each one a remembrance of dear friends and good times.

I know this was a long blog entry, but perhaps it will make up for my silence of the last couple of months.  (We have had non-stop company, a graduation, a wedding, a family reunion, and three trips out of town, but things should settle down now for a bit.)

1 comment:

  1. These ATCs are gorgeous, Deborah, and they look almost as good in your post they did "in person"! You do such beautiful and clever work--love the man with the bird cage hat and the elephant and giraffe. Since I could only take one home in our trade the other night (!), now I feel like I can still enjoy them all! Thanks for your informative post of this eclectic Steampunk collection.