I got crafty again this week and signed up for “Stick a Feather In It” swap on the letterboxing site. I had an idea come to mind, so I decided to go for it! What says “Feathers” more than Native Americans (that is, other than birds)? First I wanted to understand the meaning behind the feather. So I googled it! Here is what I found: The tribes of the Great Plains region are known for their feathered warbonnets. They are made from the tail feathers of the golden eagle, and each has to be earned by an act of bravery. It’s the only way to receive one. They are a sacred display of a man’s honor and courage. When a man is given an Eagle feather, it is an honored gift, a symbol from above. It is disrespectful to hide it, it must be put out for all to see.
Sources: www.native-languages.org/headdresses.htm and Www.indians.org/articles/feathers.html
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I found these neat Native Tribe Art brushes on fbrushes.com and had downloaded them for another reason, so I figured why not use one of those? They are free for personal use, so I put them to good use.
First I printed the image out at the size I wanted to use. I printed it a lighter gray so the pencil markings would be easier to see. I trace the lines with a mechanical pencil because it has a finer line the entire time. No getting up to sharpen my pencil 1,000 times for me! I use a lighted magnifying lens that my mother gave me. I had no idea how much better it is to do this detailed work with it. I tried doing without it once and quickly set it up to use. It is a game changer! I highly recommend them.
Once the pencil work is done, it’s time for a transfer. My carving material of chose is the Speedball Speedy Carve – dubbed “The Pink Stuff”. Honestly, I haven’t really tried anything else. Well, those cheep erasers you get at the dollar store, but I don’t recommend it.
I like to tape my paper down so the image doesn’t move (I learned the hard way…). You can peel a little bit back to make sure your line is good and dark all over. Make sure to use artist tape or other “not-so-sticky” tape. Here I used washi tape.
Now to trim off the piece you are going to use. It is so much easier to just have the section you need to carve instead of the entire slab. Just be careful not to cut too close to your design. Also watch the bottom to make sure it’s not undercutting your design. It will make it harder to get a good print of the edge.
Once that part is done, it’s time for the carving! This is the fun part. I use the Speedball Linoleum Cutter. Go slow and use your magnifying light! I like to start with the insides of the design first, then carve away the outside. Experiment and see what works best for you.
For this card, I made special paper. I wanted it to look like leather or a hide to better suite the feel of the Native American vibe I was going for. After my morning coffee grounds cooled (yum Starbucks!), I used the filter along with the grounds to stain the paper. They were still saturated, which was perfect! I put the paper in a baking dish to keep the liquid contained.
I just love they way they came out. Just what I was hoping for! 🙂
I then cut the paper down to standard size. Here’s a nifty template when working with 8 1/2 x 11 sized paper.
Time to ink up the stamp and see what it looks like! I used the Rich Cocoa Memento Dew Drop Ink.
I made a template of what I wanted. It really came in handy. I didn’t want to use up all my special paper, so I played first to see where I wanted to go with the card. I did end up making the boarder at the top a stamp as well. That was after trying to draw it a few times. It was so much better to have a stamp!
After stamping the stamps, I used my colored pencils to add some color. I love my Prismacolor Pencils!
And here is the finished product!
How do you like to plan your designs? Or do you work more organically? Share with us in the comments! 🙂