Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

3 Juicy Journals from 2 Sheets of Paper

Ok, make that 2 BIG sheets of paper. 58 x 42 cm each, to be exact. Or 22.5 x 16.5 inches, if you’re Imperial.

For this project, I wanted to create some square Juicy Journals. I decided to lop off 8 x 17 cm from the two 58 x 42 cm sheets of paper that I’d already Gelli printed on both sides. This meant I could then divide the sheets up into strips of 50 x 25 cm. When folded in half, this would give me a booklet 25 x 25 cm square.

From the 2 large sheets, I was able to get 16 strips of 50 x 25 cm, and the leftovers were enough to make another Juicy Journal, not quite a square one though.

image The 8 pieces that I further divided into 2, to get the 16 strips.

image The 16 strips that will be folded in half to create square signatures of 8 pages each. I’m going to bind 2 signatures together, to get 16 pages per Juicy Journal.

image Each signature consists of 4 strips of 50 x 25 cm, folded in half to create 8 pages.

imageI’m using a pamphlet stitch, so I’ll need 3 holes in each booklet.

Basically, this technique is a really simple one, and is an optical illusion. You simply put two 8-page signatures together and sew them using a pamphlet stitch, and then fold the pages back into their respective signatures. The stitches will be hidden within the pages. I could take this a step further and create a hard cover, but I like to show off my Gelli printing, so I’ll leave them naked, so to speak.

imageHere’s how I sewed the Juicy Journal. Stand the 2 signatures you want to join together like in the photo. Open them up and align their holes. Bind all 8 layers together using a pamphlet stitch.

imageSewing the pamphlet stitch.

imageTying the knot to secure all 8 layers together.

imageFold the 2 signatures back to their respective starting points. This technique produces a booklet with a very neat finish at the spine. The stitches are hidden inside the pages.

imageFrom my 2 big sheets of Gelli printed paper, I managed to create 2 square Juicy Journals and 1 not-so-square one (from the leftover paper). That’s the one on the right, with the pamphlet stitch’s final knot showing on the outside.

imageI like the square format and think I might create some more of these. They require a bit more thought in measuring and tearing to size, but the results are very encouraging.

I also like the technique of sewing 2 signatures together, with the stitches hidden on the inside of the booklet. Might make more the same, too.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :-)

The Lie of Existence

I passed by a parked car today at the mall, which had a sticker on it that caught my eye. It said, in a humourous yet ironic manner: “I Owe, I Owe, It’s Off To Work I Go”. In the style of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

That got me thinking. Thousands of years ago, humans started exchanging tokens of worth for goods. This “currency” may have started out as simple objects like cowrie shells or seeds, which evolved into more permanent and longlasting objects made from metal, which then became known as “Money”.

Which has become the downfall of humanity.

As more and more people subscribed to this monetary system, and it was given more and more importance, there came to be a division of classes – the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”. The rich, who were also in positions of power, then imposed taxes on the workers, thus effectively robbing the poor to give to the rich, i.e themselves. And so the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. Compound this simple formula by thousands of years, and align that with the Fact that the World is ruled by a handful of uber-rich, elite Families, and you’ll have grasped the tip of the iceberg that we are standing on.

Human beings are the only creatures on Earth who have to “earn” a living. Society dictates (or rather, the Elite dictate, through their minions) that all human beings have to be indebted to financial institutions, and trade their skills and time for Money. Which they can then use to pay bills, which are imposed on them left, right and centre. The Carrot being Money, the Stick being Work, and no prizes for guessing who the Ass is.

Let’s throw into the equation Luxury Goods and Services. Humans have big egos, they like to be complimented and put up high on pedestals, they love getting one up on their fellow human beings, because it makes them feel powerful. So, let’s create some special classes of goods that mere mortals will not be able to afford. Cue luxury yachts, fast cars, mansions with dozens of rooms, private islands, holidays abroad, cruises. The “Haves” will then flaunt these in front of the “Have-Nots”. The “Have-Nots” will moan that they want to be able to go on holidays too, or buy large homes and drive flashy cars.

So, the banks (which are ultimately owned by the Elite), offer the hoi polloi such things as Credit Cards, Home Loans and Personal Loans. That’s right, my friend, step right up, here’s enough Money for you to go and indulge in your fantasy of being a “Have”. Remember though, we own your ass now, and you will spend the rest of your life paying us back, with interest.

We tell our children they have to study hard and get qualifications so they can get a “good job”. And what is a “good job”? Why, one that pays enough money to pay the bills and have a little left over at the end of the day. Bills? What bills? Why, the bank loan you took out in order to go to University or Technical College. You mean to say I start my working life being in debt from Day One? And that it only gets worse, because I’ll have to get a loan to buy a car, a house, get credit cards to extend my spending period, so I can live ahead of myself?

Unfortunately, in this day and age…Yes. Sadly, it has become the “norm” for young people to begin their working life wearing a necklace of debt around their neck.

Have you ever wondered just how we humans got ourselves into this predicament? How do we get out of it? Are we doomed to repeat this vicious cycle, generation after generation? Do we even care? Have we been so brainwashed by our governments and the media to actually believe that it is good for our souls to be indentured slaves to Money all our lives? To spend our lives working, paying bills and then dying?

Is this the True Meaning of Life?

I believe those who are waking up are slowly doing what needs to be done. That is, stepping off the conveyor belt to hell. Or, stepping off that stupid wheel, because we are human beings, not hamsters. And speaking out about this pathetic human condition we are in. There ARE better alternatives. There ARE better ways of Living without the need for Money. Society will have you believe that there is nothing better than this current model we live in.

Well, Society is Wrong. Like most people, Society doesn’t want its position toppled by something better, so it will do its utmost best to tell you that there is nothing better out there, that this is as good as it gets.

Bollocks to that.

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Score One For The Ladies

Watched the eagerly anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the cinema recently. Thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the Kid and I liked it so much we went back for a second viewing last weekend.

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What did I like about the film?

1) the cinematography was astounding. The film was shot on location mainly in the Namibian desert. Never since the original Star Wars trilogy (the ones with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford) have I seen a film where the backdrop is a star in its own right. The most haunting scene for me was the one at night where the war rig passes through a desolate area, deserted but for some dead, twisted trees, crows and strange human figures walking on all fours on stilts. Shot with a blue filter, nonetheless. Very Daliesque indeed.

2) the soundtrack was great and in keeping with the action. I’ve watched films that suffered greatly from having an insipid soundtrack. These days there are plenty of talented composers out there clamouring to score for a blockbuster movie, so it’s nice to see relative newcomer Tom Holkenborg a.k.a Junkie XL being given the Mad Max honour. I especially liked how the action was able to incorporate and utilise to great effect a vehicle full of drum-banging war boys and most spectacularly a scarlet-clad, rictus-faced musician on a double-necked, electric guitar that also doubled as a flame thrower. There’s a fight scene towards the end, where this hapless guitarist becomes a yo-yo, literally.

3) the film showed how women were treated as worse than animals or slaves in Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic world. How they were literally milked like cows. Used as “breeders” to provide healthy children to the brutal warlord Immortan Joe. There is a scene where Immortan Joe runs to the vault where he keeps his favourite beautiful “breeders”, only to find them gone, and messages painted on the walls and floor of the prison reading “We Are Not Things”, “Our Babies Will Not Be Warlords” and “You Do Not Own Us”. Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, a trusted war rig driver tasked to deliver Mothers’ Milk to Gas City down a straight road in the desert, in exchange for gasoline…who decides to help 5 of Immortan Joe’s “breeders” escape. Herself a branded slave taken from her home at a young age, Furiosa takes her war rig off the road and heads east, towards the Green Place, her homeland. Immortan Joe and all his war boys set off in pursuit to bring back the “breeders”.

What ensues is basically a road trip on steroids. Warring factions try to take the war rig for its milk and an extra pod of fuel. Immortan Joe’s war boys all try to stop the war rig and bring back the 5 beautiful damsels hiding within it. Mad Max, played by Tom Hardy, has been living in a cage at Immortan Joe’s Citadel, used as a bloodbag to feed ailing warboys. Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult, is an ambitious war boy dying a slow death due to 2 huge tumours growing out of his neck. When Nux hears that everyone is going after Imperator Furiosa, he decides to join the chase. Only, he needs Mad Max’s blood, so he takes him along on the road. And that is how Mad Max enters the Fury Road story.

I loved how the film showed that you just can’t put a good woman down. I felt it empowered women and cast them as strong, fearless, resilient and resourceful. In times of desperation, all the girls worked together. In one powerful scene, just when Immortan Joe is about to shoot Furiosa in the cab of her war rig, one of his “breeders, the heavily pregnant Splendid Angharad, played magnificently by model-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, swings open the door of the car and stands defiantly in Immortan Joe’s line of fire, thwarting him and daring him to kill her and his impending offspring.

As for Furiosa herself, she’s more than capable of tackling any man that dares threaten her or her precious human cargo. Single-handedly, no less. And I mean that literally, as Furiosa is a one-armed warrior woman. After a few tussles with both Mad Max and Nux, she decides to trust them and uses them to help get them all across the forbidding desert to the Green Place. Which doesn’t exist anymore, much to everyone’s dismay, but that makes for the latter half of the film, the return to Citadel, to take it from Immortan Joe.

On one hand is Immortan Joe’s colony of people with terrible mutations and birth defects, living a violent life where dying in war is the way to enter Valhalla. Immortan Joe controls the Citadel’s water supply, which he turns on when he feels like it. He tells his people not to get addicted to water. And only gives them enough to survive. Milking Mothers are what his human “cows” are called, hooked up to breast pumps just like cows, and their milk stored and used for nourishment or as items for barter and trade.

On the other hand there’s the Vuvalinis’ attempts to preserve and restore Mother Nature’s bounty, in the middle of a desert wasteland. The Vuvalinis are the tribe of warrior women that Furiosa comes from. They and Furiosa reunite in the desert, and the young ladies are warmly welcomed. Later, the Keeper of the Seeds shows one of the “breeders”, The Dag, a large bag containing seeds, and tells her they contain the future, if only there was any good soil to plant them in. The Dag inherits this bag when the Keeper dies, and takes it with her when they return triumphantly to the Citadel. Where there is ample water and hydroponics, and Hope.

Women as Custodians of the Earth, Men as Destroyers.

There was some outcry from some Men’s Activist groups, who called for viewers to boycott the film, calling it a “feminist piece of propaganda masquerading as a guy flick” https://au.movies.yahoo.com/news/a/27915332/men-s-rights-activists-urge-mad-max-fury-road-boycott/. They felt the film was more of a vehicle for Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, rather than Tom Hardy’s Mad Max. Ummm, Duh! The title “Fury Road” should have been a giveaway from the start?

It IS Mad Max’s story. But it is also Furiosa’s story. And for a while, it was Their Story, they made an awesome team. Neither of their stories end, instead they go separate ways: Furiosa, into the Citadel to forge a new future for her people, and Max, into the sunset to feature in the next Mad Max adventure.

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We Are Born, We Live, We Die

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We Are Born
We Live
We Die
Everything in between
Is what matters

So
Make It Count

Everything we do
Affects everything else
Ripples in the water
No pebble on the beach
Stands alone – we are All connected

As a Single being
We are weak
But as a Collective
There is great Power and Strength
In Us

Power to do Good
Power to create Change
Power to Influence and Lead
Power to make this world
The Paradise it should be

We are Born
We Live
We Die
Everything in between
Is what matters

So
Make It Count

AlyZen Moonshadow

Graffiti Art : Baldivis

Baldivis is a newish suburb a few miles down the road from Rockingham, where I live. It started out with some new housing developments, a couple of schools and a small shopping mall hardly worth mentioning. Without a car, the Baldivis mall is terribly inconvenient to get to…there are only 2 buses that go anywhere near it, and 1 of them stops half a mile away.

That was then. This is now. Over the past 2 years, Baldivis’ “Stockland” shopping centre or mall has slowly been expanded and renovated. Just recently it celebrated the grand opening of a new extension. And what an extension it is. It’s gone and quadrupled its size from 7000 square metres to a whopping 29500 square metres.

I happened to visit Stockland Baldivis just last week, as the newest extension was opening to the public. As hubby parked our car outside McDonald’s, I noticed 2 great big walls filled with the most wonderful, vibrant graffiti. So, after having our lunch, and before going into any of Stockland’s shops, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the graffiti.

Here they are. I hope you’ll find them as cheerful and happy as I do.

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This mural is a collaboration between 2 well-known street artists, “Beastman” aka Brad Eastman and Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Click on the hyperlinks to access their respective websites.

I hope no one tries to deface this beautiful mural, or spark off some graffiti artist turf war. I’ve seen similarly wonderful graffiti art in Perth City defaced by lowlife scumbags with no respect or intelligence. Hey, people, it’s Art and it’s meant to be enjoyed by everyone, so please respect it and leave it alone!

Art Around Perth : At the Esplanade Bus Terminal

Just some pretty Art on the walls of Perth’s main Bus Terminal at the Esplanade. I was going to use these for projects, but, being an eclectic magpie and with an attention span just as fleeting as a bird’s, I’m onto other projects now so these have fallen by the wayside.

You’re more than welcome to save them to your own devices and use them however you like – as backgrounds for digital photography art, to print out as postcards, for collage, for art journals, etc.

Have a great day!

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You’ll notice the signature of the artist at the bottom of a few of the photographs. I tried searching for “Leanne” the artist, but was sadly unable to find any mention of her or of the wall art at the bus terminal. If anyone knows who “Leanne” is, do let me know so I can update this post, many thanks in advance! :-)

The Power of Positive Thinking

I always try to stay positive and happy. Eckhart Tolle teaches that there is no past or future, there is only the present. There is only Now. And if we choose to be happy, then we are happy. So, if we choose Happiness Now, and remain rooted in the present, then we shall remain in a state of constant happiness. No “Pursuit of Happiness” required.

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his Four Agreements, teaches that something is a problem only if we allow it to be. And something can only affect us if we take it personally. So, I try not to take things personally. And I try to see opportunities instead of obstacles, solutions instead of problems.

However, it isn’t always easy. There will always be some people who, wrapped up in their own tangled web of worries and concerns, will drag you down to their level and zap the Spirit right out of you. It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting to go through that, I can tell you! These people have a problem for every solution, an obstacle for every opportunity. Their heads are screwed on upside down. And there is no point telling them anything different, because they have already made up their minds that they are right, and you are wrong.

It takes me a full day to recover psychically from these “Attacks of Negativity”. I’m left feeling drained and need a whole day to recharge myself with positive vibes. It’s also hard to Not take things personally, especially when you are being attacked on a personal level. At times like these, being in the Now can be excruciating.

Yesterday was one of those days. So I turned to my old haunt, Google Images, for quotes about Positivity and Happiness, to help me heal.

Here are my favourites:

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Favourite Quotes

Just a collection of my favourite quotes, curated from my Pinterest board, “Inspirational Thoughts”.

imageThis is so true. I never know how a piece of my Art will turn out, until it’s finished. But I know that if I let my self-doubt win, I would never even be able to start that project.

imageActually, my list is very short. I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love, Art, on a daily basis. Everything else is a bonus.

imageIf you don’t take that first step, your Journey will never begin. The first step is always the hardest. What if I fall? Ahhh..but what if I fly?

imageI believe in empowering my fellow women, that is why I always encourage and support them, and never think about bringing them down. Why would I? Women are Awesome!

imageI believe we all owe ourselves the responsibility to stand up for justice and equality. Change must begin from within ourselves first, before it can affect the world outside. More people need to wake up to this realisation.

imageSmall minds want you to be just like them, and to stay with them at their level. They can’t bear to see you succeed or move on upwards, so they will endeavour to bring you down to their level by belittling everything you do. Don’t allow this!

imageEven Sylvia Plath suffered from self-doubt at the best of times. The question “What am I doing, why am I doing it, am I any good at it?” is forever on the minds of great creatives. Forget about what others think, just do it for yourself. If You like it, it’s good enough.

imageThis is so true. But there are also “Commercial” artists whose job is simply to churn out piece after piece of art, a la “Painting By Numbers”, to satisfy consumers. Such as commercial Art by Chinese artists for the home decor market. And then there are also artists who deliberately create controversial or expensive art, just to make a statement. Or artists who hire underlings to mix their paints and fill in prepared templates, in order to mass-produce “Art”. So, caveat emptor!

imageWords to live by. We can change the world, if we ALL pulled together, put our differences and egos aside, and really tried. Let’s do it!

imageI love this – the layered background, the turquoise colour, the sentiment. The world is as wonderful as you allow it to be.

A Morbid Fascination

I remember a trip to Singapore many years back, standing at the Victorian-style bay window glass double frontage of a Doll and Teddy Bear store. I’d gone there to look at the teddy bears, but it was the doll displays in the next window that caught my attention. For some reason, the dolls looked like dead babies, grey and ashen against the delicate pastel lace and frills of their accessories.

For this reason, I’ve never been into dolls, least of all the lifelike ones, or those that can cry and pee. I didn’t mind the Barbie-types, with their impossible proportions. I didn’t mind the GI Joe types for boys. I’m talking about a 40+ year-old woman here, dear readers, not a pre-teen girl.

Recently, though, I’ve discovered that I DO like dolls. Only one particular type of doll, though. And not because they’re beautiful, or cute (they’re both)…but, most bizarrely for myself, because they are plain weird, strange and morbid. Hmmm…maybe a reflection on myself? LOL.

I’m talking about Monster High dolls by Mattel. They appeared on the scene only a few years ago, in 2010, but such is their appeal that they are the Bratz dolls of the Noughties. Bratz are so 20th Century hehehe.

Monster High uses the strapline “Be Yourself. Be Unique. Be a Monster”. The range is inspired by monster and horror movies and popular thriller fiction. Think Frankenstein, the Loch Ness Monster, Dracula, Big Foot, Dia de Los Muertos, Jekyll and Hyde. Think dragons, ghosts, banshees, gargoyles, werewolves, big cats, mummies, gorgons, invisible men. Creatures from popular culture, turned into highly articulated 10-12 inch dolls (1:6 scale).

Monster High (MH) dolls have elfin faces on disproportionately large heads, a very curved spine, short torso and long, long legs. Some sport protruding ears, tails, fangs, fins or scales. They come in a wide range of colours, from normal flesh colours, to blue, green, lilac, grey. They have amazing to-die-for hair, in envious shades, lengths and styles. Their limbs are articulated, at the wrist, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, knees and ankles, allowing them to be extremely poseable. Apart from the clothes they wear (expandable with the purchase of “fashion packs”), each doll comes with its own accessories, which may be a coffin-shaped mobile phone (but of course!), shoes or boots, pet, and any other accessory relevant to the theme or the doll’s character.

The original MH line began with a few main characters but soon expanded to include over 2 dozen, with weird and wonderful names like Frankie Stein, Operetta, Draculaura, Robecca Steam, Ghoulia Yelps, Spectra Vondergeist, Lagoona Blue, Jinafire Long, Skelita Calaveras, Marisol Coxi, Abbey Bominable, Toralei, Catrine deMew, Avea Trotter, Gigi Grant, Rochelle Goyle, Nefera de Nile, Cleo de Nile, Clawdeen Wolf, Howleen Wolf, Twyla, River Styxx, Venus McFlytrap, Casta Fierce etc. With each edition, or “Wave”, Mattel releases new versions of these characters, placing them in locations like Paris (“Scaris”), or Hollywood (“Frights, Camera, Action!”), adding new clothes and accessories, and along the way introducing some new characters and hybrids too. And yes, there are boy Monsters too, known as “Mansters” – Deuce Gorgon, Invisi Billy, Jackson Jekyll, Slo Mo Mortavich, Holt Hyde, Heath Burns, Gil Webber, Clawd Wolf, Porter Geiss, Neightan Rot etc. Headmistress Bloodgood of Monster High is literally headless, as in she’s able to carry her head in her hands, and rides a blue horse called Nightmare.

Add to this already highly successful franchise a range of movies, online videos, Young Adult books, clubs, add-on packs, furniture sets etc and Mattel have a real winner on their hands.

Yes, yours truly knows her Monster High dolls, because she’s been secretly researching their suitability for a future Project. Shhhh!! ;-)

I believe MH dolls should be considered Art Dolls, as they are manufactured to very high standards, and their degree of articulation and poseability, and appeal to all ages, is unsurpassed. All other dolls fall by the wayside when compared to MH. Which is why many artists have taken to customising MH dolls, with startlingly beautiful results.

Here are just several images of my favourite customised MH dolls, curated from Pinterest. You’ll appreciate why I’ve waxed so lyrical about these dolls. They’re amazing! And the artists that created them – WOW! SUCH TALENT! is all I can say.

Enjoy! From this:
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To these:
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Child’s Play

Gather your Ingredients:

1 crazy Gelli Plate addict (moi!)
1 Gelli Plate
3 double-sided children’s texture plates
Your choice of acrylic paint colours (I use them All!)
Some glitter paint (if you have them)
Brayer
8 sheets of A4 art paper (I use 190 gsm, but anything from 120gsm upwards is ok)
Sheets of Deli Paper (or Greaseproof paper for those who can’t get hold of Deli Paper)

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One side of the 3 children’s texture plates I used.
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The reverse side of the same texture plates.

Method:
1. Load up your Gelli Plate with several dots of different coloured acrylic paints at the same time.

2. Use brayer to spread paint over the Gelli Plate. Do this quickly and try not to smear the colours too much, or go over the same areas more than once or twice. Otherwise you will get mud.

3. Use the kiddy texture plates to stamp patterns onto the painted Gelli Plate. Take the painted texture plate and stamp it at random places on some of the A3 sheets of paper.

4. Place a sheet of Deli Paper/Greaseproof Paper over the Gelli Plate to absorb excess paint. Pull a print. Remove and put the printed Deli Paper aside for other projects.

5. Place a sheet of the A3 art paper over the Gelli Plate and pull a print. If there’s any paint still left on the Gelli Plate, pull another print.

6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 above with different colour combinations, until both sides of all 8 A3 sheets are filled. Leave some white spaces, for contrast.

7. Frame your favourite prints. Or, I would tear the A3 sheets into smaller pieces to bind later into my Juicy Journals.

Some of the results:

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And some close-ups:

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You can’t really make it out in the photos, but there is a glittery shimmer to the papers, as I’d mixed some glitter paint into some of the Gelli prints. I love the effect! It’s quite sophisticated, instead of being childish.

Now, go play! :-)