Art Plus Family History

A mosaic of some of my train ticket art

Before the new year, I participated in a couple of online courses about blogging, and one thing that I seemed to take away from both of them was the fact that it’s okay to incorporate lots of things about your life into your blog, and that you don’t have to stick to one topic.  Then today, just as I was feeling guilty about not posting here for a couple of weeks,  I read Abby Glassenberg’s post on her blog entitled ‘How to keep blogging when you don’t really feel like it’.  One of the things she said was

“Or maybe you were only going to blog about polymer clay, but you’re also passionate about science fiction and find yourself wishing you could write about that as well? Just do it.”

Basically she said, go ahead, write about whatever you want to….

You may know that as well as art, I am keen on family history and have a genealogy blog as well as this one.  Recently I’ve been struggling to keep up both of them, so I’ve decided to incorporate the family history into this blog – after all, it’s about my life and background as well as my art.  It’s all story and narrative and I hope you find it interesting.  My aim is to build up a picture of some of my ancestors from what I know about them in the records so I’ll start by reworking some of my earlier genealogy blog posts  so that it makes sense in the context of this blog.

Meanwhile, in art news … I’ve been busy stitching together rows of train tickets and it’s looking pretty good!  We are hanging the exhibition on Wednesday – lots of shinning up ladders and getting tangled up in fishing wire I expect… The exhibition itself starts on 8 April when the Riverfront arts centre is opening after the Easter weekend and we are holding a Meet the Artists event from 2pm to 4pm on the following Saturday 11 April – if you are in the area, you are welcome to come along.  If you leave a comment that you’re hoping to come, I’ll look out for you.

Here are some of the rows of train tickets all stitched together, a sneak preview!
Here are some of the rows of train tickets all stitched together, a sneak preview!

Here is the poster about the exhibition; more information is on the Diverse Manners Facebook page.  Hope to see some of you there!

poster showing Beneath the Surface Exhibition, the Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport starting on 8 April.
Beneath the Surface Exhibition, the Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport starting on 8 April.

Train ticket art – yes, it’s still going!

I’m still creating art out of my box of old train tickets. I got a gelli plate for Christmas (more on that in a subsequent post) so I’ve been using it to create backgrounds on the tickets – the gesso with which I prepared them picks up the acrylic paint really well.

A mosaic of some of my train ticket art
A mosaic of some of my train ticket art

 

Here is a mosaic of some of the tickets – the exhibition at the Riverfront arts centre in Newport is approaching.  The chairman of our group emailed us to ask for images of artwork for the centre to use on their website and I’m thrilled to say that they used one of mine.  It will be on from 8th to 24th April this year. 

I experimented with various ways of joining them together for the exhibit –

  • paperclips (bent the tickets too much)
  • wire (cut into the tickets and very fiddly)
  • stringing fishing wire or cord through (fiddly and didn’t hang very well)
  • split pins through holes – I’ve got some pretty decorative ones (eg with dragonflies on the ends) and this was tempting but the tickets had to be overlapped too much.

In the end I decided to go with good old faithful stitching, just a few stitches at the bottom and top of the tickets did the trick and meant I won’t have to make holes into all the tickets.  A bit like string piecing…

view of tickets attached with stitching
This is now I’m attaching them together but hopefully with a less conspicuous colour thread!

 

detail of stitching on train ticket art
It doesn’t have to be finished off, I want it to come apart pretty quickly at the end…

Here are some more tickets, one or two mostly finished, some with just a background layer so far.  I’ll have to stop creating them soon and stitch them together – I’m giving myself all of March to do that.  I want to try and arrange them in groups of some sort, not just randomly, but time will tell how successful that is.

A recent selection of painted and printed train ticket art.
A recent selection of painted and printed train ticket art.

If you’re in the South Wales area in April, do drop into our exhibition.  I will keep you informed of progress!

Trainticketart Challenge update

Well, I’ve just posted #trainticketart no. 42 on Instagram and still enjoying it!  Here’s a photo of my latest ones:

9 pictures of altered train tickets
From the whimsical to doodles to collage, the last nine days of #trainticketart

It’s good to look at them all together and see some themes emerging.

7 altered train tickets with flower and plant illustrations/sketches
These ones are mostly flower and plant inspired.
9 altered train tickets with doodles, squiggles and other marks
And these are full of doodles, squiggles and random marks

And even better, yesterday I had an email from Daniela, who is studying graphic design at Winchester.  She had been doing some train ticket art as part of her course, using typographic phrases.  This is what she told me about it:

The project started off based on the concept of currency, but as a trade i.e. using objects as currency instead of money. I also looked at the idea of charity and good will, and just getting a smile off of someone being enough of a trade. So focusing on typography, I wanted to add quotes that would make people think or smile. The plan is now to hand them out at the train station/swap them for used blank tickets to allow me to create new ones. On the back of the tickets is an email address, and I am hoping that people will write in with their reactions/comments/thoughts/train stories/photos, and keep passing on the tickets. That’s the ideal plan anyway!

I wanted to use an everyday kind of object and make it special/unusual in a way people won’t expect. I am currently studying for my degree in Graphic Design in Winchester, so this is part of one of the uni projects I have been set.

This ticket project is something I might carry on past my hand-in in the new year, as I’ve got quite into it already!

Here are some of Daniela’s altered train tickets:

More #trainticketart from Daniela using typographic phrases
Aren’t they great?
More train ticket art from Daniela
And some more of Daniela’s #trainticketart

So look out for her if you travel by train!  Thanks, Daniela!

Train ticket art project

train tickets all laid out ready for coating with gesso

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me posting slightly curious photos of what I was doing last week.

A few years ago, I started collecting train tickets rather than throwing them away after journeys, because it occurred to me that they were the perfect size for little pieces of art or personalized labels/tags or business cards.  In the UK they are just a bit smaller than ATCs (Artists’ Trading Cards), and have nicely rounded edges.  Also, whenever you go on one train journey you seem to acquire about 8 of these, particularly as it often works out cheaper to split the journey into two rather than buying one for the whole way (even if you stay on the same train for the whole journey) – daft, I know!

I’ve been randomly experimenting with them over the years, painting over some of them with black or white gesso to cover them, but last week I realised that I have several hundred of them now so decided to do it systematically.  It was also fun to look back over where I had been and recall nice memories of days out.

I laid down some textured wallpaper (which has now been randomly decorated in a pastel coloured rectangular grid!) and here is the first lot of tickets.

This is a mixture of white gesso and opaque white screenprinting ink which was getting a bit thick and needed to be used up.

I painted the first side and left it to dry.  I got bored with white after a while and mixed some Dr PH Martin inks into it to have a bit of variety.

Once dry, I flipped them over and repeated the process.  The whole thing took me most of last week but it was quite a meditative process and now I have a box of ready made artist cards.  Now, the thing is, I’ve been feeling that I need to do a bit of art or sketching every day to keep my arty mojo going …

So…. I’m going to set myself an Art Challenge: to paint or draw on one each day … at least until Christmas.  I’m not going to labour over them or take a great deal of time, just have fun and splash paint or mess around with a pen and a doodle, and I’ll post them on Instagram using the hashtag #trainticketart .  If you would like to join me, I’d love the company!  Let’s see how much #trainticketart we can produce! Just leave a comment here,  post pics on Instagram or Twitter or on your blog and if it takes off I’ll start a shared Pinterest board to pin them all.  Let’s see if we can create a buzz!!

Here are a few examples of the cards I’ve already experimented with:

Hope to see you on the journey!!