Blog: Creative Squad

Design Team Talk – SYH Webinar Tomorrow Aug 27th!

Get ready for my Creative Squad on tomorrow’s Spill your heART!!!

I’ve got 4 of my Creative Squad members – past and present – ready to talk about Design Teams! Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on a Design Team? We’ll hear from 4 veterans on what it takes to join one, how to flourish, what it’s like to create “on assignment”, and what they’ve taken from the experience.

Register to Attend the LIVE Webinar on Friday, Aug 27th at 12noon ET (NYC time).

My panelists will be Robin Seiz, Riikka Kovasin, Nicole Watson, and Emilie Murphy, sharing their Design Team experiences. Also our audience will have a chance to participate in the discussion in the live chat and may ask the panelists questions live in the Q&A.

Join us! Register HERE.

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Creative Squad: Good Morning Good Evening – Judi Kauffman

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Judi Kauffman that made me smile and chuckle using my Lady Liberty and Hydrant foam stamps and our theme: Good Morning Good Evening – Are you a Morning Person or a Night Owl? Or maybe neither? Create a project inspired by your preferred time of day – when you are in good spirits, doing what you love, and enjoying life.


Stamping, Day & Night! 

Imagine my delight when Nathalie’s ArtFoamies arrived for this month’s project – Lady Liberty and Hydrant! Both spoke to this city girl’s heart. The theme fit both stamps very well, I thought. And they’re big enough to fill a card front with little else.

Day person, night person? I am a bit of both. My best energy is in the morning but sometimes my best ideas take shape at night How about you?

Project 1 – Statue of Liberty cards: 

Our godson and his family live in an apartment in Brooklyn that looks out at Lady Liberty so I get to say good morning and good night to her when I visit. Each time I see the statue I thank this country for welcoming my grandparents to this country of immigrants. 

I made a pair of very simple cards that allow the beautiful image to take a starring role. Tiny glitter dot stickers create the stars in a night sky and the rays of a noonday sun.

Project 2 – The Hydrant:

Every day and each night (and many times in between…) dogs out on walks with their owners get to check their email by sniffing the fire hydrant across the street from my house. I hand-cut a wagging tail for each card. The tail becomes shorthand for a dog, just enough to create the scene! The night version of the card has a fussy-cut hydrant, offset on foam squares so the one stamped on the background stays visible and becomes a shadow. 

Bonus – Other takes on a fire hydrant:

While I was at it, I stamped extra fire hydrants to fussy-cut for more cards. Some of the extras were quite pale because I was using up paint before cleaning the stamp to put away. One thing led to another and some of those extras got turned into a bird, a vase filled with flowers, and a strange big-eyed creature wearing a knit hat. 

Have fun turning fire hydrants into something else! And be sure to share what you come up with…


Thank you Judi for this creative group of projects and unique ways to look at the stamps!

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Judi used:

Like what you see? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram for weekly posts, artwork, and inspiration.

Comments (3)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Oh my…the tail to the hydrant! Funny story about our dog park. We don’t have hydrants in my area (we have many small ponds to draw water from via our fire trucks), and someone made some “fake” fire hydrants for the dog park and painted them red. The dogs from my area didn’t know what to do with them. The dogs who come up from MA “showed” the NH dogs how to pee on the hydrant. I’m not sure if that comes across as funny, but it made me laugh and your hydrants made me think of it!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- that is funny ! Don’t judge a dog by the fire hydrant LOL

      Reply

  • jean marmo

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    Such wonderful cards. Love the simplicity of Lady Liberty. So clever to add the tail to the hydrant. I love how you turned them into other things!

    Reply

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Creative Squad: Good Morning Good Evening – Jordan Hill

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a journal spread from Jordan Hill who creates a moody night scene using my Powerhouse and Row Houses foam stamps and our theme: Good Morning Good Evening – Are you a Morning Person or a Night Owl? Or maybe neither? Create a project inspired by your preferred time of day – when you are in good spirits, doing what you love, and enjoying life.


Hello, everyone! I’m very excited to be back with a new project! When I first started to consider August’s theme of ‘Good Morning Good Evening’, I’ll admit I was a little stumped. I do not consider myself either a morning person or a night person; I’m more of a middle of the day kind of person. With that being said, I ended up creating my project based on the idea of night; I quite like the nighttime aesthetics, and I’ve been known to incorporate a good night skyline into my artwork. With all that being said, let’s get into it!

The first thing I did was select a spread in my journal to work on. As soon as I decided to work with the idea of night, I knew these were the pages I wanted to use. Months ago I glued this moon collage piece onto a magazine background, and it’s been sitting around waiting for me to create something with it ever since! You can also see that the left hand page already has the beginnings of a face ready for me to draw on top of!

Next, I cut out a piece of paper approximately the size of the moon to use as a mask. I placed this circle on top of the moon collage piece. Then, using a combination of Nathalie’s Powerhouse Foam Stamp and Row Houses Foam Stamp, along with some white acrylic paint, I started to layer up some buildings to create a skyline! I mainly used the Powerhouse Foam Stamp near the bottom of my page, while the Row Houses Foam Stamp helped to create some of the buildings up the sides! The stamps made creating a skyline very easy, where it would usually take a while to draw something like this!

After the paint had dried, I wanted to add a little more definition to the buildings, so I used a yellow Posca Pen to color in some of the windows! This was an extremely relaxing process; I simply followed some of the lines in the stamped images to emphasize them.

The next step was to add the figure. In order to do this, I simply started sketching over top of the pre-existing shape of a face with my trusty Indigo Prismacolor Premier colored pencil. I also added some long flowing hair. When I was drawing the hair, I purposefully made sure that it continued onto the right side in order to tie these two pages together a bit more.

Now we’re getting into the finishing touches of the spread! I finished up my figure by giving them a shirt made out of a piece of collage paper, adding some shading to the face, and outlining the entire thing with white pen. I then added a handful of silver star stickers across both pages, and repeated the same process of stamping with Nathalie’s Row Houses Foam Stamp and adding yellow Posca pen along the bottom of the right hand side of the spread. 

As a last detail, I added a quote along the edge of the figure’s hair that I felt was fitting. I decided not to outline the entire quote in white, but instead left that for the parts of the quote that were over darker parts of the page, where it was harder to read what was written.

And with that, we have my finished project for August! I’m quite happy with the way this month’s spread turned out and I definitely think I will be using these stamps again in the future to create skylines in my journals! I can already imagine it in neon! I hope you enjoyed following the process of this journal spread and that you are inspired to try something similar in your own journals!


Thank you Jordan – love how the skyline glows with those yellow details!

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to some collage elements, here are some of the supplies Jordan used:

Like what you see? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram for weekly posts, artwork, and inspiration.


Did you miss yesterday’s Pattern Monday video in the email? Let’s try it again, here is yesterday’s video:

Comments (1)

  • Michelle Jones

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    Love love love this journal spread by Jordan Hill! This spread is A wonderful collaboration of ideas and creativity. Your blog brings a smile and a break form this busy crazy planet. Peace to you.

    Reply

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Background Music Art Journal – Creative Squad

Riikka Kovasin from my Creative Squad shared this beautiful and bright art journal page last week and we are in love with the colors and composition. She used my new Row Houses and Brownstone foam stamps front and center.

Here is what Riikka had to say:

“The pink is Brownstone and brick red Row Houses. The background has Church and Powerhouse in there.

As Distress Ink is activated with water, I first cut the try out sheet into smaller piece, fitting inside my journal. I then used a wet brush to color the whole cardstock using the stamped images. On top I then layered some Izink ICE and then some acrylic paint covering parts of the buildings in the background. I cut the two buildings loose and added them to the page. There’s also some white scribbles, splashes and a sun/moon done using another try-out – a piece of synthetic paper with alcohol inks. “

Thank you Riikka for sharing this page!

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Riikka, I so love these colors and the page and the moon!!

    Reply

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Print Collaboration from my Creative Squad

I’m sharing a nice collaboration that Judi Kauffman from my Creative Squad did with another artist.

Judi turned her friend Nancy McNiff’s cast-off gel prints done with Nathalie’s Batik Pattern 1, Pattern 2, and Pattern 3 foam stamps into some very striking cards. When the two friends have gel printing days Judi always rescues prints that Nancy would otherwise leave in the trash. Nancy’s much more ruthless, while Judi sees beauty in what Nancy thinks of as duds! Judi added her own touches with black, white and hot pink colored pencils and Tim Holtz’s stickers. 

What a great idea to do some printmaking and card making with another friend. Besides it being a fun activity, you never know what will come from it – collage material, print exchanges, and even a chance to allow ideas to flow back and forth. I just love how this session created some beautiful “trash to treasure” cards!

***A fun surprise: The rectangles on the two larger cards are removable ATCs, signed on the back and held in place with easily removable low-tack tape!***

Here are some of the supplies they used:

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Spill your heART – Episode 6 and Upcoming

If you didn’t catch our Spill your heART Episode 6, you can watch a recording below. I was joined by Birgit Koopsen, Amanda Trought, and DeeDee Catron to discuss Artistic Inspiration – Finding the Magic.

Here is an overview of the webinar:

In Episode 6 I discuss Artistic Inspiration with my panelists Birgit Koopsen, Amanda Trought, and DeeDee Catron. Inspiration is the magic behind creativity but it is not always readily available and in the opposite extreme it can be overwhelming. We began our discussion with a simple question: How do you find it and then what do you do with it?

My panelists shared their tips for finding inspiration including creative play, gardening, neighborhood walks, travel, art journaling, collaborations, assignments/deadlines, and the people in our lives. While primarily we draw from visual sources, we also discussed how music, food, and even smells could spark an idea. Sometimes we have too many ideas and lean on lists and schedules to stay focused and productive.

It’s ok to take a break from creating and we talked about avoiding the pressure to make every day. With that in mind, extended breaks can make it hard to get the magic flowing again and we shared some of the creative activities that we do that are not about making art but are never-the-less creative like dance, cooking, and reading that also help us get back.

Join us for the next one on August 27th:

Spill your heART Episode 7: Nat’s Creative Squad – Design Team Talk

Join our design team discussion with Nat’s Creative Squad members Robin Seiz, Riikka Kovasin, Nicole Watson, and Emilie Murphy. Our panel will talk about what it takes to join and flourish on a design team, how they approach assignments, the fun and challenge of participating, and what they take away from the experience. Nat’s Creative Squad has been around since 2016 and has been host to a variety of members with a broad range of styles and backgrounds. Get to know some of them a bit better and bring your questions about design teams, mixed media art making, and the idea of creativity on assignment.

Friday, August 27th at 12noon EDT (NYC time) – Register HERE to attend.

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Creative Squad: Good Morning Good Evening – Robin Seiz

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have some funky wrapping paper from Robin Seiz that is a work of art in and of itself using my Brownstone and Powerhouse foam stamps and Manhattan stencil. Our theme is: Good Morning Good Evening – Are you a Morning Person or a Night Owl? Or maybe neither? Create a project inspired by your preferred time of day – when you are in good spirits, doing what you love, and enjoying life.


Hello. This month’s theme, Good Morning, Good Evening, made me ponder the question, “Am I a morning or an evening person?” The answer is, BOTH. For me, it truly depends on the time of year. I am a gardener, so in the summer I love the morning. There is nothing more peaceful than going out to the garden early in the morning when the sun has just come up, and the birds are singing, and the dew is still on the leaves. When it’s hot, I move inside to the studio. In the winter, I tend to rise later and go to bed later. No matter what time of year, I love the glow of the sky when the sun rises and sets.

I used that glow as the inspiration for this project. I have quite a few special celebrations in August, and therefore, presents to wrap. I thought these new artfoamie stamps that Nathalie created would be perfect for making printed wrapping paper.

I dug out my 16 x 20 gelli plate, which I don’t use that often, but it’s a perfect size for larger printing projects like this. If you don’t have this size gelli plate, you can use whatever size plate you have and simply stamp it on your paper.

I cut 2 large pieces of white butcher paper (17” x 21”) or thereabouts, (I’m not much of a measurer) Next I generously applied Liquitex Unbleached Titanium, (which is a very opaque color) to the gelli plate. I used the brayer to spread it evenly, and pulled the first print and then a second print (also known as the ghost print).

I wanted a fun background for this paper and Nathalie’s Manhattan stencil was  perfect. I was looking for something with a great pattern and some open space because I wanted the background colors to show through the open spaces in the stamps. I chose Golden Naphthol Red Light, Yellow Ochre, and Pyrrole Red Light, which when combined, remind me of both sunrise and sunset. I put the stencil down and applied the paint randomly to the plate and used my brayer to completely cover the plate and the stencil. I lifted the stencil and repeated this process 4 times until the plate was completely covered. I did have to work relatively fast so the paint wouldn’t dry too fast. In retrospect, I could have used some Liquitex Slow-dri Blending Medium to help keep the paint open longer. (but I didn’t think of that in the moment) :o) I pulled the first print on the butcher paper. 

There was quite a bit of paint still left on the plate, but by now, it was dry. I spread a very thin coat of Liquitex Titanium White to the entire plate and pulled the ghost print.

I really liked the detail on the first print, but I felt the ghost print needed more color. I applied some Daniel Smith Gold Gesso with an old room key card. A little gold always adds a lot to any project! 

I always go to my color wheel to plan the colors for my projects. I decided on Versa Fine Clair Blue Belle for the ArtFoamies stamp color. Again, I don’t often measure things; I typically just “eyeball” it. I stamped the Brownstone on first print. I was happy with the way the colors came through the spaces in the stamp as I had planned. 

I wanted to use a different ArtFoamies stamp for the ghost print. I used Nathalie’s Powerhouse stamp. This ghost print came out with a grungy feel to it. I really love this distressed effect. 

Home made wrapping paper can be whatever you want it to be; it doesn’t have to be occasion specific. My experience is that the receiver often loves the paper so much they want to keep it. I hope you try this project and that you enjoy it! 


This is awesome wrapping paper Robin! Thanks for sharing and giving us some inspo for the upcoming holiday season too!

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps and Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Robin used:

Like what you see? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram for weekly posts, artwork, and inspiration.

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Creative Squad: Good Morning Good Evening – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a super thoughtful art journal spread from Maura Hibbitts using my new Brownstone foam stamp and my Santiago and her thoughts on our latest theme: Good Morning Good Evening – Are you a Morning Person or a Night Owl? Or maybe neither? Create a project inspired by your preferred time of day – when you are in good spirits, doing what you love, and enjoying life.


Good morning, good evening! Do you ever think about what your favorite time of the day is? Well, I still have to think about it and I realized I don’t really have a favorite time. I like to do certain things in the morning and other things in the evening. This got me to thinking about Yin and Yang and how there’s a duality in the world between light and dark, night and day. When you stop to think about it, there’s no day without night, and there’s no night without day. When it’s daytime on one side of the world, it’s nighttime on the opposite side of the world, so somewhere it’s always day and night. So rather than choosing morning or evening, I decided to work in my art journal to show the idea of the duality of day and night.

First step to create the page is to draw a large circle on a sheet of watercolor paper, and two smaller circles within it. Then draw a line that comes down in between the two, to create the shape of Yin and Yang. Cut these out.

Next step is to add some color to the shapes using inks. Swipe the inks onto a craft sheet, and mist them with a little bit of water.  Press the paper into the ink and repeat as necessary. Let dry completely. Repeat the same process on a piece of scrap paper.

Using the ArtFoamies Brownstone stamp and several paints, stamp the image of the brownstone onto each of the shapes. I like to use a gel plate and a brayer to spread the paint out on and then stamp on this to pick up the paint. I used red and copper for the daytime brownstone, and a couple of greys for the nighttime brownstone.

Using the scrap paper that you made, along with the Santiago stencil, stencil in a bit of color with a contrasting ink.

In the black art journal, use a compass and draw a large circle that the Yin Yang symbols will fit within. Around the edges of this add your journaling with a white pen. Cut out small circles from your stenciled pieces, and add those above and below the brownstones. Fit the pieces together and adhere to the journal.

Yin and Yang symbols are used in many dualities, from male to female, and bright to dark. Just think about mythology and the Sun god and Moon goddess and these ideas begin to merge. I also use it to symbolize that I need both morning and evening in my day.  For example, I enjoy meditating in the morning, doing a little reading, enjoying a cup of coffee, and then I get to my creative work. In the evenings, I love to watch the sunset and maybe take some photos of it, do some reading or perhaps watch a show, and wind down with some music.  Since I enjoy both these times of the day, I could not decide on just a morning or evening as my favorite.

Have you thought about a favorite time of the day, or are you like me and you enjoy both the morning in the evening? Whatever time of day you love, enjoy the remaining mornings and evenings of summer and take care!

– Maura


Thank you Maura! I always love to learn more about our artists as they share their thoughts with these posts and the resulting art journal page here is simply lovely.

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps and Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Maura used:

Looking for more inspiration from the Creative Squad? Follow them on Instagram here.

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Creative Squad: Dear Mother Earth – Jordan Hill

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a journal spread from Jordan Hill working in a junk journal and using my Mini Santa Fe Foam Stamp and our theme: Dear Mother Earth – Our planet Earth is an amazing and beautiful gift to all of us. Let’s write her a letter, telling her just how we feel. This could be an actual letter/mail art, an art journal page, or some other mixed media project.


Hello, everyone! I’m very excited to be back with my project for July! This month’s theme of “Dear Mother Earth” resonated with me quite strongly, since I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from nature for my artwork. I hope you enjoy following the process!

For this month’s project, I decided to work in a new little journal I made semi-recently; this is actually the first official finished spread.

I started things off by prepping my background. I selected a photograph from an old book, consisting of some beautiful pink flowers, which reminded me of this month’s theme of “Dear Mother Earth”. After tearing that photograph to size and gluing it down, I added some CraftSmart acrylic paint in Coral Pink and White (to create a color reminiscent of the flowers) and a printed image of a postage stamp that also featured pink flowers.

Next, I reached for Nathalie’s Mini Santa Fe Foam Stamp and some black ink, adding it over most of my spread. I’ve tried several different methods of applying ink and paint to these foam stamps in the past, but for this project I wanted to experiment with a stamp pad re-inker. I wasn’t sure if this would work or not, but the roll-on nature of the re-inker actually made it quite simple to cover most of the stamp and get a good, solid impression. I also found that the effect of using this type of ink was different than if I had simply used an ink pad.

Usually, words are the last thing that I add to my art journal spreads, but for this month’s project, I got the urge to add them in earlier. I wanted to incorporate this quote (which again, reminded me of this month’s theme) in white gel pen over the photograph. However, because of the glossy finish of the photograph, the pen didn’t really want to adhere. In order to mend this issue, I used some clear gesso to paint over the photograph. The pen was a lot more willing to cooperate with me after that.

In addition to the white gel pen, I also outlined the words with some black ink to help it stand out that extra little bit.

At this point, I was ready to add my focal point. I started out drawing a face, but I found myself wanting to spice up the clothing a bit. Instead of the tank top style shirts I typically dress my figures in, I used a turtleneck style for this character. After painting the top pink, I then added some little patches of white, which I later drew petals on top of, in order to give the shirt a pattern!

I also used a small piece of a paper napkin and some Mod Podge to collage another little interesting element into the background.

In order to finish off this spread, I gave the character some hair (which I’m actually quite fond of, and would love to have myself) using Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic in Prussian Blue Hue mixed with white, and added a small little collage cluster in the lower right hand corner of the page. When creating this collage cluster, I took care to choose colors and imagery that I felt fit with the left hand page, in order to tie the two together.

Overall, I’m very happy with the way this spread turned out, and I definitely think I’m going to be reaching for my stamp pad re-inker for use with my foam stamps again in the future!


Thank you Jordan – love that you worked in a junk journal for this one – great way to repurpose scrap papers!!!

Give it a try: you can find all my Foam Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to some collage elements, here are some of the supplies Jordan used:

For more from the Creative Squad check out Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram too: Each week we post projects, ideas, and inspiration for mixed media art.

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