Sunday, November 29, 2009

DIY Sunday - Folk Art Angels

If you're like me, and lurk around Etsy trying to find inspiration, you might have noticed all of the cool holiday goodies folks are making. You might also notice that a lot of it falls under the classification of "folk art."

Folk art, as wikipedia describes it, is art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. All of our Christmas decorations - those would be folk art (nothing like being lumped with the peasants to make one feel awesome). The modern handcraft movement would also be folk art.

So, being folk and being a bit arty, I tried my hand at making some Christmas decorations for my apartment in a folk art style. Here's how I did it:

You'll need:

A shadowbox (I used the "Ribba" from Ikea). You could also use a cardboard box painted black.
Craft paper
Things that cut (scissors, a craft knife)
Things that adhere (a glue gun, tape, glue sticks, photo splits, 3-d tape dots)
Vintagey post cards or clip art
Other baubles, charms, plastic flowers or leaves that you have around

Step 1: Cut a piece of background paper to fit inside your shadowbox.

Step 2: Cut out a head from one of your vintagey postcards or clip art pics. Leave the neck! or you will have a neckless angel, kind of like when a Barbie's head gets ripped off and you try to push it back on, but it no longer has a graceful swan neck, but instead, the neck of a linebacker.

Step 3: Using craft paper, cut your angel some clothes -- just like a paperdoll. Don't worry about getting fancy - this is folk art, so it can be 2-d. If you have some gold paper or some wire, give her a halo.

Step 4: Angels need wings. You can cut wings out of craft paper, or use some feathers, flower petals, leaves, or ribbons -- whatever you want.

Step 5: Adhere. Using your glue and tape, or whatever else, adhere it all together. It's easier if you let pieces hang off the edges, and trim them when you're done adhering.

Step 6: Trap your angel inside your shadow box and hang her on your wall.

I made a triptych of three angels for one wall. Here's one:
For another wall, I used a similar technique to create a stylized creche.

If you go to regular ol' big box stores, many of them sell holiday art for $20-100. You can create your own for a fraction of that price, and create something that's meaninful to you.