Messy May “starting”

Sketchbook cover decorated with collage, paint drips and lace.

Series: Messy May #1

Prompt: 01 STARTING
Host: Caylee Grey @cayleegrey
Guidance: Start. Either by opening your journal to a new page or by binding a journal just for Messy May.

I’d like to say that I was super productive on my blogging break, that I’d spent the time working out what I wanted to make and actually making it. In reality, I spent most of the time trying to find the motivation and enthusiasm for doing anything much. My energy levels haven’t been great and, for the most part, if it didn’t need doing it didn’t get done. So Mother’s Day cards, a couple of Easter cards, and an 18th birthday card got made because they were unavoidable and also I wanted to make them even if I wasn’t terribly inspired.

But I did want to keep doing something. Just around that time I happened to be browsing Instagram and came across the “Messy May” challenge. I’m a bit wary about committing to challenges because I rarely finish them and they tend to be more focused on art journalling rather than art. But there was no harm in signing up to the mailing list and giving it a go. I was also reassured by their statements that “more than zero is enough” and that there is “no such thing as being behind”.

And yes, it is mostly art journalling and no, I haven’t completed the month, but the prompts are all up on the website for the rest of June and there are a couple more I might do before they disappear.

I have, so far, completed seventeen of the prompts and it’s a very mixed bag. There are a few where I really like the results, a few where it was an interesting opportunity to try a technique or product, and there are some that are unredeemable. I will share them all though as I don’t believe in only sharing the stuff that turns out how I wanted.

The first prompt was “starting” and the guidance was to create a sketchbook for the challenge. I’ve made books like the one demonstrated before and, rather than dismantle a pad of paper only to stitch it together again differently, I chose to decorate the cover of a mixed media pad instead.

This is one of the things I like — a grungy colour palette with bright pink to lift it and a lot of texture. I started with a layer of torn bits of book pages over the whole cover, some more colourful collage papers, and a few scraps of lightweight fabric. Then I got the colour out and added some drippy pink, gold and black. For the central element, I trimmed out a piece of lace edging and soaked it in ivory Powertex which would both stiffen it and glue it to the cover. Once that was dry, I used gilding waxes to finish it off with a bit of colour.

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