So, as mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been involved in an online art retreat the past few weeks sponsored by the Art Is…You folks. Been having so much fun learning and interacting with other participants and taking part in swaps and challenges.  It’s the next best thing to being there – and quite a bit less time-consuming and expensive, too!  🙂

One of my favorite classes so far is by Lesley Venable; she shows how to make this very cool assemblage, called “Captured,” using two cigar boxes and a mint tin.

lesley captured

Isn’t it awesome? I was instantly inspired! My first task was to gather three containers that would nest well together. I started with a nice-sized cigar box from my collection.

ded cigar box

Unfortunately I didn’t have another cigar box small enough to fit inside it. I did have a Maya Road tin filled with chipboard crowns, however!

ded maya tin

And while I did have a mint tin, I didn’t like the way it looked inside the other tin. So instead I grabbed the cover off a little wooden box of alphabet stamps.

ded stamp box

The boxes fit well together. I initially tried it out this way, with the tin horizontal, but eventually decided it looked better placed vertically.

ded nesting boxes

My inspiration was this photograph of a pretty Victorian lady.  I just love the intensity of her gaze; she looks like a no-nonsense type who’s fiercely devoted to a cause. I decided she owned her own business, left to her when her husband died. Against all convention and advice, she was determined to run the business her own way and dedicated to making it work and honoring her late husband’s memory. Thus, I named my piece “Dedication.”

ded pretty gal

My lady has a hard nose for business, so I used reproduction antique ledger paper for the background in the cigar box. But she also has a softer, more feminine side, so I lined the inside of the tin with the top layer of a beautiful floral napkin. Lesley used excelsior to fill her outside box, but since I didn’t have anything similar, I decided to use rows of buttons on each side instead. I layered a variety of small decorative buttons onto large plain wood buttons stained with alcohol ink. I’ve had this particular pretty button for literally years and finally found a use for it!

dead lovely button

After much painting, staining, and gathering of metal enhancements, such as a large crown for the top, two filigree corner pieces and four Tim Holtz box feet, which I highlighted with white paint, my box finally started to come together. I made a stamped banner for the title, added some sanded brads and thought I was done. But then, looking at it later (you must never call a piece done until you’ve gone away for awhile and come back later!), I realized it needed some height on the top. I dug through my “accouterments” drawer and found a plastic drawer pull, one of a set of four I’d found at a thrift store a few years ago. Plastic = tacky, but it had a good shape.

ded ugly drawer pull

A coat of chocolate brown paint, some highlighting with walnut Distress stain, and it was perfect for the top of the assemblage.

dead painted pull

One of the products we retreat attendees received in our “treasure box,” mailed to us ahead of time, is something called Apoxie Clay. This is a wonderful substance that can be used in a myriad of ways. Lesley showed us how to use it to attach certain hard-to-adhere items to her assemblage, and thank goodness I had some! The metal crown I used (found at Michael’s) is curved, and there weren’t many surfaces the tiny edges could grip onto because of the placement. Apoxie Clay was perfect to fill in the curved surface and adhere the crown to the boxes. There’s no way that baby’s coming off!

Anyway, here is “Dedication” in all its glory. It’s fairly different from Lesley’s version, but all the tricks and tips she shared came into play in one way or another.

ded full front

The tin was colored with alcohol inks, as were parts of the crown. Confession: I hadn’t planned to put buttons on the top, but I accidentally spilled some paint next to the drawer pull and made a mess trying to clean it up! So voila, a couple of buttons.

ded full top buttons

Shhh! If anyone asks, I meant to put those there the entire time.

ded full angle

Thank you, Lesley, for an amazing and fun class. I was so inspired, had a great time making this and can’t wait to see where the Reality Retreat takes us next!


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2 Responses to “Dedicated”

  1. Regina Portscheller Says:

    Beautiful piece! I know who your lovely lady is/was – she is one of my favorite muses and I often use photographs of her in my work because she is so photogenic. Her name was Maude Feely and she was a huge star of silent movies. Google her name and you will find more stunning photos of this lovely woman. Also, you can see an example of how I used an image of Maude for “Lady Deco” in my blog entry for 2/27/14.
    Regina Portscheller

  2. Lesley Says:

    It is stunning!!! I am so glad you enjoyed the class!! xoxoxo
    Lesley V.

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