Around the World: Thailand

Thailand

We’ve arrived at the last stop of our global adventure —Thailand! An exquisite country in southern Asia, Thailand has a rich culture that blends elements of Indian, Chinese, and Cambodian cultures. Today’s artistic tradition is sure to brighten your day and light a smile on your face. 😉 Just look at this picture!

"Yi peng sky lantern festival San Sai Thailand" by Takeaway - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Breathtaking, right? This lantern festival, called Yi Peng, is part of an ancient religious ceremony that pays homage to Buddha. It’s celebrated primarily in the city of Chiang Mai and is part of a larger religious tradition in Thailand called the Festival of Lights. While others release lotus-shaped offerings filled with candles, incense, and flowers onto bodies of water, the people of Chiang Mai instead release thousands of rice paper lanterns into the night sky while making a wish.

The ceremony and the amazing imagery created by thousands of lanterns in the night sky were so inspirational, we just had to ask one of our artists to create artwork inspired by Yi Peng. We think this card perfectly captures the simplistic beauty of this religious practice and art form.

CTMH Thailand card

Though this card takes a minimalistic approach, the gold sequins and purposeful stamping embody the warmth of the message it carries. Just like the people of Chiang Mai release paper lanterns as tokens of dedication and hope, giving a card to someone in need shows your dedication to that relationship—it says, “I really care about you.” Such a gesture can do so much to ignite hope in someone who is downhearted. It can be a light in an otherwise dark sky. That is the brightening influence you can have by sending your well wishes and beauty into the world.

The next time you create a card, think about these lanterns, and remember—you are striving to make the world beautiful, and that cause, in and of itself, is something to celebrate.

Feeling inspired? We know we sure are! Now that you’ve viewed artistic traditions from four countries around the world, we hope you take some time to reflect on all you’ve learned, and then create amazing artwork from your new pool of ideas. We’ve loved being your personal tour guide, and we hope to see you on another trip soon!

P.S. Folks, this is our last “Around the World” blog post! Be sure to leave a comment to enter to win the travel stamp giveaway! We will announce the winners on the blog Thursday, August 27, so be sure to tune in!

 Recipe
 
5 ½” x 4 ¼” Balloon Card
C1570 My Acrylix® Lifting Spirits, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1272 Cranberry Cardstock, 1243 Goldrush Cardstock, 1273 Desert Sand Cardstock, Z2123 Goldrush Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z888 Black StazOn™ Ink Pad, Z2012 Sequins Gold Assortment, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Thread

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Around the World: Australia

The next stop of our global adventure is a country that’s especially close to our hearts. 😉 Welcome to the land down under, mates! We’re in Australia!

Ayers Rock

Just like Ayers Rock, today’s artistic tradition has very ancient origins. For centuries, Australian Aboriginals have painted their faces and bodies to designate social class and order, as well as to participate in religious rituals. As part of certain spiritual ceremonies, they would smooth an area of soil to create a canvas and draw sacred designs or ancestral beings. After the ceremony, they would wash off their body paint and smooth the soil to preserve the secret, sacred nature of these rituals.

In the 1970s and 1980s, some Aboriginals began taking these ancient designs and painting them on canvas, an art form that came to be know as Aboriginal dot painting—and the inspiration for today’s artwork! Aboriginal dot paintings still contain sacred meanings and designs, but the layering of dots and patterns conceal these sacred designs from untrained eyes. Such layering also causes very cool optical effects where shapes and images seem to move forward and backward on the canvas, creating unique, striking artwork.

Aboriginal dot painting dreamstime

These dot paintings became a way for Aboriginals to preserve their culture and perpetuate traditions while creating beautiful artwork for the modern world to see. It essentially became their own unique form of decorative memory keeping as they would preserve important stories and legends for future generations. How could we resist using this artistic tradition as inspiration for today’s artwork?

Australia

We are entranced by the intricate details of this page! Our artist expertly mirrored the layered effect of dot painting to create this mesmerizing feast for the eyes. In the background, she created shiny, black dots by stippling Liquid Glass on the black cardstock. On top of those dots she placed circles of colored cardstock. She then accented those dots with Flamingo Dots and Aqua Dots. What an amazing technique!

As you go about your crafting, remember that grandiose things, like this scrapbook page and Aboriginal dot paintings, are accomplished one dot at a time. Keep this in mind when you feel overwhelmed with your layouts or with preserving all your memories. Just take life one dot at a time! You may not feel up to the task of creating a masterpiece today, but you don’t have to! Today, just focus on adding one more dot to the mix.

P.S. Be sure to leave a comment to enter to win the travel stamp giveaway!

Recipe

12″ x 12″ Face Painting Fun Page
Make It from Your Heart™ Vol. 1: Pattern 5 (with alterations)
A1159 My Acrylix® LOL, X5760 Cotton Candy Cardstock, X5758 Sunset Cardstock, X5668 Honey Cardstock, X5764 Pear Cardstock, X5762 Lagoon Cardstock, X5759 Pacifica Cardstock, X5769 Thistle Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, Z1829 Black & Grey Glitter Paper, Z2153 Sweet Leaf Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2641 Glacier Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2192 Pacifica Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2643 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2191 Sunset Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2195 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z1853 Aqua Dots, Z1934 Flamingo Dots, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z679 Liquid Glass, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3171 Cricut® Art Philosophy Collection, Z3170 Cricut® Artiste Collection, Thread

Cricut® Shapes:
Art Philosophy
1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″ <Circle1> (cut several, p. 21)

Artiste
½” Shift <Font> “FACE PAINTING FUN”

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Around the World: France

Grab your favorite beret and silk scarf because we’re traveling to the city of love—Paris, France! Today’s artwork is so enchanting that it will have you dancing though the Parisian streets like Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.

Though today’s artistic tradition did not necessarily originate in France, one of the most iconic pieces of this tradition can be seen in a very famous Parisian cathedral—let’s take a stroll past the Notre Dame de Paris, shall we?

Notre Dame

In addition to its stunning architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral is famous for its ornate stained glass, which is where we drew our inspiration. Though the Notre Dame was constructed roughly between the 12th and 13th centuries, the practice of creating stained glass began popping up across Europe as early as the 7th century and as far away as the Middle East.

Notre Dame North Rose

In light of this ancient art form, we asked one of our artists to create something inspired by stained glass. With the help of our Cricut® Artbooking Collection, she created this page:

Stained Glass page

We simply adore this modern spin on traditional Gothic stained glass! The pattern creates a captivating backdrop for the photograph and conveys the sacredness the artist feels toward nature and her family relationships. But our artist didn’t stop with just a page! She also created this beautiful stained glass card:

Stained Glass card

She used watercolor pencils to create the ombré coloring that is reminiscent of stained glass art, and then topped that with clear embossing to give the artwork a glasslike luster. What a beautiful way to share your deepest sympathies with someone you love!

As psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said, “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

This card would certainly be a beautiful light to someone experiencing heartache or hardships, as it would inspire them to keep shining through life’s darkest moments.

Notre Dame Stained Glass

As you travel through life’s journey, always remember that you have your own individual light within you. Just like a beautiful stained glass window, you will find that some of your most beautiful colors shine through when you rely on your inner light in life’s dark moments. It is this same inner light that will imbue your artwork with your own special touch, spark a light in others, and bring them through the darkness.

So, let yourself shine! Somebody out there needs your light.

P.S. Remember to leave a comment on this post to enter the travel stamp giveaway!

Recipes:

12″ x 12″ Great Adventure Page
C1611 My Acrylix® Campfire Lifestyle, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5930 Slate Cardstock, X5929 Whisper Cardstock, X5762 Lagoon Cardstock, X5764 Pear Cardstock, X5763 Smoothie Cardstock, X5772 Canary Cardstock, Z2173 Slate Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2195 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2197 Pear Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2135 New England Ivy Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2013 Sequins Silver Assortment, Z1979 Marvy® Unchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3171 Cricut® Art Philosophy Collection, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Art Philosophy
1 ¼” <Circle1> (p. 21)

Artbooking
10 ½” Overlay <HeloWrld>(p. 84)

5 ½” x 4 ¼” Thinking of You Card
D1651 My Acrylix® Wavy Blooms, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, 1388 Colonial White Cardstock, Z2503 Basics Exclusive Inks™ Mini Pigment Pads Set, Z891 Versamark™ Ink Pad, 3505 Watercolor Pencils, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z1754 Sparkles Black & Grey Assortment, Z2088 Ranger™ Clear Super Fine Embossing Powder, Brush
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Around the World: Japan

Konnichiwa! We’re glad to see that you’ve arrived safely at our first travel destination—Japan! The reason we’ve traveled across land and sea to this beautiful archipelago is to study the ancient art of kintsukuroi.

What on earth is kintsukuroi, you ask? As your trusty tour guide, we’d be more than happy to fill you in. Kintsukuroi is the Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery with gold, silver, or platinum and doing so with the belief that the pottery is more beautiful for having been broken.

Isn’t that a lovely idea? The final results are equally as lovely.

Kintsukuroi

The philosophy behind kintsukuroi is that objects are not rendered useless when they crack or begin to fall apart. In fact, these “flaws” aren’t really flaws at all! They merely signify the passing of time and contribute to the object’s history. They are not something to conceal or be ashamed of because they remind us what it means to be human.

We asked one of our artists to create a layout about what kintsukuroi means to her. Here’s the moving page she created:

Beautiful Imperfect Me

It’s hard to decide what we love most: the raw emotion of the page or the artistic details that express that emotion so perfectly—the ripped Zoe paper, the silver embossing that mirrors kintsukuroi, the heartfelt journaling. Together the emotion and details create something that resonates with each one of us.

Silver Crack

It’s sometimes hard to forgive ourselves for not being what we wish we could be, and as crafters it’s sometimes hard not to focus on our inabilities or the flaws in our artwork. Essentially, it’s hard to look beyond the cracks and simply appreciate the wonder of the whole. But it’s important that we try because there is great power in acceptance.

Kinsukuroi

Just as the gold and silver seams between the broken shards of pottery create a more unique and beautiful piece of art, embracing our imperfections helps us heal and embrace our own unique beauty. And that’s the kind of beauty that truly deserves to be illuminated.

Now go out into the world and feel empowered! And always remember you’re beautiful, cracks and all. 🙂

P.S. Be sure to leave a comment on this post to enter the travel stamp giveaway!

Recipe

12″ x 12″ Me Page
D1544 My Acrylix® Distress Backgrounds Flair, D1550 My Acrylix® Happy Autumn, X7197B Zoe Paper Packet, X7188B Snowhaven Paper Packet, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z1939 Paper Fundamentals Basic Assortment, Z2196 Smoothie Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2644 Pixie Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2118 Desert Sand Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z3042 Coral Reef Sequins, Z1799 Silver Shimmer Trim, Z2067 Ranger™ Silver Super Fine Embossing Powder, Z3170 Cricut® Artiste Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
1 ½” Shift <Font> “E”
2″ Shift <Font> “M”

 

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Around the World with Close To My Heart

Around the World

Have you always longed to be a world traveler? Do you find international architecture, culture, clothing, and history fascinating?

Well, today is your lucky day because adventure is knocking! Close To My Heart is about to bring a bit of the world to you—right in your own home! Throughout the month of August, we’ll be sharing amazing artwork inspired by artistic traditions from four different countries across the world.

In each post we’ll give you some cultural background about the art form, and then we’ll go sightseeing to marvel at some truly exceptional papercrafting artwork. Each of these posts will be distinguished with the title “Around the World” followed by the name of the country the artistic tradition comes from.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there. With each “Around the World” post, we’re going to give away four travel-themed My Acrylix® stamp sets for a total of 16 stamp sets in one month! These blog posts will not only be your passport to the world, but also your passport to win some pretty awesome stamps. 🙂

How do you enter to win one of these stamp sets? Simply comment on an “Around the World” blog post. The more comments you make, the more you will increase your odds of winning! At the end of the month, we’ll randomly select 16 winners and announce them on the blog.

What do you say? Are you ready to soak in artistic inspiration from all around the world and win a stamp set while you’re at it? If the answer is yes, then be sure to check in frequently and prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime! It’s time to get inspired.

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