Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ledge Village Expands • Moves

I started my Ledge Village buildings last year for the little ledge in my laundry room. The concept has taken on a life of its own. I continue to design new buildings and add to the village. The laundry room is small and has no room for more buildings. Yesterday, I collected all the various buildings and created a new Ledge Village on the top window ledge up high in the sunroom.

It is a perfect ledge for an expanding village. I started in one corner with the barn and worked my way across town to the town center.

The new addition this past week was the outhouse and swinging tree - backyard necessities.

Here are a few details from along the street.

It is a subtle yet captivating piece of decor. Because I have kept it all white and my walls are Benjamin Moore Navajo white (which is really a warm cream color), the village doesn't jump out at you. As folks sit and visit, they begin to notice the various crafts around the room. And then they realizes there is an entire town watching over you.

I have made the cutting files for all of these houses available through the Silhouette online store here.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brilliant Red Poppies • Silhouette Tutorial

A reader asked if I could try to make a shadow box incorporating poppies. Poppies are such dramatic flowers that I knew they would be an excellent subject. I spent some time looking at photos of poppies on Google images and then created this double shadow box design using card stock on my Silhouette cutting machine.

Black and red always make a strong visual statement!

The tutorial for assembling this shadow box is located here on my Silhouette tutorial site.
The cutting file is available here at the Silhouette online store.

I am getting quite a collection of shadow box designs now. Wonder what will catch my fancy next!

© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


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Monday, July 22, 2013

Wooden Bike Chain- Almost 40 years later!

I went to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and while there I majored in sculpture. Wood was my material of choice. (I still love it. Just check out my Pinterest Board on Wood!) I spent long hours in the furniture woodworking lab making anything but furniture. Not totally true, I did do some furniture design. But mostly I was enthralled with wooden machines.  I designed and built a number of them and my most successful was a large wooden, operational bicycle chain.

I had meticulously handcrafted and assembled about 10 feet of wooden chain links and two gears.

The entire apparatus got mounted on a wall and it was fun, participatory art.  Here I am 39 years ago demonstrating the finished sculpture.

The story continues. My wooden machines inspired my husband David to explore the concept further. He suggested I make them move on their own. I bounced the idea back to him and encouraged him to explore the concept and a couple of years later, Wood That Works (and my husband's career) was launched. He has combined his mechanical knowledge with woodworking and taken the idea to levels far beyond. (Link to complete history here.) 

Meanwhile the chain fell into disrepair and was reduced to hundreds of pieces in a brown paper bag hidden in the storage room. Recently, David requested that I refurbish it so it could be mounted in the entry area of the gallery space in his studio. This weekend, I approached the task, disassembling the entire thing, re-sanding and gluing it all back together.

We mounted it in the stairwell entry and now, when people ask how he got started in his unusual career, he can point directly to the early inspiration!

Bicycle Chain by Marji Roy • 1973-74

Life continues to be a fun, unusual, collaborative and creative journey! Truly unique and very special.

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© 2013 Marji Roy, Ashbee Design

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Birch Bark Houses • DIY

Earlier this year I made my husband, David a new desk for his studio space from a massive live-edge slab of birch. When we first purchased the slab it still had some impressive chucks of thick bark on its edges and I saved those knowing I would find a use. Today I did. I crafted minimalist tiny houses out of the bark to be displayed above the desk from which they originally came.

My goal with this area of David's studio is a contemporary, clean feel in mostly black and white warmed up with touches of wood tones.  The thick birch bark with it's recognizable outer black and white layer is a perfect texture to add to this space.

The warmth of the grain beneath the bark and left exposed in this application emphasizes the wood desk already in place.

This simple craft started as the sides of an impressive birch plank. Before I handcrafted the desk. I carefully pried these from the plank edges and saved them.

Using a band saw I cut them into simple house forms. The cuts are easy and could have been completed with a hand saw as well.

I made a collection of different shapes and sizes.

I had previously purchased a small, black floating shelf at Target. It was for this location and my original plan was to put the black bottles with wood veneer that I made a couple of weeks ago here.  But after installing the shelf I really likes a combination of the birch bark houses and the stark white winter photograph above.

Combine that with the birch desk and a small rock vase of black and white feathers and David's desk space is starting to look down right artsy!

The photograph is the one we purchased at the Paradise City Arts Festival over Memorial Day weekend. It is by Jon Olsen and we had a hard time selecting just one photograph to purchase.

Quick, easy and elegant! My kind of craft.

Not a bad place to work!

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©2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Butterfly Shadow Box

I continue to explore the possibilities with shadow box design. Last week I created this multi-leveled piece which incorporates full color for the first time. So far my shadow boxes have stayed with subtle colors but when one explores butterflies you need to also explore color.

I am continuing to explore the Silhouette and I love that I can create my own designs with its software. I work first in iDraw because it has layers and then transfer into the Silhouette software to create cutting files. Having a drawing program with layers is very helpful when designing a shadow box because it is created in layers.

I put it together with my up cycled bottles from last week for this arrangement. 

But of coarse, I also used the same files and created it in white.

I created the details of the Monarch by using layers of paper.

The cutting files for this project are available here and I have uploaded a complete tutorial for assembly over on Ashbee Design Silhouette Projects here.

As always, I am taken with the graphic possibilities of the shapes while crafting. Great for photos!

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© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


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