Friday, June 10, 2011

Inspiration Takes an Unusual Direction, Part 2 and a Critique

Inspired by the rad texture of peat pot cards in Take Ten, I pulled out several different textured papers and played, just to see what would happen. Sometimes, as with yesterday's card, playing around works happily. Sometimes, well, it doesn't quite hit the mark.

Today's card uses papyrus, some lovely textured white cardstock from Marco's Papers, and some handmade inclusion paper that has rose petals, twigs, and leaves imbedded in it. It's also an example of good things taken just a bit too far. I'd like to share my analysis of what went wrong, particularly as it relates to adapting collage/shabby styles to clean-and-simple design.

I'm not fishing for compliments...just sharing my thoughts in the hope that they will help inspire you to play around and not to be afraid of making something you don't like.

I don't like this card nearly as much as yesterday's card mainly because it's not as visually simple. The punched bird has a lot going on with it...the petal on its wing and the twig on its body, combined with the handmade texture of the paper are a LOT to look at. Add the two differently toned buttons with twine, the rough natural edge of the papyrus, and the curly sentiment, and the card crosses the line from CAS to, well, I'm not sure what, but it's not exactly CAS, is it?

Also, the balance is off. The ivory bird and button need a third element to ground them visually, and I thought the white base would do that...but it doesn't. Perhaps it's because the papyrus panel is just a titch too big. Perhaps the layout itself is simply not effective. Perhaps the sentiment needs more visual weight. Whatever. It's a card that almost works but, in the end, doesn't.

I love all the individual elements of this card....I just should have limited how many I used and rearranged them a bit. This bird card shows how tempting it is to keep adding more stuff...and how in the interest of clean-and-simple design, more stuff often isn't better.

But you never know what will happen if you don't even try.


  1. I obviously don't have your eye for design because I really like this card.

  2. Absolutely with on all those thoughts, it is so very tempting to keep adding when it just isn't right. Yesterdays card was so elegant and simple yet said so much.

  3. 1. i really like this card.

    2. you might like it better if you took off the buttons, trimmed down the textured panel and centered it on a square card.

    i appreciate your teaching about design elements. it is most helpful to me. thanks, as always, for sharing!


  4. Hi Susan! Interesting!....If it was me I would leave off the buttons , simplify the texture of the bird and tilt it so it is "flying" upwards towards the top of the panel to go more with the "take flight" sentiment. (just my opinion)

  5. I really like this card. I like the proportion, the color, even the buttons and the torn bottom edge.

    I'm just a beginner and I just take whatever you say... But I would be so happy if someone sends me a card like that... sigh...


  6. Can't figure it out exactly, but for me it's the buttons. I'm not fond of buttons unless they serve a purpose --- like on the top of a stem for a flower, or to decorate a ribbon. These don't have any connection to a bird, and I think that's the part that bothers me. Without those, and different placement of bird and sentiment, I think you might have had a visual triangle if you add the torn bottom edge? I DO appreciate you opening yourself up for criticism! It helps us to know you don't ALWAYS come up with a winner.

  7. I really like the pretty textured base. For me, it is the torn edge I don't care for. Doesn't seem to work on this CAS card and I like torn edges most of the time. Like the bird and the buttons. I admire you for showing a card you don't care for.

  8. I have quite by accident designed a couple of clean and simple collage cards--using bits of paper, etc--that I loved. Why they worked I have no idea. But each element was very simple and clean--almost lean. And smallish.

    With your card here, I quite like the individual elements, but I feel too something is off balance. Those rounded corners at the top--make me feel like everything is being weighted down, held down...perhaps square corners are needed?...and the sentiment needs to have more space between it and the bird I think, which would open up the triangle of 3 made by the bird/buttons/sentiment.

    But all this 'designing' seems like work...and when I stamp I want to have fun....LOL.

    As well, I often dislike a card but love parts of it, so I save it as a reference with the intention of using what worked on a new card someday. But the saved 'junk' cards feel like clutter to me and I don't like that either. So I tend to not like to take chances that the finished card won't work.

    Complex isn't it?...again LOL. But I love rubber stamping so much that I will always try try again.

    Thanks for sharing with us. And thanks for including the 'fails'. It is so easy to think others don't struggle with a card like I most often do.

  9. I love your "card lessons" - i had to go back to see yesterdays (the one you liked) to compare. The "off" on this card is subtle, with your pointers I realize what it is! Yesterdays was spot on - thanks for sharing your "mistakes"!

  10. Thank you so much for the design lesson. It really helps me to see what doesn't work. So looking at your card with your comments in mind, I really like the bird punched out of handmade paper and think it should be given more pride of place - perhaps set on a very plain background. For my eye, it is fighting with the buttons and the torn edge for attention.

  11. I think if the bottom edge was not torn, everything else would work. My two cents! Thanks for a great blog, Susan. I sure enjoy visiting every day!

  12. I bet whoever receives this card will think it's just fine the way it is.

  13. I think the rounded corners hold the bird from flight - perhaps the torn edge should have been at the top, or both edges torn. Thanks, as always, for a valuable lesson.

  14. Be still my heart, so very pretty!!

  15. Still a great card Luv Sue x


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!