10 March 2012

From the bottom of the sea...

I've had a Graphic45 5x5 altered art box sitting on my desk looking at me for months now. As soon as I bought it I knew what I wanted to make with it - I'm not a big fan of lots of journalling so I wanted to use one of my poems as the starting point, both as inspiration for the box and to fill the concertina album insert.

I've been collecting bits and pieces for this project for ages and finally got a chance to put it all together this weekend. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out - I don't really 'do' OTP or altered art projects because if I can't finish something in an hour I lose interest. But, all the bits seemed to come together here and I figured I would try and do something properly instead of half-arsed for a change. Lots of photos follow - sorry if this page takes a while to load! You can click on the photos to supersize them.

I thought the vertical fold out insert would be perfect for my poem which is basically about drowning (how lovely). I thought I'd try and represent the depth of the ocean with the long panels, and encrust the box like a (very blinged up) sunken treasure that was all overgrown with barnacles and being reclaimed by the sea. 

Here's the poem if you're interested - it kind of sets the mood:

Ultramarine bubbling from the core of the earth
Breathing deep, fingers of furious foam rise
The blue desert bares her white teeth of wrath
Clutching my hair and stinging my eyes

Rain clouds eclipse the sun and the land
Ashen and sober where sky and sea meet
She threatens to take my by the hand
To the dark silentness under her feet

But instead thrusts me high above her head
Born anew, cold and gasping for air
Her serpentine skin to the wind is shed
Poison kisses on my cheeks wet and bare

Her salty venom on my lips is ready
Bruised skies darken and long shadows loom
I fall down her throat and into her belly
To sleep forever in her sapphire womb

Crash and roar and thunder and din
While curled like paper under her heart
Fades to a whisper that strokes my skin
Her foe defeated and torn apart

In this dark and ghostly soundless cave
She kisses me as a lover might
On lifeless lips no man can save
As I drift gently into night.

First I painted the box with navy blue Kaisercraft paint and added a bit of silver sugar glimmermist and glam ink in a lovely sea green colour called dirty martini. I've added so much stuff you can't see it much now but I also stuck a piece of a vintage map on the top with PVA glue and painted glue and more paint and glam over the top to seal it. 


I thought the satin rose looked like a turban shell, and the big silver leaves are from an old broken necklace. The shell and seaweed are from Scrapmatts and I have inked them a little with gold and navy blue ink.

The rhinestones are part of a broken earring, and there is a scrap of beautiful beaded fabric underneath from Pitt Trading.

Around the sides I've added more leaves from the old necklace, and every bit of bling I had in my stash.

I had a stamp that was part of the Kaisercraft 11th hour set - it was probably supposed to be a bird wire pattern but worked just as well as a fishing net.

I've coloured the tiny doilies with glam ink and added lots of Kaisercraft pearls and rhinestones and sparklets.

The keyhole is from Scrapmatts, as is the starfish. 

I had some silver porcelain paint so added a few tentacles to the inner window panel.

The pretty pearl cluster is yet another bit of broken jewellery.

 Open the box up and there is more bling, a fishy die cut and some lovely olive green lace. 

In the bottom of the box (or the 'bottom of the sea' I suppose) is a vintage book page and a black flower that looks a bit like an anemone, more sparklets, and more bling. I've coloured over the page with dirty martini glam, glimmermist, and PVA glue to seal it.

 I haven't stuck the antiqued shipping tag down; it comes out too and has an antique key and silver chain attached. Au fond la mer means from the bottom of the ocean, in case you hadn't guessed. :)

The fold out album is painted the same blue and embellished on the inside. If you look closely below you can see where I'm going with the drowning theme; the ship and the breaking waves at the top down past the fish to the dark sea bed at the bottom. I've used some vintage fabrics including a swirly white embroidered satin that looked just like cresting waves, and pale blue chiffon for the rest of the waves on the first panel.

On the next panels I've used more fish from Pink Paislee which are inked and misted, and I've gone a bit nuts with the paint and added some seaweed fronds.

And finally, lots of crusty barnacled bits at the bottom - some resin cabochons, a lobster card from the Kaisercraft Hunt and Gather collection, MORE bling and more of the Scrapmatts seaweed fronds. 

I think it turned out ok for my (2nd? 3rd I think?) OTP project! I would have liked to buy one of these antique German bisque porcelain doll arms to use instead of the pearl cluster on top of the album, to add to the whole drowning thing, but I was impatient and wanted it finished. :)

Hope you enjoyed all the pictures! What projects have you got on the go?


  1. I love the box! It is very creative. Wonderful selection of colors and findings!

  2. Thanks a bunch Jackie! It was fun to make :-)

  3. Thanks a bunch Jackie! It was fun to make :-)