My 2008 collection of Puzzle Purse Valentines and other love tokens are now available at Honeysuckle Lane. More than 20 items were uploaded tonight and there are more to come on January 25th. You may see them here.
Messages of LOVE are written on these Valentines which are folded in a precise intricacy so that as you open it according to the numbered sections, you read a verse or a phrase, and tiny hand painted pictures are revealed. The very inner most part of the Valentine sometimes has woven paper hearts or a woven paper heart and hand. They are sometimes tricky for the recipient to re-fold, which is part of the charm of the puzzle purse. These were inspired by the ones originally made in the late 1700s and the early 1800s. All artwork, which is a combination of naive / schoolgirl art / fraktur influences, is done with watercolors and India ink on new or aged (with a coffee or tea and vanilla mixture) parchment paper. I have searched through my American folk art books for ideas for flowers, birds, and other early American designs. I use poems of the 1700s and 1800s along with some of my own original phrases. Keep in mind these are hand done, so each one will be unique. The valentines measure 2 ½” square closed and 7 ½” square when fully opened. Each valentine comes with a 3" papier mache box hand painted with a coordinating design (see photo above description for example). These are time consuming, but I do enjoy making them. The papers are aged, distressed, and sealed. Next I do all of the cutting to size and folding. After that, each design is sketched in pencil, then painted with artist watercolors and outlined with sepia India ink. After all paints and inks have dried, I cut, fold, and weave the little heart and hand paper whimsies to go inside the valentines. Last, I fold the puzzle back into a little square for you to discover it's secret. Then it's on to the papier mache boxes. Each one is base coated, the designs are sketched, then painted and outlined same as with the valentines. After the paint has dried, the boxes are aged, distressed, and given a hand rubbed finish.
I'll try to get a few everyday / simple joys photos on this blog during the weekend.
Thanks for visiting!