(An A to Z 2014 Challenge Entry)
One would think that it would feel weird coming back to blogging after such a long hiatus. That hasn’t been the case for me… yet. I guess there’s the fact that it’s only been three to four months. That feels long to me, but some people return after more than a year — or longer — of not blogging. I’m not sure I’d be as unaffected being away that long as I am now.
I don’t feel it’s necessarily like riding a bike. Sometimes you have to completely rediscover your voice.
During my departure, I wasn’t completely negligent to the creative spark that yearns to be expressed, which writing allows me to accomplish. I’ve just been channeling it in different ways — I feel this helped my transition back into blogging, rather than had I remained stagnant — and I’d like to share one of them with you.
3D Abacus Life-Counters
|Nothing beats a handcrafted gift, right?|
These are three 3D abacus life-counters that I made specifically for my brothers (yes, I have three, as well as some step-siblings) as gifts for Christmas 2013. All of them are made from Magic: The Gathering cards, a collectible card game (CCG) we all have played on and off for over ten years.
I am not the originator of this idea, as I stumbled across people making them online, but thought it was something I could do. Not only do, but enjoy doing. And I certainly have the surplus stock of cards! The other materials were a bit more spendy than I had anticipated, particularly beads.
This is one of the first artistic projects I’ve worked on in a long time. During the process of every single one, I disliked it, became discouraged, or thought the project was turning out terrible. By the end, though, I was proud and pleased with how each looked. Especially so, being they were my first attempts.
As mentioned above, I use only Magic cards (some people use foam, while only using 3 actual cards) to create the layers (between 25-30 in all). What is unique about my designs are that I take different cards and overlap them together to make a collage piece. Many just layer one image, which still looks good — I plan to do some like this as well — but I feel the collage picture just adds so much more. I also place a plastic window as one of the final layers to protect the art, which is important because some of the cuts are extremely thin and fragile.
I will show you some up close shots and then highlight the cards used in each, so you can see how they are intertwined in the final product. I apologize for the pictures not keeping their upright settings and for some reason defaulting to their sides.
This was the very first one I made. It was particularly special, because I used cards this brother liked and utilized often during gaming events. They were staples in his deck at the time. Not only that, but I used the very cards he played with to make them, adding to the sentimental value, which I think is lost to him… but at least it’s meaningful to me!
This life-counter was made for our brother who just recently finally got back into the game. His was a little more simple and straightforward. There wasn’t as much intermixing of the various card art. It was here that I learned just how different the card frames were between generations of cards. I had to make sure I found filler cards (for the stacked layers) that matched the cut-out dimensions.
This final gift was made for my youngest brother and took the longest to imagine into creation. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to craft for him, I wasn’t sure which to use. I’d decide on one and then change my mind. I can’t even recall how many times I went through that indecisive process. Finally, an idea came to me and actually stuck, which is what you see above.
As you can tell, there were some themes going on. Each life-counter displays the art of at least 3 different cards and each maintained the same color scheme (chosen based on the colors my brothers predominantly play). Also, the majority of the cards used are common (denoted by the black expansion symbol to the middle-right of each card, where applicable). The first one displayed (White) is the exception to this, since it consists of specific cards that brother actually played with.
All the filler cards are common basic land cards, with the exception of the plastic window layer.
My brothers were really surprised and enjoyed their gifts, which made me really happy (although I’ve yet to see them actually use them… hmm). We will ignore the fact it took me a week past Christmas to complete all of them, and then another week to arrange a time and place everyone could gather!
Noting that a handful of people were selling these online, some at a quality I felt I could challenge, I decided I should continue to make more and attempt to do the same. I soon made one for the sole purpose of selling. While I would love to share it here, this is already becoming lengthy, so I’ve decided to save it for another entry next week.
Even if you aren’t a gamer or someone who enjoys Magic: The Gathering, I hope that you have enjoyed the artistic aspect of these crafts!
Do you partake in any specific crafts? If so, what? Have you ever contemplated, or are currently, selling your crafts? If a fan of Magic: The Gathering, any suggestions on what might make for a sweet 3D abacus life-counter? I’d love to hear whatever feedback!