I have always loved tiny things, so it is natural that I would gravitate towards inchies. Inchies are 1 inch square (or sometimes round) pieces of art. They can be created in any medium or technique ... drawing, painting, quilting, collage, clay, altered materials, etc...
*More inchie photos are posted in my blog: http://chaosatlanta.blogspot.com/search/label/inchies, including some interactive inchies (Inchies that open, spin, pop-up, and shake.)
Here are a few of my inchies:
I was trying to come up with some ideas for interesting inchie effects and remembered an old trick where you could make a portrait where the eyes would seem to follow you around the room. I just had to find out if I could make it work on a small scale & "voila", here is the result:
(You cannot see the effect from the still photo, however these inchies do have eyes that seem to follow you!)
To make them you need:
3 - 1" squares punched or cut from chipboard or recycled cereal box (etc..)
1 - 1" square punched or cut from white cardstock
tacky glue, white glue or glue stick
pens, pencils, paint or markers
Take one of your chipboard/box squares and lightly sketch a head shape and eye placement. Punch out the eyes with a 1/8" round punch. Carefully align each of the 3 chipboard/box squares on top of each other and punch the eye holes in each layer. Then glue the 3 layers together with white tacky glue. (Be careful not to ooze glue into the eye holes - you want to keep them clean & clear.)
Place your white square behind the stack and mark the eyes through the eye holes with a pencil. You want them as close to the center of the eye as possible! Before gluing, darken the pupils with a black pen. When you are satisfied with the placement of the eyes, glue the white square to the back of your stack - being sure to line the eyes up to the center of the eye holes.
Finish by drawing or painting your face around the eyes. (Be careful not to drip paint into the eyes.) This is a very simple technique that gives a wonderful "animated" effect to your art!
These inchies were created using the packing tape transfer technique on watercolor painted backgrounds.
Packing Tape Transfer Tutorial - Excellent tutorial at ATCsFor All.com. You need to be a member to view it, but membership is free (and there are tons of great swaps and tutorials and fun things to do over there).
I used an awl to punch holes into heavy black cardstock. I punched at even intervals around circle and star shapes, then used a single strand of embroidery floss to stitch the beautiful designs. I worked by trial and error to come up with patterns that worked.
These inchies are mixed media. I began with paper collage on cardstock, then sponged and splattered acrylic paint on top. I drew little squiggles and doodles with metallic markers and then stamped randomly about. I finished by cutting up my mixed media collage into 1" by 1" squares and edging with metallic gold paint.
Serendipity Squares are a lot of fun to make and a great use for tiny paper scraps that are left over from other projects. They can be embellished further with buttons, ribbon, fibers, beads, etc... and also make fabulous backgrounds for a central image. These wonderful little squares are terrific to use as embellishments on greeting cards, scrapbook pages, picture frames, larger collages and art pieces.
These Halloween inchies feature Serendipity Square backgrounds. I collaged handpainted papers and Halloween print scrapbook papers, added some painting, doodling, stickers, etc.. and then chopped it into 1" x 1" squares. I then edged each square in black paint and added a little hand drawn skeleton as a focal point. I just love the way the Serendipity Square backgrounds set off the skeletons - and each one has its own personality.
One inch felt squares with beads, buttons and sequins sewn on.
I have been working on a wide variety of inchies for swaps and plan to post more photos and techiniques soon!
NEW! I set up a gallery of inchies here: Inchies Gallery
I also post inchie photos in my blog: http://chaosatlanta.blogspot.com/
I recently received my returns from the "Grand 100" swap in my 1x1 Inchies Group (group now disbanded). The inchies I received are just terrific - so many different techniques, styles, and mediums were used. I think they look fabulous in this simple 12x12 black frame. The photo doesn't do the art justice - the inchies look so colorful and amazing together!
Links: (updated SEP 2016)
The following sites feature a variety of art swaps (including inchies):
ATCsForAll.com - Look in "forums" under "Open Mail Art Swaps". This group has a rating system in place to help avoid "flakers". Swaps are hosted, but trading 1 on 1 is ALWAYS available. (There are many many members who are ready to trade at any given time.)
Swap-Bot - Be sure to check under "groups" with the search term "inchies", to find groups that are swapping inchies. Even if there are no current swaps, group members can set up 1 on 1 trades in the group forums. PS: Any member may start a swap! (so start your own if you don't see one.)