Monday, March 25, 2019

Carry It: Pocket Oracle

art journal poetry "ransom note" style
I started my cutting and pasting obsession quite early, as soon as I could read (which was early).  I was irresistibly drawn to words and letters, and happily spent many hours from kindergarten onward cutting up magazines and composing long messages on construction paper as my preferred form of self-expression.  Yes, I was a ransom note kind of kid, and I haven’t outgrown the compulsion to snip letters, words, and phrases from my magazines and catalogs.  I really like the quirkiness, funkiness, and informality of the ransom note style.  Open any of my art journals and you’re bound to find pages with found poetry and unexpected captions.

I also had an early interest in assemblage, although I didn’t always know it had a name.  Assemblage is collage’s bulkier cousin.  I like putting together little objects just for the fun of having something to turn over in my hands and look at from different angles.  Objects have multiple surfaces to tinker on, which of course is where the fun is.

For the “Carry It” challenge I decided to make a pocket oracle, a fortune-teller or Lucky 8-Ball if you will, that you can keep handy in your purse or pocket and consult whenever a decision eludes you.  I used a cardboard microscope slide folder, shrink plastic, gold leaf, magazine cuts, brads, waxed thread, and of course, StencilGirl® stencils, to bring you the one and only “Ambiguous Advice Beetle”!  For millennia, scarab beetles have been considered good luck, and now you can have one give you ambiguous advice with a simple spin in this pocket oracle!  It’s sure to point you in a fortunate direction.  Sure, the advice is ambiguous, but it’s a beetle, not a licensed therapist, and it has the advantage of being vague enough to confirm the decision you probably already know in your heart.  Listen to the ambiguous advice beetle! It always wants the best for you.

Who doesn't enjoy a project that lets you get out an odd assortment of supplies? 

I used Pitt markers on the shrink plastic to make this scarab beetle, and then fussy cut. 

Before shrinking in the toaster oven, I punched a hole in the beetle so I could turn it into a spinner with a brad.  I also added some gold dust sparkle just to make the beetle feel special. 
Inside the pocket oracle.  This slide holder had two shallow niches for microscope slides on the right, but I reconfigured it as one niche to accommodate the spinner assembly.  Gold leaf scarab on left, ambiguous advice beetle spinner on the right.  Follow the right antenna's advice?  Follow the left? It's so ambiguous - be remember, it's a just a little beetle! 

The back of the pocket oracle.  Listen to the beetle!  Even if it's unclear what it means!

The front of The Ambiguous Advice Beetle "ransom note" style.  Gold paint through the ATC Mixup #2 stencil gives this a mosaic look and camouflages the waxed black thread that wraps around the oracle to keep it safely closed in your pocket. Got a question?  The beetle will see you now!

Stencils used

Scarab Beetles by Margaret Peot L559

Spinner by Seth Apter M194

Journal Sense Listen by Pam Carriker M039

ATC Mixup #2  by Mary Beth Shaw L579


  1. Aww! Never heard of this beetle before. Might be why I make so many mistakes! Thanks for sharing, love the pages!

  2. What a delightful little project - love it!

  3. How fun is this?! I love the idea of an ambiguous advice beetle! :)


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