If you read my blog regularly, you know I'm all about using what you have. Sixty year-old label? Use it! A century-old invoice? Tear that baby up! A certified copy of the Gettysburg Address? Go ahe - okay, maybe not. :D
Tonight I spoke at the Fond du Lac County Geneaological Society about what to do if you just can't use what you have. I brought along some good examples of my family's ephemera - the telegrams sent to my great-grandma and -grandpa congratulating them on their wedding; the same great-grandparents' high school yearbooks; my Grammie's baby book (and her mother's baby book, from 1897); a photo of my great-grandpa wearing his long curls (and a box of those exact curls) - in essence, things that will NEVER be used in my artwork.
But let's say that you'd like to do a project using those photos. What do you do? Well, I had a project I'd done from my Grammie's 85th birthday and I created two more just for this speaking engagement. Here they are:
Sunprint paper and have a blast! I love these "cyanotypes" - that color blue is one of my favorite colors on earth. What I did with this collage is take an old negative of my mom when she was about 6 or 7 and made the imprint with the Sunprint paper. Then I took various old school books and a handwriting manual, along with a small portion of a torn paper collage (behind the illustration), and voila! You have a fun keepsake of my mom's school days, done in an unusual way.
Craft magazine about five years ago and had only attempted it once, but I thought I'd give it a shot again. This time, instead of acrylic paints, I used pastel chalks. I really like how this turned out!
I still say that if you can, you should use the real thing. If you absolutely cannot, it's good to know there are oodles of options! :D