But so much of it looks as though it was made to a formula and had premade bits just glued to it. With the sketches that people offer, the dies and punches they use, basically it is made to a formula. Admittedly a handmade item, but a formula non the less. To me this is manufacturing and I am guilty of using it as the next person. Except for one thing. To me there has to be that edge of chaos somewhere. Where you expect a straight line, there is a ripped line; where you expect pearls or brads there are eyelets with string dangling from it. I cannot stand my work to look completely manufactured.
A couple of years ago when I was talking to my sister about making cards for Christmas and renewing our interest in scrapbooking, she made a comment along the lines of she wouldn't invest in stamps because they are like colouring book pages for adults. I had thought the same thing myself years ago. And stamps sure are the stallwart art of the manufacturer type card makers. And their Copic markers. Colour in the stamp with the Copic marker and no one can tell it isn't a real flower, right?
It may sound critical, but seriously card making should be individualised and a bit artistic. Rip up paper, use bottle caps and washers. Don't make your cards look like everyone else's. Since there are several million of that stamp anyhow. Don't follow fashion. You take pride in dressing as you like, having your house as you like, why should your card making be any different?
Take the stuff you have been taught by good teachers and expand on it. I love to get my embossing powders onto a washer, mixing colours and textures and then drizzle stuff into them.
Experiment. You don't have to sell/give away your experiments. Put them into a folder to remember what you did that you loved or hated. Be daring. Get out your brayer and give it a good workout, rip up some Post-its and do some masking. Look for stamps that come from little known manufacturers that no one else you know has heard of. Use their stamps.
The thing that also amuses me is the die mentality. All those shapes. For what? So your work looks the same as your neighbours? You like her stuff, borrow it and expand on it.
One thing I love is my Bind it All, yeah the pink one. I like to punch the holes into things and then tie some of it together and use maybe one wire spine on it somewhere to make it look different. Go and buy some real locks and keys and use them to make something useful, very useful. Make polymer clay feet so your box has something to stand on, or use those dice bits for feet.
People will love your work even more if they see some evidence of YOU in your work.