Category Archives: Art

My Gelli Plate Is No More!

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That’s right. You’re looking at the remains of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

No, I did not chop it up for my dinner last night. No, the dogs did not get to it. The Kid did not destroy it.

I have a confession to make. I did it. With a pair of sharp scissors. In my studio. On the table. But I did not do it in a fit of anger. Rather, I did it in the name of Art because I wanted some round or circular Gelli Plates and they were going to cost me upwards of $35 for a small one. And here I had a nice 8×10 inch rectangular Gelli Plate. Actually, make that 2, because I bought 1 for The Kid. His is still pristine in its clamshell packaging because we’ve been sharing mine.

So, instead of buying a circular Gelli Plate or three, I decided to sacrifice mine and see how many new Gellis I could get out of it.

Use scissors, as due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of the Gelli Plate, it is very difficult to cut it accurately with a knife. Even with the scissors, I found it hard to get a perfectly smooth edge, and so my circular plates have small imperfections.

Which won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as I now have not 1 Gelli Plate but 15 different pieces of varying shapes and sizes, that I can use as stamps for monoprinting.

Note of caution: only resort to this drastic surgery if you are okay with having some imperfections on your resulting plates. Who knows, you might have a steadier hand than mine, or a better and sharper pair of scissors, and your new plates might come out perfect.

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These are the sweet tins I used to mark my circles. In this photo you can see I’ve already cut out part of the large circle. I feel a song coming on: 🎶🎶🎶Past The Point Of No Return🎶🎶🎶.

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Here’s what I got out of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

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Reassembled back onto its original protective acetate sheet. The Gelli Plate is stored sandwiched between 2 of these acetate sheets, and then in a clamshell case, to avoid drying out.

Coming up next…what printing with these new Gelli Plates and stamps looks like.

Artist Inspiration : Anne Moore

Anne Moore is a printmaker specialising in monotypes. Monotypes, as the name suggests, are singular prints which are not repeatable; each one is unique.

I came across Artsy Shark’s write-up about Anne Moore last week, and my interest was piqued enough for me to find out more about Anne’s wonderful and fascinating work. I particularly love Anne’s use of scribbled text using her own invented “language”. It certainly adds an air of exoticism and mystery to her art.

For more information about Anne, check out her website.

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Every artist has their own set of marks. I need to find and create my own marks. And that will only be possible if I keep practising my artistic endeavours. Thanks to Anne Moore, I have a lot of inspiration to keep me going!

More Letterpress Stamp Artwork

I don’t know what it is about Western Australia, but it seems to me that the only place I’m able to find Size 8 Shipping Tags is at Stamp It in Victoria Park, which takes me over an hour to get to by public transport. These are the big tags, measuring 10 x 16 cm. They’re the ideal size for practising mixed media art on. I bought a pack of 20 from Stamp It, and only now am I realising just how rare they are.

None of the stationery shops near me have them. Not even my local Spotlight. All they stocked were the usual small tags with the string attached. My local scrapbooking store, Made With Memories, had them…but only in brown or black. I wanted white or cream.

They’re not easily available on eBay either. But luckily I managed to track one lone listing, and by gosh it was a multiple lot too, so I bought 2 lots of 40. Which should last me, oh, til midweek next week.

Meanwhile, I did find some white cards at a very nice size, 10 x 15 cm, very close to the Size 8 tags, at a newsagents.

They’re called “System Cards” and the brand is Panther. Here they are nestled hand in glove inside a thrift store box I got a while back, that had been sitting empty until now. A perfect fit!

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And here’s what I did. I used Tim Holtz’s “White Picket Fence” Distressed Paint for the stamps, and the backgrounds were done and blended using Distressed Inkpads.

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The alphabets that I used to make the letterpress stamps are wooden. The numbers are made of corkboard. Corkboard has a dimpled texture, different from wood, which is smoother. This difference is evident in the prints above, especially in the last one, which looks mottled.

Artful Tags

Yesterday I wrote about how I made my own alphabet and number Letterpress-style stamps using thrift store drinks coasters.

One of my favourite YouTube videos is of the awesome Tim Holtz demonstrating his equally awesome mixed media techniques with his Layering Stencils. What struck me in that particular video was not so much the stencils themselves, but Tim’s explanation about the difference between using paints and inks in relation to resists. I had trouble at first digesting the idea that paints act as resists to other media over it, while inks sink.

Here is that video: Tim Holtz Layering Stencils Part One – CHA Summer 2013: https://youtu.be/KKSvhCT2ZYk

I learn best by doing, so with Tim’s video playing on my computer screen, I followed the steps he showed.

I used my new handmade Letterpress stamps, and one of T Holtz’s layering stencils, “Clockwork”. Another stencil I used was one with gears by Artist Cellar. I used Tim’s “White Picket Fence” Distress paint to daub my Letterpress stamp, which I then stamped over two Size 8 Shipping Tags. I also used Tim’s Distress Ink pads in various colours and blending sponge pads to get the inks onto the tags. Then, finally, using a damp piece of tissue, I swiped over the tags to remove some of the inks and to reveal the white paint resist underneath.

I had 3 cute little ethnic stamps made from mango wood, a bird and 2 leaf designs, so I used them to stamp over the tags.

Very pleased with my efforts, and greatly encouraged to practice even more.
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Homemade Letterpress Stamps

One of my favourite pastimes is searching for bargains at my local thrift stores. Depending on what I’m into at the moment, it could be books, canvasses, Art, bric-a-brac, dressmaking patterns, picture frames, teacups, toys…your guess is as good as mine. If it looks like I could use it somehow, or modify it to suit my purpose, I’ll buy it.

Last year I’d bought a set of 4 square melamine-coated MDF drinks coasters. Which I never got round to doing anything with.

A couple of months ago I’d bought a set of wooden alphabets. Which again I never got round to doing anything with.

Last week I bought a set of cork numbers. I’d been in town looking for stamps and stencils and had come across the set, and for some reason my mind did this calculation:

Coasters + wooden alphabets + cork numbers + acrylic medium = handmade upcycled letterpress stamp.

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I’d always admired Letterpress-style stamps. But they were always way too expensive to buy. So why not have a go at creating my own?

And so I did. Not just one, but 4. 2 with both letters and numbers, 1 with just letters and 1 with just numbers. The acrylic gel medium worked a treat as an adhesive. I also sealed the letters and numbers afterwards with a layer of the same acrylic gel medium.

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And now for the question – how would these stand up to being used as stamps?

I used acrylic paints and spray ink on my handmade letterpress stamps. They came out a treat, with minor imperfections, which just added to the charm.

Have a look:

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The next test was – would cleaning up these stamps be easy, or would they fall apart if they went under the tap for too long?

Turns out I was able to wash them under warm running water without any problems. I used a stipple brush to get into the cracks and spaces.

Very happy with my new letterpress stamps! I have big plans for my babies. :-) Oh, and by the way, I’ve discovered that old drinks coasters make ideal mounting blocks for stamps, so guess what I bought next from my thrift store…

Dreamy

It’s Sunday, and a lazy one at that. Just thought I’d share some of my favourite dreamy photos, curated from Pinterest. I chose these because they struck a chord deep within me. It could be a look, a feeling, a colour, or a combination of elements. A picture tells a thousand words, that sort of thing.

Some of these photos transport me to distant places, places of fantasy, or stir up feelings of nostalgia.

Some are just plain awesome.

Copyright belongs to and remains with each of the photographers, of course. You can find these photos, and dozens of others like them, on my Pinterest boards under “Awesome Photos”, “Amazing Places” or even under “Photographic Artists ❤”.

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Artist Inspiration : Jane Davies

Jane Davies is a mixed media artist and printmaker that I happened upon while researching Gelli Plate monoprinting. I really like her mark making as well as her colour palette. I wish I had her talent SIGH…

You can follow Jane’s creative journey through her blog:
http://janedavies-collagejourneys.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/vertical-experiments.html?m=1

Jane also has a YouTube channel, where she happily shares her techniques for creating her beautiful prints.

Now feast your eyes on some of Jane’s works. Talent? This lady has it in spades!

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Stamp It & Victoria Park

Stamp It is the closest mixed media art supplies depot to where I live. There is a similar store, Made With Memories, in my local shopping mall, but that stocks mainly scrapbooking paper and a limited range of inks, stamps and stencils. So I consider it a scrapbooking store. Stamp It, on the other hand, is twice as big and its range is 10 times wider. It’s for the Serious mixed media artist. It’s a bit like going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, compared to the corner store.

The store is in Victoria Park, just outside Perth CBD, in Western Australia.

I popped by Stamp It the other day, having browsed the store’s website previously. Yes, I could’ve paid $11 for postage and made my purchases online, (instead of the $11 it cost in train and bus fares), but nothing beats a real hands-on experience.

And boy, was it worth making the trip up to the city. It’s only a cycle-train-bus for me to get there, easy peasy. Plus, Vic Park, as the locals fondly call it, is a trendy hub of restaurants, cafés, dinky gadget shops, interspersed with car dealerships, financial brokers, a large Piano store, the historical Broken Hill Hotel and cutesy curio shops. It also boasts a popular weekly Friday night hawker food market throughout the summer, where families can buy freshly cooked food and sit on the grass to enjoy their dinner al fresco.

My favourite restaurant there, though, is called Chi. They serve the most delectable deep fried tofu filled with diced prawns, minced chicken and coriander, served with sweet chilli sauce. Their other dishes are just as delicious, but that tofu is my favourite. Check out Chi’s Menu here.

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For dessert, I like to go to Taro Taro, just across the road from Chi. This is a Taiwanese dessert place, specialising in Bubble Tea, all manner of iced milk teas and desserts with your choice of over a dozen “extras” like black tapioca pearls, sweet potato balls, taro balls, jelly cubes, grass jelly, etc. Taro Taro also serves hot Taiwanese food and hot desserts. Check out their menu here.

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Yup, I hit three for three. :-)

My Offerings to the Gelli Goddess

Okay, I’ve had more than a week to play with my new Gelli Plate. Armed with a great book on Gelli Plate printing – Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440335486/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_jSFcvb053C71R, I’ve tested out a few techniques, skimmed over others, tried to integrate 2 techniques at the same time, got my colours muddied up, lost my way hopelessly, had a few “aha!” moments, tried out some fabulous ideas which didn’t quite turn out as expected, got distracted by the gorgeous Tim Holtz and various mixed media goddesses on YouTube, sought out and bought more paints, inks, stencils etc, curated countless Pins on Gelli Plate Monoprinting, made a few more mixed media pieces…

Basically, I’m torn between Mixed Media and Gelli Plate Monoprinting. So much Art, so little time! I haven’t articulated it before now, but I’ve come to the (possible) conclusion that what I’d like to do is fuse together elements from both genres. Use monoprints as the starting block, perhaps, for mixed media collage.

Or, maybe I’m just going mad.😄

Anyhow, while the jury is out debating that, here are the fruits of my Gelli Plate Monoprinting labours thus far.

Try not to laugh too hard or you’ll pee yourself.

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If you look at my previous post, you can quite clearly see who the better artist in the family is.

(S)Printing back into action

I learnt the hard way that you’re absolutely not meant to leave your printer-scanner-copier machine idle for months on end while you gallivant about doing this, that or other. No, you need to play with it at least once a week, if only to print out test pages to ensure that the ink printhead doesn’t dry out from disuse. One simply does not neglect it, my dear. ;)

So, when my trusty old Canon Pixma MX870 suddenly started printing everything in light blue only, I had to go searching on the good old internet for possible reasons and solutions.

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If that ever happens to you, fear not, you won’t have to waste hours looking up keywords on Google and checking out various websites and forums. Because here is the very simple solution, and one that works:

How to remove and clean a Canon printhead: http://youtu.be/ZheZf-vdho8

There’s no need to be precious about it. The printhead is very robust.
And don’t worry either about the chip getting wet, it doesn’t harm it one bit. Just run your tap under the hottest setting you can handle, and rinse the printhead until no more ink drops appear and the water runs clear. Some sites will tell you to use distilled water and/or a hairdryer to dry off the printhead. But I just did exactly as shown on the YouTube video, and now my printer works perfectly again.

You’re very welcome. :-)