Category Archives: Books

Child’s Play

Gather your Ingredients:

1 crazy Gelli Plate addict (moi!)
1 Gelli Plate
3 double-sided children’s texture plates
Your choice of acrylic paint colours (I use them All!)
Some glitter paint (if you have them)
Brayer
8 sheets of A4 art paper (I use 190 gsm, but anything from 120gsm upwards is ok)
Sheets of Deli Paper (or Greaseproof paper for those who can’t get hold of Deli Paper)

image
One side of the 3 children’s texture plates I used.
image
The reverse side of the same texture plates.

Method:
1. Load up your Gelli Plate with several dots of different coloured acrylic paints at the same time.

2. Use brayer to spread paint over the Gelli Plate. Do this quickly and try not to smear the colours too much, or go over the same areas more than once or twice. Otherwise you will get mud.

3. Use the kiddy texture plates to stamp patterns onto the painted Gelli Plate. Take the painted texture plate and stamp it at random places on some of the A3 sheets of paper.

4. Place a sheet of Deli Paper/Greaseproof Paper over the Gelli Plate to absorb excess paint. Pull a print. Remove and put the printed Deli Paper aside for other projects.

5. Place a sheet of the A3 art paper over the Gelli Plate and pull a print. If there’s any paint still left on the Gelli Plate, pull another print.

6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 above with different colour combinations, until both sides of all 8 A3 sheets are filled. Leave some white spaces, for contrast.

7. Frame your favourite prints. Or, I would tear the A3 sheets into smaller pieces to bind later into my Juicy Journals.

Some of the results:

image

image

And some close-ups:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

You can’t really make it out in the photos, but there is a glittery shimmer to the papers, as I’d mixed some glitter paint into some of the Gelli prints. I love the effect! It’s quite sophisticated, instead of being childish.

Now, go play! :-)

T for Taylor, T for Thoughts

I recently had an Art Exchange of sorts, with a photographer friend, Taylor Jorjorian. I follow Taylor’s blog, and when he posted up a photo of one of his newest works, “Forma 50″, I felt I just had to have a print of it. So, I contacted Taylor and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Taylor sent me “Forma 50″ and a gorgeous matte black & white photo of another work “The Middle Of A Rhyme”. Money aside, I also sent Taylor one of my Juicy Journals.

When Taylor’s prints arrived, the package was so professionally put together, including certificates of authenticity and edition number, and not to mention the gorgeous lusciousness of the actual prints themselves…so much so that I felt our exchange was somewhat uneven. So I’m sending him another one of my Juicy Journals.

I haven’t found the perfect frames for my prints yet, they’ll have to be good ones to do justice to the superb quality of Taylor’s photography. But here are a couple of photos of “Forma 50″ and “The Middle Of A Rhyme”, taken from Taylor’s website, just to tempt you, and so you know what all the fuss is about.

image “Forma 50″ by Taylor Jorjorian

image “The Middle Of A Rhyme” by Taylpr Jorjorian

And here is the Juicy Journal I’ll be posting to Taylor. I used a simple pamphlet stitch, and when I cast about looking for a bead to add to the journal, I remembered that I had some Tim Holtz Idea-Ology thingamajigs that I could use. In the Muse Tokens packet I found a “T” that was just perfect for my purposes. It says “Thoughts” on the token.

And so here is my Juicy Journal “T for Taylor, T for Thoughts”.

image

image

image
Inside one of the pages.

(Yes, that IS a black shoelace I’ve used to bind the journal. I came across a whole bunch of new waxed shoelaces for only 50 cents each at a sale. They looked perfect for binding my journals, so I bought several).

4 more Juicy Journals – Pamphlet Stitch

I got such a great response from my latest Art Abandonment exercise, that I was prompted to go make some more of my Juicy Journals Journals. Some members of the Art Abandonment Group on Facebook wanted to buy my Juicy Journals. I haven’t made enough to warrant selling them just yet, but I offered to send one to the first 3 people to Private Message me their address. I got 5 within just a few minutes, so I decided to honour all 5.

So, after doing my Art Abandonment exercise on May 1st, I popped 5 more of my Juicy Journals into envelopes and posted them off to the lucky 5. 2 to USA, 1 to Canada and 2 within Australia.

And now, finding myself low on Juicy Journals, I’ve just made 4 more. This time with a simple pamphlet stitch. Simply put, this stitch works over 3 holes in the spine of the journal. (These have 4 pages, folded in half, so you get 8 pages in all). To make the stitch, I simply passed a length of coloured hemp (great stuff, that), into the spine at the holes on both ends of the journal. Then I poked each end through the hole in the middle. Then I simply made sure each end was on either side of the stitch in the middle of the spine, and tied them together in a shoelace knot.

image

And here are some details of the pages within these Juicy Journals:
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

For my next experiments, I’m going to try using a limited colour palette, for the Gelli Printing. On top of which I will use inks of contrasting colours. This advertisement that I saw recently on T2 (below) will be my guide. Stay tuned!

image

Handbound Juicy Journal Tutorial

A la AlyZen Moonshadow. This is a handbinding technique that I invented by accident, while experimenting with different bookbinding techniques. I’m not an expert on making books, but here are some books I can recommend:

Making Handmade Books

The Little Book of Bookmaking

At Home With Handmade Books

Making Mini Books

These are some of the books on the subject that I have personally read. Of these, Alisa Golden’s “Making Handmade Books” is the closest to a bookmaking bible I’ve come across, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a book to get you started on creating your own books.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I’d used 6 A3 sheets of paper, Gelli printed on both sides, to create 3 separate booklets with 4 pages each, as seen below (aren’t the colours just gorgeous?):

image

Now, each of these booklets will be stitched together to form what’s called in bookmaking circles a “signature”. And I will then be binding each individual signature to each other using my newly invented technique. The 3 booklets will then effectively become 1 book.

Here are my tools laid out for ease of reference. Notice my very high-tech tools for creating the holes for sewing my books…yes, I do mean the drawing pin and knitting needles. The knitting needles have more than one function, as you will soon see. image

So, to begin, I measure and mark off 4 evenly spaced points on the spines of each signature. These will be where my black twine ($3 for 32m from the discount store) will go through.
image

And now to make those holes…I use the drawing pin like an awl to make the initial pilot hole, then drive a knitting needle in to enlarge the hole. Here in the picture you can see the drawing pin in the bottom hole, and the knitting needles in the two top holes.
image

Ok, one signature down, two more to go. Lather, rinse and repeat the hole (sorry, couldn’t help it, I love puns) exercise. Until you’ve got 4 holes made in each of the 3 signatures, like so:
image

Now comes the fun part. For this technique to work, the thing to remember is to always have an even number of holes per signature, and always have an odd number of signatures.

I’m sure there’s a technical term for the sewing method I’ll talk about next, such as sewing in the “valleys” or “mountains” (similar to Origami or the art of paper folding)…but my mind wants me to remember the order of sewing thus: In Out In Out (Shake It All About) :-) As in the needle goes In the first hole, Out the second, In again at the third, and Out the last. This way, your needle and thread will be coming Out of the signature, so you can then bind it to the next signature. Think about it: if you started with Out instead of In, by the time you reach the 4th hole, your needle and thread would be on the inside of the signature, with nowhere to go next.

Ok, so here we go. Here I’ve stood up the 3 signatures in the order they will be bound together. Starting from the right of the one closest to me, push the end of the black twine into the first hole, then out, in and out again at the other end. This is the IN OUT IN OUT movement, which will be replicated on the other 2 signatures.
image

image

To continue, simply thread the twine that’s come out of the last hole on the left of the 1st signature, into the 1st hole on the left of the 2nd signature. When you get to the other end, do the same with the 3rd signature. Try to pull the twine tight very gently, so as not to buckle the paper or worse, tear it.

image
Now all 3 signatures are linked. Notice that the start of the 1st signature and the end of the last signature are not linked to the others. There should be around 1 foot of twine on either end of the bound signatures.

To tie in the loose ends, literally, slip the end of the twine through the loop on the signature that’s already bound to its neighbour, and then slip it out through the loop that’s just created. It’s hard to explain, so here’s a photo showing the move.

image

Do the same for the other loose end. The ends of the twine will now be on the spine of the middle signature.
image

Next, hook the end of the twine through the top of the middle long stitch. And start weaving! There are 3 signatures, so there are 3 long stitches. Weave across these in an Over-Under-Over motion, alternating from one side to another.

image
Here’s where the knitting needle comes in handy. I just slide it under the stitch I want to weave my twine through.

image
Continue weaving the twine ends through the 3 stitches, until they meet in the middle. Then, all you need do is tie the ends into a knot, pull tight, and et voila! All done!

image

image

image

I hope you like it! :-) I think, with my next Juicy Journal, I might make the long stitches even longer, so as to show off the weaving even more. I like the rustic woven effect a lot.

Juicy Journals

I’ve heard the term “Juicy Backgrounds” used by several mixed media artists. What they mean are journal pages that are ready prepped, either by printing or painting or the addition of ephemera, as opposed to a pristine blank journal page. This helps jumpstart the creative juices, and goes a long way towards overcoming fear of the blank page, or Artist Block, if you will.

Which makes a lot of sense to me, as I would love to start an art journal, however I’ve never been able to find something worthy to throw onto a page and go on from there. Until now, that is. When my stash of Gelli Plate monoprints started overflowing, I decided it was time to do something with them. And I hit upon the idea of creating mini art journals with those pages. I love books, both to read and as an art form, and making my own art journals using papers that I’d printed seemed an ideal way of marrying the 2 art forms – Monoprinting and Handmade Books.

I’m calling my Art Journals “Juicy Journals” because they are already filled with colour splashes, abstract shapes, glitter and shimmer, stamped alphabets and numbers, so in a sense they are very “juicy” indeed. They’re meant to be enjoyed on their own, or, if you like, you can draw/stamp/paint/etc over them to your heart’s content. There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy them.

Here are some photos of the books I’ve made thus far. I started out with simply tying the pages together so more pages can be added if needed. Then I ventured into pamphlet stitching, hard and soft covers, and even created a few bookbinding stitches of my own. Two of these “Juicy Journals” are winging their way to friends in the UK and USA as I write this, and I hope to sell/give away/Abandon the others.

Enjoy!

20150419_113532Two horizontal Juicy Journals.

20150419_113825Top: 2 vertical, 3 Alphabetica pocket pages, 2 horizontal, 1 soft cover hand bound, 1 square ring bound.

20150419_114037

My 8 original minis, rebound with coloured hemp cord.

20150419_112639

Inside one of my “Alphabetica” pocket pages. The 3 little insert cards go into the button-n-string envelope.

 20150419_11183420150419_111850

My 3 “Alphabetica” pocket pages. I love those little button-n-string envelopes.

 20150419_113100Detail of one of the pages of my ring-bound Juicy Journal.

20150419_113425Detail of the inside of 2 of my horizontal Juicy Journals.

Mini Art Journals from Gelli Prints

So, I’m awash with all these Gelli plate monoprints. I’ve kept the best and my favourites (not necessarily exclusive to each other) for myself, but still there are dozens of prints that did not quite make the cut, but are too pretty to just throw away.

What’s a girl to do?

I know, make some mini art journals. I can then write in them, sell them on eBay and Etsy, give them away, or Abandon them. Hmmm…sounds good to me. Reuse, recycle.

Here we go!

I used my A3 prints. Folded them in half lengthways, tore them rather than used scissors. I like the ragged deckled edge look. Some further folding and tearing later, and et voila! I had enough to make four 10-page mini journals. I used some twine that I’d saved up from parcels received in the post (always one for recycling), and secured the pages together…if I need to add to the pages or change their order, I can simply untie the twine.

Some of the pages had empty spaces near the edges. Others looked a little drab. So I dragged out my stash of Tim Holtz Ranger Distressed Ink Pads and Ranger Dylusions Ink Sprays, and had a field day playing with colour.

image

Some photos of individual pages:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

You like? I like!! :-)

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.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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

It’s All Here…

…if you’re searching for a one-stop resource for everything and anything to do with Art & Crafts, and more specifically (in my case) Mixed Media, go directly to Interweave’s site here. Yup, they are the people that produce the bi-monthly eye candy called Cloth Paper Scissors.

Everything, and I mean even the kitchen sink, can be found on that site. If you want to learn how to carve your own stamps. If you’re curious about encaustic art. If you want to invest in some Gelli plates but don’t know where to start. If you’re curious about this thing called a “Sizzix Bigshot machine”. If you want to know the differences between watercolour, watercolour pencils and colour pencils. If you’d like to know the true capabilities of a Sharpie. If you’re after tips on making books by hand. If you want to learn how to do an emulsion lift transfer. If you’d like to know how to recycle household items into useful items. If you’re curious about Transfer Art Paper. If you want to know about Golden’s Ground Medium. If you can’t decide between Art Journaling and Collage, or want to do both.

It’s all here.

The magazine Cloth Paper Scissors embodies all aspects of Art and Crafts that utilise its namesake. I’d seen this bi-monthly magazine at my local newsagents, but they ran out of copies before I decided to buy it. The only reason I hesitated was because of the price – not Interweave’s fault, but rather the hefty profit margin that the newsagent slapped on.

Luckily, just as providence would have it, Interweave sent me an email (I’m on their mailing list) offering 50% off digital downloads of past copies of Cloth Paper Scissors. (This offer would have expired by the time you read this post, so I won’t bother with the link here. But don’t worry, there are other exciting offers on all the time). So, instead of paying nearly AU$20 per copy of CPS, for the sum of around US$79 I bought the links to download every single copy of CPS from 2004-2013. Yay, Happy Days!

But hey, you don’t have to buy anything from their site. There’s even a ton of FREE stuff you can download. Below is just One example from many.
image

And, Interweave doesn’t just do Mixed Media. They also offer everything under the sun if you are into sewing, knitting, crotchet, beading, quilting, weaving, jewellery making etc. And they also do paint and paint techniques. The list goes on.

But don’t just take my word for it…those of you who already know about this motherlode of knowledge about Art & Crafts, will be nodding your head sagely. Those of you who don’t – why are you still reading this? Go online already and check out Interweave for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

From Interweave’s own “About” page:

Founded in 1975 by Linda Ligon, INTERWEAVE, part of F+W, is one of the nation’s largest craft media companies with businesses in magazine and book publishing, interactive media, broadcast programming, and events for art and craft enthusiasts. Interweave’s mission is to inspire, encourage and support creative self-expression.

Interweave features:

18 craft-enthusiast subscription magazines and many more special interest publications.
More than 250 books in print and annually publishes about 40 best-selling, how-to craft books on the same subjects as the company magazines.
An extensive Internet network of more than 30 websites, including the popular online communities KnittingDaily.com and BeadingDaily.com, which bring together the best content from the company’s magazines and TV shows with free e-newsletters, how-to articles and patterns, with an emphasis on community.
Several major events for fiber and bead, gem, and jewelry making enthusiasts, including the Spin-Off Annual Retreat and Bead Fests in locations across the country, attracting thousands of consumers and industry manufacturers and advertisers.
A PBS television series, Knitting Daily TV and major sponsorship of Beads, Baubles and Jewels TV and Quilting Arts TV.
The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Art Journals

As a digital mobile photography artist, I love how my medium is clean, with no mess to tidy up, no paint splashes to mop up, no brushes to clean or pencils to sharpen and put away. My chosen medium suits me to a T, really, especially as it’s the ultimate portable studio in a pocket. And also especially as in real life, my drawing or painting is at kindy level. 😄

Over the years, I’ve found myself drawn (excuse the pun) time and again to collage, altered art, altered books and art journals. Maybe it’s because I love colours, layers, textures, strange juxtapositions, mysterious scribbled handwriting, ransom-note-style lettering, ephemera, stamping and vivid washes of watercolour. Maybe it’s because these are artforms that anyone can achieve, with some imagination, passion and practice. It’s not high brow art, it’s accessible art and an expression of one’s creative soul, being highly personal.

The other day, while lurking about my local scrapbooking store (Made With Memories in Rockingham, Western Australia), looking for creative ideas and inspiration, my eyes lit upon an Art Journal sitting on the shelf behind the counter. Having never come across a real life Art Journal before (I know, sad, huh), I was naturally curious about it. So I asked if I could take a look at it, hands on.

Made With Memories holds courses on scrapbooking and journaling, aside from selling scrapbooking papers, stamps, embossing equipment, inks, decoupage kits, washi tape, art paper, glue, pins, brads, all manner of twee adornments for journaling etc.

This particular Art Journal belonged to one of the teachers, and had notes on her courses in it, as well as examples of her work. Some of the pages were held together by bulldog clips, which I dare not disturb in case anything were to fall out. The journal was heavy in my hands, filled with flashes of emerald greens, blues, yellows, bits of paper sticking out here and there. I caught glimpses of stencilled on text, intriguing stamped and embossed symbols, glued on birds and flowers, pieces of twine were dangling from between pages, there was even fairy dust. The book was so thick it couldn’t even close properly.

Oh, it was a glorious mess.

I loved it.

I’m not sure if I will ever make my own Art Journal, but I might give it a try. I found this book up in town, and it’s really motivating me to get started. And I don’t mean digitally, I mean the really-make-a-mess-and-clean-up-afterwards-hands-on kind of activity.

image

Art Journal Art Journey: Collage and Storytelling for Honoring Your Creative Process https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440330077/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_ESO2ub0TSWPRQ

Meanwhile, I can dream, right. And drool over these examples of Art Journals and altered book art, that I’ve curated from Google:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

I think I just might take on this challenge. I have dozens of failed tissue paper prints of my digital artwork that I can use as background colour, and several old dictionaries that I can tear pages out of, lots of washi tape, stamps, ephemera, stencils etc that I can use.

Okay, I’ve convinced myself…😄

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I’d seen these inspirational cards at my local bookstore, but they were selling for $24.95, which I felt was a little steep. But I did wonder about them, and I also contemplated getting the full-length book of the same name.

A couple of days afterwards, out of the blue at my local thrift store, the manageress winked and smiled at me, and drew out from behind the counter the very deck of cards I’d been thinking about. Their price? $6.50. Snap!

For information about Don Miguel Ruiz’s book and philosophy, and where you can buy the cards and/or book, read here.

image

The deck is also available as an App for Apple iOS here. Sadly, it’s not available yet on Android.

The “4 Agreements” are based on ancient Toltec wisdom, and are encapsulated in this card below (from the book):

image

The cards and deck are by Hay House publishers, here is the link to their website if you’re interested in this title, and many other inspirational titles published by Hay House.

Here are some of the cards, some showing their fronts or backs only, others showing both fronts and backs. I’ve used Google Images today, (because it’s too bloody hot today and I’m too lazy to work up steam for a home photo shoot).

image

image

image

image

image

image

image