Category Archives: Design

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…

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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Child’s Play

I have a confession to make. And I make it with great pride.

My Kid makes better Gelli prints than I. Mine come out all muddied colours and smudgy. I reckon I’m trying to cram too many techniques, too many stencils and templates, too many marks on one page. I’m impatient lol.

The Kid, on the other hand, keeps things simple. A couple of colour splodges at a time, careful brayering and a judicious selection and layout of templates.

Look at the results! Neat, huh? These are just his first 9 prints on sketchbook paper. That’s my boy! :-)

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Paris Ooh La La!

Always one for recycling, I found these 3 square art canvasses at my local thrift store, for a paltry $2 each. They look rather alien, don’t you think? ;)

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To start off, I wanted a sturdier background to work with, so I pasted some thick Laura Ashley wallpaper samples over the canvasses. There’s nothing worse than trying to stamp on a soft, wobbly background.

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I then laid down some blocks of colour using acrylic paint. Again, no idea where I’m going just yet. Next, I stuck on some vintage dressmaking pattern tissue paper – a favourite technique of mine, as it always sparks off ideas. Then, I added ephemera – scrapbooking paper, washi tape, birds, butterflies.
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And here’s what those alien critters became:
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Now for some stamping. I’d recently bought a set of Paris-themed ink stamps, so I tried these out.

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After a few mishaps (and cover-ups ahem!), and some judicious spray varnishing, here are the final results of this little experiment of mine. Voila!

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Work In Progress: Rainbow Lenormand

After creating 15 Lenormand fortune telling card decks in the short space of 6 months, I took a short hiatus to try out some other ideas. One of them was my Inspiration Deck…of which half of my intended 50 designs have been completed and printed as a deck. I Abandoned 12 of these last month for Valentine’s Day. Another 8 were given away to relatives and friends at my Uncle’s Chinese New Year Reunion dinner 2 weekends ago.

I then ventured tentatively into the field of mixed media collage and altered journals. Not so much the journaling part, but rather the recycling of old art canvasses and painting, gluing and stamping over them. There is a method to my madness – whatever the results of my mixed media experiments, I’m taking close-up photos of them to use in later projects as backgrounds for blending or for superimposing other elements onto. Some of these have been posted here on my blog as Freebies. I like sharing! :-)

In the midst of it all, I still found time to start another Lenormand deck. This time it’s the Rainbow Deck, on account of the rainbow-coloured border around the cards, and the general brightly-coloured and happy nature of this deck.

This time, the going is slower than previously, mainly because I have all these other projects lying around clamouring for my attention. To date, I’ve completed 12 of the 36 cards in a deck…so, still a ways to go yet.

But anyway, I thought I’d share some of them here with you. Here’s the “Rainbow Lenormand”, a work in progress:

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Just more of my favourite things

Just a random selection of images that I’ve curated from Pinterest, Google Images and Facebook. I like to post them here and reflect back later to see what patterns or trends emerge, if any.

Sometimes these images spark off ideas for new creative projects. Other times it could just be a colour I like, or a feeling I get from looking at it.

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Happy weekend, all!! :-)

Artist Inspiration : Li Hongbo

Yes, I too went “Whaaa??” when I first saw this:

http://youtu.be/Pik2BcQF8ZQ

Seeing is believing!

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They may look solid, but in reality they are paper sculptures, made from thousands of pieces of paper that have been meticulously glued together so they accordion out, yet can be put back into the shape they were sculpted into. Think of Chinese paper dragons and how each piece of paper is glued together in a lattice pattern, and you’re halfway there.

Only, Li Hongbo, the artist behind these sculptures, has taken his artistry about 100 times higher.

For more examples of Li Hongbo’s sculptures, visit this site.

And this too:
http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/02/new-flexible-paper-sculptures-by-li-hongbo/

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I don’t know about you, but I want one of Li Hongbo’s works! :D

FREEBIES! (Remains of the day)

Yes, it’s time again to give away more backgrounds for your creative endeavours. These are close-ups of an Art project I did a short while ago. I like to keep such images to blend with other images for future projects. You may want to do the same too. Go ahead, indulge!

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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.
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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.

They’re Here!

Aliens, I mean. No, no, well yes, aliens have been on Earth for quite a while now, only I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting them face to face. But that’s not what I meant.

I meant to say that my INSPIRATION DECK has arrived from the printers. And they are beautiful, and exactly how I envisioned them to be.

Okay, the deck I created only had 24 designs (I thought I uploaded 25, but maybe I’ve forgotten how to count in my dotage). I’d doubled the designs and trebled a couple, to get a pack of 54 in a white window box. This is only a test deck, at the moment, while I surreptitiously work away on more inspirational sayings and backgrounds.

The real INSPIRATION DECK, when it’s ready, will have 50 different designs. And it will be expandable, so should I be able to muster the strength to make another lot of designs, they can be purchased as “Booster Packs” and added to the existing one.

The purpose of these cards? To serve as a daily reminder that Life is good and not to lose sight of your dreams as you rush about your everyday lives. Keep the cards for yourself, or share them with friends or strangers, it’s up to you. My hope is that the cards and sayings inspire you to be your best, and give you good cheer on hard days.

I’ll be abandoning half of this deck in and around Rockingham, Western Australia, on the weekend of Valentine’s Day 2015. It’ll be my Secret Valentine’s Day present to unsuspecting folks. I’ll also be giving some to my adult cousins and my Aunt and Uncle the weekend after, when we gather for our Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner.

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