Category Archives: Mobile Photography Art

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…

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.

8 Studies

In the Musical world, we’d call them Etudes. Studies of a particular style or technique, where practice makes perfect.

I’d found a set of 8 square chipboards with ringbinder clips, at my local Spotlight store (an all-in-one haberdashers, crafts supplier, home furnishings depot).

The week before I’d been to a scrapbooking sale and among other things had snagged a lovely Stampin’ Up! block stamp with French text on it. $10 that cost me, and I’ve seen it since on eBay for over $30.

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This was an excellent fit for my square boards. I simply stamped them all the same, then sprayed workable fixative over to stop any bleeding afterwards.

For my “Etudes”, I tried out various different techniques via trial and error. Remember, I’m a greenhorn at this mixed media malarkey. I’ve years of experience doing this on my smartphone, without any mess to clean up afterwards, but in terms of “real” bricks and mortar mixed media art, I’m still quite virginal LOL.

Some techniques worked better than others. I was very pleased how some turned out quite artistic, like the ones you see in magazines. But a few came out more Crafty than Arty. Still, it’s a learning process.

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Gelli Deli

I’d read about and seen on YouTube videos on the use of “Deli Paper” for Gelli plate printing. What the heck is it, when it’s in Australia?

I know it’s some kind of waxed paper for wrapping deli sandwiches in. It’s supposed to absorb paints really well but not allow any seepage through. It’s supposed to turn virtually invisible when painted over and stuck onto your chosen substrate. But where can you get it?

There were a few sellers on eBay selling Deli Wrap/Deli Waxed Paper/Deli Paper/Deli Sandwich Paper. They weren’t too expensive to buy on their own…but factor in p&p to Australia and you’re talking about a $1 guitar that costs $599.99 to post to your country. Not even going down that route.

My local haberdashers/craft shop/home decor depot, Spotlight, didn’t have anything like it. They had tracing paper on a roll, for drawing dressmaking patterns…at $12.99 per roll of 30m. Ouch, no go.

I had a look in my local supermarket, Woolworths, instead. Did it sell good old-fashioned wax paper? Nope. There was Greaseproof Paper, Baking Paper With a “Special Coating”, Baking Paper with a “Non-Stick Coating On Both Sides”, Greaseproof Paper with “Special Dimples To Soak Up Grease”, etc etc…but NO.WAXED.PAPER.

I bought a roll of a brand that promised to keep in the goodness of cooked food by “locking in the juices”. I thought this sounded about right for what I needed my paper for – to absorb acrylic paint without going soggy.

While queuing to pay for my MultixBake paper ($7.20 for a roll of 35m), I happened to see some large squares of greaseproof paper lying in the doughnut/muffin help-yourself cubbyholes. The girl in the bakery section didn’t know anything about what kind of paper they were, or whether they were like the ones I was about to buy, or indeed where I could buy them. But she said I was welcome to take a few to test them out for my own purposes. Don’t mind if I do!

Back home, I found my roll of supermarket-homebrand Greaseproof Paper (less than $2 for a roll of 30m) and added it to my stash. So now I’m sharing with you the results of my Aussie-style “Deli Paper” test. The papers have all been folded up so as to test both sides.

Key:
Red = fluid acrylic paint
Purple = watercolour paint
Sunshine yellow = spray ink
Orange = daubed acrylic paint

image First up. The MultixBake. Notice the beading. None of the test patches were absorbed by the paper, they all sat on top of whatever coating the paper had, on both sides of the paper.

image This one’s the freebie from the bakery section of Woolworths
supermarket. The paper appears to be waxed on one side but not the other. Top shows good absorption of all 4 test paints. Bottom is very similar to the results using MultixBake paper. Both sides of the paper look and feel pretty much the same to me, so it’ll be a 50/50 chance of me using the wrong side. Besides, this is the paper that no one could tell me anything about, even where to get it.

image Woolworths’ homebrand, cheapo Greaseproof Paper. Great even absorption on both sides of the paper. No beading. No seepage. Paper is robust and stronger than tissue. (This is what I already use for my own printing projects, I stick this paper onto an A4 canvas carrier sheet, which feeds through my Canon Pixma MX870 and I can then print out any of my mobile photography art images onto it. Then I simply remove it from the carrier sheet, and stick it onto canvas or wood).

And the clear winner is: Contestant No.3, Woolworths’ Homebrand Greaseproof Paper. Less than $2 for a roll of 30m.

Australian readers, I’ve done the legwork and homework for you now, so you won’t have to. Got Gelli, need Deli? Use Greaseproof Paper. US readers, meanwhile, may be scratching their heads and wondering what the heck “Greaseproof Paper” is back in the US of A. :-)

Freebies from Paris

No, sorry to be such a tease. I meant Freebies from my recent project “Paris Ooh La La!”.

I took some close up photos of the project, which I will undoubtedly use in later projects as backgrounds for blending with other photos and clip art.

For what they’re worth, you are more than welcome to take them for your own creative projects. Enjoy!

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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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Connecting The Dots

I love synchronicities, how one seemingly unconnected thing or event can link to another by a series of strange coincidences. Sometimes it’s just 2 elements that get connected, at other times it’s a whole series of elements.

When I started working on this piece of mixed media collage, I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas. (I’ll be honest and tell you right now that I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m doing when I’m doing a mixed media piece. It’s only afterwards that all the pieces of the puzzle come together).

I found a remnant of card that had music on it, and it became the starting point of this piece. It was a triangular corner piece, and the only place that fit was the bottom left corner of my cradled wooden panel. So, with a musical theme in mind, I chanced upon a piece of vintage dress pattern tissue that had a curve to it, that reminded me of the curved lid on a grand piano. Ta dah! 2 dots connected. I then randomly added some washi tape to my panel.

The middle part of this piece originally had a pattern of birds, berries and flowers on it, that I’d gone over with red and green watercolour pencils. I wasn’t happy with the effect, so I used a light green Tim Holtz crackle paint to cover it up. That came out well, but left some parts uncovered – the little red rings around the berries.

So, I used a printed tissue paper from my own Reject pile (pieces of my own digital photography art that I’d printed onto tissue paper but rejected due to colour inconsistencies, ink blobs or smears, and tears). This one had a big showy flower on it, with some red berries. Perfect. More dots connected.

I’d used a block stamp with French text on it, on the top right and bottom of my panel. The one on the bottom was fine, however the stamp on the top came out with text missing from its middle. So I decided to fill that gap with a stamped birdcage. Said birdcage came out with parts missing from its middle too, so I covered That up with a white “Cherish” stamp made using gesso.

After that, I added some more leafy elements (a stamp on the otherwise empty bottom right corner). I also added 2 bird stamps, a large one and a smaller one. The little bird stamp lacked detail, so I added some white dots to it. I had to add some white, as otherwise the only other element containing that colour was the “Cherish” stamp. I also noticed a bare patch next to the big bird, so, in keeping with the bird theme and to fill the gap, I found and added a picture of a bird’s nest. More dots connecting here.

It was then I noticed how the little bird’s white dots echoed the spots on the washi tape that I’d added earlier. I decided to tie the various elements in tighter, by introducing white dots to the grand piano lid outline.

And now I’m reminded of the Art of Australian Aboriginals, specifically Dot Paintings. Yet another example of connecting the dots.

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Some close-ups:

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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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The Inspiration behind the poem “Persuasion Before Contact”

I was working on 2 canvasses that I hadn’t been satisfied with. I had painted over the canvasses with acrylic paint, but had reached a deadend as to where to go from there. So I tore up some Chinese newspapers that I’d gotten from a recent trip to Chinatown. And pages from a book that I was going to alter. I added some cut outs, stamps, vintage dressmaking tissue paper, scrapbooking paper, gesso. I layered my ephemera over the canvasses, and then noticed that I’d subconsciously chosen the words Persuasion, Before and Contact.

So I went with my subconscious and added more letter stamps and numbers etc. And came to realise that this project merited poem of its own.

Et voila! “Persuasion Before Contact” by AlyZen Moonshadow. You’ve read the poem, now here’s the inspiration behind it.

From these:
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image(The 2 canvasses that I’d splashed paint on earlier. I did take some close-up photos of them, which can be used as backgrounds for other projects, so the exercise wasn’t completely wasted).

To these:

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I really like the idea of using text and also the concept of letting my subconscious dictate how a piece should look.

Question: which came first, the poem or the artwork?
Answer: actually, it was the artwork. The text used on the 2 canvasses sparked off the poem. However, I believe the concept was already in my subconscious before I even started collaging the elements together. It just wanted to be expressed one way or another, and in this case, both in textual and image form.

Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Some Art I Just Created

Following on from yesterday’s Freebies, and in line with my recent obsession for mixed media art, here are some examples of Art that I’ve created using close-ups of my Project Palimpsest/Butterick canvasses.

The images on the left are of the close-ups, and on the right are the results after blending. There is some discrepancy with the size of the originals and the results – this is because I have resized the final image.

The App I use most for blending images these days is called Photo Blender. Not the most imaginative by name, but it offers the highest number of blend modes than any other App I know of. I really enjoy playing with the different blend modes until I come across one that I like. All effects are tweakable by simply swiping your finger across the screen.

Here is the link to Photo Blender: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.primary0.photoblender

You can click on any image to see a full-page version of it. Enjoy!

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P/S: I think I just might put these up for sale on my Society 6, RedBubble, Zazzle and FineArtAmerica stores. Hmmm…:-)