Category Archives: Printing

Art Abandonment Rockingham : Juicy Journals

This year, my first Art Abandonment exercise was back in January, on Australia Day, when The Kid and I ventured to the Rockingham Foreshore to Abandon several books wrapped up with brown paper, and tied to some Lenormand divination card decks that I’d created and had printed.

We did another Abandonment in February, but that time The Kid and I cycled around Rockingham and posted some of my Inspiration Deck cards through people’s letterboxes in their gardens…so it was more of a choreographed affair, and not as random. I had an interesting discussion about the legalities of this with the Art Abandonment crowd on Facebook. Many of the members, being Americans, advised that it is actually against US law to just pop something into someone’s post box if it hasn’t gone through the Postal system. Luckily, I was able to ascertain that this isn’t the case in Australia. Hence the inordinate amount of junk mail we get over here…hmmm.

I’ve decided it’s high time I did another Art Abandonment. I’ve decided that my earliest Juicy Journals would make the best candidates. I reckon about 10 of them should do it.

So, these fellas:
image

I’m going to do the Abandonment on May 1st, traditionally Labour Day. Oh, don’t mind me, I just like picking days that stick out…and oh my, I’ve just realised that nearly half the year is gone already??! Tempus Fugit!

I’d better get cracking finding some envelopes to put these babies into, and printing out some Art Abandonment labels.

I stamped the backs and some fronts of the journals, with a Chinese “Happiness” stamp that I’d had for many years. I felt this was appropriate, in keeping with the Art Abandonment philosophy of spreading Happiness the world over through Art.

image

image

The smaller Juicy Journals will go into these button-string envelopes that I’ve stuck an Art Abandonment tag on. The bigger ones will go into envelopes or ziploc bags.

image

Like so! All done, and ready to rock and roll. I think this time I’ll hit the cafe strip and discreetly leave my gifts at empty tables, where customers will find them.
image

Update: 10am West Australian time. 1st May 2015. DONE!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The next 2 photos show an elderly couple after finding one of my gifts on a park bench by the beach. And a young couple with 2 kids in a stroller after picking up another of my journals.

image

image

Mission accomplished! :-)

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.

Gelli Printing Experiments using Homeware Finds

Yesterday I wrote about finding new sources of textures-making tools for Gelli Plate printing, from the homewares departments of my local stores.

I have put my newly acquired treasures to the test. And am very pleased to report that they have all performed superbly. I printed several A3 sheets on both sides, in preparation for making handbound art journals out of them. But I like some of them so much that I’ll be keeping them as part of my growing portfolio of Gelli prints.

Re: the art journals idea. I initially thought the pages could be used for doodling on, adding ephemera to, painting, gessoing etc…but now it’s evolving to mean that the Gelli printed pages themselves are “juicy backgrounds” for my handbound art journals, and the sum of the parts, Prints + Book = ART. The pages can be enjoyed just as they are, as part of a Juicy Journal. Yes, I’ve decided that’s what I’ll call these art journals.
Here are some of the prints I made. Enjoy! I hope you like them as much as I did printing them.

20150419_100001  20150419_094908

20150419_095955  20150419_095905

20150419_095927  20150419_095737

20150419_094939 20150419_094643  20150419_094648 20150419_094621 20150419_094506  20150419_094658

Adventures in the Homewares Department

I was queuing up at my local Spotlight homewares, Arts & Crafts depot, waiting to buy some binder rings for an art project. There were 2 kids and their mother behind me, and the little boy wandered over to a shelf by the side and picked up a circular turquoise-coloured something. His mother told him to “Put that back!” right sharpish, and so he did. But not before I noticed that said circular turquoise-coloured something was made of silicone and had a beehive pattern on both sides, and could possibly make a wonderful texture stamp for my Gelli Plate printing.

So, as soon as the boy dropped the object back on the shelf, I picked it up. It was labelled a “hot mat”, but essentially it’s a potholder or trivet for putting hot pots/pans on, to save your kitchen countertop.

It was beautiful.

Having bought my newest texture-making toy, I started searching the kitchen and homewares aisles of my local KMart and Target stores. And of other, independent stores. I believed I could find some pretty amazing things that I could use for my Gelli Plate printing, at a fraction of the cost. My turquoise trivet had set me back $6.50.

My mission came up trumps. Here are some photos of my new stash of (cheap as chips) goodies:

image

image

image

image

image

The 3 in the top photo are silicone heat trivets, or hot mats, if you will. The others are placemats made of compressed felt. The last one, the red, however, I believe is made from extruded rubber or plastic.

Now to go create some Gelli Art with my new finds! I’ll be sure to share the results with you in my next post.

Strip Art

No, no, not what you’re thinking. Pfftt! Tut tut. Naughty naughty ;-).

I mean Art made from Strips of Gelli prints. That’s my latest creative notion, one that I’ll get to eventually once I’ve done the 101 (ahem!) other little projects I’ve set myself.

Like these that I’ve curated from Pinterest. The first one is my ultimate aim; the Pinterest link led to an Etsy store, but the item had already been snapped up by some lucky bugger. So I thought to myself, “Never mind, I’ll just have to make my own!”. The others are for inspiration. Go, me!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Freebies! Backgrounds for blending

I always take photos of my artistic creations, for posterity and also to use as backgrounds for future photographic art projects.

Here are some close-up images of my recent run of Gelli Plate monoprinting experiments. Just a hodgepodge of textures and colours. Feel free to take them and use them as backgrounds for your own blending projects, perhaps. Or print then out and arrange them in a mosaic. Or cut shapes out of them for collage and mixed media. Freebies! Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Serendipity Shows The Way

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sĕr′ən-dĭp′ĭ-tē)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

In my efforts to create “perfect” Gelli Plate prints (no such thing, actually), I’d accumulated many, many duds. Or perhaps I should say they did not turn out quite as expected, but I still kept them for the record, and also because they were actually quite beautiful in their own way.

When I first started out on my Gelli Plate adventures, a couple of months ago, I was meticulous in washing my brayer, brushes, stamps, stencils and the Gelli Plate itself after every change of colour. This meant a lot of time was spent at the sink washing and drying. Handy that my so-called “Studio” is in the kitchen-dining room itself. (My other “Studio” is in the junk spare room, which is currently occupied by a brooding box of baby Japanese Quails).

Nowadays, I don’t clean my tools and implements quite so often. Instead, I employ a technique I’ve seen many Gelli artists use, of “inking off” or “rolling off” i.e the act of removing excess paint from the brayer/dabber/stamp/stencil/Gelli Plate etc by rolling/dabbing/stamping onto another substrate. Some use copy paper or newspaper, which they then throw away. Others use art journal pages, to keep as a record of what colours they’ve used.

I use the same paper as the one I’m printing on. I lay out a sheet to be printed on, onto my work surface, and I also at the same time lay several other sheets of the same quality and size, somewhere close by, to receive the “inking off” or “rolling off”. It keeps the brayer clean by pulling off excess paint, so I can then load up a different colour without getting mud. It cuts down on the time I spend washing things at the kitchen sink, and gives me more time to spend on printing.

After several practice sessions with Gelli Plate printing, it dawned on me that I sometimes liked the results of the “inked off” sheets better than my actual planned prints.

Hmmm…I may be onto something here.

Recently I’ve started to turn my Gelli Plate monoprints into handmade mini Art Journals. You can read about that here. When I found myself short of a page or two, I used one of my “inked off” sheets, and found to my surprise that the results were very, very interesting and exciting.

So, as Serendipity would have it, I now find myself Gelli printing more and more papers, and at the same time having fun “inking off” more papers. I “ink off” both sides of my paper, because I know they’ll be used to make more mini Art Journals, so both sides have to be painted. I’ve also stopped overthinking my designs and I don’t even plan what stencils I’m using next, or where I’m placing them, or even if they’re crooked. I just “go for it”!

I’ve always been fascinated by handmade books, and in the past I’ve dabbled in bookbinding, so making up these mini Art Journals marries my love for 3 things now – Gelli Plate printing, mixed media and bookbinding.

Oh, and add to that Serendipity (I just love happy accidents and randomness) and I’m a very happy bunny! :-)

Here are some of my Serendipity prints:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image