Category Archives: Techniques

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)

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One side of the 3 children’s texture plates I used.
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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:

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And some close-ups:

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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! :-)

Pinterest: Cascading Walls, Surges, Virgin Boards

My Pinterest wall showed up a feed with several gorgeous examples of Fractal Art. The way Pinterest works, you share your Wall with your followers and people you follow (similar to Facebook), and your Pins and their Pins appear on the Wall. So, if someone is researching something by using Pinterest’s search facility, and then busy repinning their finds onto their own Boards, those pins will appear on the Wall and anyone can see them.

I’m guilty of doing this quite often myself on Pinterest :-). There’s nothing wrong with doing it, it’s actually how Pinterest has been set up to work. What happens when there’s a “surge” of one particular topic or subject on the Pinterest Wall (I like to call it the Cascading Wall myself, as scrolling down it reminds me of a waterfall, or cascade), Pinners either ignore those Pins if they’re not interested, and scroll down until they reach a more “normal” homogenised patch of Pins, or leave it until other more usual Pins have superceded the patch of Pins and check in later. Or, sometimes out of curiosity, Pinners might go look at one or two of these “surge” Pins…and get hooked themselves. That’s how new Boards get created, when Pinners realise they’ve started pinning so many of those new images that they really should start a new Board.

A “surge” is like a tsunami, it can literally take over the Wall if Pinners are spending hours pinning and repinning images. I’ve sometimes logged into Pinterest and found the Cascading Wall full of nothing but fashion shots of clothes, shoes or handbags. Or of images of jewellery. Or of holiday destinations. Luckily, I’m an eclectic magpie and will often repin even fashion Pins, if the mood strikes me. We all share the Wall, just like we all share this Earth, so instead of beating ourselves up because right now the feed is full of nothing but Media News and Cute Puppies, just either go with the flow, or switch off for a while. No biggie, either way.

I’m an avid Pinner. As a visual person, I find Pinterest is akin to Google Search, but on a visual level. Google Images just doesn’t cut the mustard sometimes, as its search engine algorithm casts the net further and can throw out some pretty strange results. Pinterest’s search is more precise, I find, and depending on whether it’s a popular topic that’s been well researched and Pinned and RePinned or not, you’ll find loads of hits or conversely, hardly any. And if you can’t find it on Pinterest, but it’s on the internet, why then just start up a new “Virgin Board” and link your internet finds to Pinterest that way. Be a pioneer! Other Pinners will appreciate you for it. “Virgin Boards” are very rare, because you and I might categorise the same thing differently, with a gazillion variations, so while you might think there’s no Board for say, the “Abominable Snowman”, you might find examples under “Yeti” or “Sasquatch”, that sort of thing.

(By the way, the terms “surge”, “Cascading Wall” and “Virgin Board” are my own inventions, not terms used by the creators of Pinterest. It’s just how I visualise Pinterest working in my mind’s eye).

Here are some topics that I’ve been guilty of “surging” on Pinterest. My favourite topics, you might say:

1) Monster High custom
2) Italy
3) Pit bulls
4) Fractal Art
5) Assemblage, Altered Art, Steampunk
6) Art Journaling
7) Gelli Plate Monoprinting
8) Warrior Women

I’d started writing today with the intention of sharing images of Fractal Art that I just saw on a Pinterest “surge”…but I think I’d better make that tomorrow’s post instead, as this post is already way long. See you tomorrow! :-)

Oh well, here’s one anyway LOL.

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Gelli Printing with Deli Paper

At last! As part of a job lot I purchased from Interweave (the people behind the mixed media mag Cloth Paper Scissors), I was able to get my grubby paws on the almost-mythical, legendary American “Deli Paper”. The paper that American artists have been waxing lyrical about, pun intended.
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Now, I haven’t yet done a comparison study between our Aussie Greaseproof Paper and the American Deli Paper, but to me they feel pretty alike. I was intrigued by the claim that Deli Paper will become transparent when glued to other substrates. So, let’s take this baby for a spin, on my Gelli Plate.

First, I must share with you the object that inspired this latest experiment. It’s actually a teacup and saucer that The Kid picked out for me from T2 in Perth City. The range is called “She Loves“, and my teacup and saucer are no.633 of a limited edition of 900.

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The wrapping paper it came in echoed the theme, and once I’d painstakingly removed the sticky tape cleanly, said wrapping paper went up on my bedroom wall. I used a couple of Apps on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to edit a photo I took of the wrapping paper, and added slme more colour and texture to it. It is now my Note 4’s wallpaper.

Here it is:
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So, with this colour palette in mind, I decided to play with my new Deli Paper, to put it through its paces and see what all the hype is about.
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As my Gelli Plate is 8×10 inches, and the Deli Papers are 6×10.75 inches, I found the best way to marry the two was to use 2 pieces of Deli Paper. I’d already tested out 2 sheets previously, glueing them onto a large art tag, and making more art tags seemed a good place to start. Of course, in retrospect, I could’ve used all the Deli Paper on my Gelli Plate, leaving some extra paint on the outside of the Plate…but hindsight is always 20/20, right? ;-)

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I deviated from my usual method of Gelli printing, by experimenting with the way I laid my acrylic paints down. Normally, I would work with 1 colour at a time. This time, however, I decided to go for a mixed, ink splashy look, just like on my teacup and saucer. So, this time I squeezed a few drops of 1 colour onto the Gelli Plate, followed by a few drops of a different colour, and perhaps a third colour, before using my brayer to smoosh the colours around. I tried not to mix the colours too much, as I didn’t want to end up with homogenised mud.

So here are the results:
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These are the printed Deli Papers. I’ve put them aside to dry. I also have 4 A3 sheets of paper, printed on both sides, as a result of brayering off excess paints and stencils etc. Because I only used 4 sheets this time, as opposed to my usual 6 or 8, the sheets are super-saturated with all sorts of interesting abstract shapes and colours. I don’t think I’ll be needing to use any or much Dylusion Ink Sprays to fill in the blank spaces, as there aren’t that many blank spaces!

Not sure what I’ll do with all these yet, but watch this space!

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”.

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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).

Mother’s Day Art Abandonment, Rockingham

Castaways” is an annual sculpture exhibition held on the beach in Rockingham, Western Australia. It’s the little sister of Cottesloe’s “Sculpture By The Sea” exhibition held in March each year. “Castaways” uses recycled materials, with a nod towards environmental awareness, and is held in May or June each year.

This year, The Kid and I went to see “Castaways” on Sunday, which also happened to be Mother’s Day. I thought, why not gatecrash the party and add some Art Abandonment into the equation? So we did.

I printed out some Art Abandonment tags onto cardstock. I then experimented with glitter paint mixed with regular acrylic paint, and Gelli Plate printed an A3 sheet of paper using just 1 doily stencil and 1 trivet with circles. I kept it simple, with just 3 paint colours – dark green, yellow and blue. I inked the empty white spaces with a Tim Holtz Distress Inkpad, Picked Raspberries (a ravishing neon pink). I like how the glitter effect turned out, so I’ll be experimenting further with that later.

imageThe glitter paints. They were too transparent to use on their own for Gelli printing, so I mixed them with regular acrylic paint, in dark green, blue and yellow.

imageAt the top are some Art Abandonment tags that I printed onto cardstock and cut out. I Gelli printed an A3 sheet on one side only, and then divided and cut the sheet into 12 pieces, to be adhered onto the Art Tags, then trimmed to fit.

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The bookmarks assembled. On one side is the Art Abandonment tag, on the other side is the Gelli print. I then single hole-punched the tops, to tie hemp twine to later.

imageThe 12 finished bookmarks. I stamped some positive, affirmative words on each card.

And here are some close-ups. Sorry about the light reflecting off the cards, the photos were taken at night under my kitchen lights:
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T2-inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints : Part 3 Assembling the Juicy Journal

Here we are, following on from yesterday’s post. What have we got? A bunch of Gelli Plate printed papers, printed on both sides and torn by hand into equal, smaller pieces, ready to be made into Juicy Journals.

Now to assemble the Juicy Journal. Hmmm…how shall I stitch this one? I have some ideas for new stitches, let’s see if it works.

First, get your gear together:
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Twine, scissors, pen, measuring tape (I can’t find my ruler!), knitting needles (my awl), drawing pin (my other awl for making pilot holes), stack of paper. These are the papers that I “juiced up” earlier in my last post. I have grouped them in couplets i.e 2 pages to a signature…so in that stack are 6 signature couplets.

Here are the 6 signatures, on end. Just to show you how vibrant and colourful they are.

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I marked 4 holes in each of the signatures’ spine. And used the drawing pin to make pilot holes, which I then enlarge using my knitting needle. I’m high tech, like that LOL.
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Now that all 6 signatures have 4 holes, it’s time to bind them together. Remember, it’s all an experiment…and I have no idea how it will turn out. Here goes!

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I’ve decided to bind 2 signatures together, side by side. That will make 3 couplets when the whole journal is assembled.

imageOne couplet done.

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Now to bind all of these together.

image I used black twine for the middle, to join up all the signatures and ensure the top and bottom bindings do not get undone easily.

Here are some close-ups showing the bindings.
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Quite pleased with this, the brown twine knots gives it a rustic look, but I’d rather have a stronger stitch down the middle, not just one on its own.

T2-inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints: Part 2 The Prints with Paint and Inks

Following on from yesterday’s post, here are some of the results of my Gelli Printing, using only a colour palette of shades of pinks, reds, oranges and yellow.

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Previously, I would use all the acrylic paint colours I had, when Gelli Plate printing. I like my colours to sing, like those raucous flocks of cockatoos that fly over my house in the mornings and evenings. My aim when Gelli printing, is to fill every surface of my paper with paint and interesting shapes by using stencils and texture mats. Then the fun really starts, when I pull out my Dylusions Ink Sprays and Tim Holtz’s Ranger Distress Inkpads, and go to town with them.

I wanted to create a contrast, and using the same colour palette with my inks as with the paint would not work. This is where I diverged from my original plan..hey, I’m Divergent! Cool! :-)

So, goodbye WOW-MOM idea, here comes AlyZen’s colourful take! Here’s a photo of the ink sprays and inkpads I used – in shades of blue, green and purple. I also used some shimmery ink sprays, as I like a bit of bling on my artwork.

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I wasn’t sure how this experiment would turn out, but it turned out amazingly good, if I say so myself. I am turning these into another Juicy Journal, so in preparation, I’ve torn my A3 papers into smaller sheets and folded them, before inking over them. I do the preparation and tearing first, so my torn deckled edges get inked too.

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Ok, next up – handbinding these papers into another Juicy Journal. I have thought up a stitch I want to try out, so in my next post you can see how that goes.

T2inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints: Part 1 The Inspiration

I came across T2‘s online advertisement for Mother’s Day, which was a GIF that slowly transformed the word WOW into MOM, over a background of abstract shapes. The colours used for the background were restricted to varying shades of pink, red, orange and yellow.

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I decided I would try creating some Gelli Prints using only those similar colours. Using my newest homewares-sources texture mats. And then, for contrast, using inks from the blue spectrum to fill in the spaces in-between.

So, here are my latest finds from the homewares aisle of local shops, which will create the marks for my Gelli plate prints. These are silicone trivets, a pencil case (yes, really),  felt placemats and a plastic/raffia round placemat.

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And here’s my restricted palette of colours to be used:

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As you can see, I get my acrylic paints from various sources. I like them runny and squeezy, as they’re easier to apply to my Gelli Plate that way. I find the paint in tubes a little too dry and hard to brayer on the Gelli Plate. These tubes are cheap, costing me only around $2-5 each.

Tomorrow I will show the results of this WOW-MOM Gelli Plate Printing experiment.

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.

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

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Artist Inspiration : Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell makes paper sculptures out of books. Amazing! I’ve heard of book art, and then there’s book art a la Su Blackwell. I’d give it a try myself, but I can’t bring myself to cut up books, I love them too much, and besides, I really hate getting paper cuts.

Here’s what Su says about herself, on her website:

”I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculpture, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional diorama’s, and displaying them inside wooden boxes”.

”For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour.”

Paper has been used for communication since its invention; either between humans or in an attempt to communicate with the spirit world. I employ this delicate, accessible medium and use irreversible, destructive processes to reflect on the precariousness of the world we inhabit and the fragility of our life, dreams and ambitions.
Su Blackwell, 2007

Su Blackwell Studio Ltd. was set up in 2011 to work on a variety of projects, commissions and collaborations. The studio comprises of Su (director) and her assistant ‘Emma’.

Su is represented by Long and Ryle Gallery, London.

For more information about Sue, including her biography, and enquiries about commissions etc, please contact Su directly through her website.

Meanwhile, just sit back and enjoy these examples of Su’s superbly creative book sculptures or book carvings (courtesy of Su’s website and Google):

su-blackwell-treasure-island-600x301  6a01157258054a970b0133f294657b970b  Book-Carving-Art-Su-Blackwell-Britain-05  Sue-Blackwell  snow_queen_with_wires_copy2  Unknown1  6818390680_e5ed8380d6  DSC_1440  Unknown  forest_1452521i  snow_queen_with_wires_copy2  spooky-forest_1452518i  city-portrait_1452500i