Category Archives: Techniques

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

Another Handbound Juicy Journal

This is just a follow-up on my last post, where I explained the process of handbinding my art journal, that I call a “Juicy Journal”. In my previous post, I mentioned at the end that I would try a version with the inner long stitch lengthened further, and with more weaving along the spine. Both for strength and aesthetic.

This is the spine of the Juicy Journal from my previous post.

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As you can see, this binding is based on 4 equidistant holes in the spine of the journal.

Here now is the spine of my newest handmade Juicy Journal, with the lengthened and strengthened spine.

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You can see how the black twine has been woven into the spine of the Juicy Journal, and forms quite a substantial part of it. I like this better, so I might do a few journals using this technique.

Here are some pages from my newest handmade Juicy Journal. I used metallic and white paint for my favourite alphabet and number jumble block stamps this time. And I played with making shapes out of the stamps, by selectively inking (dabbing paint onto) parts of the stamp and leaving other parts uninked. This goes with the theme of circles that runs throughout the pages.

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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?):

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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.
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

Artist Inspiration : Melissa McCracken

Artist with synesthesia paints music on canvas. I came across the vibrant abstracts of Melissa McCracken on an article in My Modern Met that appeared on my Pinterest feed. Having heard of synesthesia before during my University days studying Music, I was curious to find out more.

People with the rare condition called Synesthesia can not only hear Colour, they can also feel and even taste them. Words, numbers, even feelings have colour. Music to a synesthete or a person with synesthesia, appears as moving swirls of colour splashes. It’s hard to imagine, and it must be very confusing for some people who have the condition. Or maybe not, I can’t tell because I don’t have the condition and can’t put myself into the shoes of those who do. I don’t see it as a disability, just like I don’t consider dyslexia a disability either…it’s just the way some people’s brains are wired. It’s what makes us all unique as human beings.

Melissa McCracken has taken her condition to a higher level, and paints colourful, bright abstracts on canvas. Her paint splashes, runs, drips, etc literally burst off the page.

 Here’s the link to Melissa’s website, and below is an excerpt from her front page, where she explains her condition and how it affects her:

“I paint music. 

Until I was 15, I thought everyone constantly saw colors. Colors in books, colors in math formulas, colors at concerts. But when I finally asked my brother which color the letter C was (canary yellow, by the way) I realized my mind wasn’t quite as normal as I had thought. 

 Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the “wrong” sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful “brain malfunction” of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.

Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. It adds a unique vibrance to the world I experience.”

To fully appreciate how Melissa’s Art ties in with the Music she hears, start with her website, where you can click on the “Listen” button next to each piece, to perhaps “hear” the colours.

But here are some of my favourite Melissa McCracken artworks, which I admire for their energy and vibrancy.

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GRAVITY

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LUCKY

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SEEMS SO LONG

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JOY IN REPETITION

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IMAGINE

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AT LAST

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.

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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:

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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.