Category Archives: Tutorial

3 Juicy Journals from 2 Sheets of Paper

Ok, make that 2 BIG sheets of paper. 58 x 42 cm each, to be exact. Or 22.5 x 16.5 inches, if you’re Imperial.

For this project, I wanted to create some square Juicy Journals. I decided to lop off 8 x 17 cm from the two 58 x 42 cm sheets of paper that I’d already Gelli printed on both sides. This meant I could then divide the sheets up into strips of 50 x 25 cm. When folded in half, this would give me a booklet 25 x 25 cm square.

From the 2 large sheets, I was able to get 16 strips of 50 x 25 cm, and the leftovers were enough to make another Juicy Journal, not quite a square one though.

image The 8 pieces that I further divided into 2, to get the 16 strips.

image The 16 strips that will be folded in half to create square signatures of 8 pages each. I’m going to bind 2 signatures together, to get 16 pages per Juicy Journal.

image Each signature consists of 4 strips of 50 x 25 cm, folded in half to create 8 pages.

imageI’m using a pamphlet stitch, so I’ll need 3 holes in each booklet.

Basically, this technique is a really simple one, and is an optical illusion. You simply put two 8-page signatures together and sew them using a pamphlet stitch, and then fold the pages back into their respective signatures. The stitches will be hidden within the pages. I could take this a step further and create a hard cover, but I like to show off my Gelli printing, so I’ll leave them naked, so to speak.

imageHere’s how I sewed the Juicy Journal. Stand the 2 signatures you want to join together like in the photo. Open them up and align their holes. Bind all 8 layers together using a pamphlet stitch.

imageSewing the pamphlet stitch.

imageTying the knot to secure all 8 layers together.

imageFold the 2 signatures back to their respective starting points. This technique produces a booklet with a very neat finish at the spine. The stitches are hidden inside the pages.

imageFrom my 2 big sheets of Gelli printed paper, I managed to create 2 square Juicy Journals and 1 not-so-square one (from the leftover paper). That’s the one on the right, with the pamphlet stitch’s final knot showing on the outside.

imageI like the square format and think I might create some more of these. They require a bit more thought in measuring and tearing to size, but the results are very encouraging.

I also like the technique of sewing 2 signatures together, with the stitches hidden on the inside of the booklet. Might make more the same, too.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :-)

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! :-)

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 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.

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.

Australian-inspired Art using Gelli Plate and Masks

Following on from my previous posts, I now have a set of homemade SEAWEED, WAVY STRIPS and BILLABONG BOULDERS masks.

Take 1 rectangular Gelli Plate, some 190 gsm art paper, masks, acrylic paint and a brayer. Now let’s go make Art!

There are several different techniques used here – brayering, rubbing, masking, stencilling, monoprinting.

I wanted to recreate the colours often associated with Australia and her Aboriginal people – shades of red, orange, yellow.

First, I brayered colour onto art paper. I started with a light yellow, laid out in a line, brayered over that with my 4 inch brayer. Laid on a darker yellow, brayered that, blending the colours a bit. Laid on orange paint, brayered that, then red, brayered. Then I laid a stencil (with lots of bubbly holes!) underneath the paper and brayered over that. The rubbing of the brayer over the stencil under the paper created a subtle effect reminiscent of pebbles.

I made up 4 of these, to use as my backgrounds.

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I brayered blue paint onto my rectangular 8×10 inch Gelli plate, and laid some Wavy Strips masks over the plate.

I pulled a print, then removed the masks from the plate using tweezers, and pulled a “ghost print” onto another prepared background paper.
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The first print.

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The “ghost print”.

I used the same method for the Billabong Boulders masks. On 2 of the background papers, I used my bubbly stencil and a pearly white paint to create and strengthen the illusion of pebbles on the left and right of the composition. On one of the papers I used my Seaweed masks.

Here are the results of my experiments.

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Hmmm…I think perhaps sometimes less is more. I really must try my best not to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, in at the same time. Scale it down, girl, pare it back to basics!

For you have plenty of paint and paper, and tomorrow is another day for playing with them. ;-)

More Mask Making – WAVY STRIPS & BILLABONG BOULDERS

Encouraged by the successful outcome of my first attempt at creating my own stencils/masks, (see post here), I had a go at making more masks.

I’d read about using Tyvek for making stencils, but Tyvek it very expensive, when you can get it. My plastic files from KMart cost me $3 for a packet of 6, and they go a long way.

WAVY STRIPS
The Wavy Strips masks are really simple to do. I just used a pair of scissors and cut strips out of my green plastic file. I took care to make the cuts wavy and some parts wider than others.

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I used up all the green plastic, then found myself left with the clear cover part. So I used duct tape to make a simple envelope to house my Wavy Strips masks in. Neat!

BILLABONG BOULDERS
For these masks, I wanted to recreate geographical contours like hills and also represent billabongs (Australian watering holes), boulders and perhaps hint at Aboriginal Dot Paintings.

Using the same technique as for making WAVY STRIPS, I drew shapes on a blue piece of plastic file, and cut them out. I also used up a clear piece of plastic file, so I ended up with lots of circular shapes that could fit into one another, and little and large pebble or egg shapes too.

Notice I’m not precious about cutting exactly along the lines I drew. Accuracy does not matter when it’s organic shapes you’re creating.

Here are a couple of photos of the clear masks just arranged over black paper.
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Here’s a photo of the blue masks:
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Oh, and I made an envelope for them too, using the clear leftover half of the file.

Coming up next – what I did with these 2 masks. Stay tuned!

DISCOVER (4 templates, 12 ways)

I’ve been spending much of my time lately experimenting with Gelli Plate monoprinting. It’s a lot of fun, and some techniques I’ve tried have come out with pretty amazing results. Others, not so. Some I really love and could keep doing again and again, others I am not so enamoured with and won’t try again. As with all Art, you just have to keep experimenting until you hit on something that appeals to you.

One monoprinting technique I learnt and liked on YouTube is this one, by Clarity Stamp.

I made 4 prints using this technique and some stamps. I really liked the torn paper effect and how it reminded me of ancient, crumbly walls newly discovered by some archaeologists.

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I could’ve just gone on and printed more examples using this torn paper technique. But the mobile digital artist in me piped up and said, “Why don’t you try blending photos of those with other photos from your Samsung Galaxy Note 4? You can use the 4 monoprints as templates and generate an entire series of different artworks, with a common theme”.

This was in keeping with one of my main reasons for venturing down the path of real (vs virtual/digital) mixed media – the idea that I could then accumulate enough source material to use as backgrounds for my digital artwork.

And so, using just 2 Apps – Photo Blender and Photo Editor Editor, I followed the suggestion of my inner voice and created these 12 new images, using just the 4 prints that I’d done.

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