We’re well into the beginning of a new year and it’s taken until now for me to get back to writing again. As with any new year I’ve spent the time planning and preparing for any new challenges this year might bring as well as reflecting on the events and non events of last year.
2021 was another year of highs and lows but despite them all I have great hopes going forward. I’ve spent time recently tidying the studio which turned out to be an excercise in re-discovering things I’d completely forgotten about. For instance, I came across a box of lino cutting supplies which had been sadly neglected. I cleaned it out, threw away a few bits of manky dried out rubber, and after rearranging the tools back in their little holder I had the urge to have another go at it. The bottom of the box produced a few earlier fails but on the whole I’ve had a positive experience carving stamps. As I’ve been organising some workshop dates for 2022 and deciding on themes I think it might be nice to get the Mosaik group interested in stamp carving too. It’s a good reason to get back into it again anyway and It’ll be a nice complement to their mini books and scrapbook pages. The whole set is looking far too clean don’t you think?
Getting rid of things has helped me to thin out my shelves so now I can actually see what I have. It makes for a much more calming space now. I didn’t really need a box full of pipe cleaners and sparkly green bobbles anyway! It’s off to the recycling for me and time to break out the smelly candles and relaxing music!
Embracing the fails
The month of January has been Image Transfer month for the Messy Monday group on Facebook. Along with its members I’ve been demonstrating a few of my own hints and tips for making transfers on the gel plate. This is one technique where luck plays a big part in how well you can get a good transfer as well as lots and lots of practice. I think as a demonstrator I felt a huge amount of pressure to produce perfect prints every time which in reality I wasn’t getting, or at least it didn’t feel that way to me. I keep telling the group not to give up on their fails because anything can be salvaged so I think I should practice what I preach and stop being so negative. Once I stopped being so hard on myself I started to think, it is what it is, my idea of perfection has to come down a bit and… actually I really like my prints, faults and all. So with that in mind I posted in the group the good the bad and the downright ugly because that’s how life is and not everything will turn out the way we hope. I think the group apreciated the honesty so they could stop feeling like their own prints were fails too and embrace the little imperfections.
It’s all very well having a stack of prints but the question is what to do with them? I know this is something the group would be eager to find out so I’ve incorporated a few into some projects which you can see here.
Cropped and enhanced with pencils, pens or paint, they can look so much better.
That’s it for now, I’ll be back soon with some more news from the studio.
What a fantastic weekend just gone. A massive thank you to everyone who came to my workshop on Saturday, it was absolutely wonderful to be back in the salle teaching again after a break of 18 months. Hopefully this is the start of better things ahead.
Leading up to the workshop I had quite a few printing sessions, just to make sure I got it right, so I thought I’d make use of some of the best prints and make a few cards out of them. I rarely give up on a print as even some of the truly chaotic ones can look totally different when they’re cut up into smaller pieces or die cut from.
Here are the prints cut and mounted onto card.
I can’t decide whether to add a small sentiment or leave them blank, it seems a shame to cover up these beautiful prints. I’ve still got a huge pile of prints to cut so I guess that means I’ll have a busy day ahead.
Last week I gave you a little insight into how I use my mini stencils for Paper Pen and Plan. This week I’d like to show you how I use masks like the one’s made for this month’s Sweet Treat boxes.
Masks are just as versatile as stencils. My favourite way to use them is printing on a gelli plate. I actually love the ghost print left behind best because of its grunge factor, but you can get some great results however you use them.
Or how about taking a rubbing with crayons? I’ve used Scribble Stix here for their vibrancy. It’s quite satisfying watching the shape appear, like being seven again!
Of course there’s the obvious way to use them by drawing around them, but if you run out of ideas you could always paint them gold and add them to a collage. I added some black gesso to mine before painting to help the paint stick on the plastic surface but it also helped the gold to pop out more. Here they’re added to a little collage of book paper, teabag and fabric and put onto a gel printed background.
I’m off now for a weekend away in a cabin in the forest. Have a great weekend yourselves and I’ll see you back here next week.
There’s a definite change in the air right now. The garden has noticed it, the forest has noticed it and my attention has wandered towards my upcoming workshop in October, the first one in over a year. The workshop is based around printing with leaves and botanicals so every time I’m out with the dog I end up with a little bunch of interesting things to try out on my gelli plate.
I’m having so much fun printing and actually end up with alot more prints which I truly like. Of course when printing not everything comes out great but even the ones which were a bit of a fail have a place somewhere in my work.
I really think I’ve got the hang of it now, my printing plate is almost permanently out on my worktable and I love using botanicals.
From this latest session spread over a couple of days, I’ve ended up with 19 collage papers, 20 double sided A5 sheets and 29 postcard sized pieces. It’s becoming a bit addictive. The collage papers are ordinary copy paper which were used as clean up sheets or for taking the first print onto. These make great backgrounds or cut up for collage. Sometimes they look so much better when they’re cut up into smaller pieces or die cut from.
I’ll be back next week with news of another project involving gel prints but for now have a good week,