Welcome to my creative online journal

Thursday 14 May 2015

Art Journaling Process

One of the problems I have when thinking of things to create is that fear of wanting everything that I finish making to be 'right'.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but I do really like to be proud of the items that I make.    They need to be (in my mind) finished and 'as good as they possibly can be.' This view was changed for me when, amongst other things, I came across this video by Tammy of Daisy Yellow.  

What she says, that makes a great deal of sense, is to just enjoy the process.  When you are making your Index Card a Day (ICAD) (a Summer art venture run by Tammy that I have done for two years running in the past and highly recommend) you don't need to get hung up on the end result, just immerse yourself in the exploration of your materials, the technique you are trying out, whatever it is, just enjoy carrying out whatever the creative activity is.

So, I thought I'd have a go at it and what better time to try it than with my latest 'Art Technique to do NOW', Art Journaling.  I happened to have bought myself a small art journal from Ryman's the stationers recently.  The paper size is 6"x4" so it made it very similar to doing an index card.

For my first page I thought I'd go back to a technique I did on an index card a while back.  This was the card I made then:
The problem I had was that I couldn't remember how I created it!  I'd originally got the technique from an old Craft Stamper magazine and didn't know where it now was.  I do remember that I used baby wipes and water soluble oil pastels.  So I made a start by laying some colours down:
I wasn't sure if I was meant to overlap the colours?  I had a feeling I should, so did...in places.. 

I also remembered that to get the circles I wiped the baby wipe through a stencil:
But the pastel marks still showed so I smoothed them with the baby wipe too.  The result wasn't looking much like the example above:
So I then 'enjoyed the process' (!) and threw anything and everything I had to hand at it. It is now a title page for the rest of the book:
'A Place to Create for the Fun of it'.

I still wanted to do a page that was like my original index card, so I laid down some more colour, overlapping a little more this time and then simply scratched into it using a stencil and an embossing tool.
...And I did enjoy the process (together with the end result!), but I must see if I can locate those original instructions...

My next 'NOW' art activity is going to be Collage, so hope you can join me soon,
Creative Flourishes

Friday 8 May 2015

Gelli Printed Matchbook Notebooks

I am still progressing with my 'arts and crafts to do NOW' list (see previous posts) and the next activity on my list was Gelli Printing. 
Just a few of the many pages that I made this time.

To make the textures I used objects I found around the house.  The circles on the matchbook notebook on the very top left picture (in orange and yellow) were actually made with a shower suction mat that I (purposefully) bought from TK Maxx to use for this type of printmaking.

When I completed my gelli printing I decided that I wanted to layer them even more.  I love seeing elements of previous textures and colours peaking through. The problem I had was technical.  How do I get my top layer to only cover the parts I want it to without obliterating the interesting bits of the previous layers?  So, rather than gelli printing another layer on top (which I could have done if I'd thought about it a bit harder) I spread some paint directly from the tube on to my craft mat and spread it on to the print with a spatula.  This meant I could control where the paint went and how much.  Finally, I wiped it around with a baby wipe to cover a wider area.

I was wondering what I could do with the prints I had made when I remembered this book I had got (also from TK Maxx), which has some great ideas of things you can make with a small amount of paper or indeed, just an envelope!

 So, using their instructions and template I decided to make these matchbook notebooks.
The gelli prints were stuck on to thin card for the covers and pages of thin paper were stapled together for the inside.  Reading the instructions in the book, it said to sew buttons on to the front so you can then wrap string around to make closures (see picture).

Well, I found myself some appropriately coloured buttons and then discovered that they didn't have shanks on their backs to wrap the string around.  So I improvised:
I cut a hama bead in half with scissors (this was remarkably easy to do) and stuck each of the halves on to each of my buttons with a plastic glue.  I also used the plastic glue to stick the buttons on to the notebook and also to add beads on to the ends of the string.  This picture shows the back of the books:
The books are very small (just 5 x 3.5cms) and a bit delicate with the buttons, but useful for a quick note or quote and they make a useful emergency gift.
Hope to see you next time when I will be showcasing my next list item, Art Journaling.

Creative Flourishes

Friday 1 May 2015

Encaustic plus Pixlr

So, moving on in my 'Art & Crafts List to do NOW,' I did indeed get on with the next one on my list, Encaustic.  The one thing I was hoping wouldn't happen when carrying out this craft did - and that was to burn myself.  I was doing very well until it came to clean up time when I momentarily glanced away from the iron that I was cleaning with a piece of kitchen roll - and promptly burned a little blister into my palm - ouch!

Before that I was quite enjoying this craft and found it relatively easy.  This, I have to admit, was greatly  helped by the fact that I had watched a beginner's guide to abstract encaustic earlier on in the day.

I initially thought encaustic meant embedding things into wax, which would have meant putting my much neglected Melting Pot into use - but when I checked online, I found it was more to do with layering and  'painting' with coloured waxes.

A very, very, long time ago I bought a set of encaustic waxes, together with some glossy card and a travel steam iron.  This was around the time that it first became popular.  More recently, I was able to add to the wax collection when I spotted some in a local charity shop.  I tend to use my materials with more abandon when I know I have a plentiful supply.  It's when they are limited that I tend to be more cautious and 'keep it for that special project' that never seems to happen... 

As I was a beginner (again! the first attempts were so very long ago!)  I decided that abstract was the way to go.  Maybe I will move on to landscapes at a later date, when my wound has healed....
Simple materials needed, glossy cardstock, colourful waxes, kitchen roll and an old iron (preferably non-steam but I didn't use the steam facility).

I used the techniques shown in the above youtube video which meant smoothing down the wax on the iron and then quickly swishing it across the paper.  Lifing up the iron created those lovely organic tree like marks.
You could avoid getting the outline of the iron by using an iron more suited to the purpose, the type with interchangeable heads. 

The difference between now and when this product first came out is that you can now alter your finished 'painting' simply by using various photo manipulation techniques onto your scanned masterpieces. This simple technique just wasn't available to us then.   For this my go tos at the moment are Pixlr or the free version of Picmonkey.

This was my first attempt, which was fair enough in green...
...but lets see what it looks like without colour:
This piece was my ultimate favourite as I think it looks like a galactic waterfall.
And altering the contrast made the colours 'pop'.
 Oh, I forgot to mention, I worked on a craft mat with strong cardboard underneath to protect the kitchen work surface.  The mat ended up getting very messy!
Back soon with my next 'NOW' craft which I've just checked is Gelli Printing.  I have done some of this  recently, but you can never do enough of gelli printing, can you...?

Thank you for getting through this very long post and for stopping by today,
enjoy your bank holiday weekend (those of you in the UK),
and I'll see you soon,
@Creative Flourishes

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