Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dendritic Mono-printing

In keeping with my plan to watch more art videos and less news, I came across a video by Cat Hand on dendritic mono-printing, which sounds way more complicated than it is.  The technique is basically this:   spread a fairly thick layer of acrylic paint between two sheets of glass,  smoosh  the glass together, then carefully lift the top piece of glass off and  place a piece of paper over the painted surfaces to lift prints.  Cat has also done this using sheets of acrylic instead of glass with similar results.

Two colors of blue acrylic paint spread onto glass.  I used glass from cheap photo frames.   If you've done Gelli printing, you'll notice that this technique uses a pretty thick layer of paint, not the brayered thin layer for Gelli printing.

Here is another color combo, sandwiched between two pieces of glass.  I only had these two different sizes, and it was an emergency to try this out, so made do with what I had.  Once the top piece of glass is on, press pretty hard all over the surface to make sure you have good contact contact with the paint .  You will be able to see the pattern begin to emerge in the paint  - so cool.

The hardest part of this is lifting off the top piece of glass without smearing the paint.  You can just see the metal palette blade I used to pry up the top - still a bit tricky.

As soon as you lift off the top piece of glass, you can see the dendritic pattern in the paint.   This branching pattern is everywhere in nature - tree branches, leaf veins, river deltas, neurons, and blood vessels. There's a whole lot of math involved in how this happens that I don't pretend to understand!

So now you have two pieces of glass with patterned paint.  Place paper (I used card stock and some French dictionary pages) on the paint and lightly rub over it to make sure you have good contact.  If you rub too hard, you'll obliterate the pattern.   I was able to get two good prints off each piece of glass. Carefully lift off the paper to see the magic:

Like Gelli printing, it's hard to stop once you start.  Each piece is unique - I love the combination of pattern and white space.   In some I see leaves, others look like corral - so much fun!  These will make great backgrounds.   I used one to make a simple sympathy card:

And couldn't let the paint left on the glass go to waste, so I swiped some tags through for playing with later.

And just like that, another obsession is born.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Finally Made a Junk Journal!


My desire to remain sane is in conflict with my desire to remain informed,  so I have adopted a new strategy - more art videos, less TV news.   To that end, I've been watching videos about making junk journals.   This one by Jolanda a.k.a. Jopke finally pushed me to try making one.  If you haven't checked out her videos, you must- she does such beautiful work.

Junk journals are journals made with stuff you have in your stash - bits of paper, ephemera, envelopes, tags - whatever.   The journal can be used for journaling, as smash books , for grocery/to-do lists - whatever.  

Time to dive in and try my hand at making one.   This isn't a step-by-step tutorial , just some of the things I did to make mine.

Lots of the videos I watched started out with using chipboard boxes for the cover  - like cereal boxes.   The beauty of using a box  is that the spine is already there.  I used a brownie mix box


I rarely do any precise measuring and this project was no different.  I just hacked the box down to the approximate size I wanted.   I did fold in the edges to make them more rigid, although I've seen plenty of videos that don't do this.  I also reinforced the spine with a piece from one of those return postcards that fall out of every magazine.  I glued everything down with Aileen's Tacky Glue and held it down with bulldog clips until dry.

Next, covering the cover - I used a paper placemat.

Folded in the edges and glued it down with gel medium.

 I forgot to take a picture, but glued some paper on the inside of the cover to hide the raw edges as you can see in the finished book.

Now, for the pages.   I went through my stash to find things that would work.  I wanted to use a variety of papers- scrapbook, text, craft, music ,  so there is no real theme going on!

I did measure here to make sure the pages would fit inside the cover.  I made one as a template and cut out the rest.   You can go shorter/ thinner than the cover, but not bigger unless you want the pages hanging outside.

Once the pages were assembled, I punched out three holes in each, using the template shown below.

Here are a few pages (already sewn in):

Gelli prints and under paper

Some stenciling and stamping.

This was fun - a little pamphlet (on the right) from one of my Flow magazines got chopped up, glued, and made its way in !

I made 3 groups of pages (signatures) with 8 pages in each signature.  

Then came the scary part - sewing the signatures into the spine.   I used a simple 3 - hole pamphlet stitch method.  There are lots of great how-to videos- my favorite is Johanna Clough's.   Really, this hardly qualifies as sewing - in one hole, out the other - yet oddly terrifying !   Once I started, it was really easy .  

This is what I used - a Martha Stewart punch, pearle  cotton run over beeswax and a large blunt needle.  I made a template (thanks for the tip, Jopke) of where I wanted the holes on the spine and on the pages.  Three signatures, three rows of holes.    Again, I just eyeballed the placement, but did use a ruler to make sure the holes were more or less lined up.  Check out the how-to videos I've linked for details.

Not gonna lie, I did a happy dance when I saw this !

Signatures actually sewn in and didn't fall out - yippee !  I felt like Sally Field, "I made a book!  I really made a book!"

I finished my journal with a closure - punched a hole with my Crop-a- Dile (thank you, Shiela) and added a white rivet and green ribbon.

 I'm pretty happy with my first attempt.   Some lessons learned:

*  A few of my pages were really thin paper , so the holes tore a bit as I sewed them in.

*  I think my punch was too big, so next time will try an awl.

*  Keep track of top / bottom - I sewed one signature in upside down !

*  Not sure the beeswax was necessary.

A new obsession is born - I see every box as a potential book cover.    Now, about that brownie mix....

Friday, January 27, 2017

Canvas Rescue

Finally finished this small canvas.   Like many of my projects, this one ended up far from my original plan.    I started out full of hope - glued down some wooden arrows, including a stir- stick from our stay at the Bellagio, and covered it all with a coat of gesso.

Then things veered off track quickly.  I sprayed on some Dylusions ink , then some Distress inks.  The color wasn't right, so sprayed on some water.   Lesson - all those water-based sprays react with water and the color washes away.   After several spray, blot, spray cycles, I wasn't  happy with the colors/ coverage and the canvas went into Witness Protection.

Last week I brought it out and learned an important lesson - sometimes you just have to plow through the bad stuff.   I dabbed on some acrylic paint, added some white stenciled text  and black paint splatters.  

I glued down some torn pieces of Ideology Melange tissue paper by Tim Holtz .   This paper has a smoother finish than regular tissue paper and doesn't tear easily.   I love the graphic and the transparency that allows base colors to show through.

I tried a new to me technique  using Distress Crayons to make the blue splatters  around the butterfly.     Load a paintbrush with water , and while holding the crayon close to the canvas, flick the brush across the crayon.  This makes finer specks than paint and a fan brush and also allows better control.   I was able to go all around the butterfly , making an outline of blue splatters.  There is the added benefit of some waxy texture along with deep color.

Of course, some projects that go off the rail end up in the trash.  Sometimes nothing can save a disaster, but I'm glad this canvas was a rescue success.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vintage Book DIY

Now that Christmas and New Year projects are finished, time to tackle some other things that have been on the to-do list.   I've seen painted books all over Pinterest and have had my eye on this stack from an end table:

I like using old books as decor, and love the designs on these, but not all the dark colors.  Time to lighten things up!

This is a pretty simple project - I just started painting the books with gesso until I got the coverage I wanted.   I wasn't going for total coverage, just enough to knock-back all the dark color.   A word of warning - not quite sure what is in the red pigment, but it took several coats of gesso, a couple of coats of black gesso and then more white, to banish the pink that kept bleeding through !  It probably would have worked better with non-water based mediums.

After the gesso dried , I sanded a bit to highlight some of the detaining.

I've  had a chipboard book in my stash for ages and decided to add it to the group.   Same treatment - a couple of coats of white gesso and some sanding to distress it.

Now on to adding some details.   I stamped a small flourish on the top of  books with black Stazon.   I tried stamping along the spine, but couldn't get a clear image as it was hard to make full contact.    Instead I glued on pieces of Tim Holtz tissue paper and knocked back the black with a light coat of gesso.

Loving my shabby -chic books.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Year of the Doodle Finale

This book by Dawn deVries Sokul may just be the best $12.00 I've ever spent.    I met my goal - do something for every day - doodle,  collage, lettering .   Is every one a masterpiece?   Hardly.   Some were so bad I had to totally cover the mess and start over, others rated only a "meh", and a few that turned out better than expected.  I stretched my doodling skills, and realized I need lots more work on lettering.

The binding on this book is nothing short of amazing:

My Year of the Doodle is on the right and started out the same size as Art Doodle Love.  I have collaged, painted, added button edges and generally stressed the binding which is still holding together despite unspeakable odds.

This  over-stuffed book makes me happy whenever I look at its wavy pages, tabs, threads and buttons.

A few last pages to share:

This is an amazing mandala stamp.  The stamp has straight edges, so I continued the design to soften the edges.

I was surprised how many ruler tapes and stickers I found in my stash ! The bird and most of the background on the right is a napkin.

I love using old envelopes.

I've been decluttering my stamp stash and found this cute house stamp I'd forgotten I had.

This was fun - I used a little green tomato to stamp these apples.

December was easy  - used up lots of Christmas bits and pieces from my stash.   I drew the tree with different color Distress Stickles.

The festive birds were salvaged from a card stamped by my friend, Shiela.

Background is from Doodle in French by Anna Corbin - drew on the dress form and added fabric stickers and some rub-ons.  Audrey is the crowning touch!

I'll miss my daily challenge , but luckily I have a brandie-new, pristine Art Doodle Love to start.

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