Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bonfire Night ATCs

These cards were made for last year's Bonfire Night/Halloween ATC swap, but they never made it to the blog.

The firework photos, were taken by a friend and are the star of the show!  These photos make up the backgrounds of the cards and each one is different.

The Houses of Parliament image is a rubberstamp from an Artemio set of clear stamps called London Landmarks.  Stamped onto copier paper with permanent ink, the image was coloured with grey watercolour, allowed to dry then cut out with a craft knife.  An image of Parliament was produced for each ATC and they were stuck to the firework backgrounds with PVA glue and weighted under some books between waxed paper, until dry.

Copies of the old poem "Remember, Remember, the fifth of November.  Gunpowder treason and plot......" were typed out and printed onto light card, ripped around the edges, scrunched and aged with Distress Ink in a brown colour. These were mounted with some dimension on each of the cards allowing the fireworks to be seen clearly.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Trick or Treat? Halloween ATCs

This month's ATC swap theme is Halloween. 

With no Halloween themed stamps or papers in my stash, I had to get a little creative.  I had a look through my stamps and picked out a few that I thought might work and fit in with the theme, along with a few other bits and bobs; some black tissue tape, Distress glitter, Glossy Accents, a black fineliner pen, gelli printed card with orange spots, purple and orange card, purple spray ink and orange Distress Ink.

I prepared the background for each card with a base of purple or orange card and then did a little paper blending with some gelli printed dotty card in an orange colour, and plain purple and orange card.  Strips of the different card (ripped, rather than cut) were randomly stuck over a base card of ATC size.  This was followed with a few thin coats of gesso, allowing to dry between coats.

The dried cards were coloured with a spray ink in purple by Ranger and orange Distress ink, applied using foam. 

Stamps from a number of different companies were used for these cards, including Crafty Individuals, Stampers Anonymous, Artemo, Papaer Artsy, Hero Arts, Joanna Sheen, IndigoBlu and Kaisercraft. Some of the stamped elements were directly on the card, creating the background, others were added over the top as embellishements and focal points.

A strip of black decorated tissue tape was stuck the cards and a skull and crossbones was stamped in the background of all of them.  The head of a cat appears in some of them too.

Faux bleaching on the skull
The winged skull was done by stamping the skull in permanent ink,  masking it and stamping the wings over the top.  I then used one of my favourite techniques - faux bleaching,  removing the background colour below the wings and the skull with a wet paintbrush, getting rid of the colour onto tissue and repeating until the desired 'bleached' effect is reached.  You see some staining from the inks, especially as the inking was done onto gesso, which 'grabs' the colour, but that all adds to the effect.  Some Distress glitter was added to the wings.

After randomly stamping flourishes around the edge, the card was finished off with a bright orange 'trick or treat?' banner.  These were used to embellish each of the cards and were made by stamping the frame image in dark ink onto orange card, seeing where they would fit into the composition of each card and trimming off the excess.  Trick or Treat? text was added by hand.

I always thought this 'gentleman' stamp looked a bit sinister, great for a halloween card and he became the focal point of this one.  Stamped onto glossy card with black Staz On and cut out, any white bits of card still showing were coloured with brown Distress ink, using foam. 

The background was a collection of stamped images; a wrought iron gate and keep out sign, along with the skull and the head of a cat.  The skull was again faux bleached, as was the cat, but this was then painted with grey watercolour paint.  On this card the trick or treat banner was placed to the left of the card.

The gentleman image was mounted onto the centre of the card with PVA glue and black colouring pencil was scribbled around the edge to give it some dimension.

You can clearly see the texture gesso can give

The background on this card came out really well with the spray colour, there is also some bubbling up of the gesso where the heat gun (used to dry the gesso) was applied too long, which I quite liked.  The background was finished with a 'sketchy' stamp around the top edge.  The skull and cat went on this one, bleached and coloured as before.

The lanterns were from a Chinese stamp set, stamped onto orange card, in black ink, cut out, then pumpkin type decoration was applied with a black fine liner pen.  They were finished off with Distress glitter smeared over the top of each lantern, before being stuck onto the card.  A permanent marker pen was used to draw the wire and lantern hooks.


The background was prepared as with the other cards, the main element of this card is the poison bottle flower vase, stamped onto purple card and covered in glossy accents.  The flowers were stamped onto orange card, cut out and highlighted with Distress glitter.  The stems were made from a thin sliver of black card. 

Once the glossy accents on the bottle was dry, the stems were fixed to the back and it was positioned onto the card, followed by the then the flowers.

Glossy Accents - it really is glossy!

The background was prepared like the other cards, with the addition of the moon in the top corner. The ink in that corner was removed with water and some kitchen paper and a circular mask was prepared with a Post-it note.  Orange Distress ink was applied into the top corner over the top of the mask.  The mask was removed to reveal the moon and a little orange ink was applied through the moon to create a moon shadow.
Eerie moon and spooky eyes

A tree branch stamp was stamped in permanent ink a few times directly onto the background  to create a perch for the owl.  The owl was stamped twice in permanent black ink, once on purple card, once on orange card.  The image of the owl in purple was cut out and eyes were cut out from the image on orange card, along with a little triangle of orange card for the beak.  Spirals were drawn freehand in the large eyes of the owl, these were mounted dimensionally and highlighed with clear Distress glitter and Glossy Accents.  Finally the owl was mounted on the card with glue.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Gelli Print ATC

The challenge from Fun with ATCs this time is 'Clean and Sample', I cut an ATC from a gelatin monoprint.  No embellishments, no matting and layering, no more inks or stamping - Clean and Simple.

Clean and Simple ATC

Red, yellow and blue acrylic paint was applied to the centre of the Gelli plate and the colours were blended using a large brayer.  A circle mask was placed on the plate over the paint, a piece of coated card was placed over the top, burnished, then removed.

The first print
The mask was then removed and another print was taken directly from the Gelli plate, this print was used for the card.

Close up of the second print used for the ATC
I love the interesting details you get in the circles where the mask is lifted and every print is different.

Friday, 20 September 2013

SAW 2013 ATC Swap Gallery

Our Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap during Sherwood Art Week was a great success again this year. 

This is the second year for the swap and hopefully it will run again during Sherwood Art Week 2014. 

We had a real mix of mediums including photography, fabric, printmaking and papercraft, even a bit of mini-knitting.  Artists made ten cards each and a random swap was carried out after a networking event where we got to enjoy everyone's efforts.

Here are some of the cards made for the swap, including some close-ups........

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fun With ATCs - Stripes

Fun with ATCs theme this time is 'Stripes'.

The windmill stamp (Claritystamp) is a great image and is full of stripes so I thought it would be perfect for this piece.  The windmill also set me off with the colour scheme, although it's probably not authentic Delft blue!  The image was stamped in Versafine permanent ink and coloured partly in Distress Markers

I created a background of stripes in dfferent shades of blue using Distress Markers and a rubber stamp stripe made from off-cuts from a sheet of red rubber stamps.

I save loads of these off-cuts in different random shapes, they come in really useful for backgrounds and it seems so wasteful throwing them away.

The background was wrapped in torn vellum and the main windmill image was secured with foam pads.

An embellishment was added, made from a brad blank (Papermania) and a tiny laser cut tulip coloured blue.

I know I am only supposed to submit one entry to the ATC challenge, but couldn't resist, I just had to make another one - this time in landscape.  I think I like it better!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Learning to Brayer with Ink

Ah, the humble brayer! 

What could possibly be so difficult about using one?  Well, you wouldn't think it was all that difficult at all when watching others get perfect airbrushed looks with a few spins of an inked up brayer.  I was convinced that much like other new crafting equipment I just needed a few goes, a little bit of practice and voila!

However, frustrated with all my attempts, my brayer was resigned to flattening down and removing air bubbles while sticking papers to book boards.  Very useful it is too but now covered in glue, so totally useless to ink up with, unless I'm going for a textured look.

So, what's the problem?  I get stripes where I don't want them, uneven blotchy and patchy ink, I don't seem to be able to blend colours, I have also managed to pick up texture from the work surface and transfer it to my work.  The process of inking the brayer was also a problem as most of my ink pads are much smaller than the brayer - it's virtually impossible to ink up a brayer evenly with a dewdrop ink pad.  Even with a larger ink pad I often end up inking the table in the process.

Signing up to a workshop with Clarity, I was hoping to learn a few brayering tricks.  Thankfully my workstation tools on the day included a brayer!  It also included a Sploge Mat, which I had been hearing lots about.......

Inking up the brayer using the revolutionary Sploge Mat meant no streaks on the roller and as ink can be applied directly to it, you can use any size and shape ink pad.  

Removing excess ink onto a piece of scrap paper allowed me to build up the colour gradually and gave a much more even finish.  Applying the ink by gently spinning the roller (with no real pressure) starting off the actual work on scrap paper and moving diagonally across the piece prevented lines picked up from the side of the card and gave an even application of ink.

Following the instructions in the class it was obvious that two of my main problems with this technique was having too much ink on the brayer and pressing down too firmly.

I was pretty pleased with my final brayered pieces on the day, althought they weren't perfect they were much better than anything I had ever attempted before.

Using Clarity card, which has a coating that allows ink to stay on the surface a while before drying allowed much better blending, especially when using two or more colours - although it can be a challenge for an impatient stamper!  Most of the card in my stash is non-coated or the coatings are designed to soak up the ink and give a beautifully smooth surface to stamp on, so this could also explain to my previous rubbish attempts at brayering.
I have been practicing and experimenting since getting home, with a Sploge Mat and different types of card stock.  These images were going to end up as ATCs but changed my mind! I still like the way they turned out using different coloured dye ink cubes by Stampin' Up! and I'll use them for something else.

A few tips that have helped me brayer;
  1. Get yourself a Speedball brayer and a Splogemat.
  2. Be prepared, with a stash of scrap paper.
  3. Apply dye ink directly to the Splogemat and ink up the brayer from that.
  4. When inking up from the Splogemat, roll the brayer in one direction rather than backwards and forwards on the mat. 
  5. Remove any excess ink onto a piece of scrap paper.
  6. If you need to stop what you are doing, turn the brayer over and rest on the bar.
  7. Clear your work space of any little scaps of paper, glitter etc. that could stick to the brayer.
  8. Place a piece of scrap paper behind your work.
  9. Gently spin the roller over the edge of your work starting on the scrap paper and work your way onto the piece.  Don't press on with any pressure.
  10. Build up the colour gradually.
  11. Experiment with different card stock and find the right card for you.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Black White Red - Fun with ATCs

This is a single ATC I put together for the Fun with ATCs blog.  Rather than an actual ATC swap you just post pictures of your ATC via your blog.

The theme this time is Black, White, Red.  These colours always say 'Oriental' to me and one of the first stamps I ever bought (Judikins at Stamp Addicts) is a lovely image of a Japanese lady, which I never get tired of using in different projects and I thought it would be perfect for this.

A limited colour palette here and a simple card layout, so I didn't use too many bits and pieces; red dye ink, black pigment ink, embossing ink, along with some clear embossing powder, red water colour paint (from Inktense blocks by Derwent), a red fine liner pen and just three stamps.

The main watercoloured image was cut out and teamed up with a background of cherry blossom (Claritystamps), highlighted with red pen.  The card was also lightly coloured with red ink around the edges using foam.

As an embellishment, a symbol meaning beauty (stamp from Muji) was stamped and clear embossed, cut out, then coloured with red dye ink.  The clear embossing acts as a resist.

The main image and embellishment were fixed to the card with dimensional glue.