Sunday, 11 January 2009

Paper Quilt tutorial

I have been asked to do a step by step tutorial for the paper quilts I have been making. These quilts are inspired by Beryl Taylor, and I would recommend her book - Mixed Media Embellishments - to anyone. Her work is much more detailed (and beautiful) than mine, and involves sewing, fabric, and more complicated techniques. I have simplified what Beryl does and translated it from mixed media to paper.

This is my favourite paper for making paper quilts with - it is smooth, heavy, and feels lovely. It also takes inks and paints beautifully, and holds up well to the quilt making process.

Unfortunately, I had run out of my favourite paper and didn't want to wait for mail order, so went looking for a substitute. this is what I found- it is the same weight, but not nearly as smooth, and doesn't take ink, colourwash sprays, or paint quite as well. It did hold up to the process, but it isn't as flexible as my favourite paper....

When I start to make a paper quilt, the first thing I do is decide on the colour. This particular paper quilt is going to be white - an unusual choice for me, as I love vivid colours. I don;t think I can cope with white without any contrasting colour, but I want this quilt to have a 'pure' quality which it would lose if I added a colour, so I have chosen to add touches of gold, which provides contrast and adds to the slightly 'holy' feel I am looking for - gold and white reminds me of churches...

Once I have decided on the colour scheme, I go through my supplies looking for all the bits and pieces I might be able to use. I am trying to use up scraps on these quilts, and long lost and forgotten embellishments, rather than buying anything new. I always end up with a large collection of possibilities, of which I will only use a little. Just getting it all out and looking at it always gets me thinking about how the quilt will look. Here are the things I spread on the table this time....

Brads & eyelets - if I had not almost run out of small round gold brads there would have been more of them on the finished quilt, but I only had 3!!!

Fabric flowers, beads and shells. At this point, I thought I would use the shells, but in the event, I didn't.

Some white picket fence (bought in the US in 2007), some fabrics, some white gauze, some handmade gauze 'paper', and some see through tissue type stuff with gold flecks in it.

A selection of buttons, punches, embossing powder, tags, grungeboard and a wooden stamp.

Some gold thread, pearl trim & ribbon.

A selection of ribbons, lace & trimmings, and some white sticky backed paper ribbon.

Some rubber stamps. I had begun to think I might want a 'harlequin' element in this quilt, so restricted myself to harlequins and some little tiles.

Some air dry clay embellishments and some little white satin flowers and butterflies.

So, I looked at all the supplies and contemplated things. And then I tore 2 sheets of paper out of the pad, and tore them up. I made a wide piece and a narrow piece. I tore very carefully and made sure the torn edges were showing on top of each piece.

I decided I wanted a fancy bottom to this quilt, so measured, drew, and cut a piece of paper the same width as the main section, with pointed scallops at the base.

I cut another piece of paper the same width as the quilt and tore the bottom edge, before running it through the Wizard in a harlequin cuttlebug folder (top left in the picture below). I cut 3 x 2 inch squares and ran those through the Wizard in the same folder (middle left) and finally ran my pointy scalloped edge piece through the Wizard in the tapestry/baroque cuttlebug folder (bottom left). I painted all my base and cut papers with white gesso, as I wanted a chalky finish to the quilt. I also chose two Paper Perfect castings from yesterday's marathon casting session, and painted them with white gesso (right hand side of picture).

I used a Versamark pen to go down the edges of my main and edge pieces, and gold embossed them, then stuck them together with double sided tape.

I gold embossed the torn edge of the top piece and the scalloped edge of the bottom piece, then stuck them to the quilt using double sided tape. I then added a touch of White Fire Treasure Gold to the raised areas of the embossing.

Now I started having fun. I tried various layouts, using the things I'd chosen from my stash. Sometimes this stage takes me quite a long time, sometimes it is quite quick. I never get an idea for the finished article from this, just a basic plan, a kind of framework or template for where I want the main elements to be. I work on the detail later in the process, once I have the framework sorted out. Here are a couple of layouts, which are very different from how the quilt turned out.

From the 2 layouts above, the only thing I really liked was the pearl trim covering the joint, and the elements I thought would go into the final quilt were the little squares at the top of layout 1, the shrine, and the buttons.

I looked at my punches and decided the quilt needed some little flowers, so I punched some out of gold vellum and also out of some baking paper which had caught some gold colourwash overspray.

I added the flowers to the sides of the quilt. If there is something I'd change about this quilt, it's the order in which I did some things - I should have added these flowers right at the end, as all the handling of the piece while I worked on it left these flowers less than perfect!

Then I decided the quilt needed some larger gold paper flowers and white beads at the bottom, and some buttons and gold beads at the top. I have some very fine gold coloured wire (from Rioja wine bottles!) which I used to attach these embellishments, but you could easily sew them on if you wanted. One thing I do is measure very carefully where I place things, and I make the holes in the paper with an awl before starting to attach anything - it makes the sewing or wire threading much easier.

Next, I decided to develop the little squares into slightly more attractive embellishments. Sorry the picture is so fuzzy, my Xmas present camera and I are still making friends. I took a square of the paper which had been run through the harlequin cuttlebug folder, painted with gesso and highlighted with Treasure Gold, a square of some sheer ribbon with a gold design painted onto it, a flower punched from pearlised card, and a small white brad. I punched a hole in the square, and used the brad to attach everything to the square and also to attach the embellishment to the quilt.

I took some more of the sheer and gold ribbon and cut it into strips about 1/4 inch deep and the width of the quilt. I laid one strip just above the pearl trim, and sewed some beads and sequins onto it, which also held it to the paper. The gaps between the sequins looked too bare, so I punched some little flowers from white paper and stuck those on top. Then I added the square embellishments.

I decided that my focal point was going to be a shrine. I had made the Paper Perfect cast using a shrine stamp, and painted it with white gesso, and highlighted with Treasure Gold. I found the perfect image on a Christmas card - an old painting of a mother & children. I gave it a coat of soft gel medium, then a second coat, at 90 degrees to the first. When it dries, you can see the brush marks, and it looks like canvas. If you gently rub Treasure Gold over it, the wax catches the high points. You can still see the image, but if you angle ti in the light, it all looks golden. It's hard to catch on photographs, but you'll get the general idea from the 2 pictures below.

Then I had another play with layouts, and liked the layout below enough to attach everything permanently.

When I was done, it still needed something, so I found a couple of german scrap shooting stars and added those. Here is the finished quilt.

It will be going to its new home in March. I hope the recipient likes it!!!

Paper Perfect embellishments

About 3 years ago, I bought some Paper Perfect. I had seen a demonstration and liked what the demonstrator did. Once I got the pot home, I played a little but the product didn't really grab me. About a year later I did some 'paper casting' with it and liked the results, but lubricating the stamps so it doesn't stick too badly and cleaning the mounted stamps afterwards is a real pain.

I opened the pot this week and saw that mould was beginning to grow on the walls of the pot but not on the product, so decided I had better use it or throw it away. I knew I needed some embellishments for some projects I have planned, so had a marathon paper casting session!

This is what the pot looks like, with a stamp coated in Paper Perfect at the top, a 'naked' unmoulded casting, and a 'finished' cast embellishment.

Here are some of the castings I made. They are hard to photograph, the detail doesn't show well until they are painted. I painted these with gesso, to give me a good base for using other paints later.

The process I use is as follows - ink up your stamps (preferably unmounted) really well with Versamark watermark ink. I have a suspicion that maybe ArmorAll or silicone spray may be an even better way of making your rubber stamps non-stick, but I don't have any to hand so used the Versamark. Dump a spoonful of Paper Perfect onto your stamp and spread it around with a palette knife. It needs to be somewhere between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch (about 2-3mm). Now, put it somewhere warm and dry for as long as you can bear - at least 12 hours and preferably 24 hours. The airing cupboard is a good place, I have a radiator in my craft room which is permanently on, on a very low setting, and I lay them on top of that. They often stick when I try to uncast after 12 hours, but are much easier to unmould and less likely to stick after 24 hours.

Here are some examples of half dry pieces, what a stamp looks like when you've just taken the cast off, a couple of dry casts, and a couple of casts that have been painted with metallic acrylic paints then rubbed with Treasure Gold. Unmounted stamps clean up well if you put them in a bowl of warm water for a couple of hours, mounted are much harder to clean as you can't soak them.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Polymer clay play

Back in the summer, Annie & Karen taught me how to make polymer clay tiles and decorate them with PearlEx, and cooking them in the Melting Pot. I loved the effects, and have been meaning to try it again, but have never managed to find the time to do so. And then today, whilst looking for something else, I came across the Melting Pot and the polymer clay, and let myself get thoroughly distracted !!!

Click on the picture for more detail.

Most of these pieces were made in moulds, with just a few handmade tiles, shapes & letters. Some of the moulds (the lizard, the large oval and the triangle with the rounded corners) are Krafty Lady moulds, and two of those have a ridge halfway down the sides as they are pendant moulds. This way, I can but beading wire of some kind to make a fairly invisible way of attaching them to a chain or cord. Some of the moulds are home made moulds, made from charms and other 3-D items, and some moulds are from the Enchanted Gallery (dragonflies) or from an EBay seller who seems to have stopped making moulds (butterflies).

I dusted the moulds with Pearl Ex, which not only colours the pieces, but acts as a good release agent. I kneaded the black clay - Fimo Soft - until it was easy to shape, then presed it into the moulds. I tried to keep the pieces thin, then unmoulded them onto pieces of silicone coated non-stick baking paper that i had cut to be the correct size to fit in the Melting Pot pan. The tiles, letters and shapes were made by kneading the fimo until soft and plaible, rolling it out thinly (I used lolly sticks either side of the clay, and a paintbrush as a rolling pin!) and then stamping into the clay with a finely detailed flourish/scroll stamp (Tim Holtz Garment District). I brushed the clay with pearlEx and used a polymer clay blade to cut into squares and rectangles, or used little pastry cutters to cut the shapes. I added more Peal Ex here and there to change the colours, the pieces look more effective if there is more than one colour on them.

Once I had made all my pieces and laid them out on the silicone papers, I turned the Melting Pot on, at the highest te,mperature, and placed it on a board on top of the hob, so that the hob extraction fan could suck away any fumes. When Anbnie & Karen did this in the summer, they left the clay peices coooking for about 20 minutes. I sson realised that with my much thinner peices, 10 inutes was enough for most of them. Only the mermaid and the two pendants got the full 20 minutes. I cooked the embellishements above (plus duplicates of many of them) in about 12 batches, which took me about 2 hours.

Some of them looked rather too shiny and bright, so I added Treasure Gold here and there to tone them down a bit (the heart & the pillar).

This technique is really easy, I've had a fun afternoon, and I now have a great stock of gorgeous embellishements in my stash!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Gauzy gesso backgrounds

Back in October 2007, I created some textured black gesso backgrounds, which I used on formica samples to make necklaces:

This is a variation on that technique, which makes a really lovely background. I usually make 3 or 4 sheets at the same time - this means the first sheet is dry enough for the next part of the process by the time I've done each thing to all 4 sheets.

First take an A4 sheet of cardstock, and old brush, some loose weave gauze or lightweight scrim (the kind that's used for bandage wrappings, I found mine on EBay), and some gesso - black or white (or even coloured) - I use Daler Rowney brand.

Cut your gauze into little random raggedy pieces - smallest about an inch by an inch and a half, largest maybe as big as 2 inches by 2 and a half or even an inch by 3 inches. Stretch them and pull them out of a shape a little, so that the edges get more raggedy, and the weave is less even.

Coat some of your cardstock with gesso - about an ATC sized peice - not too thin or too thick, just a generous coat - and drop a piece of gauze on the painted area. Use your brush to dab the gauze all over, embedding the gauze into the gesso. It doesn't matter if the gauze rucks up a little, or if an edge got folded - that's all fine. There should already be enough gesso on your brush to do this, but if you need a little more, then add it.

Repeat with the next section of the cardstock and another piece of gauze, and so on until your cardstock is all black (or white) and has gauze pieces emebdded all over it. Leave uneven open spaces between the gauze - as wide as a couple of inches in places, narrow as 1/4 inch in others. You will have something like this (click on picture to get a better view):

Now you need a stamp. It should be bold, and curly - a flourish, or perhaps something like this:

Take your gesso & gauze sheet, and again working in sections, give it another coat of gesso - this will cover any small unpainted bits you may see in the gauze, and will leave you with wet gesso in the random gaps. Stamp your stamp into the wet gesso in the gaps. The gesso doesn't need to be thick to do this - gesso is expensive, and thick gesso takes ages to dry. The end result will be fine with a thin coat. Lift, and stamp into the next gap.

Keep going until you sheet is coated with wet gesso, and all gaps have been stamped into. WASH THE STAMP. Do not let it dry with the gesso on or you may ruin it. Now you have something like this, if you used black gesso:

Or this, if you used white gesso:

Now add colour. This is a sample to show you how different colours can look on black. I used 9 colours of Treasure Gold wax, applied lightly (as if the surface was hot). The golds and pale colours show up much more than the dark colours. I let it dry for a while and then gave it all a rub with a soft cloth to bring out the shine. Click on the image for a better view.

And this is how the black sheet looks when all the rub on wax is one colour.

If you don't have any Treasure Gold or Rub'n'Buff or wax rub ons, I think you could get a similar effect by dry brshing metallic or interference acrylic paint on, or maybe even swiping the sheet with a versamark watermark pad and brushing the whole sheet with Pearl Ex, which will stick to the ink.

Finally, I sprayed my white gesso sample with a colourwash spray - in this case, Radiant Rain Emerald Isle. It's interesting how the colour disappears as it dries, here's a pic of a wet sheet next to a dry one:

Radiant Rain always looks betterif you use more than one colour, this is how the sheet looked when I'd finished it. I sprayed with Stargazer, which is a lilac ink with a green shimmer. It doesn't change the colour much but it adds to the richness. Finally, I rubbed all over the sheet lightly with Royal Amethyst Treasure Gold:

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Pocket locket

I needed to make something for Pauline on the theme of 'women's faces'. I had all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas, but settled on something simple, and (I hope) elegant.

I bought this large heart shaped locket a long time ago, and have been waiting for the right time to use it. Pauline likes purple, so I gave it a rub with Royal Amethyst Treasure Gold, left it for a while, then polished it with a soft cloth to make it shine.

For the insides, I took some watercolour paper, then stamped the two faces (both Stampers Anonymous stamps) with Ranger perfect medium, then brushed gently with several shades of purple chalks. I then brushed with Plum Perfect Pearls, which gave a lovely shimmer. However, they didn't look quite 'finished', so I gave them a thin coat of soft gel medium, and stamped into it with a detailed stamp. I let it dry, and gave it a very thin coat of White Fire Treasure Gold, using a very light touch, just skimming over the high points. You can't see this on the scan, but it gives it a sort of tapestry look, and you can see the pattern of the stamp I used when you move the locket in the light. Sadly, the coat of gel medium covered up the Perfect Pearl shimmer, but overall it improved the images!

I hope Pauline likes it.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Bird mobile

This is a fun mobile I just created for a swap themed 'birds'. Where would birds be except in the air? The mobile parts are willow twigs with gold embossing powder, and the 'strings' are either tiger tail beading wire or very fine brass wire from a posh Rioja bottle! The birds are all cut from handmade background papers from my 'collection' aka hoard. I made a bird template, plus a reverse template, and cut 20 birds, each from a different paper, then glued them together. I stamped them all with a Stampcamp 'marble veining' stamp and gold embossed them, to bring some cohesion to such a wide variety of papers. I finally added the 'eyes' - small circles left over on a sheet of peel offs.

Here are some close up pictuires of all the little birdies...

I hope Wendy likes it. All I have to do it work out how on earth to package it for posting to her!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Paper quilt for Chrissy

It was Chrissy's birthday in early December. I started making this a few days beforehand in the vague belief that I could at least get it posted by her birthday. And then I was finding it all took more time and thought than I'd anticipated, and Christmas preparations began to intrude. And sometimes I just sat there and looked at it for a while and couldn't see what I should do next.

But finally, I finished it this morning. And I am really pleased with it. I think this is harder to let go of than Maggi's was. So, why don't I make one for myself? Somehow, half the satisfaction is the fact that it is a gift I am making, and I don't know if I could ever finish one for myself, or whether I would be as exacting - I suspect
some 'that will do' might creep in!

Maybe making one of these for me should be my New Year's Resolution....

This is all made from heavy weight watercolour paper, some cut into pieces and some torn, then sprayed with various metallic colourwashes - a combination of Radiant Rain and those from Outside the Margins. I used about half of the papers I sprayed. I never know what shape these quilts will be until I see the papers together - Maggi's was about A4, this one is about 7 inches wide by about15 inches tall.

Some detail of the top section. As you can see, some of the papers were put through Cuttlebug folders in my Wizard after spraying. The fibre down the left was sent to me in a bag of fibres -I wish I could remember where from because it is lovely - 'raw' space dyed fleece threaded through one of the new 'ladder type' synthetic yarns - and I would love some more of it because this was about 3/4
of what I had, but the colours and texture were perfect for this piece.

The small tags on the left were punched from a handmade background (thanks, Trish!), attached with brads, and the little starry things were coloured using alcohol inks, then attached to the tags with different coloured brads. The gold skeleton leaf has a coating of Jo Sonya gold dust, giving it sparkle. The flowers were two layers punched from black/gold pearlescent card, curled using a ball tool, and attached using brads. The elements down the right hand side of the piece are small flowers punched from the same handmade background paper, with small pieces of dark copper organza behind them, again attached with brads. A quick zap with a heat gun curled the organza up into interesting little cup shapes.

The squares above and below the main image are gold plastic sequins - Guterman - attached with gold thread through organza ribbon, with a pearlised cream bead holding the whole thing together. The image is cut from an old calendar page with beautiful images painted by Helena Nelson-Reed. I painted over it with soft gel medium, immediately gave it a second coat at 90 degrees - this gives the effect of it being woven fabric - then added a little more gel at the corners and stamped into it. A very light touching of Treasure Gold wax over the whole thing picks up the high points and gives a lovely effect (thanks for discovering and sharing that, Karen!). the image was mounted onto dark red card, then given a 'frame' of gold embossing powder. Both edges of the side pieces were also edged with gold embossing powder.

The bottom section has 3 squares of the same handmade background, overstamped in Galaxy Gold Brilliance ink, attached with gold thread, with shell buttons sewn on top, the hands are made from air dry clay in Krafty Lady moulds (in Zeb's studio in October '07), painted gold with acrylic paint and then coloured with Treasure Gold Onyxite. Not that I hoard things in my stash, you understand, I just keep things until i find the perfect use for them. Sometimes a long time after I acquire them.

I really enjoyed making this piece, even though it sat on my table for 5 weeks, and I hope Chrissy likes it too.



Please note that I assert myself as the creator of all art on this site (unless I credit another artist) and retain copyright of all artwork posted on this site