Saturday, 20 June 2009


I've been playing with texture on canvas. I've learnt that working on two at a time is a good thing - while you are working on one, the other is drying and vice versa.

I added texture using a range of Golden products - coarse & fine garnet gel, light moulding paste, clear granular gel, pumice gel, fibre gel medium and clear tar gel dribbled on last - that's what makes the raised 'veins' you can see on both canvases. I am learning that as well as adding texture, each of these products takes the paint slightly differently, adding to the textured effects.

Once the canvases have all the textures added, and all the products have dried (several hours, leaving them overnight is easiest for impatient artists!), I added 2 thin coats of raw umber fluid acrylic paint. For the canvas above, I then added interference oxide violet and interference oxide green fluid acrylics. For the one below, I just dabbed a little bronze here and there. The final touch for the backgrounds was to add a little Treasure Gold to the high points - I used Amethyst on the canvas above, and Onyxite and Classic Gold on the one below.

The images on these canvases are made of Friendly Plastic - the top one was made using scraps in a mould I made from a milagro ornament, then given a rub of Treasure Gold Amethyst and highlighted with Classic Gold. The bottom canvas has a 'shrine' made from Perfect Paper and a rubber stamp, coloured in the same way as the background, with an art nouveau head made in a mould, coloured the same way as the background.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Birthday present for Jacqui

I thought I'd make something in the style of Beryl Taylor for Jacqui's birthday, as I know Jacqui loves Beryl's work. I've made paper quilts in this style before, but I thought I'd stretch myself a bit by moving out of my colour comfort zone and have a try at using pastels in the way that Beryl does. Beryl's colours always look so pretty, and I don't do pretty that well!

I used good quality watercolour paper - Fabriano Artistico Aquarello hot press. I cut and tore the paper, then brushed it with water before spraying with 3 colours of Sticky Fingers colour wash sprays - lilac, aqua, and pink. The water helps the colours blend where they meet.

I gave the main background area a very thin coat of watered down gesso, as I thought it was a bit bright. This was nearly a disaster as of course, the base layer of colour is water based, and adding thin gesso was not a good plan as it started to lift the original colour! I dried it as quickly as I could before all the colour disappeared. Once dry, I stamped down each side using Stewart Gill paint and a grungy Fleur-de-Lys stamp.

I cut a piece of the original darker coloured paper to go across the top, then punched flower shapes out of it. I attached the top strip with brads, adding a layer of organza to soften it. I punched some tags and inchie squares from the darker paper, and embossed them in cuttlebug folders, along with a piece for the bottom. I used the flowers I'd punched from the top piece to decorate the tags and added these plus a couple more flowers to the right hand side, using brads. I sewed the squares down the left hand side, adding square sequins and blue beads.

For the main central panel, I coated some of the paper with gesso and added Stewart Gill Fresco Flakes. The white flakes looked a bit stark, so I gave them a coat of watered down aqua colourwash, then sealed the flakes and colour with soft matte gel medium. I made a frame using water soluble paper and a rubber stamp, then painted it with pink paint, and added Treasure Gold in Aqua and Whitefire. I stuck the frame onto a slightly distressed image transfer (made using water and an inkjet print in the Wizard), and added these to the Fresco Flake background. I sewed some buttons top and bottom, adding 3 gold beads to each.

For a final touch, I stamped and decorated some tags, and added them all to the bottom of the quilt, using two eyelets.

I am not sure this quilt is finished yet, I think it may need a thin ribbon down the side and possibly a horizontal element or two on the Fresco Flake background. I'll leave it for a day or so to make up my mind. Please feel free to make suggestions using the comments box!

I did add a few small gold sequins here and there, just to make it look a little more 'finished'. Sorry the picture is a little fuzzy. See if you can spot the difference!

Last meander

Well, my meander pages are at an end. This has been a really fun project, which made me get my scary sewing machine out and USE it in my art. I still need to try free motion embroidery (which is what I wanted a new sewing machine for 18 months ago LOL) but at least I have dabbled a little by sewing images onto pages, and edging them with a variety of stitches.

Having said that, this page, the last one, doesn't have any sewing on it at all! Jessie sent a lovely textured page in browns and purples, and set her theme as 'vixens'. I thought the other players would probably go for vampish images, and when I looked at what I had I was a little torn between an angry looking vamp and a topless child who was clearly a vixen in training! I decided on the angry vamp, as she had something about her which really appealed to me.

I went for a really simple page design, centreing the image and covering it with a small sheet of mica, held in place with a couple of brads. I trimmed with German Scrap, which I dulled down with Treasure Gold (I seem to use it on every project these days!), and decided it didn't need another thing!

I hope Jessie likes it!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Meander page for Carol

Carol sent me a beautiful shimmery lavender page to decorate, and set her theme as 'faces'. I immediately knew I wanted to use this transparency, but when I laid it onto the page, there wasn't enough contrast for the face to show clearly, it just disappeared into the background.

After playing with a few other ideas, none of which I liked as much, I decided I really wanted to use the transparency so needed to increase the contrast. I painted the centre of the page with some pearl coloured paint, and blended the edges in. I trimmed the transparency, and sewed it in place with gold thread. I sewed the heart on, and added beads in similar iridescent colours to the background. Carol will be binding this page at the left and bottom, so I left those areas clear.

The design is quite simple, but I'm pleased with it! I hope Carol likes it too.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Cemetery angel shrine

Margaret set the theme for her 'It Girl' gift as 'cemetery angels'. Now, I love cemetery angels, and have had many many ideas about what to make for Margaret over the last few months.

I got up early this morning, with every intention of doing an image transfer and making it the focal point on a bag. And then I got hung up on - What kind of bag? What kind of fabric? What colour? How big? With a zip, or not? Handles long enough to go over your shoulder or just over your arm? I decided to forget the bag and make a small pillow using the transfer. I went and got the image of the angel to do the transfer, and while I was reaching for it, I spotted this shrine box....

The rest is history! I wanted the box to look old and patinated, so I painted the front and inside with Stewart Gill Metallica paint in pewter (not that any of it is visible!) and sprinkled with marcasite and also lead patina embossing powders (also Stewart Gill). I heated with my heat gun, and the paint bubbled and the embossing powder melted, and they combined to make a really nice old and weathered texture.

I had a small angel charm, which was very bright brass, so I painted it with micaceous iron oxide paint, and then gave it a rub with Treasure Gold indigo. I really do use TG on every project these days - I don't know how I ever managed without it! I stuck the little angel on the front using polyurethane glue. Hope it doesn't fall off!

Now for the inside - I glued my angel image to some stiffer card and cut her out. I gave her two thin coats of soft gel medium and stamped into it before it dried - using a sort of 'halo' stamp. I gave her a light touch of Treasure Gold in pewter, which picked up the texture. I glued a small piece of torn text form a Welsh Bible and stuck it to the back of the shrine.

I dribbled PVA glue into the bottom corners, and sprinkled it with 'Flower Soft' - I bought this stuff when it came out and have never used it before, but it looks like old dried lichen in the shrine.

I used foam pads to add the angel, holding her a little away from the back of the shrine. I used sticky dots to hold a small piece of picket fence in place (bought in Michaels or Joannes back in 2007!!) and another sticky dot to hold some small fabric roses to the fence.

She'll fly off to California soon, I hope Margaret likes her!

More meanderings

More mixed media meanderings. This bluey green page streaked with gold arrived from Rachel, with the theme of 'wings'. I sewed some blue and green organza to the page with gold thread, which added a nice sheen, and then thought about the focal point.

I considered all sorts of options, and decided not to use an image, but to make a butterfly, and sew it on with the wings free of the background.

I sprayed some pelmet vilene with Radiant Rain, and when it was dry I die cut it using a cuttlebug die, and ran it through the Wizard again in a matching cuttlebug folder. I liked the texture, but it was very subtle. I added several coats of Treasure Gold to the high points to bring out the texture. I sewed the butterfly onto the page, then beaded the 'body' with iridescent beads.

To make the words, I coloured some Tyvek with Brilliance ink, and stamped the letters with black Stazon. I chose the words because they are the name of Rachel's blog. I cut the words out and sewed them onto the page, and finished the page off by sewing 3 little butterfly charms on.

This page, for Wendy, came in various metallic shades, including copper. The theme is vintage. I painted the background with Stewart Gill metallica paint, using a doily as a stencil. I darkened some German scrap with Treasure Gold, and stuck it on.

For the main embellishment, I decided to create an old fashioned and weathered looking heart. I sprayed some pelmet vilene with Expresso colourwash spray, and once it had dried I die cut it and embossed using a cuttlebug die & embossing folder in the Wizard. I rubbed over the raised areas with copper Treasure Gold (looks much brighter in real life), backed it with felt, and beaded around the edge.

To finish the page off, I made some shrink plastic charms, and added them with some small copper jump rings.

Mawgan's page was green, with a nature goddess theme. I gave it a couple more coats of different greens, then stamped and embossed some oak leaves in deep green pigment ink.

I made a goddess from Friendly Plastic in an Enchanted Gallery mould, then turned it over, laid the green organza in top and added a hot thin piece of friendly plastic to bond the fabric to the embellishment. Um, this took 3 tries, I tried to use a heat gun to soften the moulded piece so as to press the organza into it. This resulted in one ruined embellishment and two ruined pieces of organza. I decided there is no safe distance for a heat gun and organza!!!

Finally, I sewed the organza to the page using gold thread.

Finally, I worked on Trish's page. This was orange and yellow when ti arrived, but Trish wants her book to be BRIGHT, so I decided to add a splash of hot pink. Somewhere along the way I lost the yellow and some of the orange, too. I hope Trish doesn't mind! I added bright silk paper and paint to the page and decided that although I liked it, it wasn't working as a background, so I turned the page over and began again.

I used some Radiant Rain in a bright pink to spray over a Heidi Swapp mask, which left a pretty indistinct pattern, but as all I wanted was to break the plain orange up with some pink, that was fine.

I painted some glossy cardstock with pink and orange paint, and stamped the text onto it with red Stazon. I stuck it to the page with a glue dot, then covered it with a layer of shocking pink organza shot with gold. I sewed this on with gold thread, then cut the edges in a raggedy style - if Trish wants them neat, she can easily trim this off. To finish, I added a very bright shell button and some beads, using fine invisible thread.



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