A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Monday, 29 December 2014

New Ideas for a New Year!

At the end of November, I spent a day enjoying a workshop with Maggie Grey. I bought her latest book, 'cut, shape, stitch' working creatively with cutting machines.  (Maggie Grey-Samantha packer-Paula Watkins) and was so inspired by what can be done with one of these machines, decided there and then it was going to be a birthday gift from my husband which just happens to be in December!

I painted up some rag paper, using my Gelli plate, and then passed it through my new cutting machine using an embossing folder. This gave the paper the lovely plant like shapes you can see in these photos. After cutting out the shapes for this triptych, I painted up some thin card, and then passed this through the cutting machine using a cutting die to give me the swirly shapes you can see on the two front panels. Some further embellishments using embossing powders, and some fancy gold stitching around the top and front edges, completed the look I was after. I hand stitched the two sides together, then inserted and stitched down one of my crows on the inside back panel. Just so much fun, and I have lots of ideas for further projects similar to this.

Now, the main reason I decided that one of these cutting machines was something I couldn't live without, had nothing really to do with the die cutting or embossing! It was the idea, that it could also be used as a small printing press for collagraph prints! I first experimented with collagraph printing on a workshop with Cas Holmes, and have really enjoyed playing around with this technique, but also found it frustrating that using the back of a spoon didn't always give the results I hoped for. Maggie Grey let us into her secret that using a cutting machine also made an excellent alternative to a small printing press for collagraphs, and apparently, pasta making machines also work well.

My new toy!

First, I decided to make a small collagraph plate using one of my crows. I cut out the crow perched on a branch with a blade, and then stuck him down onto some mountboard, using some scrim, bits of lace, and screwed up thread for the background. I also made some feathery marks on the crows body with the blade.

This was all given two coats of shellac, back and front, and then the fun began! I bushed acrylic paint into the plate, making sure it went down into all the spaces, then rubbed away any paint that was laying on the surfaces. I dampened the paper before putting it all through the press, and the results are what you see below.

Not perfect by any means, but I'm feeling quite excited by the possibilities that this machine is going to give me. I think I like the fact that it has a multi purpose use for ideas and future projects. I also used the negative shape left after I had removed the crow from the background paper.

So many ideas coming from this, and somehow, I don't think I'm finished with this ongoing bird project either!

Finally, I have also been using some of my gelli prints as inspiration for some small experimental projects using a simplified version of paper lamination. Another technique recommended by Maggie Grey on our workshop day in November. Below is a photo of one of my gelli prints, which I printed onto plain copy paper. Using white felt as a background, the image was laminated face down onto the felt using bondaweb, and when the back of the paper was dampened with water, it rubbed away to leave the image on the felt, ready to be further embellished with stitch, and a little paint. The result is what you see in the photo above.

Well, that's about it for now, I'm so looking forward to the new year, creating, making and generally having fun! Thank you so much for reading my rambles and I would also like to take the opportunity to wish you all, a very happy, healthy and above all, PEACEFUL New Year for 2015, wherever you are in this wonderful world of ours.