Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reverse Stamping on a Gelli® Print

I recently ordered Lesley Riley's book Creative Lettering Workshop, and her Reverse Alphabet Stamps.  I desperately needed a play session and so I broke out the stamps, paints and Gelli® plates.

These stamps create reverse letters, therefore if they will create backwards letters if used directly on paper, but when used in a transfer situation they come out perfectly forwards.  I really like how the individual stamps can connect together.  You can put them all together and store them in a big rectangle.  I still need to figure out a storage place for mine.

I played around with some cardstock, inks and paints.
The words on the pieces in the upper right are stenciled on after printing.

I went a little crazy stamping about.
Because the Gelli® plate is soft I tried to be careful with how hard I pressed the letters into the paint.  Too soft and the letter was barely there, and too hard and I got an imprint of the box around the letter.  I kinda like that look but I know I don't want it all the time.
I played with creating individual letters as well as stacks of words.

Once I'd played a little I decided I wanted to create a piece that could stand alone.  I wanted it to have a saying or phrase or something.  I knew that I had a shorter dry time with the thin Golden Fluid Acrylic paint than with the thicker Blick studio acrylic and so I made the decision that the word layer would be created in the slower drying paint.  I lined my words up in advance to make it easier to switch letters from one word to the next.

The first layer was created using Green Gold Golden fluids paint and a plastic stencil I made with my Silhouette Portrait.  The blue was already on the plate from my last print and I think it added a very nice touch!  I probably would have printed another layer if it weren't there.

Next I put the Titanium White Blick Studio Acrylic paint on the plate, added the stencil, and carefully stamped in the words before creating the print.

I wasn't impressed. Oh I think I made a printing pun. Haha
The words were hard to see, so I pulled out a Micron pen and outlined the words and leaves.
Eh, not a whole lot better.

The words just didn't carry the weight I wanted.  I decided it was because the letters were so small and the page was so big.  I was printing on an 8x10" Gelli® plate with Canson Bristol in the 9x12" size.  For once, it was time to go SMALLER:  90 lb Strathmore Mixed Media pad in the 5.5x8.5" size with the 3x5" Gelli® plate.

The first layer was the Green Gold, which to me is more gold than green, but it looks nice with the Ultramarine Blue, which I used in the second layer.  With the small plates it is nice to use them as a stamp.  It certainly makes it easier to line up the layers!

The third layer was the Blick Titanium white.  I thought I had carefully lined up the words, which you can see through the plate when it is turned over, but I accidentally got part of the word on the stencil.  Not such a great idea!

This one is "Living your Life behind the scenes!"  

It was a step in the right direction, so on to the next print!  
I suddenly noticed the time, and decided to snapchat my children.  

They all think I'm hilarious.  
Just let me have my little fantasy, okay?

Next print: Green Gold. . . with a little ghosting of Ultramarine blue from the last prints. . .

. . .Followed by Ultramarine Blue. . .

. . .followed by Titanium white. . .

SUCCESS at last!!!

In this last print I didn't stamp the words whole but rather printed the letters individually.  I like the wonky look.

So overall - I really like the stamps for smaller pieces.  I'm sure I could use it on a larger piece if I wanted the words to play a smaller role in the piece or if I used a longer quote.  The paint stayed wet long enough that I could have stamped a longer quote but I would have made sure I was prepared with the quote written out in front of me and the letters in order as much as they could be.  My only real complaint about the stamps is that they aren't available in a larger size yet!!!

Now I know someone is going to say, "But you can just stamp or write or paint words on top of your prints, why do you need to buy reverse stamps anyway?"  This is a very good point.  Yes, I could have added the words afterwards BUT by stamping into the paint I am able to reveal the layers underneath! AND if the letters were larger and perhaps a bit thicker font as well, then I would be able to reveal even more of the texture of those previous layers.  

That is my two cents worth.  And by the way - it is an unsolicited opinion, and there are no affiliate links in the post.  Now, give me your opinion - What do you think? Have you tried these stamps yet?  Do you want to try Reverse Alphabet stamps? I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Making

My friend, Dana Ryan Perez, invited me over for a book making play date.  Dana was an environmental scientist (before it was cool) and is now a talented book maker and mixed media artist.
Dana and I in front of her son's fabulous painting.
Her studio was beautiful!  Lots of skylights for wonderful lighting but I was more focused on the scene below. Her father was a printer and the printing drawer on the wall was his.

Dana has been making these adorable little Washi tape covered books.  
The measurements on the mat give you an idea of how small they are. 
The book in the middle was created with little pockets to store feather treasures in.
Dana said she finds herself collecting them from the park and golf course where she jogs in the mornings. 
 Isn't this adorable!!!
The books at the bottom of this photo were created by Dana in preparation for a class she and another friend, Toni, taught to the Utah Surface Design Group while I was out of town last month.
I was drawn to the Paris Washi tapes.
I took a lot of time deciding just which tapes to put next to each other, probably a lot more time than I needed to, but it was a lot of fun, and all that extra time gave Dana and I more time to visit.
After putting the tape on, I stitched my book together with hand dyed linen thread.  
I ended up using two different needles because I did this to them:
I bend my hand needles on a regular basis.
Too strong for my own good?
 Here is my finished book - front -
- and back! 
And here is my book with the other books Dana created.
I had a great time!
I will be making more of these books.

Friday, October 23, 2015

For Frances

Frances Holliday Alford celebrated a big number birthday this year and asked her Facebook friends to send her a 6" quilted square.  I am pushing the deadline!  Frances was born under the sign of the Rooster and I decided I would create a rooster stencil to put on my block.  I drew the rooster and then used my white pen to create some bridges within the drawing for a stencil.

I imported it into the Silhouette Software and cleaned it up quite a bit before cutting it out of freezer paper.
I wanted a red rooster on a piece of blue moon Gelli® printed fabric.  This was my first time using one of my Liquitex paint markers on fabric.  It was very easy to use!

The paint wasn't as opaque as I had hoped for though.
The rooster just didn't stand out as much as I had hoped.
I could have ironed the stencil back on and painted again with a more opaque paint but I decided to go another direction.
I love this sunflower Gelli® printed fabric.  The sunflowers were a stamp I made with fun foam pressed into the plate.
After ironing the stencil on to the block, I pulled out my white acrylic paint, no fabric medium, and painted away.
Much better.
 After setting the paint with the iron, I quilted around the rooster and trimmed the block to 6" square, then put it in an envelope ready to mail without remembering to take a photo. Oh well, the quilting was done with mono-poly so it really didn't show up anyway.  Happy Birthday Frances!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prayer Flag Collection

Interweave is offering my webinar: Creating Prayer Flags using Sun Shibori and Stencils, as a part of their Prayer Flag Collection again.  This collection has sold out quickly each time it has been offered.  I have been told that they will be making up new kits as they sell this time so even if it shows up as sold out you can go ahead and order.  It is also marked down in price so if you have been waiting to order, now is the time to order!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Designing My Own Digitally Printed Fabric

I love making my own fabric using all kinds of surface design techniques. You could say that it is a passion of mine.  Last week I was out of town, and I needed to create some art.  I had micro pens and a sketchbook with me but I needed something more.  I decided it was time to explore digital design.  I purchased Jane Dunnewold's eworkshop "Design and Print Your Own Fabric" and her companion ebook, "Tips and Techniques for Successful Online Fabric Design." 
(no affiliate links! no sponsorship here - just my own honest review)
Jane has such a calm personality.  I always feel inspired when I watch her and she makes me feel like I can do anything.  Her Workshop was informative and took me step by step through creating designs using my art, Spoonflower and PicMonkey. By putting all the designs into one Collection in Spoonflower, I was able to order 15 swatches for a deal.  Swatches are usually $5 each, but by ordering all of the fabrics in a Collection I was able to get fifteen 8x8" swatches for only $20 plus $2 shipping. I also ordered their Color Guide (Just $1) for future reference. I ordered the fabric on Monday, and it arrived today (Friday).  I cannot tell you how excited and nervous I was to rip in to this packaging and see how my designs turned out!  
I ordered the designs printed on their Basic Cotton Ultra. It is a thin cotton which would work for quilting but I think I will order the Kona cotton next time.  The note says to wash the fabric and it will soften up, but honestly it doesn't feel stiff to me.  
I am so HAPPY with how my designs turned out!
This is all fifteen.  I put my foot on the table to give some scale as to just how big eight by eight inches is.  I suppose I could have ironed it before showing the designs off but I was too excited!
This is one of my favorite designs.
I didn't think I would like it as much as I do.
I drew the leaf vine in my sketchbook, took a photo of it with my cell phone (you can see the shadow of my phone in the photo). . .
 . . . then uploaded it to Photoshop Elements to create a larger design.  I removed the background but decided to leave all the off coloring in the leaves to make it easier to color in Spoonflower.

After uploading the design into Spoonflower, I followed Jane's directions to play with color, and then used PicMonkey to add texture.  I really like the vintage feel of this color way.  
I printed out the same design in a blue color way, as well as a pale orange and green color way.  I really like them all.  My husband really liked them all too.  He doesn't usually comment so this was a big deal to me.  Not that he doesn't like my art, just that most of my bright abstracts aren't his style. 
I keep looking at this design because I can't believe I drew it.  
If I look closely I see "mistakes" but it's okay, those mistakes show that I am human.
I like them. It's wonderful when you can step back and like your own work.

I also uploaded a few photos of fabrics I designed for The Printed Fabric Bee into Spoonflower and played with the colors as well as the designs.  The entire top row was created from variations I created for the Industrial theme.  I LOVE them all!  
The second row has the original Art Deco fabric in the middle with two color variations to the left.  I also enlarged the design on these two.  Jane's instructions made it so easy to figure out how to change things using Spoonflower and PicMonkey.  You don't need to have Photoshop or a fancy scanner or camera.  I used Photoshop because I am a creature of habit. PicMonkey is easy to use and is linked to Spoonflower's website so uploading is simple.

Overall this was a great experience and I will be using this new knowledge to create even more digitally printed fabric.  Spoonflower offers 19 different fabrics, as well as wallpaper and gift wrap.  Once a design is created and ordered the designer can place their creations for sale on the website.  This means YOU can order any of my designs too.  Click here to go to my shop and look around. I do receive a small percentage of the sale of any of my designs.