Saturday, 31 December 2016

Testing, Testing.

 Using a piece of the mud painted paper that was a bit too messy for the final project, I started testing out stamps and colours. I thought that I'd use a pale colour as a sort of ghost print behind the darker one, but when I coated the paper in Gel Medium to seal the colour on, the pale image disappeared.
      This red isn't quite what I had in mind, I thought that it might be more of a terracotta colour.
The ghost print is a bit more visible here, but everything is a bit too bland. Still, I have a month or so before the final project has to be finished, so all this testing is a learning experience. Now to make some more mud pages!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Something Quite Different.

 I want to make a small book with each page featuring one of my carved Australian native plant seed pods, cones or nuts. I suddenly remembered that I had a large container of very red soil which I had dug up many years ago and never used. I decided to mix it with water and to paint both sides of some heavy paper to use as background pages for the carved stamps.
 Here's the bucket with the soil and water mix. Of course the heavy soil forms a sludge on the bottom of the bucket, but depending on how much I pick up with the brush, each page is a slightly different shade.
 Another hot sunny day makes getting the pages dry very easy. The earthen ware pots are to keep the paper from blowing away, but as it's a sheltered corner it wasn't a problem. Below is one of the papers showing the streaks of soil and water as well as some salt crystals that I sprinkled on to give some extra texture. Stamp first and then seal, or seal first and then stamp....decisions to be made.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Yet Another Stamp

       As part of the series that I'm working on this Bottlebrush 'cone' was the next to be carved.
 The test prints above are to locate problem areas and to clean up the edges and so on. The top left is the first one and the one at the bottom the last. That's about as good as it's going to get in terms of a clean-up. Below I've scanned in the print and had a bit of fun on a very hot and humid afternoon playing with the image in Photoshop.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Not Quite Right.

 I had in mind to carve some Gumnuts with leaves on either side to make another possible tile print, but this is obviously not quite right for the purpose.
It is another very useful stamp for the series that I would like to make, but just not the tile series.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

At Last a Bit of Carving.

 This block has been waiting for me to get a chance to carve it for a week or more, and today was the day. It's the stylised gumnuts that I was working on earlier, but now that it's finished I wish that I had made the stem a bit shorter, even if it meant changing the angle of the leaves.
 I always keep the larger of the off cuts for making small flowers and the like, but even so there was a lot of  excess to crave away.
                                                      Testing a new stamp is always fun!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Long wait.

 I have been waiting for 13 years for these wildflowers to appear again. Called the Blue Pincushion flower for obvious reasons, I first spotted them in the bush in 2003 but have never seen them since, until now. They are growing in a totally different spot to where I saw them previously, which is interesting. They may be dependent on good winter rains, which we have had this year, but whatever the reason for their reappearance, I'm very happy to see their lovely blue flowers again after such a long time.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

All Finished.

 There weren't quite enough beads to make the above necklace without adding some extras, in this case some antique dark red glass beads in two different sizes.
     The lower one just has small seed beads in a bright scarlet separating the polymer clay beads.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Bit Late!

 With a request for a necklace of red patterned polymer clay beads as a Christmas present, I have only just started to make the beads, 5 days before the deadline! I forgot to take a photo of the initial conditioning of the clay and the making of the patterned rods, but it's readily available in books if you'd like to try it.
 The first batch of beads from the multilayered first rod. I wanted about 20+ beads and only just had enough to make them, so I made another smaller batch with a different  rod, which could at a pinch be combined with this first lot.
 Making the holes is always tricky as you can end up with misshapen beads. As it is, some of these are a bit odd, but I always think that it adds to the handcrafted look if they aren't quite perfect. Here the beads are ready to bake in a small dedicated toaster/oven.

Here are the beads baked and with a first coat of varnish. Another tricky thing is not to have the varnish on the brush too thick, as you can end up with bubbles of varnish which can be visible on the beads. They need a second coat and be properly dry before I can have the fun of stringing them, probably with small commercial bead separators.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Thursday, 15 December 2016


 While hunting for a particular photo that I knew was filed 'somewhere' it occurred to me that I had stored a wealth of texture photos to use in artwork. I thought that I might share with you a few of the ones that came up first.  The one above is a small piece of coral, and aren't the patterns lovely?
                          The patterns in dried and cracked mud are always interesting I think.
 This is taken from the bottom of a pot plant that was severely pot bound, resulting in a tangle of roots. Whilst the original brownish photo was interesting I rather liked the inverse colour. Now it resembles seaweed or something else marine
                                             Jelly snakes left too long in a warm packet!
                        Last are tyre tracks obviously, but definitely those of a heavy duty vehicle.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Another Attempt

Since the original gumnuts were very symmetrical, I decided to carve another stamp which really emphasises the symmetry and stylised shape of the image. It may be too over simplified, but worth a try. Now to carve this all out.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Playing with a Design.

I had a little time on my hands, so I started to play around with my gumnut image in Photoshop. These elements are just placed by eye, so that they aren't lining up precisely, but the idea is worth playing around with further I think. It reminds me of a medieval tile, albeit with an Australian flavour!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

New Stamp.

 Continuing on in my series of stamps carved from native tree seed pods, I wanted to make this bunch Eucalypt 'nuts' my next project. Not only is the perspective a bit tricky, but the cruciform shape that the stems of the nuts make is almost too geometric.
 After drawing it out a few times to get the hang of the shapes I craved a smallish stamp, and because the cruciform shape is so obvious in the original I decided to make a feature of it and move the nuts apart a bit more and add geometrically placed leaves.
The finished stamp is almost O.K , but I do want to make a bigger one and to make a few adjustments.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Good Luck?

I wonder if a lizard on the doorstep is a good luck symbol.  This copper coloured skink was very nearly trodden on as it slept in the sunshine on the brick doorstep. Luckily the dog didn't see it either!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Eco Dyeing

 The first unwrapped bundle proved to be very dull, most of the marks faded when washed and the yellow of the Coreopsis just made the odd splodge of orange. How I wish I had used 100% cotton instead of the polycotton.
 As the fabric was not much use the dull pale yellow I decided to go for broke and over dye the still wrapped bundles with a dye that will work on synthetics. I used shades of red and blue looking to get a brownish colour over the top of the yellow.
 This rather messy looking piece is the result of the dyes refusing to migrate through the layers of fabric. Just a faint touch of blue and red over the yellow and brown marks.
This is the outside of the bundle with the contrast between where the rubber bands were and the marks of the twisted fabric when I squeezed most of the water out. I like this small piece particularly where the yellow marked fabric meets the blue.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Eco Dyeing Progress.

 Well, there do seem to be some marks there, but I suspect that they'll be very impermanent given that the fabric is partly synthetic. The Coreopsis seems to have given off colour to the whole dye bath rather than just making marks where the flowers were.
                                     Allowing the colour to develop as the bundles drip dry.
             Definitely some Wormwood leaf markings here, but I wonder if they'll survive the wash.

Saturday, 3 December 2016


 There were still plenty more Coreopsis in the garden so I harvested another batch of slightly tatty flowers. I grabbed a bag of alum soaked fabrics from the box and spread out the flowers on it.
                          A sprinkle of rose petals on the Coreopsis and the cloth was folded over.
 More rose petals on the last fold and then it was all wrapped around a short piece of stick and secured with rubber bands.
When I unfolded the next piece of fabric I saw that it was one with a piece cut out of it and then I remembered that it was originally a cot sheet from the op-shop and it was probably a cotton polyester mix fabric. Oh dear, I don't imagine that the eco dyeing will work on a synthetic fabric. Anyway, I went ahead and covered this piece with dried Wormwood leaves and added it to the pot with the other bundles.