Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Mostly Disappointing.

 I untied the bundles of vegetation today, not really expecting very much, as I knew that to get good leaf prints the bundles have to be tied up tightly, and mine weren't. I didn't quite know how to tie them tightly with crackly dry leaves inside. This above already had the yellow splodges on it from wrapping some purple hibiscus flowers, but the orange marks are from the dried mistletoe leaves. Not a good red as I had hoped unfortunately.
 These next ones are more interesting, made from wrapped slightly green Eucalypt leaves. They weren't crispy dried leaves (see previous post) but still green and slightly pliable. They had been picked green and not stored already dry as most of the other leaves had been.
 I decided to do my usual play with a simple inversion in Photoshop, and now we have a stormy sky or even a storm at sea. I love it!

Sunday, 29 January 2017


 A few weeks back I went out with my secateurs and cut these large galls off a native Cherry tree. I assume that they are made by some insect or other, but these are very old and very dried out. I wanted to boil them up and use the 'juice' to add colour to my Coreopsis dyed fabric.
 While the galls were boiling away I spread out the still wet and mordanted fabric and sprinkled dried leaves over them and only bundled them loosely, as being so dry they would have cracked into tiny fragments had I tied it tightly.
 This is dried Mistletoe leaves and a few flowers. I believe that they might give a reddish colour.
 These fine Eucalypt leaves are a little fresher and as a consequence still retain their green colour.
                                             Wrapped bundles ready for the gall treatment.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Ex Libris

 It seemed an awful waste of rubber to carve out the middle of this small fame block, but if I hadn't, I think that the frame would have ended up buckling and not being square. I haven't carved any letters before, so it was a bit of a learning curve to carve this 'ex libris' stamp.
Using an old butterfly stamp of mine, I tested out the new stamps. They weren't too bad, but the whole thing is a little bit too big when compared with the traditional book ownership plates. Still, I can use the stamps, but perhaps I'll try another set a bit smaller.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Ice Flower Dyeing.

 I've had several bags of frozen flowers of various colours in the freezer for some months and they are taking up too much space! I decided to start with the bluebells and was quite surprised to see the lovely blue shade that they made in lukewarm water. I put them into a mesh bag to try and keep the actual flowers out of the water, but as you can see a lot of the bits were small enough to pass through the mesh.
 Oh no, I added some soda ash as a mordant and this is what happened, no more lovely blue, but a watery yellowish green instead.
 Some more of the blue came out of the flower pulp and now the water is a bluish green, but still very weak and probably not enough to dye the cotton in the bucket.
                           Oh well, let's add some frozen coreopsis flowers and see what happens.
           Now the water is an orangey colour with bits of bluebell floating in it, not very inspiring.
But wait..........the water is now a deep reddish colour with the same coreopsis flowers still immersed.
I'll leave the cotton soaking for a couple of days without stirring and see what I get.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

New Stamp - New Project.

 Well, it's not a completely new project as it's another book, this one with eco-dyed fabric and stamps. This stamp shows the seed capsules from a Bottlebrush plant, with the new growth beyond where last years flowers were. I have simplified the design quite a bit with just a few leaves rather than the quantity on the specimen that I worked from.
       This stamps looks as if it would lend itself to Photoshop stamping.....................must try it out.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

It's a Book!

                                  Well it's now a finished book, and this is the front cover.
                                                                 Here's the back cover.
 A selection of the pages follows. Above is the Banksia and a mud-map. The spirals represent camp sites.
 This is the inside of the book showing the last page with gumnuts and the inside of the back cover.
                                      Two more species of Eucalypt and their seed capsules.
Another couple of Eucalypt gumnuts with the meandering mud-map and spirals as a background. All the pages are hand sewn into place on a strip of Lutradur for stability and then the whole lot glued into the cover. It was a most interesting project for hot summer days.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Its Almost a Book!

Because of using mud as a paint for the background of the pages, I felt that I should seal the paper and prints against damp fingers that might handle it. I used a matte gel medium as I definitely didn't want a shine, but having said that, I found it difficult to photograph the drying pages because of glare.
Here are 4 double pages ready to dry over night, you can just see the white that I've used to bring up a few highlights. I started off using a lovely new white gel pen, but the fine grit of the mud-paint jammed up the rolling ball, so unfortunately I had to change to a white 'polychromes' pencil which didn't give anywhere near such a dense and fine line. Now to think about how I'm going to bind the pages into a book, and what sort of cover I'm going to make.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Last One..............I Think.

 These are the seed pods from another species of Brachychiton, or Kurrajong tree. Shorter and fatter than the others that I carved a few days ago, these pods are empty of seeds where as the thinner longer ones still had seeds in the pods.
 I think however that I'll pretend that the seeds were still in these pods, much easier to carve than empty shells.
 I think it would have been a better idea to carve them separately for multiple arrangements, however, this will do for now.
                                          A bit more texture needed inside the pods I think.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Not so Successful.

 I wanted to make the last of the stamps in this series of native seed pods and so I chose Eucalyptus macrocarpus, which has an enormous seed capsule. I thought that this preliminary drawing on the carving rubber looked O.K, so I set to work.
 After a little bit of carving I realised that the capsules facing the viewer were a bit ambiguous and really didn't convey any dimensional quality.
 I had even run out of pieces of Perspex on which to mount it, so added it to the other side of another stamp just to test it out.
Not up to much as a print I don't think, but time is getting short so I might have to make do with it.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Brachychiton Pods.

 These pods are from a Brachychiton tree, it's better known names are Kurrajong or Ilawarra Flame tree. The clusters of small bright scarlet flowers are followed by these very large pods full of seeds.
These 3 stamps should be enough to print to give me the characteristic bunch of pods, although I really need a small stem to hang them from. I think that there are only 3 species of Brachychiton, although I might be wrong.  One is the amazing Queensland Bottle tree and there also appears to be another one without a common name. It too is growing in a park nearby and I hope to be able to carve some stamps from it's pods too.  They are much shorter and fatter than these from the Kurrajong and the flowers are quite different, like little green bells with a purple spotted interior.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Still Stamp Carving.

 A relative has a beautiful Silver Princess Eucalypt in his garden and I've long admired the spectacular hanging bunches of bright red flowers, but now that it has finished flowering, the seed capsules are all hanging down in their place. Shorter and broader than the other eucalypt seed capsules that I've carved, I found it difficult to get the proportions of these quite right.
 The leaves are fairly typical eucalypt leaves, the long thinish variety that is, so I've made them fairly generic.
 The carving is looking O.K here, that is until I cut the lower bit of one of the leaves off by mistake!
Oh, well, leaves come in all sizes and shapes, this one is just shorter and thinner than I originally intended.

Monday, 9 January 2017

More Leaf Stamps.

 These banksia leaves are just so diverse in their form, from multi toothed older leaves to the young ones with just a couple of points. I chose 3 of these to add to the one that I had carved a stamp from previously. It was an old leaf with many points, so I chose a selection of young leaves that were all different.

I now have a collection of 5 different Banksia leaf stamps that I can combine in different ways to produce a 'sprig' of foliage to go with the cones that I carved some time ago.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Continuing the Mud Project.

 This is a print from the screen made with the Gocco machine, and it's turned out quite well I think.
 I have made 2 different screen versions, the  second one in reverse and elongated. Unfortunately the fine track lines have become clogged with paint very quickly, but I can easily ink them in by hand later I think.
 Rather than make another (very expensive) screen I sealed a couple of pieces of cardboard with sealant and draped bits of cotton yarn around to suggest walking paths on a map. I also sealed them with 2 coats of matte acrylic medium and then inked the plate. The yarn worked out reasonably well, but the paint managed to get all over the plate, (see test print below) so I'll have to be careful to rub off the excess when printing.

                 This will do quite well, as I only wanted a suggestion of a walking track map.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Back to the Mud.

The pages of mud painted paper have been sitting on my desk for a few days while various ideas percolated as to where I was going with this project. My original idea was just to use the various carved stamps of native Australian seed pods directly on the painted paper, but the words 'mud map' kept popping into my mind. (A mud map is just a rough map of walking tracks and so on ) I then started to go with this idea and scanned a couple of maps of an area that has the same red soil as I was using to paint the paper and then tried to print the maps onto the papers. Not a good idea, not only did the printer refuse to print for all but 2 tries, but it then occurred to me that the fine bits of soil dust would do no good to the workings of my printer! And anyway, a mud-map is nowhere near as detailed as the maps that I was printing. Next idea, make up a mud-map and then make a thermofax screen (Gocco) of the map. Here is the computer printed double page, the rough mud- map and the screen.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New stamp.

I spotted this leaf on a different species of Banksia to the one that I have previously worked with. This spiky one is ideal to make a stamp from as it is so specific to the particular plant and makes a much more interesting stamp than the usual everyday leaf shapes. It's shown here with the original leaf.