Repurposing supplies

I love scrapbooking. It might not be ‘trendy’ anymore, but I enjoy recording our lives, documenting what I know of old photos, and generally playing with paper, scissors & glue. I was a tutor for a national scrapbooking company so had access to all the newest supplies; one of my favourites was Basic Grey

I was tidying up some supplies today and found my stash of old letters. Some of the self-adhesive ones aren’t any more. and I had quite a lot of Basic Grey heavy paper letters left. All the useful letters like a, e & s are long gone, and I’m left with a pile of g, x and q! 

I was going to throw them out but suddenly realised I could repurpose them. Out with my 16×20 Gelli plate and some Gold Open acrylics. I put down one colour, then used the letters as masks and pulled a print – the yellow one shows what this looks like. I removed the letters, put down a fresh colour, more letters and overprinted; I did three layers on each.

The page that looks a bit like old leather is where I pulled the leftover paint off the plate each time. I’m not sure what I will do with these yet, but like the look, and have tucked the paint covered letters away to use another day. 

cjs18 the month that was…

This is the third time I’ve done #cjs (or 4th?). I love it – it gets my year off to an arty start, teaches me new processes and techniques, and I get to meet and reconnect with amazing artists from all over the globe. Fantastic! Huge thanks to Nathalie Kalbach for bringing it altogether. It’s well priced, and you can download the videos and refer back to them all year-long. Here’s a look back at the pages I did each day in January; some things I won’t do again, or seldom anyway, other techniques and processes will become part of my current art journal practice.

cjs18 day 1 – Mystele

This is the third time I’ve done CJS (Creative Jump Start). I love starting the year with daily art, learning new things and being inspired by amazing artists from around the world. You can find out more on Nathalie Kalbach’s website.

The first daily challenge went up this morning. As this is a paid workshop I won’t share all the details…

I followed Mystele Kirkeeng’s lead fairly closely. Early on, I decided I didn’t like to woman I’d drawn and was about to start again when I realised that would be against the theme of ‘play’ so I just kept going, and am ok with the final result. It’s quite different to what I normally do, but I can still see my hand in it – so yay for day 1!

day 1 mystele k


Cleaning my stencils

I love my extensive collection of stencils but they’re just tools. I don’t fuss, wiping them with a baby wipe each time I use them, etc as some artists do. I use them, let the paint dry on them, and put them back into their ring binders. When I’m on a creative roll I couldn’t care less about cleaning up as I go.

Of course, there’s a but. Over time my favourite stencils get layers of paint built up on them, so they don’t achieve fine detail any more. They need to be cleaned. Ugh.

The easiest method I’ve found is one the lovely artist Pam Carriker recommends here. I buy the Eco band of dishwasher gel and soak then for 24 hours, then use a Scotchbrite to rub the paint off. You do have to be careful not to pull up any edges and damage the stencil. Some brands of stencil clean up easier than others; Tim Holtz stencils are *the* best, you can basically rinse the paint off under the tap without any scrubbing. Others are hard to clean or remain very stained. Either way, once they’ve been cleaned it’s a huge improvement.

So, I’m on my annual stencil-cleaning binge. Wish me luck… I’ve included before and after photos so you can see the difference it makes.

stencils 1stencils

Accidental success

As I finished each set of Gelli Prints the other I cleaned my plate by covering it in white or off-white paint, laying down my paper and letting it dry. When you pull the dry print, all the old paint comes off. Often these are interesting prints, with little bits of colour and ghostly shadows of what has come before.

These two really appeal to me, with their pale colours and little dabs of paint. Typically, I had used the back of some printing proofs – now I wish I had pulled them on better paper!

ghost 2



Feeling my way to a new direction

From time to time I test out new directions, usually after being inspired by reading about and watching other people’s work. I love watching other artists on YouTube and letting that inspiration feed my work. I don’t want to copy their work and, even if I did, I am a hopeless copyist. What I do as an artist is what I do! Sometimes Tony will see a work and ask if I could do something similar. The answer’s always no. My hands and brain are wired to create in a certain way, so when I watch a lot of someone I can see their influence in my new work, but it always ends up looking like mine…

Recently I have been reading about Flora Bowley, and my dear friend artist Martha Marshall put me onto Jane Davies. Here are to test pieces; I am sure you can see the influence of their style. I’ll be doing more pieces in my art journal until the new way of working becomes part of what I do and feels integrated into my art practice. I’d love to know what you think of these directions.

Happy 1

cruciform 1