Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Boiling a book

I am always on the lookout for easy and interesting projects to do with my kids. Now these projects should be easy enough to do, not take up too much time in my very busy schedule and be interesting for me, too. So, easy peasy...
Then the other day a video was recommended by a crafty VikingLady, a video about how to boil a book, or dye paper with leaves and dye. I was immediately interested, since boiling time is over an hour and it can just boil away happily while we go and do other things like potty training, homework, cook dinner and so on...

Let me see if I can post a working link so you know what I am talking about


If this link doesn't work, just c&p in your browser.

So the lads gathered lots of interesting looking foliage, and even some tiny forget me nots (made lovely flower outline but no colour) and I got the water on. I added salt in there as well, as the dye I used needs water to be activated. 
Then we layered the folded signatures and leaves, sandwiched everything in between cardboard and tied it with string. I had the feeling it was too loose (didn't the guy in the video mention this?) and wedged a stick between the sandwich and the string. I thought it was still very loose but I left it at that.

Once the water was ready and the vinegar added (careful, lots of foam!) I added a steamer insert so the package wouldn't touch the bottom, only to discover the package floated! (sorry, I did not take a pic). I had to keep it submerged with two rocks from my garden, these rocks are now a lovely shade of blue.
1 1/2 hours later I took out my little soggy parcel and was surprised to find it basically intact! 

The size is half an A4 sheet of watercolour paper, torn in half and then folded in half. I would have to measure it to be exact, but it is about the size of a pocket size moley.

Then to start taking it apart. This is an Ivy layer. As the guy in the vid said, the more structure the leaf has, the better the imagefrom it. So look for anything sturdy, stringy, woody, the more delicate the less likely you get a strong imprint.

And here are a few of the signatures out to dry, I will get two books with 5 signatures each, that makes 20 pages for the lads to art on or marvel over. 

This signature is one of the more mushed up looking ones when you just look at it, but hold it up to the light...
You can also see how some leaves have released some yellow colour onto the paper and made a lovely green with the blue dye I put in.

And this is one of my favourite pages, the back page where some colour from the cardboard penetrated the paper as well.

I will do this again, it was so much fun to collect the greenery and layer it all. Iwill probably use stronger leaves next time and not layer so many leaves between all the pages but keep some plainer with just one type of leaf. I don't know the name of the tree that released the yellow dye, but I will use it again because it also left great imprints. 
I am now probably outing myself as a complete gardening idiot by saying it is some kind of cypress (I know cypressus macrocarpus and this one has similarly shaped cones just teensy weensy), here is a pic of the leaves (?) 

That is it for now, I have so much more to tell but not tonight.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

I love art hands

Yes, I do. I absolutely love working with the hand and finger shape, and the ones I posted today went to two people very close to my heart. The first hand was made for my longest and best friend back home in Germany. I would have loved to give it to her in person but it will be a while until I can visit her and I will make her something else for the occasion!

Anyway, this is the front of the hand I made for her. I wanted to make it really colourful and I also added lotsof glitter gel pen, you can't see it though, it doesn't come out in the picture.

And this is the back (done with markers)

And I could not help myself, this is what "Envie Addicts Unite" has done to me, I just HAD to art up the envelope as well. Teehee, it is a padded envelope (bulky) and when my friend said to me she would feel guilty to throw it out I said to keep it. I have no idea how she is going to store it, I would probably use it to store received EAU envies inside...

And the other hand I made needs a bit more of an explanation with it. I made it from another friends hand shape. This friend has in the past more than encouraged me to explore my arty side and she also got me started on a major project that will probably keep me busy for another year. 
She writes songs (and probably poetry as well) and her (very) own music, and she also is into Astrology. She likes spiders and in her own way is a doomsday prophet. (I wonder what she is going to make of this des riptioon). All of these themes have found their way onto her hand.


I redid all the webs and the spiders in glitter gel pen, and also the planet notes, but the pictures doesn't do it full justice.

The back is done in acrylics, marker collage and polymer clay...

I have wanted to make her a self destruct button for a loong time, and this one glows in the dark, too! How long will she need to discover that? (Muahahaha!)
I protectively wrapped it into this ( the most telling ingredients list on the back: sugar, syrup, honey, more sugar, some added glucose and then carbohydrates)

And then mailed it in this

Maybe I should mention she lives just down the road from me? Envie Addicts, this is all your fault! ;)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Tea Bag Art

Hello, everyone. 

Some of you may know that I am actively participating in regular and occasional art swaps on the marvellous website Atcsforall.com. There I was made aware of a new swap that I could not believe at first: Tea Bag Art. That means doing stuff with/to used tea bags! 

My first reaction was disbelief "surely, nobody would..." but alas! As I was searching another of my favourite webpages (Pinterest) for this subject I found out that "somebody would" actually quite a lot of people seem to do it. And as I love new and unusual arty things to try I signed up.

This post is all about my process of handling the very delicate tea bag material and also the FAILS! I was so happy today that I had gotten one tea bag painted successfully, but I will let you find the flaw for yourself later.

There are two basic types of teabags, the flat ones and the folded ones. They seem to be made of slightly different material and in my house they are holding very different sorts of tea. Let's start with the flat kind. The only type of tea I have in those is the regular kind, and a very strong variety that gives the bag a pretty intense stain. I do not leave the bags in for more than 30seconds, otherwise the brew just gets too strong for me.

As you can see I already did some experiments on these. The two on the left are used so you can see the colour is pretty intense. The bag on the top left was drawn on with a fine marker, that worked well but the material is quite rough and even a light usage of the marker can widen gaps in the paper into gaping holes. The big orange stain on its corner is watercolour and it just kept on spreading and spreading. On the bag bottom left I did a kind of reverse technique, I used watercolour first and very sparingly, and later drew around it with the marker, results are not really any better than trial no. 1.

Next up is the folded kind of teabag. In those I have what is called "Yogi Tea" here, a herbal sort of a chai variety.

As you can sea it stains a LOT less, even though the contents was dried inside the bag. When I opened it, the tea inside was stuck to the paper and I could not remove it. So for the next ones I removed the contents while the bag was still very wet and inside a container with water to wash the tea off. The material now has very little to nearly no stain, but the bag is free from residue and intact. 
On the other hand the fabric(?) holds up really well to watercolours and markers, with very little to no spread of colour.

I used the teabag shaped piece of card to predraw the design, then placed it under the bag and drew the outlines. 
I found that while painting in the coloured areas I had to make sure the material was not touching the surface underneath it or the paint would start to go everywhere!
As the bag itself was hardly teastained at all I gave it a nice background with very light watercolours, I might prestain the material with some of the tea from the flat bags.

So now here is the final trial piece, I was a bit disheartened when I spotted my mistake.

So keep in mind when you are using this folded kind: there is a definite FRONT and a definite BACK! 
I am not dissapointed to have to redo this one, I learned some valuable lessons for the tea bags I am sending in to the swap. And maybe this post will help others in avoiding the "pitfalls" I had.