Tuesday 28 March 2023


The theme for February's Snapshot Girls was Framed.  It took me a while to think about what I could do.  These are the photos I came up with.

The first three are new photos.

Paper collage grid


A snowy day through the bedroom window

Now we move to much older photos from my vast archive!

Sydney Opera House from the inside

The garden through the arched doorway

A cat on a narrowboat

Framed by a tunnel

A narrowboat framed by a tunnel

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 25 March 2023

Too many tabs open

I love this meme

And my craft space and table feel the same way when I have too many projects on the go!

As you can see, the table is covered with various projects in progress.

Before I put the gel plates away I needed to clean the one at the bottom right.  Yeates Makes recommended baby oil to clean the newspaper ink.  But I didn't have any so I tried the vegetable oil I cook with.  And it worked!

Then I took all the bits and pieces from all over the table and piled them up according to which project they belonged.  I was going to buy some plastic wallets but when I rummaged in a cupboard I found 5 that someone had given me.

I even labelled the wallets.  Woohoo.  It does help!  But it defeats the object of tidying up if they take up room on the table.  So what to do?

They all fitted into one large bag-for-life.

Well done me!

And here it is ready for the next thing!

I wonder how long this will last!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Experimenting or playing?

Whichever it is, it's what I was doing!

I put a very thin layer of black acrylic paint on the gel plate and smoothed a magazine page onto it.  It needs to be black and white with high contrast.  When I pulled the magazine page off the pattern from the page is left on the plate.  After leaving it to dry, I put a thin layer of white acrylic paint and put a piece of wet strength tissue on and left it to dry over lunch.  This is the print and will be useful in collage.

Then I did the same but put blue paint as the first layer rather than black.  I also took headlines from Towpath Talk which is a newspaper and put them onto the gel plate.  After burnishing I pulled off the newspaper and the print is on the gel plate.  Again I put a thin layer of white acrylic paint and a piece of paper on and left to dry.

I had used a piece of leftover watercolour paper over the plate when I was smoothing the paper onto the plate for the blue pattern before I added the headlines.  This gave me this blue frame.  I used gel medium to pull the print of the pattern left on the plate.

I added more headlines to the gel plate.

I used transparent paint to pull the print.

I also tried putting some bondaweb through my printer.  After a couple of abortive attempts I set the printer to envelope.  I had taped the piece of bondaweb still on its backing sheet to a piece of thin card.  You can see at the bottom where I have pulled off some of the bondaweb.

I'm hoping to be able to iron bits of the printed bondaweb onto some silk noil which already has marks on it.

I'm planning on making the silk noil into a fabric book.  These are some of the pages.

If you're interested in playing with the gel plate I can thoroughly recommend Yeates Makes on YouTube.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 18 March 2023

So where was I?

Oh that's right.  I was working on Free Up Your Sketchbook with Karen Stamper in between making collages.

Although there was some collaging onto the pages.  Plus mark making with pens and pencils and Artgraf.

And in week 2 we added acrylic paint.  Only black, white and payne's grey.

This week, week 3, we had to choose one colour and collage bits of paper in that colour.

And then paint over with shades of orange plus some black and grey.

I liked being back with colour.  I deliberately chose orange as a change from turquoise.  Although you all know turquoise and orange are my go-to colours.

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 14 March 2023


I've been spending time making collages.  This was inspired by a 10 day class called Collage Makers Summit organised by @drewsteinbrecher.  He had organised 9 other collage artists to join him with a different collage idea each day.  One of the ideas was to use your own photos, and one was to use black and white plus a pop of colour.  A third tutor gave us sketches of layouts we could use.

So I put all three ideas together.  I printed out black and white versions of my canal photos and chopped them up.  I made these six 10cm square collages.

Kellee Wynne introduced the idea of grid collages.  She is currently offering a free course Grid Journal Mini Course.

These are 7cm square collages using my gel prints.  You draw out the grid and work on all of the squares at once with a limited palette of papers.  It makes for a really cohesive collection.

Then I made these four 10cm square collages with the gel prints but adding in some of my photos.

I may go back and add some marks with pens or markers.  I don't think there's sufficient contrast so I may use black.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 11 March 2023

A gel plate printing experiment

Gel plate printing is so very addictive.  I saw a fabulous reel on IG from @inkslinger_gypsy using things in much the same way as I have used plastic and metal bits on screens for breakdown printing.  You don't leave the bits on the gel plate - you use them to remove paint.

I used Payne's Grey and Copper and pressed nuts, washers, plastic canvas, embossed wallpaper and other things into the paint.  I had put far too much paint onto the plate that I was able to ink up a sceond plate and remove paint in the same way.  These plates were still too wet so I took prints.

First plate print

Second plate print

 I left the paint to dry on the plates and then added a layer of turquoise, peach pink and white.  Yet again there was too much paint so I took some of the paint off with the roller and rolled it onto paper.

This 'print' is where I cleaned the bits I'd removed paint with and then cleaned my roller over the top.

I had put paper onto the last layer of wet paint and left it to dry.  In fact came and edited my photos above and wrote this blogpost as far as here whilst waiting. And then had to use the heat gun.

These prints are okay and will be fine to tear up and use for collage.

However I shall probably have another try at some point.  I will use less paint and mix it on the paint tray better.  I'll use tweezers to pick up the washers as my fingers marked the paint.  I'll leave it to dry longer as you can see where the paper tore because the paint was still wet.  I will also take more time.  I was so concerned that the paint on the plate would dry before I'd peeled off the metal bits that I really rushed and there was obviously no need.

More experimenting to come.  Printing on fabric through the  inkjet printer.

And I'm going to try printing onto bondaweb both directly and through the printer.  Watch this space!

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Free Up Your Sketchbook

It took me a while to decide whether or not to sign up for Karen Stamper's Free Up Your Sketchbook and Grow.  I have done classes with her before both online and in-person.  You might have see my Venice book or the start of a canal one.  I don't think I ever blogged about the finished book.

So I wasn't sure whether Free Up Your Sketchbook was relevant three or four years on.  I've done so much more textile work in the meantime and I wondered how this course could help me. But in the end I decided to go with it.

Here are my week 1 pages using pencil, inks, gesso and other media.

The idea is to work back into these pages as the course continues over the next 5 weeks.  I'll keep you updated.

Thanks for joining me today.

Saturday 4 March 2023

Collage and a poem

Continuing with Visual Narratives I started playing with the photos I had printed out which I mentioned in my last post.

I cut up a sheet that I had intended to be a zine to make snapshots of marks.  I put them into my sketchbook.

Then I tried making collages with  the different surfaces - paper, tracing paper and ohp film.

They're not totally me.

I had also printed one page of photos onto address labels. I peeled some of them off and put them in my book.

I also took words I had found and wrote them on the page using ink and then added water.

These sentences are part of a poem I wrote about canals using the phrases and words I had found in the book Canals: The Making of a Nation by Liz McIvor

The Cut
I was once a stark man-made corridor
Cut by sweaty, swearing navvies.
Now a ribbon of calm, spiralling out from the centre of the city.
Cutting lines through scarred landscapes
And meandering through verdant countryside.
Iron bridges tower over me
Looped lines from shadow lattice patterns
Fall on my surface
Disturbed by ripples from coots and moorhens
As they scurry into my reeded banks.

Thanks for joining me today