Saturday, May 22, 2010

Second Friday Sampler

On May 14th, I led a workshop in bookbinding and gel transfer (a process to transfer photocopied images) at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. The event is free as part of their monthly Second Friday Sampler. My friend Ann Merle, who I met at my Art of Sewing class that week, took all these pictures. She also helped me cut down the papers for the books and was very helpful all night. Thanks Ann Merle!

 We made a pamphlet-stitched book and decorated the covers with gel transfers. I had photocopied images to use and prepared them by painting on 3 layers of gel medium and 1 layer of varnish. The process is simple: you wet the back of the paper and rub it off, leaving a thin "skin" of gel with the image embedded into it. Then paint the back with gel medium and press it down onto your surface.

This young lady is holding up her finished book. The image is sort of small, but the image of the dog was photocopied from a book of old woodcuts.

Mother's Day Cards

A belated post - some Mother's Day pop-up cards I made. The first was for my mom. I cut up some old prints I had made and collaged them into the pop-up card. The second and third for my boyfriend's mom and grandma. Evan painted the woodland card with the rabbits :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coming Up: RVyAy! Records, Vintage, & Art Fair

Come to RVyAy! - A two day market extravaganza of records, vintage, and arts and crafts, to benefit Gallery5 and Books on Wheels. Shoppers will buy from local artists and vendors while supporting two amazing organizations that give so much to the Richmond community!

Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29th, 7:00 to 10:00 pm at Gallery 5, Richmond, VA

Friday, May 28th
7PM - 10PM
Special preview Friday night featuring performances by Ophelia, Go Go Funk Yourself, Burlesque and a special collaboration by No BS Brass Band and Gull. Record vendors in the adjoining room.

Saturday, May 29th
12PM - 6PM
Record vendors downstairs and craft vendors upstairs, with Cherry Bomb spinning records on both floors.

Check it out!

I just took The Art of Sewing class at the Visual Arts Center (an amazing class for beginners like me), and I'm now obsessed with sewing. So I have ideas for some cute little plush fabric toys. Maybe they'll be ready in time for this event? We'll see...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gelatin Printmaking Process

This is an extremely fun printmaking process that you can do at home. You mix up a thick batch of gelatin and pour it into a flat pan. I used a piece of plexiglass with modeling clay around the edges to create a wall. You pour in the jello, scrape off the air bubbles, and let set. You can visit here for a more detailed tutorial on making the plates.

Then comes the fun part - printing! Using water-based inks (I used Akua inks for this experiment), you just roll the ink on with a rubber brayer and then place hand-cut paper shapes, plant matter, string, stencils, and anything fairly flat on top. Place your paper over the jello plate and gently rub, then lift it up. You can experiment with using negative and positive shapes by laying objects and stencils down, directly painting strokes of ink on the jello slab, and layering colors and textures.

This jello print was made in layers. i rolled up ink and placed plastic netting over it to create some texture, then printed it. Then I inked up an orange color and placed leaves on top. The result is shown here - the leaves acted as stencils by blocking the ink transfer, and remained as white shapes. The great part about using jello is that it has a bit of natural suction when you press your paper down on it, so that ink lifts up very easily. There is no need to apply a lot of pressure. You can re-use your jello slab, even if it gets moldy! Just rinse it a bit, blot out the excess moisture and make use of the interesting holes and cracks in the jello.

How to Make a Collagraph

I want to post more info about different printmaking techniques. it's a shame that printmaking is so undervalued as an art form because not that many people understand what it is. it has gotten to be a "secret art" unless you have studied it.

These photos don't quite show the entire process, but i will post more at a later time.

How I made "Flower Girl":

This print is a collagraph, which is basically a collaged printmaking plate. You can use any materials you want, provided they are fairly flat. If an object is too bulky, it will not print well and may also damage your paper and the rollers of the press. My collagraph plate was made using a base of cardboard. I cut layers of cardboard away, and added tape, sandpaper, plastic netting, Brita filter carbon grains, and cut paper shapes. I also cut little marks into the shoes and grass area with my razor blade. The whole thing was then covered with a few layers of acrylic medium to seal the added elements and to waterproof the plate so that I could ink it. I used Akua waterbased inks for this print. I will do another post later about the process of printing. As you can see, the print comes out as the reverse of the plate. Most printmaking techniques besides screenprinting will make a reverse image. Collagraph is a really fun technique, and you can do it on the cheap (which is great if you want to make big plates or simply experiment.)