Sunday 13 September 2015

2015 Topic 17 Pigment Powders {Challenge}

Topic 17: Pigment Powders

Hi everyone Leandra here to introduce a new topic for the blog: Pigment Powders. Pigments are such an important part of our daily lives. Without them, our world would be bland. Clothing, decor, textiles, beauty products, hair products...all the things that make our worls beautiful and appealing rely on pigments for vibrant, gorgeous colour.

Here is an introduction to what is available out there, where they are from, and what they are like to use. You might already know the following product brand names: Bister/ Bistre, Brusho and Color Burst. Those are the focus of this post, but don't forget there are many other companies who also sell pigments in powder form, many fine art shops and companies, and there are also those we are more familiar with as mica powders which have both colour and metallic properties.

'Bister' pigments. These are a European product, around 8 rustic colours, HUGE pots with earth like vintage tones, the powders are like the brushos in that the consistency is more of a crystal. If you like vintage, you will like these as they are less 'gaudy' than the other 2 brands.

Here is a video from the very lovely Beatrice a stamp manufacturer, Katzelkraft in France. (she izz using err craft sheeeet - private joke, love that French accent!) In this video, you can see she runs through a few techniques and you can see the actual size of the Bister pots - huge, and the resulting vintagey colour!

But I also wanted you to see this video, again, you can see how (like brushos) the Bistre crystals are like several colours in one. In this video Nathalie shows you colour swatches of each Bistre, which is helpful, and you can see what I mean about the rustic tones. Skip to 5:00 for the colour swatches for each pot (her pots are different, maybe decanted), but there are other techniques she also shows that you can probably figure out, even if you don't understand French.

'Brusho' Powder pigments. These come from England by a manufacturer of 35 years called Colourcraft.  There is a wide selection of bright colours. The pots are small, and you are advised to prick the top with a pokey tool or push-pin to assist when dispensing/ shaking out the colour. The 'powders' are more like blends of colours rather than a single pure colour, and so when you add water you see lots of different coloured crystals emerge. Inexpensive. £1.50 per pot ish.

Below is an interesting video comparing Brushos and Colourburst.

'Colour Burst' are new this year (2015) from Ken Oliver. These are American made according to the literature,  and have a handy, puff-dispense mechanism. The powders seem to be finer than the other 2 brands, almost chalk like powder which therefore seems to dissolve faster in less water, and give a true single colour. Pricey compared to the others for half the product or less.

Below is a handy video from Ken Oliver showing a couple of ways to use the product.

These are all pigment powders with intense colour. No matter which brand you prefer to use or find easiest to purchase, the principle is the same as to how you work with them. If you have watched the videos you will be aware that even after heat setting they are not permanent, and that you can work onto wet or dry surfaces. However, they all only show you using the powders with water.

You can activate a powder pigment with any type of solvent: mediums, gels, oils, solvents etc, and you can make them permanent depending on what you add to the mix: gum arabic binder, mediums or perhaps gels for texture. Our contributors this week will show you many diverse ideas you may like to try.

(Source: Pinterest)

'Brushos' are the brand that I have known about the longest, not surprising being a UK brand, with an impressive range of colours. The source Colourcraft, supply and manufacture paints, and numerous other products often for textile use, but of course their products are suitable for paper too. Textile artists in particular have been fluent with the use of Brusho products for decades!

So what are powdered pigments? Well think back to traditional artists who would meticulously grind up raw materials, and then use the powder with other usually fluids (vehicles) to generate a paint or perhaps oil, wax crayon, water etc. That ground product can today be obtained from both natural and synthetic sources. 

Of course these pigments are used across numerous industries to make all kinds of products you use: fabric and hair dyes, nail colours, makeup products and so on. 

Pigments are strong (only very very very very little is required), and once dry they may or may not be permanent depending on how and what you mix them with. In the art sector, powdered pigments are used to tint dyes, paints, water sprays etc. and can be used on canvas, paper, watercolour paper, fabric etc. So when you have a raw pigment powder product you can do so much with it to create a wide array of products and effects effects yourself. It's a lot of fun! A craft scrubbie (soft pumice block to clean your hands) might be useful afterwards that's for sure!

An excerpt from EMG zine 
"Pigments can be categorized into inorganic and organic pigments. (Synthetic pigments fall under organic pigments - confusing if you're an organic food person, huh?) 
Inorganic pigments tend to be quite light-fast, coming from the earth, and/or manufactured from metals or minerals. (The original "Lead White" paint being a great example of an inorganic pigment. The cadmium colors are inorganic too.) 
Organic pigments come from plant or animal sources, or they can also be synthesized - though some people note that not enough of the synthesized pigments have been studied for long-term effects. The pigments from plant and animal sources tend to be safe - but the colors do fade, making them "fugitive" colors."
In the last 2 years pigment powders have emerged (or perhaps re-emerged is a better term) onto the radar of Paper Crafters with a vengeance. Here in the UK, brushos have been used for decades.  I blame the recent resurgence on dye sprays partly responsible for the renewed interest in dry pigments. Sprays are so easily made from pigment powder, a bit of binder and water and we all know how popular that product has been for several years in the 'crafting' world? Making your own dye sprays with pigments is a doddle, and you can even add mica too for that bit of sparkle. Personally I do love using sprays without mica because of the translucent layers and depth you can create, so for me, using brushos to make a spray is lots of fun!

Over the course of the next 2 weeks, our blog contributors are going to show you all kinds of ideas with pigment powders. For example, I found a blog post explaining the sample above using texture paste with pigments. 

There are also some great samples I found online that I have pinned, so if you have time, pop over to my Pinterest Page for bog Topic 17 take a look and get your creative juices flowing.

I am sure you are going to love this topic. There is scope far and wide to do all manner of things.

Enjoy the process!


PS Ally Pally Ticket winners are :

  • Bracken Sparkes
  • Sarah Philpott
  • Lucy Edmonsdson
  • Rebecca Harris

Topic 17: Pigment Powders PaperArtsy Blog Challenge

We'd love you to share your ideas and link up your creativity to this page. Please familiarise yourself with the challenge guidelines below before entering.

All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Pigment Powders link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Sept 27th , winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.

1. The challenge is a chance for you to show how you have been inspired by a particular technique of the fortnight. Your entry should contain:
- a mention of which post inspired you and why, and 
- a link in your blog post to that original post on the PA blog.

The whole concept of this challenge is 'play along with us'. You are encouraged to put your own twist on ideas you see on our blog. We love to see how you are inspired and your twist!

2. The link you put on our linky page must lead directly to the specific post on your blog where you have explored the technique/ idea mentioned in point 1 above. Don't link to the home page of your blog, or we will be unable to find the post to leave you comments.

3. Spam links will be deleted.

4. We prefer your challenge post is created exclusive to our challenge, but if our topic fits perfectly with another challenge, then of course your post may link to both if you feel it is appropriate.

5. You are most welcome to use stamps/ products/ substrates you have to hand from a variety of companies, we do not expect you to exclusively use PA products - it's lovely when you do though!

6. You can enter as many times as you like in the fortnight. We don't want to restrict your creativity or participation! Link closes at 17:00 Sunday Sept 6th   (London Time)

7. The winner of the random draw will receive a £50 credit to be redeemed on the PaperArtsy Website, the credit includes VAT and postage. We request that one of your purchases is an A5 rubber stamp. You can add any other items to your basket, but the final total should not exceed £50

8. Each Sunday fortnight the winner will be announced at 19:00, also, in the same post, the link for the next fortnight will be posted. It's your responsibility to claim your prize coupon from Darcy: email her

Good Luck! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


Helen said...

what a great topic! going back to watch the videos now!

Craftyfield said...

Looking forward to this one! Don't need to see the videos... already seen them all and more besides! On the other hand I can't see the Pinterest page and I would love to know more about that atmospheric painting.

Pavla said...

I think I'll have to sit this one out or figure out what to use instead of the pigments...

Keren Baker said...

Loved this post. Like so many of your starter topic posts- there's tonnes of brilliant info. Oh for the time to experiment and digest it all! x

Kirsten said...

Excellent theme for the new challenge, I love my Brushos!

Amanda said...

Thanks for featuring my texture paste and Brusho's curiousities piece, just reading your article and was pleasantly surprised to see my work

Jane said...

Great theme, I have all the Bister colours and really love using them. I made some pieces in the summer for my travel journal which were such fun.I do like the idea of taking colour off after stamping...must have a play.Looking forward to seeing the projects over the next 2 weeks.

Deborah Wainwright said...

Love the videos and love the powders I need these in my life xx

Julie Lee said...

Thank you, PaperArtsy! You are doing such a great job of educating us an truly broadening our horizons. The topics are just so inspiring and you take us to new places we might never have dreamed of! It's a big, bright, colourful world out there! xx

craftimamma said...

What a great topic! I have quite a few of the Brusho colours (as well as a huge number of fab examples of artwork including Amanda's on a Pinterest board)and haven't had time to play with them nearly enough yet so hope I get chance to join in this challenge. BTW like Craftyfield I can't see your Pinterest board either :-( but as always your starter post is very informative.

Lesley Xx

Shoshi said...

What a great post. I have been looking at Brushos for a while now and waiting to get some, and learnt some new techniques from the videos here. Where can you get the Bistre crystals? I can't seem to find them anywhere. I love the more muted shades.


Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

VERY inspiring and cool!

PaperArtsy said...

Sorry guys, I forgot to un-hide my pinterest board until late Sunday night (was immersed in Ally Pally make and take prep!)

But I am getting the Bistre powders in to sell, fingers crossed will have them for Ally Pally - working on it today.


Lucy Edmondson said...

Great intro post!!!

Lucy x

Paula Pascual said...

Love this topic!!

Hazel Agnew said...

Only just got round to watching the videos! Lots of ideas to go at! Xx

Unknown said...

Well - you have inspired me to use my Brushos and I've actually entered the challenge so thank you!!

Mac Mable said...

I have been playing with my Brusho's and have so enjoyed the videos, tutorials, inspiration and help over this past ten days or so. I have tried the techniques you've been showing on the blog each and every one of them with wildly differing results! Your blog has 'made' me give it a go and I have loved it, got messay and I am having fun!!! xxx Learning loads.

Shoshi said...

Any idea when you might be stocking the bistre powders for sale, Leandra? I've been over to your shop once or twice and searched "bistre" but it comes up with nothing. I am really keen to get these, and can't find them anywhere to buy online - very mysterious!