Saturday 8 October 2016

2016 #19 Seedhead Triptych {by Jo Firth-Young}

 2016 Topic 19: Die Cuts

Hi everyone Jo Firth-Young ( here. Tonight I'd like to share with you a post about using die cuts as masks, stencils and embellishments.

I'm still enjoying using my Gelli plates and incorporating masks and stencils, and creating my own from die cuts is so simple.  I have used these to create a triptych of canvas boards Gelli printed with Fresco Paints, stamped and embellished with die cut motifs.
This was quite an organic project - created and modified as I went along.. and it was an exercise in 'keep going until you're happy' and 'walk away, come back and look at it with fresh eyes' type of project.

I started off with a rough sketch in my workbook (where I do all my thinking), and then got to work... (I find it really helpful to have a starting sketch - even if its on a piece of scrap paper because sometimes you can lose your way on a project and its good to go back and see what was originally imagined)

Step One: Planning 
My plan was to use foliage design dies and cut coordinating stencils and masks out of PaperArtsy Crunchy paper - this is a great product to use for this because it die cuts well and has a good resistance to moisture so is perfect for using with, and resisting paint. 

I chose dies that cut a solid (but still delicate) shape because the Gelli plate I wanted to use is from the Petite packs and is quite small - 2x3 inches.

Step Two: Preparation
I taped the three 5x7 canvas boards together on the reverse to keep them stable while working - this was important because I planned to print across the gap from one board to the next.  

I chose various Fresco colours from the pink side of the colour wheel - Sherbet is quite a cold pink but is warmed up by the addition of Coral and Tango - and who doesn't love a bit of the Bubble Gum pink!.

Step Three: Gelli Printing  
I began Gelli printing using the small rectangle from the Petite packs, and Vanilla Fresco Finish Paint. Each time I loaded the plate I made one print and then a second 'ghost' print - this creates different depths of colour. I would also print with different orientations of the print - sometimes landscape, sometimes portrait, and below you can see how several of the prints bridge the gap between the boards tying them together.  

I rotated the triptych 180 degrees between colours, and stamped rectangles so they covered parts of the layer beneath.

Layer 1: Vanilla 
Layer 2: Sherbet
Layer 3: Coral.... and a 'noooooooo!!!' moment.... I dropped the gelli plate - in the middle of the centre panel in a bright colour!!!!!  
You can see the lines of colour from where the Gelli plate made little prints as it BOUNCED before I could catch it... sigh.  I've included this photo so that I could show you that all was not lost and things can be 'repaired/rescued' - compare the photo below to the photo of the finished project at the top of this post and you can't see this 'oops' at all - you can barely see the Coral rectangle let alone those naughty little bounce marks.  Phew!
So, please don't panic if these things happens to you.... keep calm and carry on!

Layer 4: Bubble Gum - and this was the final layer of plain/solid rectangle prints.

Step Four: Gelli printing with the stencils & masks
The photo below shows the masks and stencils after I have printed with them - you can see where I've placed the Gelli plate to get the prints on the canvas.

On the canvas I tried to print with all the stencils/masks in most of the colours and placed the prints over the existing rectangles so the colour of previous layers showed through or randomly bridging gaps on the surface.

NB I printed with the Gelli plate mounted on to a slim acrylic block

Here is one die cut as an example of the prints that were created. I loaded the 3x5 petite plate with Bubble Gum paint, pressed a piece of bubble wrap onto the gelli to remove some of the paint and then placed the mask in position.  The mask sticks to the paint which means the whole piece can be turned over and pressed onto the project surface to create the print.
The stencil (on left) created by the same die cut and the resulting print (on right).  I would lay this in place on the canvas and press the paint loaded Gelli plate on top.

This is how the triptych looked at this point with the feature die cuts laid on top in optional colours.

I wasn't happy with it - it was missing something... the blocks were too small, they weren't 'tied' together and the colours weren't punchy enough.... what this needed was colour - and you don't get more colourful on this side of the colourwheel than BOUGAINVILLEA

Step Five: Brights  
I started using a 3x5 inch Gelli plate to print bigger panels of colour & I went a bit Bougainvillea mad!

The new colour was too much of a contrast and so now I needed to knock it back (are you now realising what I meant in my opening paragraph about what an organic project this was!)

I knocked the colour back by over printing with Vanilla - loading the Gelli plate with paint and lifting some paint off by laying on bubblewrap (breaking up the opacity of the paint and allowing layers underneath to show through).  I did this for all areas with Bougainvillea and the result was a lovely chalky effect.

This is the great thing about Gelli printing and Fresco paints - you can keep adding layers until you're happy, and using opaques and translucents to their advantage.
I was happy with the result.  The background was finished.

Step Four: The details
I chose black for the feature die cut stems because they were so dramatic (attached to the canvasses with 3D foam), and stamped seedheads from JOFY38... soften the contrast between the die cuts and the background.  I painted these in with colours used on the back ground (Bougainvillea, Coral and Sherbert).  I dragged around the edges of boards with a black pencil and softly coloured around some of the rectangles on the background.

The canvasses are connected across the back with sturdy cardboard.

Here's a close up of the centre panel - I'm so happy with all the layers of detail that can be seen.

I chose to work with foliage die cuts but you could choose any designs - simple shapes or flourishes - choice is yours.  I would love to do this again but maybe next time work on a smooth surface - lovely as the canvas surface is because it gives such a nice texture it can also be a little tricky, particularly when stamping directly onto it.  My feature die cut is a large one - measures 9 x 20cm - but you could create a large arrangement by grouping die cuts together.

Have fun and play! (but don't drop your Gelli plate!!)


You can find me at
or follow me @jofyjo on Instagram & twitter 

I adore this Jo, and it is also one of my preferred gelli printing colour palettes too!! The chalky effect to tone-back was inspired, and I do love the addition of the brights like Bougainvillea and Tango too! Toally beautiful! ~Leandra

We would love to see how you interpret this Die Cuts topic by linking what you make to our 2016 Challenge #19: Die Cuts, on this page HERE.

All of our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas,  particularly if you were inspired directly by their post. 

All links go in the draw to win a £50 voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Die Cuts link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Oct 16th 2016. The winner will be announced 2  hours later at 19:00.


Lauren Hatwell said...

Oooh! Soooo prettyyyyyy. Lx

Helen said...

Beautiful layers of colour, love this Jo!

Etsuko said...

Stunning Jo! Beautiful gelli plate work and colours. xx

Clare said...

So inspirational I can't wait to have a go at this! The colours are stunning. Love it x X X

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Oooooh absolutely beautiful, the colours are really dreamy
Donna xx

Unknown said...

This is lovely Jo! Fabulous layers with the Gelli plate and stencils. I am definitely not a lover of pinks but ai think you are making them grow on me probably with your use of the Vanilla to knockmthe pinks back. Whatever, I think it's really pretty.

Lesley Xx

Miriam said...

gorgeous project Jo....I love the use of the Gelli plate too

imagine that ... said...

This is gorgeous ... love the colours ... and it makes me want to get a mini a Gelli plate ASAP!

Craftyfield said...

And here's my inspiration for the challenge... Hope I get the time to do it!

Sarah Anderson said...

Gorgeous Jo, loving the layers and the story behind them ... and those fern die cuts 😀😀😀

craftytrog said...

Absolutely love this Jo!

Julie Lee said...

I really love these colours! What a gorgeous project that makes a beautiful statement! I love the silhouette effect xx

Anneke said...

Great project! Love the colors and how you did the background.