Tuesday 6 July 2021

2021 Topic 8: Nature's Treasure with ECF {by Dounia Large}

 2021 Topic 8: Nature's Treasure

Today we have full on experimentation from Dounia using leaf-impressions, infusions dyes and lots of testing out on various surfaces with different leaves. She gets some unexpected results, which is all the fun right!?
~ Leandra

Hi everyone, it's Dounia with you today, and I'm here to share with you a little not-a-book made with some (maybe) surprising materials.

For this topic, I tried to see nature not just as an inspiration but also as a supplier of materials and tools. It was a good opportunity to experiment with some foraged elements and mix them with stamped images. I used the results in something that looks like a notebook....but is not a notebook...

I love leaves; they are easy to find and offer endless variations of gorgeous patterns. I wanted to try and capture their beauty. I placed my selection on a damp piece of Heavy Smoothy and ran them through my embossing machine. It gave me a lovely relief.

My leaves were pretty dry so the paper was almost not coloured but I believe there would be a lot more variation with fresh leaves. The relief is lovely but pretty subtle so my hope was the patterns could be revealed by colour, using the difference of absorbance between the pressed and non-pressed parts of the paper. And it worked!

I needed a liquid and water-based colour so I chose Infusions. The rose bush leaf was my first test, using Rocky Road. I decided I wanted something brighter so I changed to Golden Sands for the main project. The patterns show much better on the lighter colour! For a good result, you really need to flood the paper so you need one that resists water well. Finding the right combination of water, Infusion and time necessitated a few tries but watching the patterns slowly emerge was fascinating!

When I felt somewhat confident in my technique, I added a few extras to make the outside cover of my not-a-book.

Before I started the leaf printing process I added texture and interest by stamping randomly all over the cover. I used one of Courtney's lovely mark making stamps from ECF10. I love this mix of organic patterns and vintage imagery.

I stamped with Fresco Finish Acrylic Paints to create a resist against the Infusions. I often feel the resist created by paint alone is too sharp and harsh so I like mixing my colour of choice (here Snowflake) with a glaze. It creates varying levels of opacity and resistance, adding ever more texture and softening the pattern.

You can really see those variations on the back piece. For further interest, I did additional stamping with one of the horizontal barres of the same set and more Golden Sands Infusion. I love the resulting texture but I feel the leaf pattern sadly get a bit lost (especially on pictures I think).
It is subtle but a full rose bush leaf is visible behind the lovely lady of ECF10. Maybe it is what she is looking at with her glasses!

I then needed to deal with the inside of the not-a-book and took the opportunity to use a material I had wanted to work with for some time: cork!

I had some scraps of panelling cork I eagerly wanted to dye with Infusions, in Magenta for a contrasting colour. I first tried on the little tags that decorate the front so I felt prepared for the big pieces. However the process to make those must be different because the materials acted quite differently!  The coloured water seemed to sit on top doing nothing... Then when I started to despair the cork absorbed it, with a dramatic colour change! The bright pink became a muted, very matte mahogany.

I used several pieces to cover the inside and added an elastic band to make it a pen case. The cork really gives strength and stability to the cover and I love the feel of it!

I like how the outside and inside are so different but still work together. I kept the front relatively simple and flat for it to be carried easily. Those ladies have enough attitude to pull it off!

This project was a fun experiment. Not everything went as I thought it would but I learned a lot and like the result! I am going to reuse the pressing and colouring technique. It is easy and a little bit like magic. It is also not limited  to leaves, a lot of other materials could leave such relief, like lace. Double fun; first foraging for textures, then crafting! I hope you give it a try.

Stay creative!
Dounia x


Keren Baker said...

Such fabulous textures. Love the embossed/devised leaves; so cool. Love your experimenting and finished result - that would still make a fabulous book cover!! x

A Pink said...

Inspiring experimentation , Dounia and a joy to read blog post. Terrific creativity resulting in a fabulous , useable pen case . Thanks for sharing xx

Sue said...

Love this blog with inspiring ideas. Thanks for sharing your experiments. Hugs, Sue. x

SewPaperPaint said...

So many great ideas! The end result is just beautiful and so useful. xx, Autumn

Miriam said...

Pretty and useful! Brilliant