Thursday 18 August 2022

2022 Topic 12 : Minimalism {by Floss Nicholls} with Vintage Ink & the Dog stamps


Hi everyone , it's Floss Nicholls here from flossWORKSHOPart with you today, and I'm here to share with you the challenge that PaperArtsy set for me for the minimalism topic.

Ok, so the definition of minimalism is...'the deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design'...yes, this was definitely going to challenge me! For those of you who are more familiar with my work, you will know that I really like to  go to town using lots of layers, textures, and supplies on one piece...I can struggle to leave white space in my work...let's see how I got on...

As you can see from the photo of my finished journal spread below, there seems to be a busy right hand side (which is definitely not minimalist!) Let me explain my thinking behind this...I'm going to liken it to a minimalists home where everything has a place and everything is in its place...You will notice above my right hand journal page is another piece, this is a flap that folds down hiding all the labels and thought tags...just like a cupboard would hide things away in a home. 

I think I could probably spend quite a few pennies on thoughts as I seem to have lots of them and so I decided I needed a stash of tags and labels to write on and tuck away.

As it was a minimalist project I decided that my minimalism would be how I'd not only limit my supplies to one stamp set, two ink pads and a couple of water soluble crayons, but to limit the size of my workspace too. Why ever would I do that? The answer is quite simple; it's holiday season in the UK and I'm thinking about what is possible to create on an aeroplane on a tiny fold down table. And so I gave myself only a pencil case to use for supplies and a tray to work on. I grabbed my journal and a handful of tags and tissue papers, a couple of plain sheets of A4 recycled cartridge paper (as these would easily slot in my tickets and passport folder) and then my first thought was oh! no scissors...and an even bigger OH! no needles so no sewing!! PaperArtsy did say that this minimalist project would need careful planning...they were right there, especially as I had set these extra boundaries to challenge myself.

This is the fabulous Vintage Ink and the Dog stamp set that I chose to use; I love the sentiments and the versatility of the potential combination of using different stamps on top of one another.

The lid of the Ranger Archival Peat Moss Ink pad doubled up for a stamp block, this saved me space and gave me a sturdy block to stamp some images onto my left hand journal page with.

The stitching was already on the page from where I'd previously made my journal using layers of left over papers. Here you can see that I have lightly 'over stamped' using the script rubber stamp and scratched gesso over the top to soften and minimise the image. Did you spot the little contact lens containers in the photo? I absolutely could not go without gesso, so filled both sides up. I was going to use gel medium in one side but I decided that cleaning a glue brush afterwards could be tricky so I opted for a glue stick instead.

Using my Carandache water soluble crayons in Malachite Green and Raw Umber I tinted the background of the ladies face which I stamped onto the right hand journal page. I proceeded to rip an opening along the upper line edge so that I could create a hidden pocket behind her. I made the pocket by sticking a postcard onto the reverse of the page so it made it like a letter box slot.

The reverse looks like this...notice that I reinforced the edges of the slot with masking tape. I had wrapped a length of masking tape around a pencil, along with a couple of washi's that I thought I may use but didn't. The pencil line marked where I was to glue so that the tag that would go in the slot would fit inside and not get jammed or lost.

It was time to start adding some details without overdoing them. I ripped some squared maths paper and finished the edge using Ranger Black Soot Archival ink and stuck a little ripped piece on underneath the bottom edge before stamping the Vintage Ink and Dog stars on; again using the stamp lid as my block. I doodled some lines around the edge of the stars. 

I had originally thought I would only use one star but I felt like it needed some balance on the page.

I used the Vintage Ink and Dog 'one penny for your thoughts' stamp straight onto the journal page using Ranger Black soot archival ink, but printed the same words onto some squared maths paper to stick the word penny over the top so that it created a pocket to fit a penny into. It's a good job I like rough edges as I had no scissors to use. If you are doing this at home and not on a plane you will have the choice of how tidy you like the edges.

I wanted to create a tag exactly the same as the lady on the right hand journal page to hide inside the slot. I naturally had to make the image slightly narrower to fit but when it went inside, it lined up beautifully. I created a pocket at the bottom of the page using the same Vintage ink and dog text stamp on my recycled cartridge paper and again used gesso to mute/minimise the surface. I edge finished the pocket with Ranger Peat Moss archival ink before gluing it into place. You will also notice that I decided on using the winged lady as the subtle background for the inside of the flap that was going to hide these inside images, which was done using the same technique. This is where things got rather interesting as I was balancing my pencil case and my journal on my lap as if I was on my flight and being creative with my working space. My thought here was that if I was going to be organised enough to do this on a flight, that I would need to preferably book a window seat...

For the facing page of the flap I used the Vintage Ink and the Dog text stamp and again covered it in a slight scrape of gesso before stamping the lady over.  I marked the edges where she would go so that she sat directly above the coloured version underneath. I used a sharp pencil to puncture the hole where the little ripped paper tag threaded through.

To make the page interesting and to fit with the 'Penny for your thoughts' theme, I decided that I would fill the inside pocket up with tags to write my thoughts.  I used my recycled cartridge papers, stamped and gesso'd them in the same way that I had made the journal pages and then played around with the combination of stamps. I ripped them using the edge of my short ruler before edge finishing them with ink. I liked to make them different sizes so that they were less uniform.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I have enjoyed creating it. I loved the challenge of using less and limiting my supplies, but, I do have to admit to getting a little bit twitchy about not allowing myself to have my trusty sewing machine to hand. I guess I was appeased by having got stitching on the journal page I chose to use. I did nearly cave in and use it, but that would have defeated my goal. I especially love that I managed to embrace the white space and manoeuvre within a small tray as if I really was limited for space. It is encouraging for a flight I may take in September. I look forward to adding my thoughts and doodles on all the little tags that are now waiting inside the pocket to be used. 

Please do tag me if you play along and have a go; I would especially like to hear if you try this on a flight and manage the whole thing without dropping anything and what supplies you can not go without, like me and my gesso.


Facebook: Floss Nicholls

I teach small groups of up to 6 in my workshop in Hellingly, East Sussex UK

I have various workshops listed for August and Sept. For more information visit my website


Helen said...

great project, love that peat moss colour!

Anonymous said...

I love this, and the thought of stripping away lots of supplies which we often have to hand... feeling very inspired. And I have a holiday coming up... less is more. Thank you Floss for the inspiration

Floss Nicholls said...

Thank you so much for your kind feedback, I’m so happy to have inspired you. 🌸

Floss Nicholls said...

Less is more is definitely something I will revisit, it’s surprising what you can do with limited supplies…and space lol. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please tag me if you give this project a go. 🌸