Monday 31 October 2022

2022 Topic 15: Paper, Seeds and Twigs - Topic introduction

Hi everyone, Keren here with a fascinating topic that's all about sustainability - both using items from nature and thinking about being sustainable for nature's sake. Paper, seeds and twigs could be described as originating from the same source - the tree. If we're talking paper; it's simply compressed layers of an organic substance. Lots of paper you'd find today often starts out as evergreen conifers, the bark is stripped and other processes added until you end up with paper. But it's not just trees, paper can be formed from jute, hemp, bamboo, cotton and other materials. If you've ever wondered how the paper (we often find in magazines) derives its glossy sheen, that would be the china clay that's added to the process.
Have you tried making your own? Oh it's a wonderfully therapeutic, magical process and I'd highly recommend having a go, which you can do with very limited supplies.

Autumn Clark created an amazing journal on the blog in which she used her own handmade paper - do check out the process in the blog post.

If you're interested in finding out how to create your own paper - Autumn explains the basics, but this video shows you how to get started step-by-step. The Paper Outpost covers using mostly supplies you'll have at home, how to colour your paper and also how to add elements like leaves- or you could use seeds which would tie in perfectly with this topic.

How can we use paper in a thoughtful manner. Perhaps looking for recycled papers/ cardstocks and better still, make your own. Asking questions of your suppliers may not make a difference in the short term, but if enough start to ask about supplies provenance, it might start a useful conversation industry wide. 

How can we use what we have more sustainably? Thinking about the paper that we might be tempted to toss away. Could we reuse it? When we're creating gel prints for example- having paper/ surfaces ready to roll the excess paints onto, and doing so with a view to using those in your next art. 
Carolyn Dube wants to use the leftover brayer clean up paper to make more prints. Grab your stencils and a contrasting colour and you'll begin to be more sustainable!

You might not feel quite up to making your own paper, but how do you use it in your creativity. Asia Marquet explored how Infusions react on handmade paper and added lots of other lovely elements to them.

We've all made mistakes when we're playing or creating. What do you do with all the mistakes before you toss them? Andrea Garvey is of the opinion that 'ugly art' (if there is such a thing) can simply be upcycled. She offers a useful tool, namely a blank frame that you place over the art until you find a snapshot that works well.

Linking paper and seeds, have you seen the seed paper that when used can simply be planted and creates new from the used? I tried to do some calligraphy on a piece (unsuccessfully because of the texture) so I'm on the lookout for more ways to use it.
It wasn't easy finding examples of seed paper used in an artistic way- maybe there's a niche for someone to explore, but this notecard set has a wonderfully artistic quality and the idea is that you plant the animals on each card which grow into something unexpected.

Because seeds have a wonderfully textural property, you can use them in a myriad of ways. We'll go literal first- with seed art (which is a real discipline!).

Shilin Hora explores the relationship between us and our environment, taking inspiration from natural history museum displays.

On a slight tangent, this artist, Ilwha Kim creates 'seeds' from Hanji (a traditional Korean paper made from the inner bark of Mulberry). She dies, cuts and rolls the paper into seeds and then creates these astonishing works of art.

Maybe your mind wanders over to vintage seed packets of yesteryear. There are some wonderful free resources for downloads of seed packet art that you can create with at the bottom of the linked post.

There are also some wonderful seed themed products from Scrapcosy. Here's one project using her 2017 release

There are many ways to use twigs in your art. Darcy used some leftover twigs from her garden to create some interesting texture onto her winter rose wreath. She also sprayed them to add colour to the design. There's something wonderful about using the natural and real to add to the manmade products in the base.

The structural nature of twigs can also be used as an indication of something else. Penny Nuttall created a niche with a matchbox base but use twigs as a nod to an ancient tomb structure. A really artistic solution.

We can also use the tiny to simulate the large. I adore the considered elements of this piece of art by Diana Taylor and the way that the twigs draw your eye around the decor piece.

We've had a good few twig based examples, but I couldn't help thinking of an earlier set of Sara Naumann's ESN018. This has a bird sat atop a twig/branch. Here's one of Sara's samples for her original release.

I also thought of Kay Carley's new releases last year (EKC62) with the snowman and his/her twiggy arms.

You can also use twigs as the most perfect rustic hanging implements. Etsuko used a beautifully curved one to hang this amazing piece.

Bringing nearly all the elements in this topic together is Lynne Moncrief who has masterfully used twigs, twig stamps, handmade paper and recycled junk (which we haven't even touched on but is a perfect response to this topic) to create this loveliness.

I hope you're ready to go foraging, whether you've a garden, yarden or a local wood or park. Nature is all around us, and at this time of year, much stuff is dying to make way for the new so there'll be a rich bounty for you to create sustainably with.

If you want to create along with us, please share on our social feeds so we can see what you get up to. The best places are Instagram @paperartsy or post in PaperArtsy People Group on Facebook. Make sure you tag us in your contributions, we love to see what you get up to in your creative world!  

Thursday 27 October 2022

NEW PaperArtsy Products: Eclectica³ Alison Bomber {October 2022}

A note from Leandra:
Alison's botanical creative style has been so well received with her stunning sketches and coordinating ephemera. The next 3 sets feature Hawthorn, Juniper and Mistletoe. Alison's definition in the ephemera mentions hawthorn was boiled for the relief of inward tormenting pains ... I've noticed the thorns on that stuff can inflict some pretty serious outward pain too! We see these berries all around us here in the South of France, vicious as they might be, very pretty they are too!
Alison will be LIVE with her new products and ideas over in our Facebook Group, PaperArtsy People shortly after this post publishes. I really hope you can drop by or catch the replay. You will love seeing what she has made with these for sure!
For the next 3 months, these stamps are only available EXCLUSIVELY from our approved stockists. Please check the list at the foot of this post of from the home page tab of the blog.
Hi, everyone!  Alison here, and I'm thrilled to share my latest release for PaperArtsy with you - three new stamp sets with botanical sketches, herbal concoctions and prescriptions, and ephemera linked to the world of theatre, another of my great loves.  And all of it is with an eye to the changing seasons too.

Those who know my work know that it is strongly seasonal, so I'm sure you guessed that after the first autumnal trio, the next release would be heading into winter.  We're forecast a long cold winter here in the Czech Republic, so the trees and bushes are heavy with berries... and so are these stamps. You could even say that it looks like being a very Berry Christmas!

I'll share a couple of creations for each stamp set and talk a bit more about the thoughts behind the designs.  Then later in the post there are some trios and triptyches where they are all "in conversation" together. 

Price: RRP €23.00 +VAT    Size:5" x 6" (13 x16.5cm)
All stamps are individually trimmed onto cling foam with a laminated storage/index sheet.

Eclectica³ Alison Bomber 27 - Hawthorn Edition (EAB27)

Nature Journal - Hawthorn

I had a beautiful hawthorn bush outside the house where I used to live.  I really want to plant one here in the Czech Republic - it's a wonderful plant all year round, so I wanted to celebrate it on this plate.  With each stamp set, I started as I did last time - by stamping the entire plate as it stands, and then exploring the botanical sketches in more detail on the facing page to create a "nature sketchbook" spread.

You can see that I wasn't using expensive watercolours - just dipping my water brush in the inks and colouring in. I love that you can choose to be very detailed and precise with the image, going for a real botanical art look (without having to do any sketching first!)...

... or you can keep it loose and free, in a much more spontaneous style.  I've designed the images so that they're really flexible in terms of which direction you can stamp them.

Finally, the two sides of the sheet are mounted in a kraft journal, and aged to suit the historical feel of the ephemera and the sketches.

Eclectica³ Alison Bomber 28 - Juniper Edition (EAB28)

Nature Journal - Juniper

I think these nature sketchbook pages are a really great way to introduce the stamp plates - you get a really clear look at what you get, and start to see how the stamps can be really flexible.  And the Juniper plate is a real joy to me - those rounded berries, those dynamic pine needles... and lots of Shakespeare connections.

If you think juniper berries only come in slate blue and misty purple, think again... not only are there all the different stages of ripeness to consider, but there are also such things as red juniper berries!  And look how this large stamp is just as good either way up...

And again some spatter and some loose inking brings the berries to life just as much as a detailed version. Those fir needles going in every which direction have such drama and movement to them!

And here's just some of Culpeper's advice on using the juniper plant to improve your health... this is cut from a MUCH longer section.  Really it seems that juniper can help you with pretty much anything.  An excellent excuse to top up the gin and tonic!  This font I've used for the Culpeper gives me great joy, and again it works wonderfully to create background detail if you don't want to use the whole thing.

Shakespeare's Seal?!

There are plenty more juniper berries to enjoy later on, but for my next make I wanted to focus on the ephemera from this set.  Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale seemed like the right play for the season (though this is for an adaptation, but you've still got the title there in the middle!).  

The advertising fonts on this poster from 1758 are a treat. I had a lovely time ageing and distressing the paper with inks and the blade of my scissors, but it's the wax seal that really excites me here.  The signet ring from which the WS seal stamp on this plate comes may (only may) have belonged to William Shakespeare himself.  

The ring was found in 1810, in a field just by the church in Stratford upon Avon.  While even quite ordinary people would have had signet rings in his day, this one is made of good quality gold, indicating it was owned by someone quite prosperous (as Shakespeare was when he returned to Stratford after his playwriting days in London).  We'll probably never know for certain, but even if it only might be his, having (maybe) William Shakespeare's seal as a stamp was too good to miss!

It's stamped into paper clay here, rather than wax (you could also use Grunge Paste or embossing powders), as I wanted it dried and cracked around the edges, as though it was very old.  It looked magnificent when first sprayed with ink - exactly like the vermilion-coloured shellac they used rather than wax in Will's day - but as it dried it became rather faded and shabby (just as though it really was ageing!), so I used a bit of Distress Crayon to highlight the texture again.  I do have some sealing wax somewhere... I just have to track it down, and then I can't wait to play with this again!

Eclectica³ Alison Bomber Set 29 - Mistletoe Edition (EAB29)

Nature Journal - Mistletoe

I didn't want to go for the obvious festive plants. I was trying to find ones that can work all winter, and in fact for lots more of the year.  You can't beat the romance of mistletoe - the perfect excuse to kiss a loved one under the garlands - but it's also full of danger and mystery.  It was one of the most treasured plants gathered by the druids, considered sacred, and the berries, of course, are poisonous.  And apparently, according to Culpeper, if you hang it around your neck it will cure witchcraft!

There's a piece of really personal ephemera on this plate to go with the one from the previous release.  You may remember seeing my relative Martha Pollak's school certificate last time... well, now we have a termly report, complete with her marks in each subject at the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts in 1903.

You can of course choose to colour the images in any rainbow your imagination can create, but I was amazed to discover that in real life there are varieties of mistletoe in both pink and red, so even nature is inviting you to get creative!

Here I was testing to see just how loose I could go with my inky watercolouring... answer: pretty loose!  And again, you can stamp these berries hanging downwards from a wreath or garland, or growing upwards or sideways... any which way works beautifully.  It's so lovely being able to use these stamps for watercolour practice without having to do the drawing every time!

Mistletoe Parcel Tags

You may be wondering where all the tags are... is this an Alison Bomber launch post?!  Never fear, here they come, starting with these two small parcel tags (12 x 6cm which is about 4.5 x 2ish inches). They're cut from some textured watercolour card with a Tim Holtz die. I wanted to try out a couple of ideas for combining the sketches with the ephemera, getting the ephemera to sit "behind" the imagery.

With the first one, I stamped and painted the mistletoe using the stamping platform, and then gave it a coat of PaperArtsy Matte Glaze (could have been any of them) so that I could apply clear embossing powder.  This resisted the Distress Ink stamping of the school report with ease as well as giving a lovely glossy finish to the mistletoe.

On the second tag, I used PaperArtsy Frosting Glaze (well, Christmas is there on the horizon) over the painted tag, and that was perfectly capable of resisting the Distress Ink too - I just used a slightly damp paper towel to gently wipe away the writing... look closely - the photos are not the same!  The Frosting Glaze has a very subtle sheen, so I ended up adding a little Distress Dry Glitter to that one in the end.

And on the reverse sides you can see some of the other ephemera in use - the lovely Austrian stamp (stamped straight onto the tag and then painted with Distress Oxides in various greens), as well as some of that Culpeper font used as background detail.  And I added back in the Latin name of the plant and the figure numbers for the illustration in new positions. (Confession: I'd cut up the stamps by now rather than taping them - it was just quicker when I was making so many things at once!)

Tag Trio Experiments

If you were missing the tags, here come plenty!  It was another little exploration comparing the images painted vs simply embossed over some of my favourite Distress Ink backgrounds.  Obviously I started by creating some inky backgrounds in colours suitable for winter greenery... six of them, working in pairs.  Here's one...

Next on one of each pair of tags I stamped my botanical sketches - one from each set - in Olive Archival and clear-embossed them.  

And on the other, using the stamping platform, I stamped and painted (Hawthorn as your example for this one)...

... painted some more - using Fresco Finish Acrylic Chalk Paints (colour details coming up) in much the same way as the inks from the beginning of this post - dotted on the mat, spritzed with water and applied with a water brush - and finally re-stamped to get back any details which might have been lost in the painting.  

Obviously I used a slightly different paint palette for each pair of tags (and a slight variation in the ink colours used in the backgrounds too, if you look closely).  So here are the Juniper paints:

... and here's a closer look for comparison.  I do love the painted versions, but I'm happy to say that I think the sketches absolutely hold up just as line drawings in the embossed versions too!

Same again for the Hawthorn pair.  Here are the paints I used.  I wanted subtle variation on individual berries as well as between different berries, so there are lots of reds!

And take a look at the finished results... Again, I'm really happy with the embossed one - and in fact, it was already holding its own on the inky background even before the embossing powder.

Here are the paints for the mistletoe - back to a smaller palette, as I decided to just stick with the classic white berries for this one!  The Lake Wanaka was just for a bit of dimensional shading and shadows.

These inky backgrounds were sparser, as I knew it would be better to avoid having too much ink in the way of white berries.  You can stop the ink from bleeding into the white by sealing it before painting, but time was getting on, so the fewer steps the better!

So there's my trio of pairs... time to divide them up into two separate trios.  We'll follow the painted ones for now, but you can see a sneak peek of where the others ended up at the end of the post.

I loved my berry paintings, so I didn't want to cover them up too much.  A little torn book page text on each...

... and some simple fine twine "wreaths" layered over wispy cheesecloth for texture, and then the quotes from each set get to take centre stage. Each stamp plate has a carefully chosen quote to coordinate with the imagery and ephemera, so you can still keep building your collection of beautiful words to add to your projects.  

The quote about bright berries - could there be a better description of bold hawthorn berries in the hedgerow? - is by Hartley Coleridge (son of the famous Coleridge, and also a poet).

Edmund Spenser, a poet contemporary with Shakespeare, is on the Juniper plate alongside all that Shakespearean ephemera.

And it's Thomas Haines Bayly, a poet and playwright, who is decking the halls with mistletoe (and holly, but you'll have to draw that yourselves for now!).

So there they are... a painted berry trio of words and pictures.  Right up my street!

I'm just going to leave you with a few sneak peeks of projects coming your way on my blog and over on Instagram in the coming days and weeks (and I'll be sharing some of the ones above in more detail too).  It doesn't have to be all about the vintage look.  With Christmas coming up, how about some cool, modern gift card holders?

I don't know about you, but with teenagers in the family there now seem to be more gift vouchers and money being exchanged than actual presents.  Experiment with your embossing powders over design paper to create unique gift-wrapping to make those boring gift cards a little more fun to unwrap.

And although I don't make many cards, these intricate designs are perfect.  No need for multiple layers costing more in the post - these are lovely enough just as they are.

And it's so easy to create coordinating envelopes to go with them, so they're a treat even before they get opened!

But what about those other tags from the pairs, I hear you cry... what happened to them?  Well, the leaves stayed unpainted, but in the end, I couldn't resist turning all the berries a festive red (now that we know you get both red juniper and red mistletoe, why not?!). 

You'll get to see these seasonal tags in more detail nearer to December, but I couldn't resist giving you a glimpse!

I know this has been a monster post, but a stamp launch is a very special moment. I'm so (over) excited to share these new stamps with you, and I've been having such a lovely time playing with them.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing all these pictures as much as I enjoyed creating the projects.  As I said, there will be more details on most of these coming your way, so make sure you keep an eye on the social media links below.

Thank you so much for stopping by tonight, and I hope that you'll also be able to catch me on the Facebook Live Launch either live or on catch-up.

Website: Words and Pictures - brand new website at
Pinterest: butterfly crafter
Facebook: Words and Pictures 

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Time To

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PaperCraft Clubhouse, Westbrook, Connecticut,
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Simon Says Stamp, Columbus, Ohio www.
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