Tuesday 6 December 2022

2022 Topic 16 : Splosh {by Floss Nicholls} with Jo Firth-Young stencils

Hi everyone, it's Floss Nicholls here from flossworkshopart with you today, and I'm here to share how you can use heat and PaperArtsy infusions to create some fabulous textures using a selection of PaperArtsy stencils designed by Jofy Jo Firth-Young to make a gift wallet and co-ordinating envelope. 

I wanted to use stencils within stencils and I came across this pooling technique purely from being a little impatient in waiting for very wet areas to dry and grabbing my heat gun. I have made similar watery marks using alcohol inks under acrylics on the gel plate but having different colours mixed in the infusion powders made the outcome slightly more unpredictable than using alcohol inks. What the application of heat enables the infusions to do is to pool or dry within the stencil shape and create darker rings at the edge of the open stencil areas and leave fabulous water ring lines too. I found this not only accentuated the range of colours that PaperArtsy Infusions hold but definitely gave me an ooooh yessss moment. The textures were divine and a perfect technique to use for this quarter's wet challenge the PaperArtsy team set for 'Splosh'. Yes, it is a bit of an uncontrolled controlled method so you will get a little bit of unexpected random but I think that adds to the excitement of the outcome.

I grabbed various papers, my trusty gesso, a spatula, my water spray bottle and PaperArtsy stencil PS138 to get me started on making the gift wallet with an un-matching but co-ordinated envelope.  

I loved the outcome on the recycled 140gsm cartridge paper. To get this effect I used the spatula to spread gesso through the PaperArtsy stencil PS138, once it had dried I sprinkled PaperArtsy Sleight Blue Infusions over the top so that the gesso acted like a resist and the infusions pooled around the slightly raised shapes. I then rolled it with my brayer taking off the majority of the wetness and then rolled that onto another piece of recycled paper to create a drippy/run page.

I did try different papers and card but I particularly liked how the gesso gave a white contrast against the more neutral/off white of the recycled paper and how the wet reacted to the paper gsm with depth. I purposely did not cover the whole sheet to adhere to to 'splosh' challenge. 

I used PaperArtsy PS022 stencil with Lemoncello Infusions and loved the range of shades it created, but I thought that the floral pattern was too large for my design idea of using this within the butterfly wing PS039 stencil shape. I used 250gsm card stock for this trial piece and found that it was a suitable weight for the butterfly wing that I intended to cut out and attach by sewing so all was not lost with this piece.   

I then wanted to see how bleach would work on the wet infusions. I used a thin cardboard tube (from an old cling film roll) and dipped that into a small amount of undiluted household bleach that I'd poured into a small glass dish. I then tapped it lightly onto the wet paper that had been sprinkled and sprayed...you can see how the bleach left imperfect circles but perfect 'splosh' circles very much like a small mug ring above. 

To get the result of the image below I wiped a small amount of bleach onto PaperArtsy stencil PS138 with slightly damp piece of paper towel and then pressed the stencil onto another wet Sleight Blue Infusions page. I then turned the stencil over and placed it onto another area of the page, it picked up the thin outlines of where the bleach had run through the stencil leaving just the outlines of a more delicate image.

Note: if you are going to try working with bleach, please remember to open the window, especially if you then use your heat gun on it as it does give off fumes. 

Because I was a little heavy handed with my water spray and impatient with wanting to pick up the stencil pattern of PaperArtsy PS329 I used my heat gun to dry the infusions through the stencil. I liked the way the heat was drying and pooling the dye but I soon realised how long I could hold the heat there and that I had to be careful with holding it a reasonable distance away from the stencil. With the stencils being a thermoplastic, they will buckle under the heat...so be careful not to distort your stencils if you give this a go!

Both the image above and below are using PaperArtsy stencil PS329 and Sleight Blue Infusions. Above is without gesso and applying heat through the stencil on wet infusions and below is putting gesso through the stencil first, allowing it to dry before using infusions and the roller technique over it.  I love both outcomes but particularly like the definition of the circle outlines both techniques gave.

After playing with techniques and how wet to make the papers etc I then started looking at what design I liked for the wallet background, the butterfly wings, and what would be best for the envelope.

What better way to decide on the wing design than to use the actual PaperArtsy PS039 stencil itself to check...here I could move the stencil about and find the area I wanted to use for the wing.

I had so many to choose from that I felt spoiled for choice...with all these great textures I will need to make more wallets!

Here I wanted to show you how I got excited by what was pooling not only within the open shapes but how the fluid was getting trapped into little pockets underneath creating the colour contrasts...

So with quite a selection of papers to choose from, including the sheet that I protected my work bench with, I used the stencil to mark where I wanted to cut the wings from...I chose two different patterns for the wings and ones that would definitely contrast the background.

I then folded my background wallet page to a size that suited both the butterfly and would be the right size to hold a gift voucher or money for a gift leaving enough to fold over to contain it.

Once I decided where I wanted to put the butterfly I used a little masking tape to hold it in place ready for stitching. I did not want to glue it down because I still wanted to see the colour behind the wings and give a more 3d look to the gift wallet if it was stood on a shelf.

I did use a little masking tape on the reverse side of where I stitched the wings to help prevent the paper from ripping whilst stitching. You do not have to stitch the wings on if you'd rather just glue them in place. I just stitched at the join of the wings leaving the rest of the wing to be free.

I decided to use the drippy run page for the inside of the wallet and so cut it to be the same size as the front wallet and glued them together using a glue stick. As PaperArtsy PS138 seems to have become my favourite stencil lately I could not resist adding a little accent of PaperArtsy Chalk Acrylic Space Cadet onto the top corner with a touch of Antarctic blended in to relieve what could have been a flat colour if I'd have used just the one fresco finish paint. I then out lined the little tri flowers with a white fine liner.


I used the left over paint on the palette to paint enough paper to make a border for the wallet fold edge and stitched that on for a little contrasting detail 

No gift wallet would be complete without a fancy envelope for it to go in and so I decided to use the paper that I used the bleach rings on. I thought it might be overkill if I used the same favourite stencil so I decided to use PaperArtsy PS056 and matched it again using Fresco finish Space Cadet  and added Toad Hall as I thought there was a touch of this shade within the Sleight Blue Infusions


I then outlined the stencilled shapes in a very fine black outliner and sanded it back to flatten and slightly distress the images. I sized the envelope using the gift wallet size for guidance leaving enough space for it to be removed easily but without it sliding around in side. I gave myself 6mm 'wiggle room'.


I glued the centre body on one side of the wallet only which helps the wallet to fold better.

I loved the puddling of the infusions and how the heat reacted within the stencils; I will definitely be using this technique again! Now I have some great sheets to make variations of this gift wallet with too. 

I just could not resist taking photo copies of some of the pages I had created with this technique and printing them onto tissue papers for future uses with other mixed media projects. I think the water puddling infusions lend themselves to many background pieces.
I do think I may add a strong word or bold numbers behind the wing at some point using a vanilla embossing powder but for now I shall leave it be whilst I decide.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I did making it. Please feel free to leave any comments below if you do give this project a go and if so, how easy or difficult you found following my steps...until next time, enjoy your creative time.

Much love
Floss x x x 

I will be teaching several in-person classes for the gift wallet during Dec and Jan...you can find all the booking information on my website...the direct link  should work once the blog has been posted.

Other in-person workshops are also available throughout December and January. I have spaces for up to 6 for each session in my workshop on a first come first served basis. The booking window closes 48 hours before the class is due to start. I look forward to seeing you there...where? Hellingly, East Sussex UK. 


Dakota said...

WOW! You should do a YouTube video on this!

Floss Nicholls said...

Thank you Dakota, I've been thinking about that and maybe I should judging by the lovely encouraging comments this blog has produced over my social media platforms. I'm so happy you have enjoyed this project. I sure had fun making it.