Monday 6 March 2023

2023 Topic 03: Focus on Seth Apter {by Floss Nicholls} with Seth Apter Products

Hi everyone, It's Floss Nicholls from the PaperArtsy team here with you today...

I've been enjoying some creative mark-making layering time since being presented with the theme "tracks" and coupling that up with the designers Seth Apter and Gwen Lafleur. It had me thinking about how we set ourselves goals/targets and have good intentions especially at the start of a  New Year and how by mid February I overhear how some have given up whatever goal they set etc etc la la la...often me included...and so as this blog post was due to come out around the end of Feb I decided it'd be good timing to make a small journal to record milestones/prompts or goals to put you (and me) back on's also perfect timing for the start of the hundred day challenge for those of you who take part in I do hope you'll enjoy what I've been up to this time and maybe make something similar to record your progress in...

I was thrilled with this session's focus being on Seth Apter as I totally admit to being a bit of a 'Sethaholic'. I love grungy layered mark making and all the worn scribbly bits it entails. Adding Gwen Lafleur into the mix would definitely allow me to have more fun with layers! 

The inside pages are gel printed using PaperArtsy fresco finish paints on recycled cartridge papers and layered and stitched tissue papers. I thought it would be apt to use colours created by Seth and use his recent ESA33 stamp set with Gwen Lafleur's new EGL34 stamp set to add complimenting detail to some mark making layers.

So the first thing I did was grab a selection of colours by Seth Apter and paint them on some scrap paper...I knew it was going to be tough to limit my colour palette as they all work well with each other.  I normally limit myself to three colours but this time I thought I have a few pages to play with...I knew once I started which colours would fall into place...

I wanted to use quite rustic muted colours though several of them would also allow elements to "pop" when using the contrasts. PaperArtsy fresco finish acrylic Paint colours by Seth Apter: Venice Blue, Turquoise, Green Patina, Terracotta, Heavy cream, Desert Bush, Smoked Paprika, Mud Splat and Squid Ink.

I started using my gel plate, brayer and rolling a strip of PaperArsy fresco finish squid ink acrylic paint and making marks using ESA33 stamp set. I blotted off the rubber stamp onto a roll off sheet/previous gel print to make the most of the paint.

I did the same with EM48 and PaperArtsy fresco finish Heavy Cream acrylic paint making some really fun marks.


I really love to over-stamp an image to create texture...remember to let this layer dry before adding another layer of acrylic to pull your image which helps to add depth to your print.

Another great way I enjoy adding texture to a gel print is to roll through partial stencils over the top of what you have already rolled onto your gel plate whilst it is still wet. I used PaperArtsy fresco finish desert bush acrylic paint and Seth Apter Glyph grid stencil here.

Whilst my rubber stamp was still wet, I stamped it on another gel print to build layers and make more interesting marks.

Have fun using the stamp sets that you enjoy working with to make a few different pages. Here I stamped the gel plate first then waited for it to dry before rolling through a stencil, doing this will lift some of the stamped areas making it less uniformed...I let that layer dry too before adding a thin layer of acrylic to pull the print.

Sometimes gel printing goes smoothly...other times not so great!!! It happens to the best of us so don't be disheartened if it all goes terribly wrong like mine did...I used way too much paint for the tissue paper and it ripped and got stuck...yep I was a bit miffed as the layers under there were going to be amazing...but it was just not meant to be...

I rubbed the tissue paper mess off with my fingers as it was completely stuck...and started again paying more attention to the amount of acrylic I applied for these layers on the delicate tissue paper.

I loved the way the translucent terracotta worked over the other paints especially on the tissue papers...

I started to add stamped details for interest to the gel prints using stamp set EGL34.  I chose Ranger Archival Dusty Concord and Ranger Archival Ground Expresso inks to do this.

I then decided to play with the face stamps...I printed ones with and without colour accents as you can see from the image below.  The colour accents were made by printing the faces on to the gel plate using Ranger Archival Ground Expresso ink and letting that dry.  I then painted lips eyes etc in PaperArtsy fresco finish smoked paprika and letting that dry before rolling a little PaperArtsy fresco finish turquoise acrylic and letting that dry too before rolling PaperArtsy fresco finish desert bush acrylic paint to pull the image.

Have some fun with tissue papers as well with these techniques as they are handy to stick over pages throughout the journal. I used roughly 2/3 of an A4 sheet for my page size and folded that in half to make a slim journal.

I started ripping a few tissue pages.. see how they look good on/over other printed pages.

The "tracks" theme comes into play...I wanted to use boxes to note the days I had completed my goals...I have yet to decide whether to stamp, write, doodle, zentangle or put a number into them when I use the journal...either way I decided to stitch the page using a thread that matched the Ranger archival dusty concord ink I'd used on other pages. I made 50 boxes (10 x 5) and as they were stitched the reverse of the page would have the same.

You can see the stitches under the tissue layer I added on the left here. It was the reverse of the EGL34 quarter fan stamp

I used ESA33 and The Glyph stencil for the background paper and EGL34 for the details. I inked the edges of the face insert before gluing it in with Ranger Archival Dusty Concord Ink.

Ripping the edges made the pages more rustic and the same size ready for stitching it together.

I use a folded piece of paper to mark where I need to put the binding holes and place it in my binding cradle to safely push holes through all four pages together so they are aligned.  I used six holes spaced evenly along the paper and used two and a half times the height of the spine in thread to bind the journal together.

I like to use embroidery floss to bind the pages together. I coat it in beeswax for protection and strength.

I had no intention of using Seth Apter's ESA21 stamp set when I started out with this project, but after using his ESA33 imperfectly perfect stamp in clear embossing powder I thought a play on those words would be fun so placed imperfect on the top and thought hhmmmmmm what if I... 

made the same colour as the rubber stamps...which I did manage using the colours I'd already picked out...and if I cut them the same ish as they are cut in rubber that would be I did.  Then I thought hhmmmm imperfectly perfect...imperfect is I'm perfect if you add spacing and an I added a flap over the top doing exactly that...look out for my reel to see how that worked out on PaperArtsy stories and in my videos.


I love to use embossing powders to finish details and so ESA33 leant itself to the journal cover title with "always be yourself" using Seth Apter's Emerald Creek baked texture embossing powder in rustic indigo. I particularly like this powder as it is not so shiny but also not matt dull, it is broken with tiny flecks of white in it so I thought suited my colour palette.

I added a large eyelet so that I could thread a sari silk ribbon through it to keep it closed.

...and then I added more torn layers throughout and embossing details to finish it off.

Now the fun really begins as I use the journal to fill my goals and intentions, list my prompts and record my thoughts.

I enjoyed making this journal, though I wish I had not put an eyelet on the front cover. I had originally thought I was going to put two ties on it to tie in a bow on the side but I decided I preferred the way it looked with the ribbon wrapped around it.  There is plenty of space inside for me to write my journalling prompts and list my challenges and record the dates or progress I make to keep me on track with my intentions...I hope this has inspired you to have a go at mark making and adding layers to pages. If you don't own or use a sewing machine use embossing powders or drawn lines... or maybe even weave paper to create a grid.

I look forward to hearing how you get on... and hope nothing gets stuck to your gel plate!

Kindest wishes Floss x

I teach small classes of up to six from my workshop in East Sussex UK. I have quite a few mixed media sessions coming up with all levels and abilities catered for...A full list can be seen on my website


Claudia N. said...

Oh, wow! Loooove all the delicate texture!
Thank you so much for sharing your process - this post was such a treat to read!

Claudia x

PaperArtsy said...

Ohh Floss, I just love your layers and layers on your prints. Bummer about that tissue that you lost! I wonder if you added a layer of glaze medium to the tissue (some kind of runnny glue that would be more likely to sink in) maybe a spritz of water first to the tissue, then applied card weight on top, if you could have picked up the whole lot! (we'll never know ...but next time maybe!)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant layered prints, a shame about the tissue but hey ho we all have those moments 😉