Monday 18 March 2024

2024 Topic 2 : Mattints {by Floss Nicholls} on the PaperArtsy Blog

Hi everyone

It's Floss from flossWORKSHOPart here with you today.  

I have been having some fun experimenting with the new Mattint products that PaperArtsy have introduced to their wonderful range of colours.  I wanted to see, other than using them as a glaze over fresco acrylics, or a tint to tissue paper, how else I could use them within my style of mixed media.  I spent quite some time filming the methods I tried so that I could share this with you in a way that you could see just what I got up to and my thinking behind it as well as showing you with still photos and a description. I got googley eyes editing all the clips!

I ended up with quite a lot of 'collage fodder' through playing and experimenting and so rather than present you with a pile of bits and pieces, I used the sample pieces to create a greetings card and (mismatching) be honest I couldn't resist playing with the pile of yumminess! 

I love greens and teals and so when PaperArtsy announced they were bringing out a green (Fern), blue (shark) and turquoise (dragonfly) Mattint I jumped at the chance to use them. I wanted to see how they would work with PaperArtsy grunge paste, the PaperArtsy Just Walnut and Slime infusions and how they look on fabric.

Naturally, not having used the Mattint product before, the very first thing I did was to use it on good old plain white tissue paper.  This gave me the base line in understanding it's properties and most importantly (for me) knowing the colour pigment strength. I used a sponge to apply the Mattint through the PaperArtsy Stencil by Sara Naumann (PS092) and found that it was a very delicate sage like got me wondering if all the Mattints were this subtle...or if I needed to shake the bottle a little longer to get the full colour density.

I often work with materials and fabrics in my mixed media and so I wanted to see how Mattints would work applying it straight onto the fabric surface versus onto a gesso prepared fabric.

What I found was that, just like a paper substrate, the Mattint absorbed into the fabric with a deeper colour than the area where the gesso was.  I tried using a spatula with the stencil first but I had much more control and accurate success applying it with a sponge.

I wanted to see how it would mix with grunge paste and how it would apply to fabric and I absolutely was not disappointed!

Firstly, I used grunge paste on its own (top left) so that I could again make a comparison.  The grunge paste mixed with FERN Mattint (top right) was slightly less brittle and took a fraction longer to dry.   I then strengthened the colour using a tiny drop of slimed fresco finish acrylic paint (bottom right) into the grunge paste mixed with fern Mattint; this took the longest time to dry. 

What I really liked was how the Mattint made the grunge paste more pliable; having not used it for a while, the grunge paste had become a little stiff.  Although yes, mixing it with a few drops of the Mattint naturally 'thinned' the grunge paste, it gave it a more creamy workable consistency and was easy to apply through the PaperArtsy Stencil by Sara Naumann (PS272) with a spatula.

Having liked how the PaperArtsy Fern Mattint mixed with the grunge paste, I sprinkled some Just Walnut infusions onto that to try. 

I wanted to keep the dye granules more concentrated in places and liked how the consistency worked onto the fabric tissue paper.

Having liked how the infusions worked with this mix and how the Mattints are transparent I looked at how they would layer up and definitely can see how they could be used with adding detail over specific areas.

Sometimes it can be hard knowing where to start with a project, or or what the focal point of your art will be.  I often find by playing with colour or fiddling with products naturally flows into something more specific as I get lost in the process.  Having tested these things, my inquisitive nature had me all fired up and wanting to find out more...

Knowing how much I love using infusions I wanted to explore how the infusions would work with the Mattints on their rather than spritzing the infusions with water I sprinkled a little of the walnut stain infusions onto the fern Mattint.

Again I wanted to keep the dye pigment as separated as possible to give me the maximum colour differentiation and so I dabbed the mixture carefully with a sponge to lift the colour. I love how the brown walnut crystals are slower to dissolve allowing this to work so can see it on the sponge here.

Carefully dabbing this through the PaperArtsy diamond Stencil by Sara Naumann (PS272) onto fabric left some glorious colour. Again I found that the gesso area reacted like a resist making the absorbency less and the colour more subtle. 

The diamonds on the left was where I was mopping up the last of the mixture and the walnut stain crystals had dissolved into the fern mattint making it more of a solid colour.

I got so engrossed with what I was doing that I missed taking a photo of my next test! I spread the grunge paste mixed with shark matt tint over the fabric tissue and impressed stencil (PS202) also by Sara Naumann from PaperArtsy into the mixture which squeezed some through the openings giving me a relief image.  Whilst the stencil was still in place I used DRAGONFLY Mattint over the grunge paste.  It was interesting how the dragonfly was stronger in colour than the shark or fern Mattint.  When I lifted the stencil it pulled some of the surface cover away leaving me with a very distressed outcome.  

I liked the way the turquoise (dragonfly) was not a solid colour throughout and think that had something to do with how the grunge paste was drying as well as the mix of where it sat on/off the grunge paste.  I'd definitely recommend trying this on different'll end up with some fabulous pieces to use in your collages.

I was excited with how I thought the test pieces might work together and even though I hadn't planned this part...I started gluing the tissue papers over old sheet music paper which was pasted onto 300gsm card.  

I wanted to see how the mattint would be under the presser foot on my sewing machine as some glazes and finishes do not run as smoothly as their tackiness can get stuck a little.  I was so pleased to find this was not the case and that everything ran smoothly. That is no doubt because the Mattints are matte tints, and so the surface is not going to have a sticky glossy type finish, it is smooth and almost toothy.

Smearing the mixed grunge paste and fern Mattint onto some black tissue paper and impressing the PS202 stencil and then pulling it off whilst still wet gave me the little flower detail. I especially liked how the image is not solid and parts of the flower are line only. I used slimed fresco finish acrylic to pick out some definition in the centres of the flower. 

To complete the collaged card I free motion stitched the flower stems on the sewing machine.

I added an eyelet and some strong black variegated thread to the smaller piece to make it into a 'mismatching' tag.

I really liked how the mattint extended the life of my grunge paste, not only with a subtle colour change and becoming a really nice working consistency but the way it allowed me to press a stencil into it giving me a more distressed finish. 


I have plenty of workshops going on in East Sussex UK. Details and booking can be found on my website 

I am also in The Enterprise Centre, Eastbourne 23rd March in the morning teaching mixed media available now on Eventbrite  


Anonymous said...

This has given me so many ideas! The results are fabulous and I really love that you were able to stitch over it. Thanks for sharing ~Ann

Anonymous said...

I really have and as soon as I have my YouTube link I’ll let you know so you can watch that if you’d like to. Sadly I’ve been having internet issues 🙃

Floss Nicholls said...

Thank you ☺️ yes it’s been fun experimenting without a plan and just seeing where it takes me…the video is all edited so as soon as I can get it uploaded it’ll be ready to watch…I love to add stitching to my art 🌸

Words and Pictures said...

Beautiful textural work.
Alison x