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Beginning another quilt today

I've just started working on another pieced quilt. These are different from the Life Story series and are an exploration of colour and shape combined with my love of flowers and natural motifs such as leaves - though not animals strangely!

This one will be based on the courthouse steps pattern and is being pieced from plain white cloth. This is where I do my obsessional sewing/piecing bit trying to get it as accurate as possible, only to paint and stitch all over it so it doesn't matter and the pattern doesn't show!

You might think that's a lot of work to go to for no reason, and I confess it's difficult to explain, but to me, I'm using the white pieced quilt as a canvas for further exploration - for example, I think all that mono printing with the gelli plate may come in useful for some of the texture and colour. I may use part of the pattern in that or I may ignore it all, but underneath it all, I know that I have a traditional quilt with passable sewing skills!

This is the first one in the series which I completed earlier this year and is based on log cabin. There will be more I think working on Life quilts inbetween.

Using a round gelli plate to stamp

I've just bought 3 small gelli plates in different shapes - round, triangle and square. They come in a pack and looked like fun! In the first photo you can see where I've pressed the round gelli onto a perspex stamp base. You can buy these on line, and they're useful as they have grid lines for registering and wavy edges to make them easier to hold.

Rollering some paint onto the plate. You just squeeze a bit onto the plate and use a brayer to roller until you have the texture you want.

Pressing the stamp onto the paper. It's quite good to make sure those edges are all overlapped fairly early on so you don't get lots of white paper left at the end.

Place a stencil over a shape and stamp with the gelli plate using a different colour. It's easy to line up as you will be able to see the printed circle through the gelli plate.

Just continue to stamp and overprint with stencils until you have something that pleases you. If like me, you are doing this in a sketchbook, it's a great time to experiment with colour and texture. Just go for it!

Birmingham - refuelling on paintings and fabrics

I love to go to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and could spend all day there if I'm honest. I went to see Dippy on Tour. After admiring his size and especially those vertebra, we moved on to some paintings - a revisit of old favourites!

Nothing is as good as seeing these paintings in the flesh and getting up really close to admire the detail and brush work.  Details from a watercolour by Edward Burne-Jones, The Star of Bethlehem.

My apologies for the reflections on all these photos - impossible not to get them. 2 of 6 studies for the Briar Rose series by Burne-Jones.

 The Reflective Lady, oils on canvas. Arthur Joseph Gaskin. Just lovely.

And of course, no visit to Birmingham would be complete without a visit to the markets. The rag market usually has some bargains, and I was able to buy this lot to do some dressmaking. I'm not good at it really but have a pattern for a children's kimono which I'm itching to try.

Gelli prints

The concertina sketchbook of gelli prints is full on one side, so I'm taking a break before turning it over and doing the other side.

Here's some more images of it so far.

Printing from magazine images/text

Until yesterday I had no idea you could use monoprint to lift magazine images, and reprint them into your sketchbook etc.

There's probably lots of ways to do this but here's how I did it. Early days, and if I find any wrinkles or better ways, I'll blog and let you know.

Needless to say I used a gelli plate. I think it should be doable with other forms of monoprint too.

Here's a step by step of how it was done.

Choose your magazine. Not all will print apparently so you may need to try a couple of times. This is a BBC history magazine and was perfect. Cut out the image exactly.

Ink up your gelli pad. This is a 3"x5" and I'm using ordinary acrylic paint not Open acrylics which take longer to dry. Any brand will work and a dark colour is better. Roll the paint with a brayer until you get an even and thinnish coating (you don't want thick bits)

 Put your magazine image face down on the plate, and cover with a sheet of clean paper. Burnish (rub) the paper quite firmly. You can peak underneath a bit to see if it's working - if it isn't you may need to rub a little harder or try a different magazine.

 Lift of the paper and image, and you should have something like this. Of course the text will be reversed but it will print the right way round.

 Leave to dry completely.

When you're sure the paint is dry, put a contrasting colour of acrylic paint onto the plate. You will need a thin layer, so don't use too much. Keep cleaning the brayer on a spare piece of paper if you have too much - don't try and scrape it off.

It should look something like this - a nice thin paint layer.

You're now ready to print. Lay a piece of paper over the top of the paint and press firmly all over (burnish). In the photo below I wanted the print in a book so it was easier to lift the gelli plate onto the book page. You need to press quite firmly doing it this way, but it helps if you keep the plastic sheet that comes with the gelli plate on the bottom - makes it easier to rub.

 Here's the finished thing again. I printed on top of a coloured base but it would be even clearer on white paper.

Heat rash??

We've had exceptionally hot weather in the UK in the last few weeks - it's reached 30C many times lately - and I do suffer a bit because of it. Yesterday I developed a heat rash on my face along one side of my nose, so had to go to bed plastered liberally in Sudocrem.

When I woke this morning I wiped it away with a tissue and was delighted to see it had completely gone. I went to throw away the tissue and noticed lots of red blobs. My heat rash?? No, lots of red paint specks!! I didn't have a heat rash, I had vigorous painting syndrome and really should wear my glasses in the bathroom.

Yesterday's gelli prints. More to come as I fill my little book. I will get back to sewing too but not until after Thursday when the In Bloom stuff finishes.

Printing with gelli plate, acrylics and stencils - a new little sketchbook

 A while ago I was given a lovely little concertina sketchbook, with spaces between the pages for tucking in lovely little extras like tickets, home made labels, and biscuits.

It's not been great for wet media - it has those absorbent pages that are like trying to use loo paper, but it seems ok if you just press the gelli plate onto it. I know I could gesso or gel the pages, but I just fancy throwing caution to the wind and going for it.

So here's page 1. I did this by painting up a gelli plate and pressing a commercial stencil into it. I carefully removed the stencil and pressed it onto a sketchbook page that I'd previously printed lightly on. The stencil picked up a lot of paint and of course the leaf was left blank, but I love the texture of old paint work - in this case it was very pleasing not to have a really "good print".

This next one was done with a stronger base printed paper, and a metal stamp which had been pressed onto the loaded gelli plate - it picked up the white paint but not strongly, so that when pressed onto the base paper some of the background showed through.

And on this one, the stencil had been pressed onto the gelli plate and removed to print elsewhere. A piece of printed background paper was then pressed onto the gelli plate and picked up what the stencil had left behind.