Sunday 9 April 2017


“It's not enough to have the feathers.
You must dare to fly!”

Well, it's been a busy week of work on the farm, but I've managed to grab some time to play around with some of my feathers(see my previous post).

Does anyone else have a stash of art and craft materials just sitting there in a drawer or on a shelf, all neglected?  I know I do - I'm guilty of impulse buying items when they're on offer - you know; BOGOF, buy one get one half price, reduced to clear - I'm a sucker for them all!  I tell myself 'that'll come in day'.

Well I read a lot of books on textile art, mixed media etc and they often list items that you might 'need'.  So when I saw some reasonably priced Gesso and Matt Medium, I snapped them up, not really having a clue what I was going to use them for.

Well they'd gathered a bit of dust...until last week when I broke the seals and dipped in my brush - time to get experimenting!

mono prints on different papers using a Gelli plate

Firstly, I had a bit of printing fun, using my Gelli plate to make monoprints on tissue paper, teabag paper, interfacing and drawing paper. I just kept it simple, making prints with bubble wrap, string and textured papers (I'm new at the Gelli plate, but the potential with that is endless).

I'd read somewhere about photocopying onto tissue paper by first lightly ironing it onto freezer paper, and then feeding it through the printer.  Thankfully, it worked without jamming (I did shut my eyes and grimace as I did it!)  and the resulting photocopy of a feather was quite pleasing which I just peeled back off the freezer paper before using.
The photocopy of a feather onto tissue paper

So with some things to work with, I used the matt medium as a 'glue' to fix down the papers onto a 7 x 5 inch canvas board, and brushed the medium over the top as well.

I liked the way the tissue paper stayed transparent and the print details remained visible.

I then wondered if I could incorporate some of my pressed flowers, so took a couple of hydrangea flowers and put them down carefully - again I brushed medium gently over the top to 'seal' them in.  I did the same with some thread.

I decided I wasn't keen on it, so just turned it 90 degrees to portrait and I found it much more pleasing. I must remember that tip and not write something off before simply turning it and looking at it from a different viewpoint.

So, what about this Gesso?  Well, rightly or wrongly, I just applied a thin layer of it all over the board so that you could still see the prints and details but it toned down the strong colours to a very muted palette.

After leaving it to dry out, I added a bit more interest with bubble wrap print, a bit of glittery embossing powder (wondered why I bought that!!) and dabbed some iridescent medium around a stencil of a feather that I'd cut out of freezer paper.

I also used some oil pastels to add little highlights here and there which worked really well. 

I called it a day at that point - I think the end result isn't too bad considering I didn't really have any firm plan before I started. 

So I conclude that mixed media and collage is a whole lot of fun - I'm lacking finesse and knowledge, and I've probably broken a few 'rules' (they're made for breaking though, right?) but even if I don't create something that's good enough to display or sell, it's definitely good for the soul and a wonderful creative outlet; something you can drop and come back to - also, if you're not happy with it, you can always paint over it and start again!

Sticking with the feather theme, I also did a bit of simple solar printing.  I dampened some old cotton sheeting, and put a wash of watered down acrylics over it. I pinned some feathers down as best I could and also laid down a couple of stencils.  I put this out in the sun to dry out before removing the feathers etc.  The stencils worked well, but it was difficult to get full contact between the sheeting and the feathers, so they were quite subtle prints.

I also had chance to do a  bit of needlefelting over a couple of evenings - a wool sketch of one my feathers.  

I like the idea of doing a feather brooch, but I'll have to shelve that idea for another day.


As I was using Gesso for the first time, it seemed apt that the latest blog to drop into my inbox was one from Carolyn Saxby - you can find her blog here .  Her blog detailed the using of Gesso in different ways in surface treatment - who knew it could be so versatile!

So there are definitely more 'play days' ahead for using my 'special offer bargains' in creative brainstorming!

Have a lovely week ahead

xxx Tanya xxx