Just add dye…

I added some dye to the papers I have been printing, using orange, violet, fig, pink, coral sand and yellow dyes:

The dye really lifts pale and faint prints. From this…

To this…

The dye is really lovely over the Rollagraph prints:

It also works well over faint prints, these are the remnants of paint on a stencil, applied to a piece of paper with a brayer:

This is my printing by the end of the session. I’ve got some lovely coordinating papers to work into:

I also have these 6 metre long lengths of fabric, which I didn’t dye tonight. I will have to dye those soon:



I’ve finally taken the plunge and started dyeing background papers.

I’ve spent two evenings at it, and made about 30 dyed papers. The colours are wonderful and they mix beautifully.

 Evening one – deep turquoise, fig, slate blue and orange:   

This camping washing line is really handy. I just need to make sure the papers aren’t dripping when I hang them:


I love the way this one turned out:

Evening 2 –  violet, pine green, hot pink, turquoise, and I added orange to pep it up.

These coordinating background papers will be a great resource for future collages, and it’s a lovely relaxing process.

More Photos from the Stitch Retreat

I have found some more photos I took at the stitch retreat, on my phone, so I thought I’d share them here.

Hilary brought her shop with her, look at all the wonderful products we had a chance to play with and buy:



My focal point images, before over dyeing…


And after…


Mustn’t get the dye and the Jack Daniels muddled…


My lovely messy creative work table:


Overdyeing on fabric with purple and green lumiere paint underneath:


The results of an evening’s efforts:



On Saturday, I decided to print on my hoodie. I got a white one for Christmas in the hope that I could print on it so it started to look like my print table.  Unfortunately, all I’d managed to get on it so far was a bit of tomato sauce and a spot of biro, despite wearing it for two print and dye sessions.

I set it up on my table and used the mini gelli plate to print patterns on the back:




Another creative work area during the composition exercises:


As I’ve already mentioned, wine featured rather heavily on the Saturday night, and apparently I felt the need to take several in progress shots of it!

A glass of each at dinner!


The wine we brought back from dinner:


Back at my work table:


Late night colouring in progress:


Stitch Retreat Part 2

In mid-January I went on the second instalment of the Stitch Retreat with Hilary Beattie. Here are my blog posts about the first one last year: day 1, day 2 and day 3.

This year, the plan was to work with a pallete of materials and work towards a finished wallhanging or canvas with them. We spent the Friday night evaluating our materials and working out what needed to be added to them. I had a range of good prints, but the colours did not hang together well, so I spent the time overdyeing them with slate, fig, orange and turquoise dyes.

On Saturday, we did various composition exercises, including using quilt block patterns to create backgrounds.
I used the Attic Window block to create this spread in my sketchbook:
I liked the layout so much that I used it as the background for my two final pieces, a pair of canvases to go either side of the clock above my front door.

I also used the offcuts to make these two sketchbook spreads:

 With a bit of washi tape and some gelatos  


And then I also added some ivy leaves to the earlier backgrounds:

 I then went on to my main pieces. After quite a lot of experimenting, I ended up with two background compositions that I liked:

  I like this secondary triad colour scheme, but when I added my focal point figures they disappeared into the background. One tip I picked up from Hilary was to add an area of black and white behind the focal points for contrast, which worked for me.   


On Saturday night, we ended up with quite a lot of wine left over from dinner! Slowly people started to go to bed, and we ended up with just Hilary, Maureen, Judith, Vicki, Nichola and I still polishing off the wine and working on into the night.

Hilary working into an altered book

 Hilary and I colouring 

I did 10 double sketchbook spreads that were really relaxed and enjoyable (AKA wine-assisted!). I only have this picture of one spread, so I will have to scan the rest in soon:


At 2am, this was the state of the wine:

On Sunday, I spent the morning finishing bonding down my collage, having decided about 10pm on Saturday that ironing was rapidly becoming dangerous.

I then freemachined everything down with a wiggly grid:


Now I need to add more free machining, hand stitch, and work to draw out the focal points more.

All in all, an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to the next one already.

Day 92

Today, I had a chance to do some Gelli printing with the wooden spoon stamps I’d cut.

Playing with my new lumiere paints:

And some lovely pink:

I also ordered a new long khadi sketchbook from Hilary Beattie, as my previous one was full:

It needed a decorated cover, so I’ve given it the spoon treatment!

I did a bit of printing on fabric:

I also did some printing in my new sketchbook, and added some dye on the top:

How lovely is this pink dye on green lumiere!

Stripes of dye left on the brush before washing up:

A great session, and lovely to be working in a new book, full of potential.

Day 90

Today, I gave blood in the evening, so I did my 15 minutes before work, cutting the wooden spoons out and adhering the negative ones in one sheet to foam board. 

Here’s the cut sheet:

I like getting the negative shapes, like the insides of the spoons and the holes in the handles in the right place, so this is how I do it. Turn the sheet paper side up, and start to peel the backing from the background areas. You’ll find that the sheet tries to lift and curl with you, but you can use the point of a pencil to hold it down:

Now , peel the backing off the details which are remaining on the negative stamp, here, the insides of the spoons and the holes:

Cut the foam board to size, and press it down on top of the sticky backing:

Now, turn it over, and lift the positive stamps out. You may need to lift the backing away so that comes out too:

And there you go,one finished stamp.

Now, all you need to do is adhere the positive stamps to their own foam board, either singly or in a group.

I also got out the second dyed zigzag book from the bag where it had been batching:


Dyed Zig Zag Book – In Progress

This is how the khadi paper zig zag book looked after a night in a bag of purple dye on the radiator:

Some interesting shapes. But I felt it still needed more, so I folded it the other way and put it back in the bag with some turquoise dye:

I’ll unwrap it again later and let you know how it is doing.