The Spiral Path of Words & Color continued


Ink Dyed Paper: 5 Top Tips

The methods for ink dying paper are as simple or complex as you want to make them.

When I started out I used a shallow plastic tray and layered pieces of of paper. Each layer had splashes and squirts of ink between. Then I left them to absorb the liquid. I experimented with scraps of paper, envelopes, book pages…

early ink dying: recycled envelopes, printer paper, tissue paper, book pages.

Essentially that hasn’t changed much, only now I’m devouring entire books and working on a glass topped table so I can heap the inky pages directly on there. I just scaled the process up!

Trial & Error.

I cannot overstate how much it’s trial and error process. It’s the only way I work: unscientific, intuitive, learning as I make it up as I go along.

For every gloriously bespeckled rainbow I make there are blurry messes, torn pieces (wet paper is so fragile) and muddy overworked colors. But that’s how we learn, right?

Five Top Tips to Paper Dying.

These are the five main things I’m learning through my paper dying experiments:

  1. Ink can be brushed on, dripped on, poured on, splashed, sprayed, squirted or flicked onto paper (wet or dry) with any manner of implements. It’s all A LOT of fun. There are NO wrong ways.
  2. Different types of paper will take up ink differently. Right now I’m using almost exclusively old book pages and sheet music (ranging from circa 1920’s to 1970’s), the paper from each book has it’s own distinctive foibles.
  3. The type and dilution of the ink both make a difference. It’s not just the intensity of the color, but how much it soaks in. Quicker or slower drying time effects the tide marks it leaves, the surface finish too (less water can dry with ink with dusty pigment traces, or a sheeny finish, or a distinctive layer of shape as well as color). All of these permutations have a beauty of their own.
  4. Sometimes the pages stick to each other as they dry, especially at the edges. Gently brushing the stuck bits with water then leaving them a while usually resolves this. I found some inks are stickier than others – they work just fine but need diluting more – which leads me to…
  5. More layers with more diluted ink work best of all. It’s the soaking of the water that creates the best patterns as it carries the pigment through the paper fibres. It’s the layers that make for the most intricate effects. Already dyed paper, left to dry then splashed, dripped and dunked in water or ink, can come to life in all manner of ways. Sometimes pigments reactivate or react. Things like this can happen…

Happy Accidents.

I’ve been leaving batches of papers to soak together, letting more magic happen as color seeps through the pages to the layers below. By arranging them haphazardly so one piece part covers the next it encourages the seepage patterns to happen more.

Unplanned is the overarching theme.

After some hours of marinading, sometimes I’ll turn the whole pile upside down after a while so the moisture seeps back (carrying the color) back the other way. Peeling apart the layers and adding more pigment, or just turning them so the pieces in the middle get some air to dry.

Wet paper wrinkles and the lines that form become channels for the color to settle. Stripes and fabulous organic patterns like an animal print appear.

organic patterns in ink and water

Lately I’ve taken to layering in stencils and texture plates between the papers to pick up extra patterning. plastic and bubble wrap works well, as does fabric, yarns and fibres (which of course soak up some of the color, transferring their own distinctive prints)

paper dyed with stencil layers

Next time: what becomes of these papers?

Or you can get the answer to this question ahead of the others – join the cool kids in my email list — hop aboard right here!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Collections


I love sets of things, I love arrangements & collections.

When I hear a song I love, I have to scurry off as soon as I can to find the album it’s from, find the artist, track down the other tracks. Fall in love again.

When my eyes are magnetised by a piece of art, I race to seek out the artist and soak in everything else they’ve created.

I’ve done this with authors and poets, actors, directors, blogs and my current jam: podcasts. I get hooked. I have to absorb all I can until my attention is hooked someplace else. 

This energy directs me, and now I’ve identified it, I can see how it plays out in all kinds of ways.

I’ve had attachment to all sorts of obsession, with habits and ritual, with a certain style of living or eating or being, with a form of minutiae that maybe only I notice, but it’s place in my days has been critical. For the moment. Then gone.

Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes a few years, or anywhere in between. The more life I live the more context for this observation and the more patterns I can see.

IMG_7836

Right now I’m channelling this obsessive method into making. I’m filling every moment, pouring every ounce of energy into making, and will do so until the next hook catches me. That maybe tomorrow – maybe next year – I’ll show you when.

It’s manifesting itself right now as a collection of paper and fabric collages, I’m calling the Peacock & Mermaid collection. This is part two. I don’t know if there will be a part three – I might get called away by another muse.

All of the pieces shown here are available in my Etsy shop. The first part of the collection sold out the first day – so hop over quick if you’d like one of them in your home!


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be hidden in a secret place, I will feed it tea and biscuits as required. 

Mermaids & Peacocks


colorwheelI’ve just spent a month dwelling in a color I love so much: blue-green, and I have to admit it wasn’t easy to move on!

In this year full of color, as I journey around the color wheel, I’m devoting each month to a single color, and April was all about teal, turquoise and sea-shades of aquamarine. These are the colors of a magical world inhabited by peacocks & mermaids. And me!

At the end of each month I add the fruits of my makings to my Etsy Shop — there are only three of these in existence, so catch ’em while you can!

12T04-madebymixy-8x8canvas

Mounted on 8 inch square canvas board, these are layered collages of hand dyed paper and cotton & silk fabric intricately detailed with little weeny glass beads and stitching. 

They are ready to hang as soon as they arrive in their new homes. 
Welcome to the underwater realms of my imagination … 

Thought forms


This is one where I’m beginning in the middle. I’ll catch you up on the beginning next, but let’s start off here, just coz I feel like it.

IMG_3411

Thoughtforms are a series of relief collages I’m making from the dyed paper (way back… remember the dyed paper?) IMG_3421a

and the don’t-know-why-but-compelled-to-keep-making-them funny little colored rectangle things.

IMG_3405

So these loose ends are also finding each other and forming into slightly more coherent entities.

IMG_3409

Thoughtforms are continuing that recurring theme: trains of consciousness & patterns of thought. More on that later.

IMG_3418a

I’ve made 6 of a series that will total 9, 3 are still in progress. These 6 are on display (and for sale – if you’re quick before they get snapped up!) at the Upstairs Gallery

IMG_3407

Each one is named after a fragment of text found somewhere in the piece, serendipity giving them eclectic names such as: Spacecraft, Puddings cakes etc, Fortitude and Adversity amongst others.

IMG_3414

The next series will include more textile elements, but the overall feel will be similar.

IMG_3420

Still with that one theme leads to another, one thought folds round a corner and opens out into a coiled up spring, some buttons and a rivet, stitched onto the overarching idea of something else.

IMG_3421

Or something. Y’know, like it does. The beauty is they can represent whatever you want them to. Or nothing at all if you .

New Year: New Projects!


edit20130102_0846

Day 2, and so far I’m quite liking 2013.
edit20130102_0843


It’s demanded nothing to arduous from me.

edit20130102_0840


It’s given me time to play with these square things!

edit20130102_0847



They’re a work in progress, I think a little more to be done, then framing.

edit20130102_0845


More pics soons! 😀

edit20130102_0842

obsessions de jour


Hey folks – Happy Holidays to you all!

We’ve had a lot of dark, gloomy, rainful days here. Not a big grumble, weather happens, but the half-arsed grey wet daylight has severely hampered my ability to any good photos lately. This week, finally I got a few pics of my latest adventures and obsessions!

When time and people permit, I like to pretty much hibernate from around 21 December straight through to a couple of days into January. Not so much a big sleep, but a big re-charge. I spend most of these days actively pursuing colors and shapes in some fashion or another 😉

edit20121231_0837

Recently I’ve found myself making a whole load of these. Srsly, like dozens of them. Ranging in size from about 1/2 inch upwards to 2 inches, they really satisfy the no scrap is too small to keep mentality!

To what end I can’t be certain, but I mounted a few up on some dyed paper and framed a few in little Ikea box frames.
edit20121231_0839

Some of them have a very dimensional quality – consisting layers of paper and some with corrugated card – so they work well in a deep box frame. (pics to follow…)

edit20121231_0836

Hang on… like a deja vu thing going on here… these things remind me of something…
Yes! these things
Curious… I’d totally forgotten about them til typing this post… But do feel encouraged, at least I’m consistent with my obsessions, even if I’ve no idea what they’re for (yet).

edit20121231_0838

So, dear friends and visitors, whether you’re getting ready to party the new year in, or already have done, I wish you all the very best for 2013.
May it bring you what you wish for, and more 😀

Eph X

ink dribbles



Remember the watermarked dyed paper ?

This week I’ve been playing with ink (quite a lot!) So it followed that where water does one thing, ink should do similar but with more colorful results!

I used Pebeo Colorex ink (Chartreuse. My fav color de jour!) they have a real glowing transparency and mouth-wateringly rich color! On pre-scrumpled paper they run deliciously through the landscape of the paper’s surface.

The quilt-making (more on that later) is my current obsession, and the urge to stitch is cropping up everywhere!