Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 17

Gelli printing

Most people sort of abuse this wonderful tool. Gelli print plate is a special printing base with soft, rubber like surface that is easy to ink and easy to make imprints on. It is especially amazing with the "ghost prints", the second print after some ink or paint is removed. It is amazing how well it reproduces fine lines and texture, like that on plants or textiles.

You can make your own, follor the video above, or buy a ready-made one. The printing works the same way, the difference is that the store-bought version is more durable and not as easy to damage, but if you damage the home-made version, you just melt it and remold it.

Most people just "play" with it, with no - or not much - planning they just throw colors on, spread them and put on stencils and masks and make abstract papers - and that's just fine, too. Some of the papers created like this are amazing!

But let's go through the dos and donts.

- you will be producing quite a lot in relatively short amount of time, so see that you have place to dry your prints without them touching anything.

- have quite a lot of space around the gelli plate so that you can move papers and stencils and masks and what ever you are using.

- you need to keep the gelli plate stationed on non porous surface, like plastic, glas, china, metal - cutting boards, trays and baking plates work fine. Otherwise the gelli plate will suck itself stuck to the surface. Do not place it on paper.
- you also need to keep the surface of the gelli plate above the immediate surface around it. Keep at least a hand's width free all around the plate.

- the best paper is thin paper. Some say "use cardstock"... I use printer paper, because that is what I have ample access to, but I would use tissue paper or rice paper if I had easy access to that. I still haven't found a place that sells tissue paper in bulk.

- get a brayer. Get a good quality rubber brayer with smooth roll that rolls smoothly :-D

- You will need a junk paper to clean the brayer on between the layers.
I use baby wipes to wipe it properly clean between layers, because I have noticed that some times the paint will stuck in clumps on the brayer, and these will leave marks in your prints.

- Don't open your paint bottles above the plate. Tiny flecks of paint might fall on the plate and create havoc later.

- It will get messy, so see that you have protected the working surface. It's good to use a newspaper or something like that under the surface you have the gelli plate on, so that you can clean your tools.

- It is good to have some kitchen paper and water spray bottle (you can have a little soap in the water, if you want to, but you don't need to) so that you can clean the plate every now and then.
You also need some tissue paper to lift up the extra paint, so that you won't waste it :-D All this paper becomes new decorated paper that you can use in your art journal.

- You don't need to use the size of paper your gelli plate is. You can print large papers in sections, use the gelli plate as a stamp, or print small pieces of paper, like tags or cards, on big gelli plate.
You also don't need to use the whole surface of the gelli plate.

- you can use a retarder with your acrylics to keep the paint wet longer, but if you notice your design has dried too much, let it dry all together, put a new, fresh layer of paint on top and it's possible the fresh paint will lift the dry paint from the gelli plate.
It doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes for the paint to dry.

- Have some plan before you start.
Collect the tools and materials you plan on using.

- any water based medium is fine. Most use acrylics, but I have used watercolors too, and those work fine as well. Someone said that ink colors the gelli plate. I don't know. It's ok, though, except for the esthethic impact. It won't dye the papers you are going to print.- don't drown the plate in color. It's better to use too little than too much paint, because the paint will smudge the print if you have a lot. About 1 teaspoon is good. Three blobs of the size of your fingertip.

- The more colors you use, the more probable it is that you produce "mud". When you mix all the colors of the rainbow, you get nasty brownish grey color. Use only one color at a time; colors next to each other on the color wheel or colors with white and/or black. For example; blue-green-purple is OK, blue-purple-red, red-orange-yellow; yellow-green-blue, green-blue-turquoise - green and purple without the blue in between starts to create mud.

Opposite colors is an almost certain way to get mud.

Now, if you like the vivid and energetic impact of opposite colors, you need to let the first layer of one color dry and then print on the other color. Just be aware of that if you use transparent color - and most acrylic hobby paints are translucent - you will get sort of mud effect on places where the top color layer is thin. You could use masks and leave parts of the paper white when first printing, and then printing the second printing on those white parts. People who are used to printing are pretty good at placing the paper on the plate so that it falls about the same spot, and there are some tricks to this, too, but I would make the first print, let the paper dry and then mask - on the paper - the colored parts, either with paper (mask/stencil) or masking tape - and printing the second time this masked paper, to be sure I get the paint where I want it.
It's nevertheless best, if you make your papers and then collage them together, to keep the colors bright and clean.

note what kind of color combinations you like. Do you like clear patterns? Then you should use a light and a dark color.
If you like more batik kind of patterns, then you should use colors that are close to each other in value. But if you print light blue on light blue, grey or purple, you won't see much anything. But that might be an effect in itself. Experiment.

Also, start collecting color combinations you like. 

- gelli plate is created to be an easy and quick way of adding color, so it is designed to be used with stencils, masks, stamps, combs etc. It's a bit like a combination of linoprinting and paste paper.
I like paste paper...

Don't mix patterns a lot. Don't put a strong pattern on a strong pattern, you'll end up with a chaotic mess. And a weak pattern on a weak pattern will create a weak blah mess. :-D
Strong pattern on weak pattern creates a nice batik kind of effect, weak pattern on strong pattern gives nice texture.

You can use any stencil when printing with gelli plate, but if you use the stencil as mask (let it lay on the gelli plate as you print) it should be very thin and have big, clear, open holes.
If you want to use an intrigate stencil, you use it as a stamp and push it on the paint and remove before printing, like when using the bubble wrap. 

The best way to get in the mood is to watch all the videos by Gelli Arts. They have plenty of instruction videos on how to use their product, and they give you a lot of ideas and tips.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Moon Blood Ritual

Moon Blood Ritual
By Dorottya Varga

“When the women of the world return their blood to the earth.
Mother earth will know peace is on its way.”

Our bleeding is a beautiful thing. It is our entry into womanhood. It is a thing to celebrate. To listen to deeply. To honor. It is our higher calling to shed these old ways of thinking that do not honor the power that our menstrual cycle and moon blood possess. The blood of a woman is her inner power.

We women are deeply connected to the earth, to the moons pull, to the joy and the pain that effects our great mother. Our sacred moon blood is the gift of life and when we give it back to the earth it amplifies our gifts to her and it creates peace within us and within our lives. No longer do we need to feel ashamed for this gift. It is sacred. Menstrual blood is life-blood. When we give this blood back to the earth it allows for clearing, healing, sacred connection, ceremony and ritual. When you listen to the calling of your womb and her desire for you to sit, to allow, to just be, this is when physical pain and discomfort is no longer there, it leaves. You are tuned in and listening. Listen to your womb. What do you need and what do you need more of. What are you willing to let go that no longer serves you. Allow your moontime to be a time of deep reflection, nurturing, tuning in and just being. Allowing yourself to benefit from rest, sleep, hydration, nourishing meals, to allow for less doing, and more being. This is a time of great receptivity.

Your blood has powerful magical and spiritual properties. It will enrich and bless the land it is given back to. I saved my menstrual blood from my very last moon time which was one year ago this full moon, my last cycle before becoming pregnant with Naia. I waited until that August when we moved in with my love onto this sacred land that we are blessed to live on and I then offered that last blood to the earth in quiet, peaceful ceremony as a gift of gratitude for blessing us with a beautiful home where Naia was to be born, a place where our family has grown in love and community & continues to grow.

Collect your moon blood each time you empty or change your blood vessel. I have a special jar for my offering, which is waiting to be used once I begin to bleed again. I use a Diva cup as my vessel and each time my cup is full I pour it into the jar. If you choose to use tampons or pads (cloth or otherwise) you can put them in water and create an infusion and gently massage the blood into the water and this can also be an offering.

Create a sacred time and space, to create ceremony and ritual, to offer your sacred blood back to Gaia, mother earth.
Sit on the earth.
Go to wherever calls your spirit.
Take your offering of sacred moon blood, and listen.
Talk to Gaia.
Ask her for her permission, and share your intentions with her. Your intentions for wanting to share this divine gift.
Listen for the answer.
You will feel it.

May you begin to allow yourself to listen more closely to your body, to your womb, to your beautiful flow of menstrual blood each moon. May you honor her, and in turn honor our Mother Earth in sacred offerings of ritual and ceremony. May you listen and do this if it resonates with your soul, your highest calling, your truth. May we honor our bodies and heal the old wounds that may reside there. As we heal, honor and rise together we in turn heal and deeply honor our sacred mother earth. We are one.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 16

Adding pockets to your art journal

1) The easiest way to do this is to take an envelope or a bag of some sort, and glue that on the page.
You can use these as extra pages or "tip-ins" (Tipped-in page is a page that is printed separately from the rest of the book and then added to the book as a page; either bound in together with the other pages, glued in or glued on an existing page.)

It's fun to use envelopes with windows or plastic bags or translucent bags.

There are also printables online, like library pockets. Those are kind of cute. :-)

2) You can also glue a pocket in by adding glue or double-sided tape on the edges of a page, or tape it on place.

You could also sew the pocket in place, or staple it. Any way you can attach the pocket on the page is good. (Sewing and stapling adds texture, if you use washi-tape, you add colors and patterns.)

It doesn't need to be a rectangle, you can use any shape as a pocket.

3) Glue two pages together at the edges, leave the top open. That is sort of a hidden pocket.
You can also leave the side open.
Or you could glue the pages together at all sides but leave them unglued in the middle, and cut a slit in one of them to create a pocket. It might be a good idea to glue the top of the slit on the "background" page, to make it easier to use.