Sunday 29 March 2020


My main focus this week has been thinking about what to do with my ever growing stash of eco printed papers and fabrics.
I find it hard to do anything to these printed treasures, but I am determined to get over that. 
The best way of course, is to have a project in mind before starting the boiling process.
I tried and I will be trying harder as I get a bit frustrated when the pieces are not quite the right size or shape! Also if a piece comes up with little on it, I reboil with new leaves. 
Remember, for sure fired results look at the list of leaves that work and add small amounts of wire wool to the wraps as mentioned in the previous post. 
But if like me, addiction to making these papers and fabrics starts to get out of hand, have a go at working into the prints.
Get your pile of eco printing. Hunt out that collection of stencils, some sponges, acrylic paint and acrylic ink.
If you don't have stencils have a look around the house for fruit netting, sequin waste, old
sticky tape or toilet rolls (yes, rare as hens teeth) its surprising what comes to hand when you have an idea in mind or 
make your own stencils with cereal box card. Here I have just ripped card to create a thin jagged line.
I am nervous to mention using a craft knife to make bespoke stencils as I believe A&E are busy enough... if you are confident have a go, please make sure the blade is new and hold the card away from your cutting direction!!!
Responding to the natural patterns on the substrates, stencil some marks onto the surfaces. 
With a spare amount of paint on the sponge, evened out by tapping it on newspaper first, bounce the paint sponge over the stencil. Go gently avoiding over loading the sponge as the paint will seep under the stencil.
I like to use white or black acrylic paint, but don't hold back, try colours too. Be sympathetic to your eco print colours...but that is up to you. 
Remember if you make a mess of your eco print, spring has sprung and you can always make more. Or draw over it?
When the paint is dry, using candle wax or
acrylic wax, draw or paint out areas you want to protect from the next stage.
I did find the white paint a bit startling, so after waxing areas I washed the white surfaces with Paynes Grey acrylic ink to knock back the whiteness. Again, if you like a bit of colour, go for it. Anything you want to protect, 'wax'.
This acrylic stenciling process works really well on the fabrics. 
Although I do not recommend inking onto fabric, but do experiment, remember the fabric will absorb and spread the ink. Try water colour products like Koh-In-Or dye based water colour inks, they are softer.
Still keep the paint thin on the sponge so that the paint does not creep underneath the stencil, you can always add more, but once its blobbed too much you will have to cover it up with stitching or collage.
I like to just add stenciled marks here and there, less is definitely more. 
These techniques work equally well for those keen to try a figurative approach.
I like drawing on surfaces that have been interfered with. Once I have plotted out my image,
I will draw with white acrylic paint, popping in all the highlights. I use the paint neat and quite thickly to create texture. Where you want darks, don't put paint!
When the paint is dry, I flush the image with acrylic ink. Diluted to begin with, then I get bolder and add neater ink. White acrylic resists the ink running off the white, this works with with Indian ink too. Just add more white if it gets too dark, let everything dry between each layer or it will all go a bit grey!
 Beware that if you use pen ink such as Quink or any other water soluble ink it will sink into the paint, not shed off it. This is another creative opportunity.
I have been softening  my drawings recently by spraying them gently with water while the ink is wet,
this makes the ink run in a very satisfying way, softening lines. If it goes horribly wrong at this stage, just quickly wash and blot it off and try again.
I really like drawings with eco printed backgrounds, but you may have a few stand alone pieces of eco print. Hang on to those until the right moment arises.

Next Sunday I will be adding to these samples. At the moment it is all just experimentation, giving me ideas for bigger projects. You can try this starting point on plain paper. Acrylic resit with ink washes are a good way to start a drawings.
 Be bold and experiment, abstract or figurative, there are no rules, just guidelines.

Check out these Instagram's for further inspiration and more techniques:-
Suppliers who I believe are still posting if you need to add to your materials stash:-

Please post your results on Instagram if you can, but mention me @sb.brown21 and I will get to see what you have done. Thank you to everyone who has.

Have the best creative week you can under the circumstances. Best wishes, Sue

No comments: