book pages & thread doodles

After yesterpost’s experiments with stitching paper, my thoughts moved on to other ways of making doodles with thread. I’ve found no better way to create perfectly organic scribbles than with loops of thread!

I’m using book pages for two reasons: first off I love the contrast of the printed text and the abstract splotches and whirls of color. Secondly, I’ve got a big stack of old books I’m recycling into art I was curious to compare how the different types of paper reacted to this process.

Some of the books are very old, the paper has become brittle and porous, their pages soak up water like a sponge. One old text book is printed on a slightly shiny paper (think magazine page sheen). This was by far my favourite from the way it reacted to watercolor paint, the pigment granulated wildly and created this fabulous crackled finish. It’s inspired me to play with magazine pages another time.

Like a map detailing the tributaries of a waterway, watercolor paint on printed paper.

The process was a simple one, my usual splashy wash of watercolor across all the pages, extra water, then using sewing cotton. I let the unravelled thread make a pattern in the wet paint. Then some extra paint and water for good measure – to make sure it’s all soaked through – and wait for it to dry.

Just for good measure, I gave the process a second round, this time with purple ink.

The patterns from the thread were the perfect cues for doodling.

This is the thread painting process


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue & Violet-Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

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Stitching Paper Zigzags

I love to sew and I love experimenting with mixed media, so I guess it was kinda inevitable that one day I’d try stitching on paper.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

– Rumi

stitching on paper

I love to sew and I love experimenting with mixed media, so I guess it was kinda inevitable that one day I’d try stitching on paper.

I forget when it was I first tried – but it was like two parts of my world colliding – and I have been low-level obsessed with it ever since.

Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Piercing the stitch holes in the paper before you begin is far easier than straight up sewing the paper. Depending on its thickness, it will either put up a forceful struggle against the needle, or else it will tear against the pull of the thread.
  • Piercing with a regular sewing needle is usually fine, but thick paper (like watercolor) or card stock might require something like a darning needle, a compass or even a bradawl.
  • Have a stab-proof surface to pierce onto. Polystyrene is great (yay for not throwing out the packaging from something fragile that came in the mail!) I’ve also got a cork tile and a cutting mat I use. This keeps the paper flat when fromit tries to fold under pressure of the needle, and protects the hand that’s holding the paper from getting holes in it.
  • Unlike sewing on fabric, the loose ends of the thread can be glued down at the back to secure them from unravelling.
  • I like experimenting with different threads, yarns, single ply and multiple. Just the same as my drawing, I like to make lines vary in weight, this can be done by over stitching some places.
  • If I don’t have the color I want to use, I always have white thread, which can be painted with ink or watercolor after the stitching is done.

painted stitches

For this week’s experiments I doodled about with a stitched zigzag pattern (white thread on white paper – because that was easier than rummaging for the colors I wanted. Plus it’s fun to paint.)

I coloured the stitches with watercolor in dioxazine purple and imperial purple.

painted stitched zigzags

Here’s how my purple zigzagging happened


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue & Violet-Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

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Violet Spirals

“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.”

Barry H Gillespie 

exploring the spiral path

As we continue around the color wheel, this week I’m sharing my first experiments with the color violet.

I’ve taken this year long trip around the color wheel a few times now. So stepping into each color feels like a return to a familiar place.

A few years ago I set the starting point of this color adventure as yellow, meaning that violet marks the mid point in the journey, and in turn has come to be the color of summer to me.

I love how these connections develop over time, it’s something we can appreciate more and more with each year clocked up in this lifetime.

Each time I repeat this 12 color project I learn something new in the nuances, and a bit more about myself along the way. So I was inspired [there’s that word again] to revisit a pattern that suits this notion – the spiral.

a spiral collage

I began with some painted papers, much like i have thoughout this journey.

Painted with watercolor and gouache in my usual haphazard way, today I’ve got regular drawing paper (pages from a sketchbook) and some heavy weight tracing paper, for contrast. I like tracing paper for the way the color shows through both sides, and the way it crinkles up on contact with paint and glue.

I tried three shapes for my spirals: a square, a long rectangle, and a circle. The long rectangle was the most fiddly to handle, the circle probably the easiest, being the smallest of the shapes it didn’t flop around so much.

the long rectangle spiral made with painted tracing paper.

You could do this with scissors, but I love torn edges so much I freehanded all of these.

I’ve been playing with this torn spiral technique in my art journals for a long time so can go quickly, but if you’re trying this for a first time it might be easier to sketch your path out on the back of the paper before you begin.

The trick is to keep the spiral wide enough to follow the line in to the middle, then back out to the edge. That way you get two complete pieces. Hopefully that explanation will make more sense in the video!

By the time I finished I had a little heap of spirals. They naturally like to knot together (in the same way as cables do) so in this last collage I let them do this.

I especially like the combination of surface pattern in this one, it reminds me of batik dyed fabric. It’s got me wondering about trying a more intricate pattern for a larger piece. What do you think?

Here’s how my spiralling went


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue & Violet-Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

Considering Contrasts

contrasting the wibbly-edged puddles and spills of ink from yesterpost with frayed torn edges against the sharp clean line of geometric die-cut pieces.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. 
While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol 

a story about edges

How do we find contrasts when making art in monochrome?

There’s the tonal value: darks offsetting lights. What else?

Today I’m exploring contrasting edges:

From the wibbly-edged puddles and spills of ink from yesterpost, with frayed torn edges for an organic and weather-beaten feel, beside the sharp clean outline of geometric die-cut pieces.

Because if we don’t try, we won’t know, right?

I collaged the die-cut pieces onto a background of torn pieces, playing with different layouts, using the negative space shapes and a mixed up almost symmetry.

I get twitchy with anything approaching perfection so the off centred aesthetic is not a mistake 😉 I like the sense of what I make being one zoomed in part of an unknown bigger whole, like a passing snapshot, a glimpse.

I’m curious to see how that all adds to the effect when I piece these bits together in the next stage of this project.

I keep any leftovers to use in my art journals as a reminder of projects gone by. Likely we’ll see these bits show up on a future page of the 100 day project 🙂

Here’s how I put together a couple of versions of this idea


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of mixed media pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green & Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

Layering in Inks

The essence of mixed media is layers. Today I want to explore a lighter, more dreamy version of layering.

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

– Rumi

It’s all about the layers

The essence of mixed media is layers. I love piling layers up, with scribbles over paint over collage over who knows what lies beneath.

But layers don’t have to be weighty and dense.

My tendency is often towards over-ness: over complicated, over-thinking, over-working. So here is a stretch for me – cos I believe it’s always beneficial to stretch our creativity.

Today I want to explore a lighter, more dreamy version of layering.

I’m using the same two inks from last time, because these colors are perfect, and because I’m all about simplifying my process right now. Less decision making & more spaciousness!

Here’s my simplicity:

  • Two inks + water + plain white paper.
  • One brush.
  • Paint quickly.
  • Don’t stop to think – keep moving.
  • Let it dry.
  • Repeat until done!

Here’s how the process played out:

The result was some delicate patterns which I find only come from creating spontaneously like this.


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green & Blue)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.