Using Brusho Crystal Colours

November 18th, 2015

In today’s enewsletter we included a product new to our online shop, Brush Crystal Colours…which were also the feature of our most recent How Do I Use This? program. These vibrant watercolor inks in crystal/powder form are versatile and give you wonderful effects with ease.

Brusho Crystal Colours on watercolor ATCs

In addition to our own experimentation, we’re including some photos and links to other blogs that contain helpful info on using Brusho. We would especially recommend visiting Dina Kowal’s blog “Mama Dini’s Stamperia,” as she includes comparisons and pros/cons of four different brands of watercolor powders…plus she links to a video tutorial she produced for Split Coast Stampers that thoroughly demonstrates a number of ways to use Brusho.

Brusho arrives in a sealed plastic jar. Many recommend carefully transferring the powder contents to a container with a shaker lid; others punch one or more holes into the lid, as we did. We fell for the Brusho jar labeling technique used by Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance (her photo below) and copied it for ourselves.

Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance created this Brusho Crystal Colour labeling method

Smart, and pretty too…an unbeatable combination! Using Brusho couldn’t be simpler: simply sprinkle a few grains of one or more colors onto a wet substrate: watercolor paper, mixed media paper, canvas, fabric (more on that below). Most of our samples are watercolor papers cut to ATC size.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of wet watercolor paper

Above, left, you will immediately see the color react to the water and begin to spread. Just a tiny amount is needed…you can get somewhat misled by that instaneous nature, but rather than using additional shakes of product, give it more time to react.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of dry watercolor paper, then misted with water to activate

You can also sprinkle the Brusho onto a dry surface, and then spray with water, as above. Results differ a bit between these two methods, so experiment with both to find out how you like the effects.

Black Brusho Crystal ColourOne of the reasons we chose to stock Brusho over other brands was that it is available in 34 beautiful colors, including a black and a white. All colors are fully intermixable, and with a black and a white, your shade/tint possibilities are even greater! Brusho colors are created using a multitude of different color crystals, and you will see those different colors bloom and react. When we first sprinkled on the black to create a test swatch (shown here, right), we actually gasped!

Mix Brusho with water in a spray bottle for your own custom spray ink(Of course, you can mix Brusho with the desired quantity of water in a palette cup to create a watercolor you apply with a brush, as in regular watercolor painting. We were having so much fun creating these backgrounds we haven’t even tried that yet!)

Add a bit of the Brusho crystals into a small amount of water to dissolve, then add additional water to the desired strength, and you have your own custom spray ink. We diluted the Brilliant Red to make a pink spray you can see on several of our examples.

Brusho can mix and dissolve with any water-based medium. Add it to any acrylic medium to create a heaveir-body paint. We enjoyed mixing a few custom colors of molding paste and adding texture to some of our cards through sequin waste.

Mixing Brusho Crystal Colours with molding paste
Applying Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste
FInished examples of Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste

Again, just a small shake of Brusho gives you a lot of color! Above, in the yellow tag example, you can see that the underlying Brusho Crystal Colour “seeped” up through the paste to give it even more color and texture. Below, you can see a similar effect: we gessoed over a fully colored mixed media paper journal page, and love how tints of the underlying colors came through in varying intensities.

White gesso applied on top of a page colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

We also experimented with stamping onto our blank cards with clear embossing ink and using clear embossing enamel to create a resist for the Brusho. The butterfly example below also shows the mixability of the colors: the outer border was a mix of red and yellow powders in a bit of matte medium to create a paint.

Brusho Crystal Colours applied over a stamped, clear embossed resist

One of the “rules” for our Thursday evening How Do I Use This? sessions is that anything you can do on paper, you can do on fabric. Below, top, is a strip of 100% white cotton that was spritzed with water and sprinkled with Brushos. Very cool…but what about permanence?

Fabric swatched colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

As we did when we experimented with Gelatos® from Faber-Castell(Part 1 and Part 2) we tried using Jo Sonja’s Textile Medium to treat the fabric and activate the Brusho. This is a water-based acrylic medium used to convert acrylic paints into fabric paints that, once heat set, are permanent and able to be laundered. The bottom two swatches were once one strip, but instead of water, we moistened the fabric with diluted Textile Medium and added the Brusho. Once dry, we cut it in half, and washed one half. We had very little, if any, color loss or run off. So, while watercolors are never thought of as being permanent, there are ways…

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator’s Leaf experimented with doing her Zen Tangling on top of pages painted with Brusho (see her example below).“Once this was completely dry, I added tangling with a Sharpie fine point. I did not have any trouble drawing on the Brusho at all,” she writes. “The Brusho dried flat and smooth, and accepted the penwork with no problems. No skips, no pulls on the nib, no dragging lines. Smooth as could be!” Read her full review »

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator's Leaf

Roni Johnson of the Ink Stained blog wanted to experiment and “instead of water I decided to use Sparkle Shimmer Mist” to activate the Brusho Crystals she had sprinkled onto dry ATCs, a museum grade preservation matboard. She notes “I added lots [and] the ATC’s didn’t warp, buckle, etc…. they took the liquid perfectly and the colors are beautiful and vivid.” See her result below:

Roni Johnson of Ink Stained used shimmer mists to activate her Brusho

She also created a blog posting featuring color swatches of 32 of the Brusho colors, showing off side by side how each appears on two different types of paper, Neenah 80lb cardstock and Fabrino 140lb watercolor paper.

P.S. While we haven’t yet explored this method, Brusho can be used to add tints to wood and is a great way for you to preserve the grain pattern, as it creates strong, but transparent color. Colourcraft recommends choosing a light-colored, close-grained wood to start, with the following steps. Dampen the wood, dry and rub back before application (to minimize the stain raising the grain. Mix Brusho colors and apply very sparingly with brushes, cotton gauze or an air brush. Stained wood can be sealed with a polyurethane or acrylic varnish.

Guest Blogger Lisa Chin Visits Artistic Artifacts

November 11th, 2015

In September the talented textile artist Lisa Chin, a fellow member of the Printed Fabric Bee, visited Artistic Artifacts for the first time. She wrote the nicest blog post about her visit — and she is serving as as a guest blogger and letting us reprint it for us below! I love the beautiful photographs she took — thank you Lisa! (With the gorgeous fall color we’re experiencing, take a look at her website’s tutorial Gelli Plate Printing with Leaves and create a permanent memory!)

A Tour of Artistic Artifacts Brick and Mortar Store, Alexandria VA

by guest blogger Lisa Chin

[Recently] while I was in DC, I stopped at Artistic Artifacts. Artistic Artifacts is a quilt/mixed media shop and it was HEAVENLY! I got there a little late in the day and really didn’t have the time to inspect everything closely. I know I will be returning when I am in the DC area. Let me give you a little tour of the shop:

Panorama shot from the front of the shop.

Beautiful batiks.

Gorgeous papers.

I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t buy some of Seth Apter’s stamps.

I don’t know if the sewing machines are for sale or just for show but I LOVE them!

Lots and lots of beautiful paints.

I bought a nice selection to try out.

These cigar boxes remind me of my grandfather.

Folding yardsticks!

Lovely vintage photos to include in your art work.

LOTS and LOTS of Tjaps for batiking or enjoying.

And a great big wall of stencils.

And this is just a small part of the shop. I didn’t take photos of the wall of beautiful fabrics, the racks of vintage papers, game pieces, game boards, threads, dyed linens and so much more!

If you are ever in the DC area make sure you make time to travel the short distance to Alexandria and see Artistic Artifacts. If you don’t have a car, you can take the Blue line on the Metro to the Van Dorn St. stop and walk the 3/4 of a mile down Eisenhower Avenue to the shop, which is what I did!

Artistic Artifacts’ Modern Squares Quilt Tutorial

November 4th, 2015

Modern Squares Quilt designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal

One of the hits of our booth display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX was this stunning quilt, which was designed, pieced and quilted by Christine Vinh. Chris has a beautiful instinct for mixing colors and patterns, and combined fabrics from our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik collection with those from Frond Design to create both the above pictured quilt, and another version in cool colors.

Want to make your own? Here’s how!

Modern Squares Quilt Pattern

       Designed and quilted by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

This pattern is a modification of a free pattern by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting named “Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt.” For the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal version, Chris reduced the measurements to 8-inch squares and 2-inch strips. She cut all material from yardage instead of using Jelly Rolls and Layer Cake sets (as Erica did).

The quilt is made up of 23 squares, using one large square and two pairs of strips for borders around each square.

The following are details to get you started: use our instructions for cutting, and review Erica’s tutorial for sewing and placement.

Fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik to create the Modern Squares Quilt

Fabric requirements for a lap quilt, approximately 56 inches x 64 inches:

  • 1 yard each of two (2) focus fabrics (as mentioned, we used fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik)
  • 1 yard white
  • ½ yard of 6-8 fabrics
  • ½ yard fabric for binding
  • 2 yards fabric for backing


From the two focus fabrics and the white fabric, cut 2 (two) 8- inch strips and 2-4 (two to four) 2-inch strips the width of the fabric (WOF).

Cutting 2-inch strips the width of the fabric

Cut one of the 8 inch strips into 5 (five) 8-inch squares (below). From the second 8-inch strip, cut 2 (two) 8-inch squares, and then 4 (four) 2-inch strips from the remaining width of strip long.


From your assorted ½ yards of fabrics, cut 2-inch strips, or a combination of 8-inch strips cut into blocks and strips (as above). If you have chosen fabrics with stripes, cut the fabric with the stripes running the length of the strip.

Once cut, randomly select one 8-inch square and two sets of different fabric strips to create each block. Vary the selections so your blocks will all be different.

Sewing the Quilt Top:

Adding 2-inch strips to the sides of the 8-inch square

Erica chose to cut the strips for inner and outer borders around the square; Chris instead used her WOF strips, and trimmed them square to the block as she proceeded.

Sew two strips to top and bottom of a square, press, trim (above). Repeat the process of sewing the same fabric strip to the opposite sides, creating a square within a square. Repeat these steps for the second border (see below).

Modern Quilt Squares block completed

An assortment of completed Modern Quilt Squares blocks

Once all squares are sewn (assortment shown above), cut each square in half vertically (pictured below), and then in half again horizontally.

Cutting a completed Modern Quilt Squares block into halves vertically

With the horizontal cut, you will then have 4 (four) identical quadrants of your original square (pictured below).

Cutting the Modern Quilt Squares block horizontally for four identical blocks

Once all of the blocks are sewn and cut, the real fun begins! Lay out the blocks into a rectangle eight (8) columns wide by nine (9) rows tall using your design wall or open floor space (pictured below).

Designing the Modern Quilts Squares layout

Chris used a placement that used a selection of both the Frond fabric blocks and the Batik Tambal Exclusive fabric as “whole” squares, to feature the fabric. Carefully arranging the other quarter squares around these intact blocks is what gives the stacked illusion. You could also choose to be completely random without having any “whole” blocks. The design is all up to you!

Identifying and sorting your blocks and rows as you begin to sew

Once you have an arrangement you love, mark/sort your blocks (above) in whatever method you’d like so that your layout will be intact. Sew your rows together using a standard ¼-inch seam allowance.

The Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal sample is borderless, but you may add one or more borders if you desire.


Note that you will end up with some unused strips and small blocks. Erica suggests that these be pieced together to add interest to your backing fabric.

Once your top is layered with batting and backing fabric, machine or hand quilt as desired.

Use leftover fabric from the yardage to piece your binding, or you may choose to use a complementary fabric. Bind your quilt using your choice of techniques.

Snapshots from Quilt Market in Houston

October 28th, 2015

Each year, prior to the International Quilt Festival (which begins tomorrow, October 29 and runs through Sunday, November 1), the largest “trade show” for fabric and quilting (not open to the general public) takes place. Quilt Market is also at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX, and the following collection of photos will give you a bit of a taste of the inspiration and camaraderie that can be found there. We have posted some of these on our Facebook page, while others are new: enjoy!

Having a booth at both Market and Festival is exciting, but also equals packing and unpacking and setting up two different time, so we are busy getting ready for Festival opening tomorrow. If you are attending the world’s largest quilt show, please come by booth #856 to say hello!

Rusty Pumpkin Tutorial

October 21st, 2015

Mixed Media Pumpkins by Artistic Artifacts using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina

Click the above image for a larger view »

What’s that old saying? When the cat’s away, the mice will play? Lead “cat” Judy left this morning to drive her trailer full of goodies to Texas for both Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival. So “mice” Julie Middleton and Sharon McDonagh took some time to play!

A previously posted tutorial on this blog introduced Rusty Paper by Viva Decor. We were asked by readers whether Rusty Paper could be used on fabric, so during our October session of How Do I Use This (which focused on Rusty Paper), we tried it out. We created mixed media tags that used both paper and fiber, including altering our Web Weave Ribbon with the product (see below).

Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina with mixed media tags

To further explore the question of fabric, Julie and Sharon created this fun Halloween project.

Rusty Mixed Media Pumpkins Tutorial

Rusty Paper, available in original (dark rust) or Rust Orange, is a paint product that gives a realistic rust appearance and texture to paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and more. Adding the Rusty Patina (available in Copper and Oxyd) makes the effect even more varied and realistic.

Julie Middleton drafting her pumpkin pattern

We used a black batik fabric as our base (doubling it up although we only painted one side), both deciding to cut out our pumpkins after we had painted the fabric. Julie chose to sketch out a pattern first (above). Sharon freehand cut her pumpkin’s facial features out of label stock and stuck them in place (below).

Sharon McDonagh used label stock to create a mask for her pumpkin's features

Rusty Orange by Viva DecorWe used the Rust Orange color of the Rusty Paper…an obvious choice since we were making Jack o’ Lanterns! It’s important to stir thoroughly the jar of Rusty Paper, which has a thick consistency (right), before you apply it to your chosen surface. Julie used a sponge to apply the product to her fabric; Sharon brushed it on over the label masks. Use either, or use a dauber, palette knife…whatever tool you like to apply the product to your surface.

Applying Rusty Paper with a sponge onto fabric

Below, Sharon brushed too vigorously over the nose and dislodged the label paper mask. Oh well…it was always meant to be a wonky pumpkin! Wash your brushes and tools as soon as you complete a step; once dried, this product is permanent.

Applying Rusty Paper with a brush

Our pumpkin fabric dried after one coat:

One coat of Rusty Paper

Above, Julie intentionally left the black fabric to show through to give the impression of the ridges of the pumpkin. Below, Sharon peeled off the label masks after the first coat had dried.

One coat of Rusty Paper, label paper masks peeled off

We both added a second coat of Rusty Paper and introduced the Rusty Patina. The Patina adds a difference of both color texture, including some sparkle: so pretty! The technique is to work wet on wet, so we sponged and brushed on additional Rusty Paper and picked up differing amounts of Rusty Patina, wiping it into the Rusty Paper and swirling and mottling (see below). We used the Oxid color of the Patina so it would blend into the Rust Orange tones.

Second coat of Rusty Paper, mixed with Rusty Patina

Once the second coat was dry, we cut, sewed and embellished our pumpkins. Julie raided Judy’s button stash for eyes and nose, and cut the mouth out of Osnaburg 100% cotton. This has a loose weave and is wonderful for stitching; because Julie sewed closed to the edge, it caused some fraying, which further added to the vintage feel she was going for!

Sewing on the pumpkin's facial features

We cut out our pumpkin shapes, leaving a raw-edged border of the black fabric. We then machine stitched with contrasting thread around the shape twice, leaving an opening at the top for stuffing and the stem. Although Julie didn’t have any trouble hand-sewing through the Rusty Paper, we didn’t want to run a sewing machine needle through it because of the gritty texture. (It may be possible to do so with no problem; experiment yourself if you wish).

Below, our finished pumpkins:

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Julie Middleton

Julie used a length of tree branch for her stem, and accented it with orange skeleton leaves.

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Sharon McDonagh

Sharon added book text (treated with a light coat of Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina) for cheeks and used peeled corrugated cardboard for her stem. She texturized green velvet with a rubber stamp, cut it into leaf shapes and glued them on, using a ribbon scrap for a tendril.

Lessons Learned

So, what did we learn about Rusty Paper on fabric? Sharon applied both coats rather thickly, wanting an opaque look. Peeling away the label masks she used, a small chip flaked off the edge of one of the pumpkin teeth, but the product otherwise adhered very well. Stuffing both of the sewn pumpkins with the fiberfill meant a lot of handling, yet there was no rub-off or cracking.

When most people ask about using a product on fabric, they usually mean they are wondering about permanence and washability. Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina are permanent products, and are even advertised to be used on decorative items that will be outdoors, so they have been formulated to stand up to the elements.

Below is a photo of textiles (Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth and 100% cotton) that were stenciled with Rusty Paper during the How Do I Use This? session on October 8th.

Fabrics stenciled with Rusty Paper

We took the cotton swatch (far right in the above photo) and hand-washed it in a basin (so we could monitor the water for color loss). We used warm water and hand soap, agitating it with medium pressure and lightly scrubbing. We rinsed the swatch, and poured the wash water through layers of white paper towels, again so we could see if the color ran.

Rusty Paper fabric swatch after hand washing

We did not see much loss of color (if any). But one of the hallmarks of this product is that it gives you a rust-like appearance, not just in color but in texture. Our pumpkins are rough and gritty feeling, much like a rusty piece of metal would feel. The left side of the above photo shows the residue left on the paper towel after draining: these are tiny, gritty flecks of color and product that gave the fabric its rusty texture.

Our recommendation? Feel free to use this product on any fabric, canvas or fiber product used to create a decorative object that won’t need regular laundering. That’s in addition to the surfaces recommended by the product manufacturers: paper, wood, metal, plastic, and more. This is a versatile product that gives you great effects!

Caribbean Ocean Swatch Collection Giveaway

October 14th, 2015

I have posted previously several times about the Printed Fabric Bee, a collaboration of professional textiles artists printing fabric collections for each other. It was finally MY turn to pick a theme!

For a short period in my life I was certified scuba diver. To me it was only fun in crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, so I selected Caribbean Ocean as my theme. I allowed my fellow Bee members to pick the colors they were inspired to use in keeping with the theme, and have been delighted with what’s arrived.

But remember, while every Queen Bee has received her own collection of custom-made fabric, anyone has the opportunity to win a 6 × 6 swatch collection too! It’s easy to win: simply leave a comment below or on the Printed Fabric Bee blog and you will be entered. I will be randomly selecting a winner on Thursday, October 15. Don’t miss this opportunity for a set of one of a kind fabrics!

Julie B. Booth Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

Julie B. Booth has a step by step tutorial on her blog detailing how she printed her fabric (above). She wrote, “Well…you can probably see that the ‘ocean’ part of the theme seemed to slip my mind…only the ‘Caribbean’ part seemed to register.” She wondered if I would be disappointed, but of course I love tit!

Athough everyone works separately and doesn’t consult with on another, like minds can seize on a similar idea: Deborah Boschert’s fabric also features tropical blooms:

Deborah Boschert Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

Isn’t it pretty?

Geri Congdon Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

Geri Congdon used an old wooden printing block to create the background for her fabric, pictured above, and then added thermofax screened and foiled fish. (I wouldn’t mind having that block in my collection!)

Carol Eaton Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

Above is Carol Eaton’s submission. She wrote that she “tried to capture the ebb and flow of the tides as they perpetually move.” Gorgeous!

Lynda Heines Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

Above is Lynda Heines submission in progress. She also posted steps and information about how she created this beautiful fabric.

Supplies to create my own Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean swatch

For my own Carribean Ocean printed fabric, I began with a long piece of fabric, 13" x 27", to allow me multiple prints using a 8" x 10" Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate. Adding paint directly to the Gelli plate and mixing as I use the brayer allows me to see the individual colors. You must watch that there is not too much or too little paint, but just right amount… that does take some practice.

No paint waste--stamping the wooden printing block off onto scraps

Using WB315 Tangled Vines wooden printing block, which has a coral-like shape and also looks like seaweed, I stamped into the paint covered Gelli plate (below) to remove the color. I think stamping off the side of the plate adds interest.

Of course, you never let paint go to waste! I stamped my paint covered wood block onto scrap fabric swatches (photo right). They will make their way into some future project, I’m sure.

Once the plate was covered and had the block print texturzied in, I laid my fabric over it and rubbed it with my hands and a clean brayer to transfer the print.

I repeated this process three times for the final strip of fabric. I purposefully didn’t clean the plate or brayer in between prints… I just let the colors work together from right to left:

1st try, Judy Gula Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean fabric

Thinking I could improve upon my layout and color choices, I stamped another:

2nd try, Judy Gula Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean fabric

I like the second one much better. Better colors and more pattern!

The full list of Printed Fabric Bee participant links is below, so please visit their websites and blogs to learn more. Some of the artists are in “coming soon” mode (which is usually where I was with the deadlines), so please keep checking!

With these beauties, I can just visualize hanging out at the beach in St Kitts! Remember, leave comment below, or at Printed Fabric Bee blog before October 16 for your chance to win your own set of these Carribean Ocean fabric swatches!

This is actually the last giveaway collection for The Printed Fabric Bee…but a new format is in the works to debut January 2016.

Printed Fabric Bee Caribbean Ocean participants

Embellishing Vintage Glass with Shells, Relics & Artifacts

October 7th, 2015

First, a big thank you to all the folks who braved the near-hurricane and the flooding to make it to the Virginia Beach edition of Art & Soul and shopped with me! We always talk up the beach-front location, so the weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but the great teachers, students and beautiful art were enough to sustain us!

I have been having fun with the Relics & Artifacts designed by Sandra Evertson since they first arrived in the shop. I have been following Sandra on her Facebook page and fell in love the work she posted earlier this year using her archival casts and sea shells:

Shell Art designed by Sandra Evertson using her Relics & Artifacts cast resin pieces

Stunning, right? Of course with these as inspiration, my imagination ran really large! But I reined in that first impulse and instead began small. I found a vintage clear glass spoon holder in my studio and decided to use that to apply some selected Relics & Artifacts and shells from my own collection.

First I decided that I wanted to add a bit of color to my pieces.

Adding color to the Relics & Artifacts pieces

I used the following: Silks Acrylic Glaze in Oyster (top left in above photo; also already applied to the large circle cameo (the as yet uncoated angel is from the Archangels set). I also used Inka Gold products: a bit of Silver (middle left) and and then the pretty Hydrangea shade to complement and pull out the the pink color naturally present in the sea shells. The Inka Gold products were applied and buffed in and off until I got the effect I wanted.

Painted Relics & Artifacts piece as the shell glass display piece created by Judy Gula is started

To adhere the Relics & Artifacts and the shells onton my vintage glass, I used small bits of Apoxie® Sculpt. This is a two-part adhesive putty that is easy to mix: simply measure equal pieces of Part A and Part B and knead them together thoroughly for a couple of minutes. I mixed up small batches, because it’s quick to do so, but because you have a working time of 2-3 hours before it begins to cure and thoroughly harden, you could mix up one batch for most projects.

Using Apoxie Sculpt to adhere Relics & Artifacts pieces and sea shells to vintage glass

I could have used the Apoxie Sculpt to completely cover the outside of the glass (mixed it has a consistency much like clay), but instead opted for small pieces (which you can see in the above photo shot from the inside of the glass) to illustrate that just a little bit holds like cement!

Painted Relics & Artifacts and sea shell glass display piece by Judy Gula in progress

Apoxie Sculpt is much better than a glue, even including the old reliable E6000. It stays in place when working on a non-flat surface, and the item doesn’t slide out of position. And it can be used on a wide variety of surfaces: in addition to the glass I have here, you can use it on plastic,wood, metal, ceramic, glass, polymers, foam, fiberglass, etc. Artist Leslie Brier, who often teaches for us (next up: Collage Treasure Necklace on October 13), introduced us to Apoxie Sculpt, as she uses it on all of her mixed media sculptures/asseblages, such as her recycled robots.

Painted Relics & Artifacts and sea shell glass display piece by Judy Gula in progress

Above is what I have accomplished so far with this display piece. My plan is to completely cover the remaining spaces on the outside with shells, and paint the inside (to hide the Apoxie Sculpt). Once the interior is painted and dried, I will likely add even more shells inside.

Packing for a Creative Retreat

September 30th, 2015

Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal owner Judy Gula at her on-site satellite store at Art & Soul Virginia Beach
As long-time readers know, each year I set up as a “satellite” on-site store for the Art & Soul events that take place in Portland, Oregon and Virginia Beach, VA. I have often written about the work of packing for these events, as well as for the many quilt shows I exhibit at…shortly after arriving home, I’ll be working on stocking up and packing for the International Quilt Festival (October 29–November 1) in Houston.

So, other than telling you to be grateful you don’t have to pack an entire trailer full of EVERYTHING, what are my recommendations for packing supplies for attending an art retreat? This the alphabetical text version (originally published as a cute graphic) of the basic supplies recommended by Art & Soul. If these items aren’t already on your class supply lists, you likely won’t regret packing them. (Pictured are the adorable tags Mindy Lacefield used as examples as she taught her fun class on Monday.)

Hippity Hop Tags created by Mindy Lacefield

  • a few special trinkets, treasures and beads
  • awl or needle tool
  • basic ink pad
  • bone folder
  • cutting mat
  • glue stick
  • hole punch
  • needle and heavy thread
  • needlenose pliers
  • notebook
  • paint brushes: regular, foam, stipple
  • pencil and eraser
  • popsicle sticks
  • ribbons, yarns, fibers
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • tape: double stick and regular
  • toothpicks
  • Xacto knife and extra blades

My recommendations for additions to this list? Well, of course, some fabric! When I am teaching a class that requires fabric as a supply, I recommend just a sandwich baggie size amount of scraps, of a variety of types and weights (unless it is a quilting class that requires yardage, of course). You will be really surprised how far just that baggie can take you with a project!

What else? Golden Soft Gel Medium — this can used as be an embellishment adhesive, a a collage medium, a final sealant, etc. And of course you are packing light, but one or two stencils, especially those that can be used for background layers and textures, won’t add much weight. A couple favorite rubber stamps and/or wooden printing blocks, and a favorite color/brand of paint. A handful of buttons…great embellishments!

What supply or tool have you learned to always take to a class, even if it’s not specifically listed?

Every Art & Soul event includes a Vendor Night that is also open to the general public

P.S. Remember that every Art & Soul event includes Vendor Night, inviting many of the instructors and other creative individuals and stores to sell supplies, jewelry, ephemera and finished artwork. The public is welcome with a $10 admission (free for attendees) — well worth the cost to have this special access. Art & Soul Vendor Night Virginia Beach is this Saturday, October 3 from 6:00-9:00 pm — if you are located anywhere within a reasonable drive, plan to attend!

More Art Journaling: Altering Cut-outs, Using Pan Pastels

September 23rd, 2015

My studio at the moment continues to have journaling supplies and papers front and center on the table. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with creating a variety of art journal pages.

This session I played with Pan Pastels. I consider this product a “fine art medium,” so that means it is intimidating to me! My comfort zone is in creating backgrounds, so that’s where I began. I ended up experimenting with two types of backgrounds that used Inkssentials Watermark Resist Ink and Golden Brand Gesso for effects.

I would recommend working with the Pan Pastels on watercolor paper, because it has a nice “tooth” to it. Since I didn’t have any at handy at home, I used pages from a Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper with fine results.

Inkessentials Watermark Resist Ink with TCW Mask

I took a TCW Mask (TCW2023 Petri Dish) designed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and stamped over the mask using the resist ink pad (holding the pad right side down and pouncing). Then I used one of the Sofft tools packaged with all Pan Pastels to add color and gently moved it in circular motions over the stamped image…the result is magic! The resist ink stamping intensifies the Pan Pastels color and coverage and gives you a crisp design line.

Resist ink stamping intensifies the Pan Pastels color and coverage and gives you a crisp design line

My next layer was created using that same watermark stamp and the Cover-a-Card French Text Stamp, then a brown shade of Pan Pastel.

Watermark stamp using the Cover-a-Card French Text Stamp, then a brown shade of Pan Pastel

I experimented with using a purple color of Gelatos through the mask. I wanted to see if there was any resist when the Pan Pastels was gently rubbed around it. The answer was, not so much. But the Gelatos did add a more intense color of purple to the Pan Pastels, so I was happy with that.

Here’s my full page…I love the texture and imagery. This will make a great base to add additional art to, or could even be cut up to Artist Trading Card (ATC) size.

Watermark resist ink pad, Pan Pastels, stamps and masks

For the following pages, I used various cutouts of models from fashion ads. Because magazines are usually printed on slick paper, they need to be primed in some way to accept other medium, so I used gesso on selected areas. This gave me a base to add my own color with my Pan Pastels and Gelatos. It can also mask out an area I don’t like as much.

Gesso on selected areas of magazine page

I selected all of the magazine cut outs and adhered them to my page using Golden Soft Gel Medium. Then I selected additional colors from Pan Pastel, applied with the Sofft tools.

Art journal page by Judy Gula in progress

Like her new red/orange shirt? Next up, altering her hair…

Gesso is a great medium to use with Derwent Inktense Blocks or pencils, Pan Pastels, and Gelatos. Water the gesso down a bit, and mix it with the colors using a paint brush. When my color mix turned out too light, I applied a bit more of Gelato over top.

Art Journal page by Judy Gula in progress

I only had white gesso handy as I was creating these —what would happen if you tried using clear gesso?

Finished art journal page by Judy Gula

Finished art journal page by Judy Gula

Above, the finished page. Below, another page with the same techniques. I mentioned the magazine pages are slick, so there are some light/camera flash reflections…but I think you get the idea.

Art journal page by Judy Gula

One of the members of our JAMs Round Robin Art Journal Exchange has selected Outrageous Inspiration as her theme — I think these two qualify as outrageous! What do you think?

Page painted with two coats of Chalky Vintage-Look by Viva Decor in Aqua

In another experiment, I took a page (above) I had previously painted with two coats of Chalky Vintage-Look by Viva Decor (in Aqua), which gave my page more tooth.

Pan Pastels over Chalky Vintage-Look paint

I added additional color with my Pan Pastels using the Sofft tools. Then I added another fashion photograph cut out. This page (below) is now ready for me to continue playing the next time I’m in my studio!

Pan Pastels over Chalky Vintage-Look paint, magazine cut-out

Journaling, a Mixed Media Affair: Fabric Included!

September 16th, 2015

In recent blog posts about my art journaling, I have shown you how I use stencils to add texture to my pages, and how to create your own tissue paper with wooden printing blocks.

This posting is about the next step in the layering process of creating these journal pages. And I need to add the same disclaimer I have before: these pages are not finished yet…there is more to come.

Portion of art journal page by Judy Gula

Pictured above is a portion of a page I have been working on. I wasn’t unhappy with it, but wanted a little something extra, and realized a Pearl Pen from Viva Décor was the perfect solution. Below is the after — I used the Silver color (we just added five new colors to our online shop; now there are 30 to choose from).

Portion of art journal page, with Pearl Pen embellishing, by Judy Gula

This product takes just seconds to apply! What’s great is how perfectly the product forms the half-round “pearls.” There’s none of those spiky peaks you try and mush down, ruining your shape.

Portion of art journal page, with Pearl Pen embellishing, by Judy Gula

In fact, it’s important to let the pen and the product do the work. I applied the pearls to one of my fabric postcards, and without thinking, immediately tapped the card down on the table, the way you would to remove air bubbles or settle a product? Neither was the reality…it was just instinctual, I guess. The result was actually kind of cool…but undeniably flat.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula, with flattened Pearl Pen
Fabric postcard by Judy Gula, with flattened Pearl Pen

FYI, I am teaching my fabric postcard class on Saturday, October 10. Join me!

So, as mentioned many times over the years on this blog, I got my start as a fabric/textile lover. The surge in mixed media as an art form and the release of a lot of cool products has taught me a lot about paper, and I do enjoy working with paper…for instance, creating these art journal pages has been a really enjoyable process.

But yes, at heart fabric is my true love… and so yes, I often include fabric on my paper journal pages.

Art journal page by Judy Gula with TAP flower

The above journal spread was creating from flower and gardening ephemera. The flower is a photo that my son took. I printed it on Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) onto a piece of muslin, then applied it to my page using Golden Soft Gel Medium (spread the medium onto both the painted journal paper and the back of the transferred photo).

Art journal page by Judy Gula with violet  vintage ephemera

On this above page, I created a tab extending from the page using part of a vintage greeting card. I included a vintage book text/illustration page as well as a fabric coaster of violets with a wonderful frayed edge. All were adhered with soft gel medium.

Art journal page by Judy Gula with lace and trim

This page has bits of white trim again attached with soft gel medium.

For me, sorting and organizing ephemera is a never ending process. I actually have a type cabinet that is completely full, and boxes overflowing with those perfect bits and pieces of fabric and paper I want to use in my journals.

I am trying! Sometimes I think of organizing as an act of procrastination, instead of tackling what I originally intended to do. But the reality is that digging through those drawers and boxes and files brings me back in touch with items I had forgotten I had — including some you see here.

How do you organize your journal bits and pieces? I would really love to know — your system might help me with my treasures! Please leave a comment on this posting and share!

P.S. for those of you who are local, or who will be in the area, a reminder that this Sunday is our monthly JAMs meeting.