Monthly Archives: September 2015

Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel, Dreamscape

This past week I’ve been finishing up my latest Earth Spirit Vessel, Dreamscape. The first paste papers I made this summer were for Dreamscape. They are various shades of purple along with some gold.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Dreamscape

Earth Spirit Vessel, Dreamscape

I love the combination of the purples with black, dramatic, powerful and beautiful. As I was putting the pieces together, the name Dreamscape popped into my mind. I think it’s perfect for this Earth Spirit Vessel.

Enjoy, Candy

Halloween Envelopes Based On Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book

I did a review of Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book a couple of years ago, but it’s something I thought I’d write about again. I love this book. Although the book is written with children in mind, I had ever so much fun drawing using Ed’s directions.

This is a 6" by 9" manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

This is a 6″ by 9″ manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

The instructions are easy to follow. Ed uses just a few basic lines and shapes for most of the drawings.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

Making Halloween envelopes sounded like fun. I love sending and receiving mail—real mail, the kind delivered by the post office—and I love to make special envelopes for my friends. For the first envelopes I made for this project, I used an 02 Pigma pen because it was what I had handy. It took me a long time to color in the black, so I would suggest a larger nib if you decide to make some of these yourself, especially the Spooky House. When I got to coloring the ground, I used my Pentel brush pen to color it and that took much less time to do.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

The step-by-step instructions in the book are very easy to follow. There are symbols below each step of the drawing, and it is easy to see the progression. I purchased my copy of the book years ago, so I checked on Amazon to see if it was still available, and it is, in what looks like an updated version at a higher price. Ed Emberley has a series of books, and though I have only tried out this one book, I think his other books would also be a whole lot of fun for children (and some adults too).

Enjoy, Candy

International Day of Peace

Today is International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. While I have not done any paper art for World Peace Day, Fiona Dempster, a calligraphic and book artist has.

One of the many peace weathergrams created by Fiona Dempster of Paper Ponderings.

One of the many peace weathergrams created by Fiona Dempster of Paper Ponderings.

Fiona, of Queensland, Australia has made many lovely peace weathergrams and hung them on a tree outside her home. You can see more photos on her blog post on Paper Ponderings: Peace Flags Return.

The tree in Fiona's yard filled with peace weathergrams.

The tree in Fiona’s yard filled with her peace weathergrams.

Fiona’s husband, Barry, has contributed some of his beautiful peace birds. They are patinated copper with peace stamped on it.

Fiona's peace weathergrams go well with Barry's peace birds.

Fiona’s peace weathergrams go well with Barry’s peace birds.

Fiona’s blog post: Peace Flags Return.

You can see more of Fiona’s wonderful calligraphy and book art on her blog: Paper Ponderings.

Next year, I hope to make my own peace weathergrams. As Fiona says, “the work of peace is never done.”

Enjoy, Candy

Japanese Hole Punch For Adding Ribbons To Bookmarks

One of my favorite tools is my Japanese Hole Punch (also called a Japanese Screw Punch). It comes with bits that can punch holes from 1mm to 5mm in diameter. It makes punching holes so easy.

I punched holes in 1000 bookmarks and cut 1000 colorful ribbons 8" in length to go in the holes.

I punched holes in 1000 bookmarks and cut 1000 colorful ribbons 8″ in length to go in the holes.

Last Thursday I received 1000 bookmarks that I designed to promote our neighborhood’s Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Holiday Sale. They were printed professionally, but I decided to add various colored ribbons to the bookmarks. They look so festive with ribbons.

This is my Japanese hole punch. It has interchangeable bits. I used the 2.5mm bit to punch the holes in the bookmarks.

This is my Japanese hole punch. It has interchangeable bits. I used the 2.5mm bit to punch the holes in the bookmarks.

To punch holes in 1000 bookmarks, I immediately got out my trusty Japanese Hole Punch. The hole punch is spring loaded, so it cuts through paper almost effortlessly. I have a number of different sized bits. I chose the 2.5mm bit for the bookmarks as I wanted a fairly small hole so the ribbons would stay put.

1000 Bookmarks ready to be distributed. The information about the Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Holiday Sale is on the reverse.

1000 Bookmarks ready to be distributed. The information about the Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Holiday Sale is on the reverse.

I had a ribbon inserting party and 6 of us inserted the ribbons while having a great time. We were thinking this must have been what it was like to have a quilting circle. We had a great time and I now have 1000 bookmarks with multi-colored ribbons. They look great!

We had a tea party while we inserted the multi-colored ribbons in the bookmarks.

We had a tea party while we inserted the multi-colored ribbons in the bookmarks.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Thank You Card Books

Last Friday, during the First Friday Art Walk, I received an order for some Thank You Card Books. My customer loved the yellows and oranges. He said they were perfect colors for autumn.

These Thank You Card Books are a special order.

These Thank You Card Books are a special order.

So, this past week, I made a number of fall colors of Thank You Card Books. In addition to reminding me of autumn leaves, I think these colors are ever so cheerful and upbeat.

They are now packaged and waiting to be picked up.

Enjoy, Candy

Paste Paper Recipes

Last month (and now continuing into this month) I’ve been making paste papers, lots and lots of paste papers. Those of you who follow my blog know what I’m talking about, but for others, here’s a link to find out more about what paste papers are: Making Paste Papers – Part One.

Some of my paste papers.

Some of my paste papers.

This year I decided to try out a number of different paste paper recipes. It was interesting to see how different recipes changed how the paste worked. While my favorite recipe is still my archival cooked paste, I have found others that work almost as well. I’m sharing the results here.

Some of the triangle boxes stacked.

Some of the triangle boxes. There’s a lot you can make with paste papers.

Wall Paper Paste Recipe
The easiest “recipe” is to purchase premixed wall paper paste from Home Depot. Add color to the paste, then paint and decorate the wet or damp paper. I used Golden Liquid Acrylics, but anything that would color the paste would work.

What I liked. The paste is premixed and doesn’t need straining. The paste doesn’t need to be refrigerated and keeps almost forever. There’s very little prep work needed. The finished paste paper is not likely to crack. The finished paper will not attract bugs.

What I didn’t like. Because a lot of the work is already done for you, it does cost more money than most other pastes. I had no control over the consistency as it was premixed. I found the paste to be just a little thinner than I like. When the paste dried it was a bit dull.

Flour & Water Recipe
Flour and water is another possible paste that can be easily made. If you add non-toxic tempera paints, this is a very inexpensive paste that can be used with young children.

3 cups water
1/2 cup flour
Add just enough of the water to the flour to make a paste the consistency of cream. Boil the rest of the water, then add the flour and water mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Strain through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any lumps. Let the paste cool before using.

What I liked. The ingredients are easy to find. It’s easy to make and it’s non-toxic.

What I didn’t like. Bugs tend to like the dried flour. It’s not archival. Cooking takes time. If I’m going to this much trouble to cook paste, I would want to make my archival recipe. The paste needs to be used in a few days or it goes bad.

Cornstarch Recipe
Another recipe that uses ingredients you’re likely to already have on hand. Although it’s not my favorite, many paste paper artists like this recipe.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1 3/4 cups water
Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water. Add 1 cup water and heat on medium high. Stir constantly until mixture resembles a thick custard. Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup water. Mix once, then let sit to cool thoroughly. After cool, strain paste through strainer or cheesecloth.

What I liked. This only calls for cornstarch and water, something I always have in my kitchen.

What I didn’t like. I find the paste papers made with this to be a bit dull. The paste needs to be used in a few days or it goes bad.

Methyl Cellulose Recipe
This is the hardest recipe to explain as the quantities of water to powder change depending on where you get your methyl cellulose. While Daniel Smith no longer sells it, I used about half as much of their methyl cellulose to get the same consistency as I got using the methyl cellulose I got from John Neal Bookseller. However, John Neal’s methyl cellulose mixed much easier than Daniel Smith’s. So, my best suggestion is to mix it as suggested by whoever you get your methyl cellulose from.

What I liked. Once mixed, it lasts indefinitely (use distilled water and glass or plastic containers, no metal). It’s almost like working with watercolors. Great top coat when adding another color on a different type of paste paper. Archival.

What I didn’t like. It takes a while to find the right water/methyl cellulose balance. It’s almost like working with watercolors and gives a soft edge. Some paste paper artists use about 50% methyl cellulose and 50% acrylic. It is very expensive, in my opinion to use this much acrylic paint. I use about 1 teaspoon of acrylic to 1/2 cup of paint (though I never actually measure).

Non-Cook Wheat Starch Paste Recipe
This powder is somehow precooked. It is mixed with cold water and requires no cooking. You can order it from John Neal Bookseller and probably other places.

4 tablespoons non-cook wheat starch
2 cups cold water
Add 4 tablespoons non-cook wheat starch paste to 2 cups cold water. Stir until mixed. Strain paste through strainer or cheesecloth.

What I liked. It’s easy to make. No cooling time required. It’s easy to control the thickness.

What I didn’t like. I can only get the non-cook wheat starch online. The paste needs to be used in a few days or it goes bad.

My Archival Wheat Starch & Rice Flour Recipe
This is my favorite recipe. I’ve been using it for years and I know just what to expect from it.

4 tablespoons wheat starch
3 tablespoons rice flour
3 cups boiling distilled water
1 teaspoon tincture of green soap
1/2 teaspoon glycerine
optional – several drops of oil of cloves as a preservative
Mix wheat starch and rice flour with just enough cool distilled water to for a mixture the consistency of heavy cream. Let sit for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water to starch and flour mixture. Place in double boiler (already hot), stir and add another cup boiling water almost immediately. Stir constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add another cup boiling water and cook about another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add glycerine and soap. Mix well, but don’t beat (you don’t want to introduce air bubbles). After cool, strain paste through strainer or cheesecloth.

What I liked. I like the texture of this paste on the paper. It’s archival. The colors are brighter than with some other pastes. The paste holds patterns well.

What I didn’t like. Sometimes I’d rather have a smoother surface, but that’s what other recipes are for. Ingredients are hard to find. I have to order the wheat starch online. I get the glycerine from my local pharmacy. I order the tincture of green soap from my local pharmacy. The paste needs to be used in a few days or it goes bad.

I love the various colors of purple and gold that will eventually find their way into an Earth Spirit Vessel.

Purple and gold paste papers that will eventually find their way into an Earth Spirit Vessel.

My Suggestions
If cost is your #1 concern, go with the Flour and Water Recipe or the Cornstarch Recipe.

If you want super easy, use Home Depot’s wall paper paste.

If you want the most archival, go with either the Methyl Cellulose Recipe or My Archival Wheat Starch & Rice Flour Recipe.

My suggestion for the best combination of ease and quality, I would suggest the Non-Cook Wheat Starch Recipe. To make it a bit more archival and flexible, add 1/4 teaspoon of glycerine and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap (or tincture of green soap if you can get it).

Some of my paste papers.

More of my paste papers.

For adding color to your paste, I use Golden Liquid Acrylics. I use about 1 teaspoon of acrylic to about 1/2 cup paste. I don’t measure, so it’s just approximate. I like Golden because their acrylics are heavily pigmented. You may need more of other acrylics or other paints (like tempera) to get the same color saturation. Experiment. You can use anything that will color paints.

If you are using this with children and you want to make sure everything is non-toxic, I would suggest trying Natural Earth Paints. They are made by Leah, a friend of mine. Check out her Children’s Earth Paint Kit.

Enjoy, Candy

 

Studio Snapshot – Earth Spirit Vessel In Progress

This week the weather has suddenly changed to cool fall temperatures. It feels too cold to make paste papers, so this past week I’ve started a new Earth Spirit Vessel with an autum feel to it. The variegated brown and orange tones of some of my paste papers fit with the way the weather makes me feel.

This is the start of a new Earth Spirit Vessel.

This is the start of a new Earth Spirit Vessel.

The shape of the center changes as the vessel grows. In an attempt to keep the center round I sometimes use a glass or vase to place it on between adding rows.

The started Earth Spirit Vessel is on a plastic glass to help keep the center shape round.

This started Earth Spirit Vessel is on a plastic glass to help keep the center shape round.

As I slowly build my vessel, I try on different names for it until I find one that seems to fit the vessel. I think this vessel will have something to do with Autumn or the changing of seasons.

Enjoy, Candy

Paste Paper Tools

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the tools I use to make my paste papers. I included a photo of a paste paper along with the tool I used to make the design.

This tool is a favorite of many. I found it years ago in the paint section of a local paint store.

This tool is a favorite of many. I found it years ago in the paint section of a local paint store.

If you are new to paste papers, you can find out more information about them on these links to some of my previous blog posts.
Making Paste Papers – Part One
Making Paste Papers – Part Two

Yes, this is a toilet paper roll. It makes nice marks, especially as it gets used more and more.

Yes, this is a toilet paper roll. It makes nice marks, especially as it gets used more and more.

As you can see, you can make some very nice paste papers using things that are sitting around your house right now. You may, however, want to finish using your toilet paper before using the core as a paste paper tool.

You can find this rubber tool in many art supply shops.

You can find this rubber tool in many art supply shops.

Adding a second or third color using an old paintbrush can make an interesting paste paper.

Adding a second or third color using an old paintbrush can make an interesting paste paper. This is an inexpensive brush. I think I paid $1 for it.

This tool is cut from a piece of packaging insulation. Just about anything that will make a mark can be used.

This tool is cut from a piece of packaging insulation. Just about anything that will make a mark can be used.

This is a foam stamp. I found this in the children's toy section of a variety store.

This is a foam stamp. I found this in the children’s toy section of a variety store.

This is another stamp that was in the same package as the stamp in the photo above.

This is another stamp that was in the same package as the stamp in the previous photo.

This tool can be used 3 ways. I found it years ago in a paint store along with the tool in the first photo in this blog post.

This tool can be used 3 ways. I found it years ago in a paint store along with the tool in the first photo in this blog post.

I believe I got this tool from the University of Oregon Bookstore a year or two ago.

I believe I got this tool from the University of Oregon Bookstore a year or two ago.

I've had this for years. I think it is a comb for women's hair.

I’ve had this for years. I think it is a comb for women’s hair.

Enjoy, Candy