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Brush Lettering on Mulberry... free to a good home!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Following on from that brush stroke that felt so good in the last post, I tried some lettering with a Chinese brush onto Khadi Mulberry. I set off with the "I do not sleep", intending to create a neater sample page with various tools & mediums, but after writing the next small line I was enjoying myself & just carried on writing!

You can see the transparency of the paper from the ruler & sheet of absorbent paper underneath. The lettering is all done with the same brush... varying from laying it on it's side to using the very tip.

 On the whole, I can write pretty straight without guide lines, but right at the end I lifted up on the right of the page. I do it so often it's maddening.... especially as I'm aware that I do it & watch for it, yet it still happens unless I mark that last line in. I actually positioned the paper straight underneath to act as a guide line but still.... Thinking about it now, I'm wondering if it happens when I don't move the piece of work up as I work down the page, so rather than viewing straight on, I'm looking at my writing at a slight angle, so I "see" that I'm going straight even when I'm not. *sigh* I've been doing this on & off for years & it's only writing about it now that it seems so obvious... I'll check my writing position next time!

Even so, it is possible to rescue a piece that suffers from a drifting bottom line. Adding some form of decoration to fill the space & balance it out often saves a re-write. The heavy line would have been sufficient, but there were a couple of  mistakes I wanted to cover, so added the splash. It was a bit heavy & missed the mistake altogether, so I lifted some of the ink out with tissue... then added a few more watery splashes, lifting some out to echo the look of the first one....

I like the effect... even though some letters aren't legible, the sense of the words is there. It also conveys a sense of the words.... of spirit slipping from one world to another, here but not here...

In the previous 2 & the next pic, the tissue is hung at a window... lovely textures from front & back... floating....

Would anyone like this?

If I had somewhere to hang it, it's one I'd keep... but it does need to hang somewhere. Perhaps pinned to a board or pegged from a string line...  or maybe another strip of paper or fabric stitched across the top to give enough strength to attach to a branch or pole of some sort.... or collage it into another piece of work... add a layer of your own creativity.... could look good with a layer of something else floating behind... ??

If you want it just leave a comment....& share what you might do with it. If more than one person puts their hand up, we'll have a draw next week :-)


Writing on Khadi Mulberry Tissue

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I sort of knew that a broad edged nib wouldn't be the best of tools to write with on this Mulberry tissue. Sure enough, even with a light touch the corner of the nib tore the tissue.... possibly the thin consistency of ink allowed the paper to get over wet, thus tearing.

But... a finer nib was ok (just ok, not great!), & slightly better with larger letters. This was using walnut ink. The brush stroke felt wonderful, but this was just a little sample of paper so 1 mark was all I gave myself. 

Fine liner pens surprised me... they were excellent. I expected pastels to take well, but they 'took' much more strongly than anticipated... the tissue seems to hold the particles of chalk pastel, resulting in strong colour from a small amount.

Gouache (purple) & watercolour (pink) both worked better with a 'dryer' consistency... anything too wet just soaked away... the watercolour faded  even more as it dried. These were applied with a brush... I haven't tried them yet with a nib of any description. I was working with absorbent kitchen paper underneath, but perhaps felt would be a better option to soak away excess moisture.

Ballpoint pen was wonderful! Hard pencils not visible at all, but 3B starts to show.... charcoal pencils worked great.

So.... that's my preliminary tests done, straight onto plain mulberry. Every surface is 'writable' to some extent... we just have to tweak things until something works. The variables are; the tools, the medium & surface treatments. Adjusting these & trying different combinations can lead to really sharp writing on quite hostile surfaces. I'm not finished with this stuff yet!


Printing on Khadi Mulberry Tissue

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

 I was asked,  "Can you print on Khadi Mulberry Tissue?"  & to be honest I didn't know.

Khadi's Mulberry tissue is very soft & lightweight, with a fairly open weave. It also feels absorbent & tears easily too, so getting it through an inkjet printer would be one thing, never mind whether it accepted the ink.

I used a low-tack tape to tape the tissue onto normal copier paper to act as a carrier. On the first attempt the mechanism that pulls the paper into the printer, tore the tissue away from the backing & couldn't feed it through. For the second go I left some space at the leading edge....

... and this worked fine. I had a couple more trials... an inch wasn't enough space.... 2 inches worked fine. Don't forget to allow a deeper space at the top of your word (or whatever) document for this tho'! 

Also, one side of the mulberry tissue feels ever so slightly smoother... I tried printing on both sides & there was no perceptible difference.

I couldn't get the tape off without tearing the tissue... not a problem as I would tear the edges anyway, but it is a factor to be aware of in terms of the size of the finished piece. You can tear much straighter edges than these, against a ruler, or even cut them, if that is the look you want.

The bottom sheet of carrier paper picked up some great textures too.... so worth considering a "better" paper for this task to use as a background for something else later...

...or just to layer underneath the mulberry. Mulberry tissue is neither fully transparent nor opaque... it really depends how close to the background it is. The background colour makes a difference to the overall look too, so there are certainly many avenues to explore with this!

So, is it possible to print on Khadi Mulberry Tissue? Definitely, yes... but it does take some care. It's not hard to do but you do need a bit of experimenting to get the set-up working for you. 

I went on to try various writing tools & mediums, but will follow that up in a separate post :-)


Scheduled Surprise Quote!

God has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which She is to look out
God’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about
Doing good;
Yours are the hands with which She is to bless men now.
~ Teresa of Ávila


Captain Corelli on Canvas

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's a long while since I first wrote this Captain Corelli passage...

Someone asked if something similar to the scroll above could be done on canvas, in the same colours... cream & browns for a natural look.

Well, of course it could be done! This was a 16 x 20 inch canvas (40 x 50 cm approx). I can post this size & larger in the UK without any problem, but for international orders, the price jumps up for anything with total dimensions over 90cm / 35.5", so I tend to stick to 12 x 16 inches / 30 x 40 cm for shipping abroad.

I tore templates, in different sizes, from paper.... rough squares, torn rather than cut, so that the edges have a raggedy, natural appearance rather than a hard line. Turn them at an angle & hey presto, we have diamonds!

This is the wording I used for the canvas:

Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together 
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, 
it is not excitement, 
it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion.
That is just being "in love" which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, 
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, 
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, 
they find that they are one tree and not two. 

Louis De Bernières


The Lamplighter ~ Old Book Pages

Saturday, 23 November 2013

There's something about old books... 
I know I've said it before, but I really can't resist them.

I've never handled a book with pages so deeply browned with age as these. Perhaps it is something to do with the type of paper used, which feels really soft. It's a book called 'The Lamplighter", written by  Miss Maria S Cummins & the publishing date was somewhere between 1880 & 1910. I suspect this edition was one of the earlier editions but there is no date printed inside.... it just feels old.

I read it... a gentle tale of love & loss, hurt & forgiveness... an overall lesson in good old-fashioned christian charity, love, forgiveness & benevolence. Of course, in three instances where the story held a bit of excitement, were where pages were missing. I never did find out how a dastardly deed was done or how the misunderstandings between prospective lovers were resolved.... *sigh* never mind...

pages from 'The Lamplighter' 

 One thing I've noticed since starting to pick up these old books, is how language has changed over the last 100 years or so. Maybe not drastically, but I find myself reading more slowly due to more complex sentence construction & slightly archaic phrasing. I have been known to mutter about 'text speak' creeping into everyday usage, but really it's no greater change than the way we use language has relaxed over the years anyway.

 Believe in the power of your dreams

These scans show the true page colour better than the photographs... 
isn't it yummy?

 Everything happens for a reason
(this is actually one of the most popular quotations 
I am asked to write on canvas!)

I played around with printing over them, & thought the chocolate browns of these canvasses worked pretty well. For me, it's more about the textures than the legibility, though the smaller text on the prints is legible if you enlarge the photographs.

 Friends are the family we choose for ourselves

I really like the idea of modern, loose artwork, in combination with old, structured pages of text. Quite a contrast in style, but harmonised by the colour.

Lovers do not finally meet,
they knew each other all along

Which reminds me of being taught about using contrasts in calligraphy: that they could be striking with a bold visual impact, or subtle & harmonious. But either way they should look as if you meant it... the viewer shouldn't be left asking the question, 'Did she mean to do that or is it a mistake?'
Just thought I'd share that while I thought about it!

to love and be loved is the greatest happiness

To begin with, I had thought about adding more layers, but the more I looked at these the more I liked them as they are. It's funny, I love the layered collages that other people create, & really admire them, but I struggle to make myself add more!

I have listed them in suziscribbles shop, here
... need to sort out the wonky heart on the last one tho'!!


Friday, 22 November 2013

The reality of your being is within you.
You just need a silent mind...
it will be reflected....
you will know who you are.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection

A couple more I sneaked in on a random date, to give me (& you of course) a surprise & some inspiration!


Burial Prayer

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

When I first came across this poem, years ago, it was credited as being an Old Indian Burial Prayer. The words are beautiful, speaking of life continuing in the spirit of nature. I think this may have been one of the first things that nudged me to consciously consider what might happen beyond physical death. The poem is so comforting... uplifting.... it's the one I went to straight away when my Mum died,  along with countless others who have chosen it to be read at funeral services! 

After I wrote it on a canvas recently, I realised that I had a couple of different versions scribbled in my notebooks, so went online to check the wording. That's when I found that the Burial Prayer is a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932, in response to a Jewish friend saying that she couldn't return home to shed a tear at her mother's grave, due to the situation developing in Germany. It's hardly surprising that it's chosen so often for a funeral eulogy.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

A request for something bright & uplifting inspired these versions, one on paper & one on canvas. The second one works fine as a print... just need to get a card version done now!


Indian Manuscript Paper

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Oooh, the excitement of an early xmas gift to myself...

paper over a 100 years old.... 
19th century accounts records from Rajastan, NW India....

long, narrow sheets of Sunn hemp paper that was burnished by hand 
using a smooth stone...

See those holes at the top? 
Batches of paper were threaded with string & hung up, ready for use...

long columns of entries by various hands will provide a great textural background
for a flurry of ideas zinging around my in brain...

I bought rather a lot & have some some
available here


He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Whether on canvas or to frame, this poem is one I regularly get requests for. Not everyone likes the dark, midnight blue background though.... I reversed the colour scheme a while back, when someone made a request for something lighter...

10 x 14 x 1.75 inches on stretched canvas

 A layer of diamonds are scattered, to echo the idea of stars spread across the heavens 
& dreams being spread underfoot...

a mixture of blues, greys & nearly black form "the blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half light"...

 available to purchase here

One idea leads to another... often to be painted over but sometimes they just work...

Gold and silver powder dropped into wet acrylic gives some random sparkliness
providing the "gold and silver light". The paint acts as a binder 
& fixes the powder to the canvas, but I also add varnish later.

I'm quite happy to add a short message when people ask, sometimes just names & a date,
sometimes something a little more personal!


Bright, Fun Hearts on Canvas

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I'm enjoying having a little photo set ready & waiting to use whenever I want. There's a large unused building on the site that I've virtually taken over! We will only be here for a couple of months at most, but i'm going to take advantage!

I can do these in any colours or size.... with any words you choose....  
Or with a name on.... great for a child's or teenager's room

white hearts on lilac
5" x 5" / 15 x15 cm

These hearts are a little wild.... fun & expressive.... great to show you care. They're great fun to do, if a little unpredictable... I'm never quite sure how they will turn out, they seem to have a life of their own & they all seem to have their own unique character!


Some Etsy Sweetness...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I see so many beautiful treasures on Etsy as I wander around there far too much! Danielle, from Joey Design, has just been featured on the Etsy Paper Team Blog... I love her Unicorn Stickers, they're so cute!

She has stickers galore... I think it's the rainbows I'm in love with today....


Chrystal from Craft Studio Paper has this handmade paper in Rainbow shades...

... how gorgeous is that?



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I am based in North Yorkshire, UK.
Please get in touch if you would like to purchase any of my work. I can issue a paypal invoice for payment or use the 'donate' button near the top left once an order is confirmed.

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