Art · Erosion Bundles

The Making Of An Erosion Bundle

This is the post a few people have been waiting for…. ! This post is all about how I go about making my Erosion Bundles. I would like to state at the outset that this is NOT A TUTORIAL. In this post I am simply documenting how I made my current set of erosion bundles. Each time I make erosion bundles they are different – different ingredients, different papers, different fabrics etc. – it’s never the same.

I begin by gathering all of the things I need for my bundles. The primary components are the papers and fabrics….

Fabrics - NB

Papers 1 - NB

These are just a sample of the papers and fabrics I used. Next I need interesting things to go between the papers and fabrics…

Blackberries - NBBlueberries - NBRusty Stuff - NB

Tea Bags - NBEyeshadow - NBPearl Mica - NB

My ingredients above are: blackberries, blueberries, rusty stuff, teabags, eyeshadow and some pearl mica. The blueberries and blackberries I bought fresh from a local supermarket and froze them till I was ready to use them. All the rusty stuff I have rusted myself in my back garden! The eyeshadow was only 59p from a local discount store!

Ingredients gathered it’s now time to start layering papers and fabrics….

Paper & Fabric Layers - NB

Generally, I put the stronger, thicker papers and fabrics towards the outside of the bundle and the more fragile papers and fabrics nearer the centre of the bundle. At the base I started with a fairly strong piece of paper. In this case I used a piece of textured wallpaper as my base – textured side inside. It was approximately A5 size. Then I started randomly adding some of the staining ingredients on top. Then I added some fabric and more staining ingredients on top of that.  I like to vary the staining ingredients on each layer a little so each layer is slightly different. I added some more paper, more staining ingredients. I keep going till I have quite a thick pile of papers and fabrics layered up as in the picture above. You can see some blueberries and a rusty washer at the edges of the bundle in the picture above.

When my erosion bundle was about 4 – 5 inches high I decided that was enough and tied it all together with string….

Tied Bundle - NB

Tied Bundle - Side View - NB

You’ll notice in the first image above that I used quite a lot of string and I tie my bundles fairly tight as I don’t want anything falling out! You’ll also notice in the first image above that some of the string is stained…. that’s because I recycle my string! I always save the string from my previous erosion bundle and use it again for the next one if possible!

I had enough papers, fabrics and staining ingredients left over to make two more erosion bundles….

2 More Bundles - NB

Notice the recycled string again… ! All three bundles went out in the garden on Monday afternoon (24th July 2017). How long I leave them will depend on the weather. But I don’t want to open them till at least the end of September or possibly the end of October.

Hanging On The Fence - NB

The first bundle (above) is now hanging on my garden fence and the second two are sat on an old seat by my back door. It is hard leaving them for 2 -3 months – the curiosity is almost overwhelming – I’m dying to know what’s going on inside! But you just have to be self controlled, leave them alone and let nature and the elements work their magic on them….

For me, erosion bundles are all about experimenting! There are NO RULES – anything goes! In my view, there is no right or wrong way to do an erosion bundle! I’ve just gradually developed my own way of doing them. Some people like to use only natural ingredients in their bundles (fruit, veg, plants etc.) and that’s fine. But me, I’ll use anything! If I think it might make interesting marks, stains, textures, or cause interesting chemical reactions, I’ll try it! As with all experiments, some erosion bundles turn out better than others. Through my process I’m gradually learning what works and what doesn’t.

So for all you lovely people who have asked how I make my erosion bundles I hope this post has given you a little insight into how I go about making them. And maybe you might feel like giving it a go yourself…..

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 20

Week 20 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is all about using glazes. I’ve tried to be a little bit inventive with my glazes. I used Windsor & Newton’s Artists’ Acrylic Glazing Medium. Rather than producing lots of separate pieces I decided to do just one and divide it up into sections….

Week 20 - Collage Base - NB

As you can see above I started with a simple collage base, about 6″ x 6″, and you can see that I divided it into 6 roughly equal sections lightly with pencil. My idea then was to try a different glazing technique in each section…..

Week 20 - Glazes - NB

This is what I ended up with! Now let me explain a little about each section…..

Top left: very simple, I just mixed the glaze medium with a tiny amount of sepia acrylic paint to create a vintage looking effect

Top Middle:  I mixed the glazing medium with dried paint scraping from off one of my paint pallets. It created some lovely coloured texture

Top Right:  I created a “dirty” glaze by mixing the glazing medium with rust particles scraped off some of my rust collection. Also on this section I went over the right half with a second coat of glazing medium mixed with a tiny amount of light gold pearl mica. It’s created some lovely grunge/bling texture…

Bottom Left:  I mixed the glazing medium with PVA and heated it with a heat gun to create some texture. I then went over it again with more glazing medium mixed with tiny amounts of acrylic paint

Bottom Middle:  It’s not so easy to see in the photo but for this section I simply mixed the glazing medium with a light gold pearl mica. All the collage is clearly visible but it has a lovely light gold sheen over it

Bottom Right:  For this section I simply layered different coloured glazes over the top of each other to create layers of colour

Please view the larger version of the image by clicking on it and you can hopefully see the details better. I did notice that some of my collage papers absorbed the glaze while with others the glaze just sat on top. This creates different finishes – where the glaze is absorbed the finish is more matte rather than shiny…

I quite enjoyed glazing this week. My glazed collage will go into my dedicated STW Sketchbook. Next week back to some basics again with embedding…..

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Weeks 18 & 19

Well I’ve managed to get myself a bit behind with the Surface Treatment Workshop,  so I’m posting 2 weeks together today and still hope to get this weeks workshop done to post later in the week!

Week 18 was about using ventilation tape. Basically it’s a thick self adhesive tin foil and it has a backing you peel off. This is probably something I would never have thought of using for art work…..

Week 18 - Ventilation Tape 3 - NB

This is ventilation tape just screwed up and the backing peeled off and stuck down. I then applied several washes of thinned acrylic paint. The paint sits very nicely in the grooves.

Week 18 - Ventilation Tape 2 - NB

Week 18 - Ventilation Tape 1 - NB

For the above I made marks in the ventilation tape, then peeled the backing off and stuck them down. I made more marks and then applied acrylic paint over the top.

Week 19 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is about embossing. I’ve used molding paste for embossing before and it worked really well, so this time I decided to try something different. I decided to use acrylic Matte Gel Medium and also Fiber Paste.

Week 19 - Embossing 1 - NB

For the above sample I started with a painted background and then applied a thin layer of Matte Gel over the top. I left it to start to dry for about an hour or so. Then I pressed a piece of patterned vintage fabric into it. I carefully peeled it off and left it to dry. The Matte Gel dried transparent so I applied some thin washes of pearl mica over the top to make the pattern stand out more.

Next is the Fiber paste sample…

Week 19 - Embossing 2 - NB

Again I started with a painted background and then applied a layer of Golden Fiber Paste. I left it to start to dry, about an hour or so. Then I pressed a piece of wallpaper onto the left side of the sample, it had a lined pattern on it. It didn’t work quite a well as I hoped but did create some extra texture. On the right hand side I pressed some rubber grip (the stuff you place under mats to stop them slipping) into the Fiber Paste, used some paper to press it into the paste and then peeled it off. This worked  a bit better, you can see the square patterns. I finished with washes of pearl mica to add some extra colour.

So it was an interesting couple of weeks in the workshop, trying different things and covering new ground (well, new ground for me!). The next surface Treatment Workshop is about using glazing mediums – looking forward to this….

 

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 17

Welcome to week 17 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This weeks workshop was focusing on using sponges and art foam. I used just sponges. They were just ordinary flat square washing up sponges you buy from the supermarket. I cut them into wavy shapes and stamped them onto painted backgrounds…

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 1 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 2 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 3 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 4 - NB

I created several layers of colour with my sponge shapes. It’s a very basic technique but it can create some lovely textures and patterns….

Art · Erosion Bundles

Spring Erosion Bundle 2017 – Fabrics

Here are the fabric results from my spring erosion bundle. I posted the paper results about 2 weeks ago – you can see them HERE. I’m quite pleased with how the fabrics turned out….

EB Fabric 9 - NB

A piece of lacy fabric has been given a vintage make over in my erosion bundle with the aid of some rusty items and pale blue paint…

EB Fabric 9 - close up - NB

Here’s a slightly closer view of the rusty section, looking beautifully vintage….

EB Fabric 8 - NB

Above is part of an armchair arm cover. I has some lovely rust stains on it, plus paint and paper for added texture. Here’s a closer view…

EB Fabric 8 - close up - NB

You can see the paint and paper stuck to the fabric – they are completely fused together…

EB Fabric 10 - NB

Above we have some more very vintage looking lace pieces, stained by rust and teabags….

EB Fabric 1 - NB

Paint and tea stained cotton….

EB Fabric 2 - NB

Gentle rust and dark blue paint stains on some silk…

EB Fabric 3 - NB

More lovely rust stains from some washers and other items…..

Next we have a series of bleach washed denim. I soaked the denim in bleach, rinsed and dried it prior to putting it into my erosion bundle

EB Fabric 7 - NB

EB Fabric 6 - reverse - NB

EB Fabric 6 - NB

EB Fabric 5 - reverse - NB

EB Fabric 4 - NB

My fabrics will be carefully stored till I am ready to use them in  my art work. In the meantime I’m deciding what to put into my summer erosion bundle. I’m going for a different colour scheme and using other things I’ve never tried before. I’m hoping to get it into the garden before the end of the month….

Art · Watercolour

Spring Greens

Do you like eating your greens? Personally I love eating my greens BUT…. painting them is a whole lot more fun….. !!

Spring Greens - NB

I did these watercolour samples back in the spring (hence the title of this post). These lovely shades of green (and some neutrals) were created by mixing 2 blues and 2 yellows. The blues were indigo and Cobalt Teal Blue. The yellows were Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna. There’s a lovely assortment of beautiful greens here but notice the lovely neutral tones in the two bottom left colour samples – they’re edging toward the grey side which I love….

Seaside Colour Mixing - NB

Above we have mixes of Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium and Cobalt Teal Blue…

On the top line from the left:  Buff Titanium, Buff Titanium + White, Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue

On the bottom line from the left: Cobalt Teal Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue + White, Cobalt Teal Blue + more White

I love mixing colours, it’s such a fun thing to do and so relaxing. But it’s also a great way for me to learn how colours mix and react with each other. These colour samples will go into my watercolour workbook…

Art · Watercolour

Creative Seascapes

Today I spent a couple of hours redesigning my blog. I’ve been fiddling with different blog designs on and off for months now but I finally found one I liked. A simple clean light design that I can easily customize if I feel the need for a change. I hope you like the changes here….

Here are four post card size creative seascapes. Just loose washes of watercolour in some bright and some pastel seaside colours and they are best viewed large (click on the images)….

Seascape 4 - NBPhthalo Blue, Emerald, Raw Sienna….Seascape 1 - NBA touch of permanent Rose for a slightly evening, dusk touch…Seascape 3 - NBand a little Prussian Blue ~ one of my favourite blues….Seascape 2 - NBThese will all assume their rightful places in my watercolour sketchbook….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 16

This week’s Surface Treatment Workshop is about pulled papers. For pulled papers you apply some gel medium (or PVA glue) to a painted surface and then apply some paper with text or an image (text side down!). You leave it on for about a minute or so and then pull the paper off and you get the text left on the surface with minimal paper.

Week 16 - Pulled Paper 1 - NB

In the above sample I’ve probably slightly overdone the pulled papers a bit but it does give you a fairly good idea of how it works. Notice a lot of the text is backwards… ! The background was an old gelli print I had left over.

You can click on the images (twice) to view them larger…

Week 16 - Pulled Paper 2 - NB

The window image in the above sample was from a non glossy gardening magazine that came through the post! Some papers work better than others for this technique – vintage book papers worked very well. Thicker papers like scapbooking papers didn’t work. Carolyn assures me that glossy magazine images don’t work either…!

I like this technique very much – I like how you can add random text and images to art work. But…  (you knew there was a but coming didn’t you!) it is a slightly tricky technique to get right. Let me explain – how much gel or PVA you apply depends on the thickness of the paper, how long you leave the paper before pulling it off depends on the thickness of the gel… so it’s not an exact science. If you leave the paper on too long you cant get it off and if you don’t leave it on long enough you don’t get any text or image on your artwork!

There is a definite knack to this technique and it’s one I’ve not quite mastered yet. I guess I would get better with practice – so that is what I will do. With a bit of experience it would be easier to estimate how much gel to use and how long to leave the paper for before pulling it…

All things considered then, I like this technique and I would use it in future art works. In the meantime I will practice it to hopefully get a higher success rate with it…

Art · Erosion Bundles

Spring Erosion Bundle 2017 – Papers

Way back in early March I put an erosion bundle into the garden. What is an erosion bundle? Very simply, it’s a pile of papers and fabrics assembled in layers with lots if interesting things in between the layers that will leave marks or stains. You can use natural or man made things to create the stains or marks – the key is to experiment! The bundle is then tied with string and placed outside and left at the mercy of the elements till it’s suitably decayed, about 2 -3 months, but times can vary considerably.

So without any more waffle, here’s my results:

EB Paper 1 - NBEB Paper 2 - NBEB Paper 3 - NB

I worked on a blue and rust theme with this bundle. Sometimes the papers break up when trying to separate them but I keep all the fragments – everything will get used…

EB Paper 5 - NB

EB Paper 4 - NB

Above we have several layers of paper, paint, fabric and foil all completely fused together – there’s no way of separating them! But we have some lovely colours and textures…

EB Paper 6 - NBEB Paper 7 - NBEB Paper 11 - NB

I like putting paper doilies in my bundles but they are very delicate and rarely stay in one piece. On the one above you can see marks left from rusty washers…

EB Paper 8 - NB

Above we have several layers of paper, fabric and paint fused together by the elements. I think there’s a teabag in the layers somewhere – I can feel it but there’s no way of getting it out, it will have to stay there! Notice the lovely pastel colours and gentle rust and tea stains….

EB Paper 9 - NBEB Paper 10 - NB

In the piece above there are rusty washers stuck to the paper – I can’t get them off! The background paper was a piece of “test paper” I used for testing colours on before they go on my art work…

EB Paper 12 - NB

Beautiful shades of blue and hints of rust…

EB Paper 13 - NB

EB Paper 14 - NB

A question I’m frequently asked about my erosion bundles is “what are you going to do with these papers and fabrics?”. The answer: they will get used in mixed media art work and collage. But more specifically, my sister Carolyn and I are going to begin a new art project early next year and my erosion bundle papers and fabrics are going to be enormously useful for that. I will give more information about this new project later in the year – it’s exciting… !

I hope you enjoyed looking at my distressed papers. There will be a second post about my spring erosion bundle which will focus on the fabrics that came out of my spring erosion bundle – they are just lovely and inspiring….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 14

Welcome to this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop. This week Carolyn and I are experimenting with skins. What are skins? Very simply, skins are created by putting a layer of acrylic medium on to a hard surface (eg. a plastic chopping board, plate etc.), letting it dry and then carefully peeling it off. For this to work the acrylic medium must be one that becomes rubbery and flexible when dry. I used Gloss Gel, Fiber Paste, acrylic paint and masking fluid.

Here are my samples:

Week 14 - Skins - 1 - NB

For the above sample I used Gloss Gel and simply embedded some small pieces of my own art work into it. I left all my skins for about 48 hours to make sure they were properly dry and set. I then glued them to a surface of vintage papers and collage…

Week 14 - Skins - 2 - NB

For this sample I used some watercolour masking fluid as it dries to a rubbery consistency. And notice the lovely yellowy brown colour of it – it adds an extra vintage touch…

Week 14 - Skins - 3 - NB

This skin was made from Golden Fiber Paste. I mixed some Prussian Blue acrylic paint into it before leaving it to dry. Fiber Paste is very flexible when dry and is therefore good for making skins. After glueing it to a collaged background I stuck two small pieces of my own art on top of it.

Week 14 - Skins - 4 - NB

The skin above is made of acrylic paint. I used a vintage pale blue (my own mix), Buff Titanium and white. I did reasonably thick swirls of the different colours and left them to dry. Acrylic paint has a lovely rubbery texture to it when dry…

Week 14 - Skins - 5 - NB

For this skin sample above I used Gloss Gel. I tinted it with some turquoise pearl mica and embedded a dried blue hydrangea flower into the gel….

Week 14 - Skins - 6 - NB

The above skin samples were done by putting a layer of Gloss Gel over a rusty piece of metal. The gel was slightly tricky to peel off – I had to very carefully loosen all the edges with my fingernails and pull it very slowly. I also added a touch of turquoise pearl mica to the gel for a little contrasting colour…

Week 14 - Skins - 7 - NB

Two more rusty skins…

Week 14 - Skins - 8 - NB

For my next skins I used more Fiber Paste:

Week 14 - Skins - 9 - NB

I smoothed a layer of Fiber Paste onto a plastic chopping board, which had a very fine texture to it, and left it to dry. When dry I cut two heart shapes out of the Fiber paste and painted them. When the paint had dried I glued them to vintage papers…

Week 14 - Skins - 10 - NB

So that is all my skin samples for this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop!

In conclusion I have to say that I quite like creating and using skins. They are a good way of adding a little bit of extra interest to a piece of mixed media art. You can create skins in advance and store them ready for future use. It’s also fun to experiment with embedding different things and tinting with with different mediums.

Next weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is about Pulled Papers. It’s a great technique and I’m looking forward to it…