Yesterday afternoon I thought it was high time I spent some time playing in my ARTHaven studio. Over the past few months I have bought quite a bit of new stash and have not yet had time to use it.
On the recommendation of Diana Taylor of Velvet Moth Studios (one of my favourite artists), I bought the Heartfelt Creations stamps and dies in the sets Botanical Rose and Botanical Wings.
I stamped the flowers four times on white American Cardstock, using sepia archival ink.
I stamped the leaves with fern green archival ink.
I then proceeded to die-cut the flowers and leaves with my Cuttlebug. To locate the die over the stamped images, I used small pieces of masking tape.
After cutting all the pieces, I arranged the flowers on another sheet of white American Cardstock.
Time to try out my new Infusions paints for the first time. I chose three colours in the brown/orange/yellow range.
The first colour I used was Orange County. I sprinkled it on using a dry soft paintbrush, and then spritzed the sheet with water to activate the crystals.
I then lifted each flower with tweezers and laid it down in a different place on the background sheet. I have used this technique before, using Dylusions spray inks. It’s a great way to colour your flower pieces, and at the same time create an interesting background, so nothing is wasted! I think on balance that the masking effect of the flower works better with the Dylusions sprays than it does with the Infusions but I’m still happy with the results.
I then sprinkled the wet sheet with the second Infusions paint, Sunset Beach.
I moved the flowers again, and repeated the process with the final paint, Golden Sands.
It was very wet by this time, so I blotted it off with a roll of kitchen paper, and dried it slightly with my heat gun, not too much, to prevent the paper from buckling, and left it to dry.
When it was dry, the paper wasn’t too buckled at all.
Moving on to the leaves, I laid them out on a fresh piece of white American Cardstock as before, and the first colour I added was Lemoncello.
This was followed by The Sage, after I had moved the leaves around a bit.
The next colour was Emerald Green, and I also added some more Lemoncello which gives a nice brown tinge. This was before I blotted any paint of or dried it with my heat gun.
After drying, and before moving the leaves. A more subtle background.
A little more Lemoncello added, and then the leaves were removed.
This is the kitchen paper I used to blot it off. I always save this because it can be used for other projects. In some of the previous photos, at top left, you can see the kitchen roll which I had rolled over the surface of the card to mop up any excess paint and pools of liquid.
The first sheet, and the flowers, were now well and truly dry, so I embossed the flowers using a piece of fun foam and a hand-embossing tool.
You can see that working on embossing, the fun foam tends to stretch in the middle with the pressure of the tool, and become quite distorted. A little while ago I discovered that you don’t need to throw it out when it gets too bad – just heat it gently with a heat gun and the distortion goes back in and the fun foam becomes flat again.
All the flowers, embossed. I love all the different shades and textures. The photo doesn’t really do them justice because they are actually richer in colour.
I left the leaf sheet to dry as it was pretty damp even after drying with the heat gun, and also, it had buckled more than the flower sheet. Once it is fully dry, I shall emboss the leaves as I did the flowers.
My introduction to Infusions has been great fun. I have enjoyed stamping the flowers and leaves, and then die-cutting them as well. Initially, when the flowers were still wet, I thought all the sepia stamping had been covered up, but it is still there, even if it is a bit subtle.
I’m not sure what I am going to do with them yet.
Today my new transparent gel mediums arrived from Art from the Heart and I am very keen to try them with the Infusions, as I saw on Ruth’s blog, A Love to Create, a while back.
A word about the American Cardstock – this cuts absolutely beautifully with Sheba, my Cougar cutting machine. It comes in a great range of colours too, including black and white, and you can buy packs of mixed colours, in both pastels and brights. What I’ve been discovering with this project is that it doesn’t seem to matter how much water you throw at it, it doesn’t disintegrate. This is a huge bonus for mixed media work. Hitherto I have been using watercolour paper, but this is quite difficult to cut with the cutting machine and it needs damping with a water sprayer before cutting, to soften the fibres. This American Cardstock seems to work well or everything I want. My only complaint is that it is a bit too thin for certain things such as card bases, but one can always use something else for that. I am interested to see how it performs when constructing 3-D flowers, but I think it should be fine. It has a slightly textured surface on one side, but if you don’t want this, you can always use the reverse side which is flat.
Watch this space for the continuation of this project, as I work on the leaves, and decide what I am going to do next.