Mixed Media Workshop at East Devon Academy


Last week, I spent three extremely enjoyable days at a mixed media workshop in Sidmouth, East Devon. The tutor, Catherine Osbond, is a talented artist in her own right and a very good, experienced teacher. Not only did I learn a lot on this workshop, but I met some lovely people, who were all following their own creative paths. Part of the fun was chatting to my fellow artists to see how their pieces were progressing and how they arrived at particular results.

I was drawn to mixed media after decades of trying all sorts of arts and crafts. I’m a bit of a dabbler, in truth, and I want to pull together a few of the skills and techniques I’ve learned over many years. During the three days, Cathy demonstrated techniques with acrylics, watercolours, oils, inks and permanent fine line pens. For the first day, we weren’t allowed to use brushes to apply the media to boards – instead we used twigs, seaweed and dried flowers, plus found objects like bubble-wrap, rags and bottle tops. Only after that did we incorporate more traditional mark-making equipment.


Throughout the three days, we experimented with all the media and wrote notes about how we achieved various effects. I made sample boards to take away and keep.

P1080276These are all methods of applying acrylic paints to mount board primed with gesso. No brushes were used in the application of this medium!


This board shows some of the ways watercolours, powder paint and acrylics can be used to create different effects, especially when dropped onto a wet surface.


The board below shows some early experiments with acrylic inks. For the top two trials, I dabbed colour onto the board with a brush, then sprayed the area with water. For the lower two trials, I sprayed the board first, then dropped in colour. In all cases, I dropped a pinch of table salt into the wet ink, which affected the way it dried.

My first finished piece is a study in acrylics on mount board. It reminds me of an underwater scene. I created the background by spraying water onto some areas of the board, then sprinkling powder paints into it. I tilted the board to help the paint find paths to run in. When I was happy with this, I left it to dry. Next, I made a paper mask by drawing a simple shape and cutting it out. I laid the mask on the background and sprayed diluted watercolour paint around it to make a pale outline. I repeated this twice before the mask fell apart! Then I made two stamps out of thick cardboard: a kind of plant and a group of leaves. I painted these and used them to stamp on the background. I used white and burnt umber paint for these stamps and arranged the images as I liked them. I let this dry, then added a couple of plant stamps in metallic gold to ‘lift’ the piece. I also used the gold paint to add a few highlights.

Under water mixed media

My second piece is a stylised landscape painting in acrylics. I wanted to produce a simple hill scene with numerous fields, and I wanted each field to be a shade of green and to be differentiated by a texture. My initial sketch was a bit like a Zentangle picture, and I decided to use a selection of techniques to achieve the textures:

  • board primed with thick gesso applied like rough plaster;
  • dry brush into newly-applied colour;
  • printing with bubble wrap;
  • stamping with rubber bands wrapped around a piece of mount board;
  • colour applied, then partly removed by scraping with mount board;
  • printing with rags;
  • painting dots using a fine brush.

Hills mm pieceIf I painted this picture again, I would prime the board with gesso brushed on smoothly: I feel that the various techniques I used to produce texture were sufficient without having an uneven base as well.

The white-painted bubble wrap would have been more appropriate in the foreground: it looked too bright for a field in the distance. Cathy suggested I should use gloss medium to ‘knock the colour back’ a little. This certainly toned down the brightness, which was an improvement, but I would still use the bubble wrap in the foreground for a second version.

I think the plain blue sky is quite effective in this painting, because there is a lot of interest in the textured surface of the fields without distracting the viewer with extra shape and colour. (It was originally blue, white and burnt umber.) I was concerned at first that the path was out of proportion, but now I don’t think it looks out of place in this stylised picture.

My final piece is a study in acrylic inks on a textured board, which I prepared one day and completed the next.

Textured mixed media piece

I was fascinated by the way the inks ran and settled. Deeper colours were produced where the ink pooled – mainly in the crevices of textured materials. This method of creating pieces of art feels like a huge release from limitations. There is some planning, but it’s mostly spontaneous. The choice of materials is made by the artist, and an understanding of how they behave may determine the application of the various media, but to a large extent the process is uncontrolled. The artist can make of the outcome what s/he will, possibly enhancing a particular interpretation with additional materials.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mixed media workshop – so much so that I intend to go to a regular “watercolour and mixed media” class in the autumn, again with Cathy Osbond. That’s really something to look forward to.

Embroidered Tablecloth



I should tell you I’m on a bit of a mission. For anyone who doesn’t want to try a new craft, say rubber stamping, I like to think of ways to make that ‘new’ craft just an extension of the craft they know. My friend’s mother, a lady in her eighties, is an embroiderer. Unfortunately, she suffered a stroke and, although she made a good recovery, it took her some time to get interested in anything.

My friend, Avril, had bought a Stampin’ Up! stamp set with floral designs, and I lent her an ink pad for fabric stamping. She showed her mother how to stamp designs on a cotton tablecloth and helped her choose threads. Avril’s Mum embroidered the tablecloth and a lovely job she made of it. Here are some close-up photos of her work.

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Way to go, Avril’s Mum!!   Tablecloth 3 with credit

Happy crafting!

Signed Christine

Exploding Boxes Workshop


Earlier this spring, I ran a paper crafting workshop for the lovely ladies of Dart-Bay Food, Craft and Skills section of the WI. The main emphasis of the workshop was on exploding boxes. Here are some I made as examples to get the ladies started.

045 with creditThis first one is very simple, using base sheets in three shades of blue together with flower shapes punched out of matching patterned papers. The flower shapes are layered to produce a three-dimensional effect. The central message (“Thinking of You”) is stamped on a scalloped circle, which is edged in blue and has two blue butterflies to enhance the design and reinforce the theme. The white lid has a blue layer on the top, a stamped and punched flower design and a white ribbon loop to lift the lid.

The second box has three shades of green for its ‘sides’ and I stamped flowers and 034 with credit 035 with credit

butterflies in contrasting colours on each page, then embossed and punched a rabble of butterflies (yes, that really is the collective term) to decoupage onto the pages and position in the centre of the box. When the rainbow ribbon is loosened and the lid removed, the butterflies appear to fly out of the box. Great fun!

031 with creditMy third box has embossed and lightly sanded C’ordinations paper on the sides and lid to support the delicate butterfly theme. The butterflies are stamped in purple and blue on the pages, but it appears that there are more colours because I stamped both the first and second generations before re-inking. The box is tied with the palest blue organza ribbon to finish the design and add to the effect.

Here are some of the lovely ladies who attended the workshop, together with their exploding boxes.

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Signed Christine

Table Decoration


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Hello there. Today I’d like to share some table decorations I made recently: a candle wrapper for a centre piece and a matching place name.

I used the Mixed Bunch stamp set, which provides a really good collection of flower shapes, and they punch out beautifully with the Blossom punch. The stamps are a mixture of large and small, so it’s easy to create extra dimension just by adding a small flower centre. The Designer Series Papers (Paisley Petals) all match and tone really well, so I could use one design for the candle wrapper, another for the ‘rest’ on the easel card and yet another for the little roses, knowing they would form a pretty, co-ordinated centre piece.

Here is a full list of the materials I used to make this eye-catching (if I say it myself!) duo:

* Mixed Bunch stamp set (#125535)

* Blossom punch (#125603), both in the Summer Mini Catalogue, page 25.

* Multipurpose Liquid Glue (#110755)

* Classic Stampin’ Pad in Old Olive (#102277)

* Designer Series Paper – Paisley Petals (#122367), all in the Main Catalogue.

If you would like to order these items or any others, just give me a call on 01297203250 or email me on christine.teague@gmx.co.uk . This is a great time to make an order, because you get a free stamp set called Reason to Smile with every £60 you spend in August. Take a look at the details: http://www2.stampinup.com/gb/eng/8259.asp before you place your order.

Meanwhile, happy crafting!

Everyday Enchantment Promotion

Stampin’ Up! has a great promotion for July 2012: get an exclusive ribbon and brad pack free with every £45 spent this month. You still have a few days left to get 20 yards of 1/8″ organdy ribbon, half in Calypso Coral and half in Lucky Limeade, plus 30 3/8″ printed designer brads in co-ordinating colours.

If you’d like to make an order, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by ‘phone (01297 20325) or email (christine.teague@gmx.co.uk).

Meanwhile, have a lovely Olympic weekend.

One stamp set, many different designs


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When I’m choosing a stamp set, I ask myself some important questions:

  • how many different things could I do with these stamps?
  • could I use a few of the stamps together to create different designs?
  • could I use different colours and media to change the look of the stamped images?

Stampin’ Up’s “Paisley Petals” stamp set was one that I chose, because I could see so many possibilities. I’ve already shown you some applique on a tee-shirt and some gifts and packaging. Today, I’d like to share some greetings card designs with you.

I used a Classic Stampin’ Ink Pad to stamp the design on white cardstock, then coloured the image with watercolour pencils. These give a lovely pale washed effect and I picked out some key features with felt pens. The mulberry paper behind the white card and coloured flowers reinforces that slightly dreamy impression you get from using watercolours.

Inside, I created a matching insert and just stamped large flower heads down the side of the page using Old Olive ink for a co-ordinated look.

For my next card, I tried something completely different. I made a very simple, but (I think) elegant card by heat embossing a single outline image in gold on a matt black background. The only addition was a greeting, also embossed in gold. The stylish insert has co-ordinating stamped images along one side of the page.

My third card used a similar idea, but this time I stamped with Stampin’ Up’s whisper white craft ink on a navy blue background. The ink dries to a matt finish, but the contrasting colours make for a rather special design.

I’ll have some more card designs for you shortly, but in the meantime…

Happy crafting!

Gifts and Packaging


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By combining Stampin’ Up! papers, punches, rubber stamps, embossing folders and Sizzix dies, there are any number of gifts and wrappers you can make.

I adapted a design by Amanda Fowler, a very experienced Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, to make this gift packaging for little chocolate bars. The main wrapper was embossed using the Big Shot and I cut the outer wrapper from “Paisley Petals” Designer Series Paper. The gift tag was made with a “Paisley Petals” stamp and the greeting is one of many in the “Petite Pairs” stamp set. The tie is Ruffled Ribbon in Island Indigo. I’m really pleased with the co-ordinated look of this pretty gift wrap.

For my next little gift, I used an idea from Sue Dixon. The package topper is made from a series of label shapes (Sizzix Framelits dies) in decreasing size, alternate black and white. I used a small stamp from the “Mixed Bunch” set, stamped in whisper white Craft Ink, to finish the topper, which was then embellished with whisper white satin ribbon.

Finally, I adapted an idea from a fellow Demonstrator, Jyoti Sehmi, to create this little Post-it Note Holder. I used a polkadot embossing folder with the Big Shot to make the matchbook-style cover, then stamped and punched out a flower from the “Mixed Bunch” stamp set. I coloured it using Write Markers to co-ordinate with the card holder. The whole thing was embellished with a Jelly Bean brad. A lovely idea from Jyoti and I really enjoyed making something a little different for my take on the design.

I’m sure there are lots more things we can do with the delicious Stampin’ Up! products. New ideas come to mind every time I handle the materials.

I met a whole crowd of my fellow Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators again at the weekend and there was a huge amount of inspiration from all the lovely ladies. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, happy crafting!

Stampin’ Up! on Fabrics


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I held a Stampin’ Up! party at my house last week, which was great fun. Most of the friends who came along work with fabrics and yarns and they’re not used to rubber stamping, but I wanted to change all that. I was keen to show them that stamping needn’t be a whole new hobby, but something they can use to extend their current pastimes, so I spent several happy hours making samples that I hoped would interest them.

I challenged myself to make all sorts of things using just a few stamps – cards, gifts, packaging, home decor, and anything else I could think of. Over the next few days, I’ll show you all the things I made, but today I’ll concentrate on two projects involving stamping on fabric.

For the first one, I used stamps from Stampin’ Up’s Mixed Bunch set (in the Summer Mini Catalogue) and created a design directly on a cream cotton tee-shirt. I used fabric paints to make sure the stamped images wouldn’t wash out. I really like the effect you get when you stamp on fabric: it isn’t as crisp as stamping on card, but it has a lovely variation of colour within each image and the weave of the fabric shows through.

For the second project, I stamped my outline images using fabric ink. Then I coloured the flowers and leaves using Inktense pencils, because I wanted muted colours to co-ordinate with the dark olive green tee-shirt. The stamp set I used was Stampin’ Up’s Paisley Petals. Finally, I cut out the images ready to applique them to the tee-shirt. This photo shows the applique pieces stuck to the tee-shirt with fabric adhesive, but I think I might over-stitch the edges just to make sure all the bits stay put!

Well, that’s all for now. Look out for more posts over the next few days.

Happy crafting!

Hello, World!

This is my very first post and I’d like to use it to tell you about a fantastic day’s training I had with my Stampin’ Up sisters in Hampshire last weekend. We came from far and wide to converge on an unprepossessing church hall near Fareham. It was a hot, sunny day outside, but the hall was lit up by the bright, enthusiastic crowd milling around happily inside.

Honestly, I was so impressed by the creativity of all the ladies, whether they were demonstrating, sharing their designs or just helping each other out as they learned new techniques.

By the end of the day, I had made a lot of new friends, I felt energised and inspired. I had a box full of projects I’d made and cards swapped with my crafting sisters. I headed home to order some new products to fill up my kit box so that I can share some of the great ideas I came across at the training.

Craft happy till next time,