Thursday, January 28, 2016


Last week, I talked about helping a friend learn to create themed, papercut snowflakes, but did not have a photo to show.....aah... but I have one now!

Susan was quite confident that she could handle the "cutting" part of the process, it was the designing she thought could present a problem for her (she expressed a concern that she could not "draw" well enough) but did want to attempt designing and making these. So,.....we talked about her options.
I suggested that since we really don't need a detailed drawing, but rather a "shape" to work with, that maybe something as simple as a stencil would be a good place to start. It just so happened that she had a stencil of an ice skate on perfect was that? We used it to begin to build the design. I simply did a quick "modified" sketch of the stencil image while explaining my thought process when developing designs for these papercuts and the importance of using mirrors as a preview tool......but Susan could have easily used the stencil to trace/draw the image.

In the photo, you can see the rough, sketched outline Susan began with, I talked her through the process of folding the paper as precisely as possible, selecting a section on which to trace the image, refolding, how to determine where access holes needed to be punched, staples applied, and how to decide the cutting order.....but other than that quick sketch on the left, this is COMPLETELY her work and I have to say, I sure was impressed with her very first snowflake.  I am so glad she sent me the photos so that I could share them with you.  I can't wait to see what she will create next!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter = Snowflakes.....right?

Earlier this week I was showing a friend how I go about designing my themed, paper snowflakes. After some discussion, she came up with a fabulous idea to use ice skates as her theme. Her snowflake turned out incredibly well .....but unfortunately, I did not think to snap a photo.   :-(
In fact, hers was so terrific, she inspired me to do my own snowflake featuring ice is cold out so I threw in some mittens too.
this is it, all cut and ready to unfold

and the finished flake

If this is your first visit here and want to know more about these papercut snowflakes, see the tutorial tab at the top of this blog and check out my snowflake gallery (the button is on the sidebar)

Its you know what that means....I am linking up with Nina-Maries Off The Wall Fridays

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Video #2 Cutting Snowflakes

I have been blogging for quite some time now, mostly about  quilting, surface design, papercutting and doodling. Do you know what my most popular ......and most viewed post is?
It is this one on cutting snowflakes 

Since I am trying to teach myself how to make and edit video, I decided to record myself making one of my "themed" snowflakes.  Up until last week, our winter has been pretty mild and without much snow, that all changed over the last few has gotten cold and the white stuff has arrived.
Has me dreaming of spring..... which inspired this snowflake

If you are interested, you can watch my latest video to see it develop from start to finish here

I also cut a slightly different version

Linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday....where Nina-Marie has offered some excellent advice for all of us who find ourselves not spending enough of our time "creating"

Friday, January 8, 2016


This week was spent doing a few "tests" with a variety of inks and paints. I generally always do a quick test with what ever materials I plan to use, wanting to know how they will fare when subjected to water and how they will leave the "hand" of the fabric.
Other artists and I have been discussing some difficulties experienced recently, when working with particular supplies. For example, Tsukineko inks are very fluid, they are difficult to control and want to rapidly flow and bleed out through the fibers. I have a supply of those inks and wanted to see if there was a way to use them with more control.
Also, I have noticed that my recently purchased Sharpie markers are bleeding when I draw on fabric, I am not getting near as crisp a line as I usually do and wanted to see what else I have on hand that might work better.

here is a quick look at a few of the many test samples I did this week

First lets talk about that old stand by Sharpie marker.  I have used an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker for drawing on fabric for a long time but as I said, lately it is not giving me the same results.
A favourite pen I use for drawing (on paper) is a pigment liner made by Staedtler but I have had trouble with it "running" on fabric.....I now know  that it is waterproof once heat set.
Can you see the difference between the 2 pens?

Now, for those Tsukineko inks, I used the ink in a variety of ways to see what would happen, in the photo below, the leaf on the left had clear Aloe Vera gel spread over the drawing but not beyond its borders, I then carefully painted on the you can see in the close up detail the ink still flowed where I did not want it.
That did not happen to the one on the right which was painted with the ink only after it had been pre-mixed with the gel.

I always like to have reference samples so I made this little piece. I drew several circles and used the ink in a slightly different way each time to see what my results would be.

I have clear aloe gel....the ink....and then created mixtures of gel and ink as well as gel and shaving cream

In the top circle, I painted with the ink straight from the bottle, it quickly began to spread more than I wanted

for the second circle, I brushed the aloe vera gel over and beyond its borders (the dashed line is where I brushed the gel to) even though I only applied the ink to the inside of the you can see, the ink kept moving

next I applied the gel carefully making sure the gel stayed with in the lines....and so did the ink, but you may notice that the colour is not as vibrant as the one below it

for circle number four, I premixed the ink into the gel, it seems a bit awkward at first to work with it this way but it actually yeilded pretty good results and gave me good "open" time (important if I am doing something where I want to be able to blend colours)

In this last circle.....I tried something I have never done before, at the wonderful suggestion of Gwyned Trefethen, I mixed the ink with some shaving actually worked quite well! (although it did not give me the same "open" time as the gel.) I will definitely want to explore the use of shaving cream in my studio now....Thanks Gwyned!

Here is a sample showing 2 paints.... I drew the circles....covered the entire surface with the aloe gel and then painted within the circles.....because of the thickness of the paints, they stay exactly where they are put and do not migrate out at all

and so it went, I played with a variety of little tweaks with the paints, inks, gel and shaving cream....then I thought maybe it was time to start organizing some of these little test samples. I happen to have a supply of these page dividers that are made of decent cardstock, using doubled sided tape, I adhered the samples to them that I can now keep together in a binder. I can lift each sample piece and place lots of notes too.
Until now, most of the samples I have done in the past are stuck on a bulletin board, filing cabinet, or hiding in drawers scattered as I come across them I will finally have a place for them to all live and will be able to easily reference them

below is an example of a test I did many years was still lying at the bottom of a drawer, do you know what this is?   any guesses?

 it's I am linking up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.....pop on over and see what other creative minds (and hands) have been up to.

Copyright Jill Buckley