The Earth Reliant Artist

Trace Willans All Natural Mixed Media

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Making Plaster Books

I am making small plaster books
Mostly because it is fun
But also to use up some of my stuff
and there is the possibility of a pop up 
in the near future
I have a dwindling collection
of what I call matt board
It is wastage from a framers
I have had it more than 15 years

I cut it into ~10 x 10cm squares
and join them with strips of cloth
glued with rabbit skin glue

These are then wrapped 
in plaster bandage

and then I gesso
with rabbitskin glue and whiting gesso

several times
for a beautiful finish
but still with a little texture

and then it occurred to me
what if I just skipped the plaster step
and just glued
an open weave cotton fabric
to the matt board?
and then gessoed that

We shall see

and next I shall paint
and maybe add some found words

x te

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Experiments with Alternate Grounds

I live a long way from shops
and I do a lot via the internet
and the postal service
But I really like to find alternatives
to do things myself
so as I have to buy whiting
a form of calcium carbonate used to make
traditional gesso
I thought I might have a play 
with alternatives

The first two samples
are cuttlefish bone ground in a mortar and pestle
this is mixed with rabbit skin glue

* glue mix

this is chicken bones 
that were loose in the fire overnight
in the morning they were a lovely soft white
crushed in a mortar and pestle
top with rabbitskin glue on fabric
below with the glue mix*

The next two samples 
are made with shell nacre
I found if I heat it with the blow torch 
it separates and becomes very brittle
and easy to break up
it is then crushed in a mortar and pestle
again the top is rabbitskin glue on fabric
and below is Glue mix

This is cuttlefish and rabbitskin glue
which has then been printed with egg yolk
and then dipped in Purple Carrot
and Bloodroot, both dissolved in methylated spirit

the glue used through out to stick down the pieces
is skim milk powder and water

*Glue mix consists of equal parts 
white sugar and white flour
mixed with water
Normally this would be cooked
But I did not do that 
this time

I will repeat this experiment
but next time
I will use my studio spice grinder 
for a finer result
I also now have a darker bone powder
made by enclosing the bones in a tin
and therefore excluding the air
before placing in the fire

and questions
or feedback
please leave a comment

x te

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Testing Marks More Experiments

All of these samples are on cotton fabric
which had been previously 
painted/stained/marked with 
Xanthorrhoea Resin in methylated spirits
You could substitute Shellac
they were then gessoed
(rabbit skin Glue and whiting)
on one side only
each was marked as noted
under the image
and then dipped in methylated spirit
to see how it reacted

bought rice paste + white pigment
dipped while wet

Rice paste + white pigment dried

Rembrant Brand soft pastel

White Conte Crayon

White Charcoal

Schminke Soft Pastel

Art Spectrum Soft Pastel

Rice paste + Copper Pigment Dry

Rice paste + Copper Pigment Wet

Rice paste + Terre Vert Pigment Wet

Rice paste + Terre Vert Pigment Dry

This was the rice paste I used here
I will most likely also
try using home made rice paste
maybe also wheat paste.
who knows
the permutations are fascinating
and endless

or maybe that is just me

Any questions
please ask

x te

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Xanth and Gesso Experiments

I am going to try and explain what the heck I did
I will admit I had to do a couple of new pieces 
to help me remember
I big reminder to make better notes
(or any notes at all)
The commonality between these pieces
is that they all begin as dipped or painted with 
Xanthorrhoea Resin (Xanth)
and then after they dried were
painted with tradtional gesso

I am working with plants dissolved in methylated spirits
which is a type of denatured alcohol

the idea here is to pull the Xanth 
through to the front
which I did by accident the first time
These have been dipped/soaked in 
methylated spirit (meths)
on the left is cotton fabric 
on the right a book page

both cloth in puffball and meths
left just a dip
right a 10 minute soak

these are both paper
and have had a shape painted on the back
with the Xanth
then into meths with a little Xanth 
contaminating it

on cloth

here I have painted on 
a shape with a mix
of skim milk powder
titanium dioxide pigment
and water

here it is after drawing into it with a Pitt Pen
and then dipping 
the bottom half in Puffballs
and the top in Bloodroot
I did give the white areas a bit of a wipe

a white line after dipping

soaked in meths
drawn with a brush pen 
then painted with white and wiped

old pieces done
with some technique like above
but no notes taken so 
I am not entirely sure
I think I need to do more

these two were drawn with
a thicker Xanth and Puffball mix
before dipping causing them to bleed

working back into pieces with pencil
and a white gel pen

drawing with thicker puffball 
after dipping

If you have any questions
or even just to let me know what you think
and if you are interested in more
please leave a comment

x te

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mark Making on Gessoed Fabric

Small Samples
On Cotton Fabric that has traditional gesso applied
this is a mixture of calcium carbonate (whiting)
and rabbit skin glue
Marks were applied 
and after they had dried they were
dipped into a jar of Xanthorhoea resin
dissolved in methylated spirits
(this is an Oz equivalent of using Shellac)
except for the girl
see her notes
Permanent Ink

Sumi E Ink


Sharpie Girl
dipped into
both dissolved in Methylated Spirits

x te

Marks on Wax, Samples

I have been sorting through my vast collection of samples
and thought I might just share them
They are all started with a little clear wax 
on water colour paper
Some also have some indigo wax
made by dissolving natural indigo powder
straight into the molten clear wax
It is often difficult to make marks directly onto the wax
So I make them onto a sheet of tracing paper
(you can use other paper)
then place it mark side down on the cool wax
and burnish well

This coloured charcoal pencils

Ordinary Bic Biro/Ball point pen

Graphite Stick

Indian Ink applied direct


A carbon paper transfer

This is a small piece of Chinese Joss Paper
placed on the wax burnished well
then wet throughly
and then gently rub off the paper backing

and last copper leaf applied to a raised area of wax

I hope someone benefits
from my samples
More soon

x te

Monday, June 4, 2018

Indigo Buttons

I had some buttons left over 
from making up the buttons sets
so on a whim 
I popped 4 into the indigo
I have a mini vat
sitting next to the fire
I left them in for 
48 hours
So pleased with the results
That I have put a few more in
I may even be tempted to 
remove a set or two from there cards
and give them the treatment as well

x te