I'm here with another post for Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe sharing a project I started a few weeks back at Gwen's Translucent Art Journal Workshop at The PaperCraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT. Gwen's classes are always full of exciting new ideas and innovative ways to add variety into your work. Every time I take a class with her I learn so many things. Her workshops always leave me inspired and ready to experiment. This workshop was no exception. In this post I'll walk you through my Translucent Art Journal and show you how I combined pressed flowers from my garden and Gwen's stencil designs to make this journal my own.
I even made a short flip through video to show you the finished project.
These are the two translucent pages I made in Gwen's class. (While, I would truly love to share the techniques Gwen taught us to make them, you'll just have to entice Gwen to offer the class online to learn her secrets for yourself. I'm going to focus this post on things I did to make this journal my own.)
I'm loving the stained glass look of these pages. I took pics of one of them over a background of green and then orange flocked vintage wallpaper so that you can see just how translucent they really are.
Adding Pressed Flowers
When I returned home from the class, I was inspired to experiment with adding pressed flowers from my garden into the journal. Last year I found a flower press at thrift store for $2.99 and I was itching to take it out for its first spin.
First I gathered some flowers and a few interesting weeds from my yard and clipped the stems as close to the back of the flower as possible with a pair of scissors. The less bulk that you have the better. I plucked many of the outer leaves off of my Peony to prepare it for pressing.
Then I laid the flowers, petals, and leaves out on a piece of deli paper, breaking apart the clumpier flowers, (think Queen Anne's Lace and chives) into smaller pieces. I was careful not to overlap any of the petals on the paper. Keep in mind that you don't need to press the whole flower to get a great result. Some of my favorite pressed flowers were dried as a singe petal.
Then I started layering my press; first came the wood base, followed by my first "flower sandwich" consisting of a thin piece of corrugated cardboard, then the deli paper and prepped flowers, topped off with another piece of deli paper. I filled the press with five more flower sandwiches and then fit on press's wooden top. Then I tightened the wing nuts on the four corners and waited.
I let the flowers sit in the press for two days and then unscrewed the wing nuts to reveal six layers of beautifully pressed flowers exploding in color.
I used a few of the pressed flowers in my journal. I laid down a thin coat of matte medium to adhere them; gently pressing the flower into it. Once it dried, I gently brushed additional thin coats of matte medium over it to protect the petals. I realize that the color of these plants will eventually fade, but until they do I can enjoy them in my journal. And when they do, I can overpaint them to preserve the texture, proportion, and dimensionality of the blooms.
The cover of my translucent journal features a collage of vintage papers, a skeleton leaf, and a pressed Sweet Woodruff Leaf over a stained tea bag background. The lettering came from Gwen Lafleur's BoHo Birds Stencil.
The front and the back of one of the translucent pages made during Gwen's class using her Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion Stencil. The front of the page has a frame at the top made with pressed Mountain Laurel. The frame for the back of the page was made from a collage of wallpaper scraps.
I stenciled one of Gwen's BoHo Birds on a piece of vintage wallpaper and then overpainted it with acrylic paint. The circular element came from the BoHo Striped Circle Stencil. I used a stamp that I carved during Carve December under a pressed flower collage made from a Dogwood Petal, a Daisy, and a leaf. Since the petals of the daisy were fairly translucent to begin with, I painted them over as well, leaving me with a great textural element.
I used Gwen's new Collage Texture and Patterns - Circle stencil as the central element of this translucent page. The background for both the front and the back started out as vintage wallpaper scraps that I painted and stamped on with stamps I made during Carve December.
This page features Gwen's BoHo Fish with elements from the Collage Texture and Patterns - Circle stencil and more Carve December Stamps in the background. I just love this little guy.
The star of the next page is my pressed peony. I'm smitten with its color. I used a tea bag to stencil Gwen's Decorative Flower Stamen Stencil on Rice paper in the background. (Watch for a future post on tea stain stenciling....)
And my last page features Gwen's new Scribble X Mask and more marks made with my Carve December Stamps.
I really had a lot of fun playing with Gwen's new stencil designs in this journal.
Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear about your experience pressing flowers and using them in your art journal. If you have any ideas or suggestions please leave a comment below. I'd love to find more ways to use them.
Hugs until next time, Jill