Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mixed Media Art Journal Page Without Glue

This page was made with conte crayons, Faber Castell watercolor pencils, and a pigma graphic marker. Instead of using glue, I used a hole punch and blue wire to attach the vellum paper. The journalling prompt, "A month in Review" came from Bridgette's amanobooks blog. It's so rich in journalling how-to, it's like sitting down to one of your favorite mixed media art books.

For chemically sensitive artists, you may or may not have success with these materials. Conte Crayons are harder, and give off less dust making them a good possibility for many, especially if you wear gloves. Creative Canaries has a couple of pages listing possible resources you may wish to check out. I found switching brands to Faber Castell watercolor pencils, and keeping them dry, doesn't provoke a reaction (hee, hee! found a set for a dollar at a second hand store). I'd advise caution with the marker and the vellum paper which is made from plasticized cotton.

So far, I'm using up any old supplies that don't trigger a reaction, and researching like mad for new possibilities. It's a roller coaster of emotions- the whole range. Just when I was especially frustrated, I got some great video links from Liberty on making your own plant based paints. Check out Organic Painting on Crafting a Green World blog. Not just a great site for crafters, and artists, it's perfect for parents who are concerned about finding truly non-toxic supplies and projects for their children.

Many thanks to Regina, from rgr designs blog for this award :) Regina's recent texture experiments are gorgeous. I'm passing it on to all those in my sidebar. Thanks for the continuous inspiration!


Liberty said...

warning - big long comment :)
Hope that's okay!


I love it! I love the idea of using hole punch and wire instead of glue. I've used a few make-your-own-non-toxic glue recipes but they are a pain to make.

Weldbond glue is safe for me *once cured* but until the curing I still react (hours or days depending on how thick it is). It's made by the same company that makes nature Clean safer-for-MCS people products. I usually apply it outside only while wearing a mask that filters VOCs.

I'm making a little book out of chlorine-free paper and holding it together with hole punch and threading of wool but I really love this wire idea - I do have coloured wire and never thought of using it with paper! Thank you so much for this inspiration.

A relatively safe, easy DIY paint can be made from condensed milk and food colouring. (you can use any pigment actually) It adheres to gessoed canvas fine *but* it it is not at all water safe which makes it really hard to paint layers (and it has to be well protected afterwards - framed behind glass for example).
I did some experimenting a few years ago and the colours are still incredibly vibrant and no crackling has happened. If milk paint is not dilute enough, it can crackle.

A milk paint that will adhere better and be more workable for layers can be made from recipes like the ones listed in this blog post of Leslie's:

but the condensed milk from a can will work too and is a nice, quick fix!

It goes on paper really nicely and actually looks and feels glossy. If it's too thin, you can simmer it (before adding pigment) to evaporate more liquid or you can add milk powder until it's a consistency you like. *note that if it's too thick, it will crackle.

I find it a challenge to find MCS safe art supplies - I couldn't even be near a single pencil crayon until recently (due to terpenes in the wood).

I really love your blog and am excited to see more of what you do :)

Rowena said...

This is a beautiful art journal.

I never even thought about what would happen if I started to react to my usual paints. But I have to say, you explorations into non toxic materials are making for quite some artistic journeying.

Sometimes the constraints that we live under really do fire our creativity. :)

Shayla said...

Liberty, Thanks for your big comments! Your info is priceless. That milk paint sounds really good, glad to know that you haven't had fading problems. I was thinking of trying "food coloring" paints. This recipe is so simple. Bonus!

Rowena, that's a good point about constraints and creativity. Very true :)

Liberty said...

oops! I just reread my comment and realise I made a mistake.
It should be **evaporated** milk - not condensed. Condensed would be too thick and the sugar may effect how well it works.
Sorry for that massive typo!

picciolo said...

congratulations on the award! I love this piece, especially the threaded part. Your materials journey sounds like it is having its ups and downs but lots of interesting moments along the way
: )

Jan Heigh said...

I just found your blog and thanks so much for the information about non-toxic art materials. The canary site must be gone because it's just a domain site now. But I will take some time to read more of your blog and other links in your post.

I have to be very careful about taking art classes because I'm never sure what art materials might be used by the teacher. Examples were zylene (spelling?) markers and spray glue even when they sprayed it outside and brought it back into the classroom dripping wet! I left the room for about an hour.

So thanks for being here.
Jan Heigh

Liberty said...

I read somewhere that the Creative Canaries site is doing a rehaul and will be back online eventually.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Very fun! Nice ideas! Nice art/journalling, and I love the idea of help for chemically sensitive artists, especially since I am one of those. Thanks. :-D

Mokihana and Pete said...

Just found your blog from Liberty's sidebar. What a lift! Your journal is inspiring. We are in the tail-end of creating a live-in-piece-of-MCS-safe art, and finding materials and methods have definitely challenged us.

We have used milk paint throughout and outside our vardo (gypsy wagon)but did not make our own paint ... bought it instead. If we build and paint another wee home, (OMiG)I would consider mixing up my own paints so I knew exactly what is in it. Plus, it could turn out to be a fun project.

I love the evaporated milk idea for making paint and might explore it with earth pigments or purple plum skins this summer for a great purple ... paint a table.

Has anyone used food grade hemp oil to seal milk paints? I am going to try it today to see what it looks/smells like to seal my ceiling.

Thanks for the wonderful journal I'll keep coming back.


nancy said...

congrats! on the award.
i love that you are determined to find alternatives to chemicals.
do you have a sensativity to bees wax? i've used it like glue, in some of my collages. and what about paper mache paste?
also i've have a sewing machine used just for paper, i have a mini stapler, with a rainbow of colored stapes to used instead of glue as well as rivets and brads, and of course tape! electrical tape and duct tape come in a variety of colors and my favorite is aluminum tape. just some ideas to try,

Jeane said...

Shayla - I love this page - I so admire your search for products that you can use safely - I'm taking heed and learning a bunch from your posts!

bindu said...

Very interesting techniques. You should think of putting together all your research on non-toxic paints into a book. I'm sure there will be a lot of interest!

M.Kate said...

I am amazed with your creativity and talent. Happy weekend Shayla/hugs/M

Shayla said...

Hi Jane, I had the sewing machine out earlier for attaching too. Yes it's interesting. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.

Jan, I hadn't even thought of how it could be limiting workshop wise. That must have been a frustrating experience. It does seem that the mixed media movement is leaning increasingly to plastics, and even stronger chemicals.

Mary, I'm surprised at how many chemically sensitive artists I've met in the past few weeks. It's encouraging to see how creative they are in handling the challenge.

Mokihana and Pete, you have a vardo? That is so cool! Plum skins sound wonderful. I haven't run into anyone using hemp oil yet. Please let me know how it turns out :)

Nancy- thanks for all those suggestions! Yay! The natural scent of beeswax bothers me, but there is an unscented variety. I just haven't been able to track it down yet. That will open up many possibilities. The rainbow staples are new to me and sound like lots of fun. I'll look for them and paper mache paste should be ok, I think. I believe we used to make it out of flour and water... I'll look it up :)

Jeane, I'm trying to behave ;) it would be ideal to find a safer product that has a thick, buttery texture.

Bindu, that's a good idea. We do need more books on easy, healthier choices. I never bothered with all the safety books because I thought they were too boring, and I figured if the material was really dangerous they wouldn't sell it. I'm reading them now :D

Mary Kate, big hugs to you and have a great weekend!

Tracy said...

Beautiful page, Shayla! I love the varied materials you've used here...that wire is a great textural addition! Am enjoying learning about your continued journey to find and use environmentally and health-friendly art supplies. It helps even us without chemical sensitivities to consider what is in even a simple tube of paint--thanks! Happy Weekend, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

MiKa Art said...

Beautiful (I kind of feel a little sadness from it - but sad in the beautiful way) work!

It must be hard to do with all non-toxic material...but you seem to have strong sprit and super ability!! Go Shayla!

Mokihana and Pete said...

A quick note about using beeswax. I have had to learn lots about both natural and "unscented" varieties. Short story is: try to find out how the "unscented" wax was processed. Saponified waxes need something to harden the wax after it is melted ... I learned one variety of less smelly beeswax had petroleum waxes and resin added. Not the best choices for someone like me with chem.sensitivities. Grand Weekend to you~Mokihana

Gwen Buchanan said...

Awe a girl after my own heart... binding with wire... Love the layering in your piece...
just recently I treated myself to a few different sizes of Pigma Microns.... I'm testing them out to compare against a dip pen..

Thanks Shayla, for the links.. lots to explore...

Robyn said...

It's only in the last few years that I've heard of chemically sensitive artists. There is a fantastic sculptor here who has to give visitors a little questionair before they can enter his living area. If you are wearing perfume, deoderant, hair spray or have washed with perfumed soap you can't visit. It must be so frustrating...but also a Godsend if you don't like the visitors.

bridgette said...

Glad you used that prompt!

Thank you too for that link to the creative canaries. I just bookmarked it to refer to.

Margie said...

Love this!
You are so creative & talented!


Leah said...

beautiful page! i love the way you used the wire instead of glue.

Mary said...

Lovely collage piece and so much useful information, thank you for sharing it, Shayla.

Shayla said...

Tracy- it's easy to take for granted the chemicals in the stuff we use everyday, isn't it? I know I have. Hope you had a good weekend.

Mika, yes, I agree. In my journal pages I allow more sadness. I try to avoid that in my paintings. Thanks for your encouragement!!

Mokihana & Pete, how sad about the beeswax- but better to know before buying new supplies. Thank you.

Gwen, have you tried the micron brush tip pen?

Robyn, good story. I'm still getting used to the whole assertiveness thing in regards to mcs.

Margie, thanks for the positive feedback. Good to see you again.

Leah, a good excuse to use up some of those supplies collecting dust...

Mary, glad it was of use to you :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

ouuu, no I haven't tried it... have you? do you like what it does?
.... in my comparison between fine dip quill and the fine dip Pigma micron.. The dip hesitates on rough watercolor paper and the pigma goes smoothly... so depending on the wanted result each one has it own purpose...

Juggling Jason said...

Gwen, yes I've tried it. It's a nice pen. You have to be gentle or it will loose it's fine tip. You can get some nice effects. I do find marker ink to be duller than using a dip pen. The pine trees in the black background piece were made with the brush marker.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks for the additional info Jason, I appreciate it. gentle does it...