Cossacks for Christmas

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I can’t imagine that many of you  are interested in my Christmas decorations, but just in case you are, here we go.  This year they are minimalist to say the least.  I have had a lot going on and putting up trimmings seemed way down the list of priorities.  But I did get round to making and putting up these gentlemen.  They are dancing cossacks.  I would like to tell you that they are my design, but they came from a book called Homemade Christmas, (which is very cheap on Amazon):

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It doesn’t seem to have an author, but it does have a number of surprisingly nice looking things to make.  The author, whoever it is, as no author is credited, made their cossacks out of old book covers, but I thought it would be a good way of using up gelli-printed papers that I had done myself:

 

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I rather like the way that the printed paper for his face makes him look like he is rather keen on the vodka, or doesn’t use a good enough moisturiser in all that cold weather.

I also used some painted paper:

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This one has jewelled brads or paper fasteners on his joints.  Finding paper fasteners, which are those split pin things with the round heads that you push through papers and then open out, turned out to be one of the hardest parts of the project.  I had to go to the internet to find them.  Clearly the paperless office is becoming a reality.

After I had made a couple of cossacks, it occurred to me that this might be a really good use for some notecards the Medieval Historian gave me a couple of years ago.

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So I had quite good fun fussy cutting bodies to get a good cover image on the chest:

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I also liked picking the most un-Christmas-y titles such as this:

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Nothing like a nice Ballardian dystopia to set you up the festive season.  We also have Lady Chatterley’s Lover as a nod to my home town.

Then I remembered that I had bought some Marimekko notecards as I love the graphic designs and clear colours:

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Both of these worked brilliantly which makes me thing that you could do it with any postcard:

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This one is decorated with washi tape.  This one is fussy cut:

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In the book they are strung to work as jumping jacks, but I like them just as posable figures.

In the end I made twenty-five of them and they dance around the room suspended from the picture rail.  So quite a lot of cutting, punching, sticking and stringing, but I think that they make quite a smart decoration, even for people, mentioning no names, Medieval Historian, who claim not to like Christmas.

 

 

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Gelli-printed notebooks

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As part of the Thinking Futures day on 5 November 2014, I made participants a little notebook to write things down from the academic talks in the morning.  I made very simple pamphlet books with stitched covers.

I made the covers using a gelli plate, which is a way of monoprinting.  I really love the gelli plate.  It’s a clear sheet of jelly, about a centimetre thick, and it can be used over and over again.  It’s very easy to use.  I brayer on some fluid acrylic and then pull the print.  You get the customary veined effect if you use the paint fairly generously:

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Sometimes I just use paint rollered onto the plate:

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Or use them to stencil onto:

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Or stamp and use embossing powder:

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Or you can great effects with plastic stencils used as a mask:

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The last one uses sequin waste as a mask.

If you take a print after lifting off the stencil you can get really nice embossed effects:

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Seriously easy, and although the plates aren’t cheap, it is very straightforward to get excellent results.  My next step is to try it out on fabric.