Ema Hossain Design Portfolio

Take a look at my other blog EmaHossainDesign Portfolio to see more about my design work

Gelatine plate mono-printing

I have just started reading a great simple printmaking book by Elizabeth Harbour.
One of the techniques she describes is using a gelatine printing surface (jelly printing surface).
It involves making a printing surface with powdered gelatine.
I was intrigued by this method of mono printing and decided to give it a go because beautiful prints can be made using flowers and leaves.

I scaled down the quantities stated in the book to make a small thinner block to try it out.
Here is the jelly plate when the gelatine had set.

I planned to use acrylic paint but didn't have the acrylic retarder which slows down the acrylic paint drying to allow the print to be made. It doesn't work without it 

The kids went into the garden and picked buttercups and grass, then I applied the acrylic to the gel plate and they placed the plants on the plate.

After making the silhouette print which is absorb off the background paint, we quickly removed the flowers ready to make the ghost print.

Unsurprisingly the acrylic had dried and stuck in patches to the newspaper we were using to do the silhouette print.  Not wanting to disappoint the kids, I explained that I needed to add something to the acrylic first but didn't have any but that we could try with watercolor paints to get and idea of what the print might have looked like.

I applied some green watercolor over the acrylic and the kids placed the plants on top.

We made a print and then I added a bit of blue paint and we did another layout.

The prints came out like this

The 3 print attempts with watercolor on the gelatine plate. It looks like a promising method and we are looking forward to trying it again when I get some acrylic retarder.

Lino cut gift tags

I have long admired lino printing a great way of printing something  unique and individual. This year I decided I had to have a go. I haven't really mastered the cutting and gouging tools yet but felt ready to attempt some lettering. I made the job easier for myself by using the soft cut lino
Here are the "Smile" gift tags I made.

I wrote the word out onto paper then placed it with the written side onto piece of soft cut lino.
The reverse lettering was traced over with a pen creating a gentle indent into the soft cut lino. 
I build on the lettering shape to make them wider and thus easier to cut around.

The idea is to use the tools to cut into the lino to remove the areas around the word , leaving the word area raised so that it picks up the ink and the background doesn't. You have to work safely and away from yourself as the tools are sharp. Since the lino block was small I was able to work on a tea tray to collect the small bits that are cut out by the tool. For larger pieces it is advisable to hold the lino piece in a lino cutting safety guard that holds the corner secure as you cut.

As I done a little to much gouging out,  I made a hole where the top gap of S is so decided maybe I would cut around the word itself. I wasn't sure the scissors would cut it but it did so fairly easily. The only thing is the area was now smaller and not as easy to handle. Ideally I would have glued it onto a block of wood to make it easy to handle but as I was experimenting I decided to keep it as it was.

I used acrylic paint dabbed on with a sponge placed the stamp on a card tag and then pressed down then gently lifted it off.

Not bad for a first attempt.

I am going to add these tags to the next parcel I wrap. I think matching wrapping paper with different coloured wording would look great with it.
Learn more
To find out more about how to lino cut safely read
Nick Morley's blog LinocutBoy
I purchased my lino cutting tools from Nick.

Paper flower magnets

I love making simple paper flower magnets using pretty patterned paper. It's very relaxing just going with the flow with some paper and glue and a cuppa at hand. An easy crafty activity  when you want something that will slow you down from the demands of a busy day.

These are some of the flowers I have made in the past and sold at my craft stall.

The roses have been made with some beautiful  Italian Carte Varese paper.

I have also made them out of recycled paper from old book pages and put them into groups to make magnets which look great on a workspace notice board or on the fridge.

I made these magnets using pages of old foreign language novel pages that were being discarded by the library.

Paper roses are really easily to make using lightweight paper, a quilling tool and some glue.

I will explain how I made the rose flowers for the trio of roses magnet.
I used the following bits

Cool glue gun and glue sticks suitable for paper, recycled paper, scissors, circle magnets, circular glue dots and a quilling tool are the necessary tools. You can use a circle template and pencil to get a perfect circle shape but the roses look better when the shape is a little uneven.

A large circle and two smaller circles were cut out for each rose. The large circle is the main rose and I used the smaller ones to give strength to the back where the magnet will be attached.

The circles were then cut into starting at one edge to create inward spiral movement with the scissors leaving a rough circle in the middle where the glue will be applied the curled spiral together.

The slotted quilling tool was then used to roll up the spiral twist.

The roses will look something like these above. 

You can secure the base with a sticky dot like I have done.

This holds it in place but you can go straight onto the gluing stage with the glue gun.
It is important to use a cool glue gun which uses cool glue sticks as these are suitable for paper. The hot glue gun and sticks is too hot for the paper.

Follow the instructions for your glue gun and cool glue sticks, they usually need about 3-5 minutes to heat the cool sticks to the right temperature. Work quickly as the glue cools quickly, once dry it is transparent so don't worry too much about being precise, that will come with practice.

You can glue a circle to the back of the rose, glue leaf shapes and then another  circle.
Experiment as much as you like, this is what I did. I cut into the leaves and glued a fringed strip to the back of the roses. I used the quilling tool to create some curls resulting in a trio of roses design.
I attached three self adhesive magnetic discs to the back of the design and here it is in close up.

The other magnet was made by quilling fringed strips and gluing them together with leaves.

Here are examples of other simple paper flower magnets which I made.

This one was made with several circles and they were cut into to create some curves and these were then glued and curved inwards, the magnetic circle added at the back

For this one I used a flower template and a gold card and finished it off with an acrylic gemstone.

You can make your own designs based on real flowers by using flower shape templates or creating your own petal shapes and gluing them together. The possibilities are endless and if you want them to have a protective coating you can paint over the paper with a clear gloss varnish.

Turning a pair of socks into a small makeup bag

Recently my sister Momtaz who understands  my slight obsession for all things with macaroon designs gave
me a really fun pair of socks with a delightful tasty looking design.

They are lovely a perfect calorie free macaroon gift, lovely to look at but I have to be honest and admit I am a strictly black socks only girl. I just can't be wearing anything so flamboyant on my feet.  I toyed with the idea of making myself a  socks toy but  decided to make these delightful socks into something which would be useful like a little  make up bag. 

I started by gathering the materials for the make.

materials used : both socks, a ruler, a zip, pins, cotton thread, a needle, sewing machine and some stiffening material (I used a piece of interfacing for waistbands which was at hand and suitable)

The socks were laid side by side roughly matched to a pleasing pattern repeat and I used pins to hold the zip in place to make it easier to work with.

Next I inserted pieces of the interface into each sock. They were pushed in and roughly in the middle of the sock. This gave it strength at the middle but softness at the top and bottom edge for sewing easily.

The bag could have been made without it but I wanted it to be strong enough to hold  several eye pencils, and a lipstick without sagging.

The interface was slightly smaller in width than the socks because I was using what I already had but it was big enough. 

I folded the two socks attached by pins over to have the zip on the edge and tacked the zip in place with cotton thread.

I then used the sewing machine to sew up the zip on one side, opened the zip, socks out flat to sew the bottom of the bag edges together.

I sewed as close to the edge as possible. Having four layers of fabric  gives the base of the bag strength.

After sewing the base I sewed at a right angle

 to sew the side edge with the ruler acted as a guide for a straight edge o meet the zip where it ends.

The zip was then sewn in place. I did this without a zipper foot ( as I don't have one yet) so had to sew as far as possible up to the zip pull tab but  this left a small space which I finished by  hand sewing.

The other side of the zip was sewn by leaving the bag unzipped. Then it was  turning out the right way. The bottom edges could have been left as the sock fabric allows the bag to be shaped into a curved edge but I decided to edged off diagonally to give the base shape.

The make up bag looked great but I had a length of gorgeous pink velvet ric rac ribbon  and it just looked perfect for this. I hand sewed this on. 

Voila ! Here is the finished make up bag. It is surprisingly sturdy with the interface sandwiched between each sock making up the sides. Surprisingly easy to make, it could have all been done by hand sewing too.

I am really happy with my new macaroon sock make up bag. It is the perfect size for carrying some make up essentials for touch ups when I am out and about and will fit the smallest of handbags.

This idea could be adapted to make a coin purse, or a pencil case too!

Tea and Macaroons

Well,  after a lengthy absence and a complete neglect of what is supposed to be my blog, I feel there is only one way to make a come back and that is with sweet offerings of tasty macaroons and ofcourse lots of tea.

Today's Tea is Pukka peppermint & licorice . It's an acquired taste for me.  The peppermint and licorice seem to flight flavours.

my teacup is from PiP studio 

That gentle soothing harmony of flavour that I like in a cup of tea isn't quite there but it feels so good drinking this tea because the licorice helps to control my sugar cravings.  Which is very helpful when faced with a plate of macaroons!