Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!


I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!


Squarish paper earrings

My new sideboard arrived recently, and my room finally has some proper furniture in it. Rearranging my stash inevitably followed, and in the process, I found some old one-sided printouts that I’d retained to repurpose as jewelry. So I got to work.

Squarish paper earringsThe base

I cut out eight 1″-wide squares from the paper, and then divided them into two equal piles. I glued together the 4 squares in each pile to make 2 strong squares. (Err, or at least stronger than the individual ones…) I applied my scissors to two opposing points of each square and made them curved. I then used a sharp pin to make a small hole on each square near one of the uncut points. I would use these holes to attach the earring findings later.

The design

I painted a curved gradient on each square using black and dark-blue watercolors. For added effect, I diluted the blue paint on my brush and gently nudged it along, and just outside, the boundary of the curve. That gave it a blot-like look.

I repeated the process on the other surface of the squares, ensuring that the same point is used for the start of the gradient on both sides. I also took care to color the edges of the pieces so the white of the paper doesn’t show up there.

Even after all this, the pieces looked a bit plain, so I borrowed my sister’s Signo white pen and drew some waves and curves on them. Much better!

The finish

Alright, it was time for some gloss! I applied two coats of Mod Podge with a satin-finish on the pieces, each coat applied after the previous had finished drying. (The satin finish is quite glossy. I’d expected a light sheen, but nope, the shine almost blinded me. 😉 ) I then attached a large jump ring each through the holes, and finally added earring findings to the jump rings. Happiness!

So, do you like flat paper earrings like these?