Converge mixed media course 

Over the last six weeks I’ve been taking part in a mixed media course with Converge.  If you’re in York and have mental health issues and enjoy creative activities, definetely have a look at what they offer.  Their courses are free, relaxed and they have a wide range from creative writing to film making to drawing.

The course looked at a different medium each week, starting with mark making and pencils:

Then inks which I loved.  We started by watching a video of under the sea and painting whatever we saw as a way of getting used to the inks and how they work.

Then adding a second colour for a more planned piece of work:

I missed week three due to illness but it was drawing people using graphite which I know wouldn’t have played to my strengths.

Then collage which I love!  Normally my collages are really busy so I used this opportunity to get advice from our teacher about more minimalistic approaches.

Annoyingly I didn’t take a picture of my work for week 5… It was a free for all so we could do anything we’d covered so far.  I chose collage and created a head with thinky words on and a hand with creating words on.  They’re mounted on a black piece of paper.

And the final week we went back to inks (yay!).  This time we flicked through magazines for ideas and I painted a sea urchin:

I’ve really enjoyed doing an in person art class and love that it’s relaxed and friendly.  There’s no pressure to create a masterpiece and it’s ok if I need to stop and rest my hands for a while.  Everyone has produced some great pieces and they’re so different which I love seeing.

Next week, we start the advanced course!

Collaged Oracle Cards

Collaged card

A few months back I started making some little collages on a set of sample playing cards I had.  I really enjoyed working on them and eventually had 55 little individual collages.  They are wonderfully textural and I have collaged the backs in neutral-ish colours.  Each card had a word or phrase on and I decided I’d like to use them as oracle cards part way through creating them.  However, because they are wonderfully textural, they are very tricky to handle and shuffle…!

Selection of collaged cards
More collaged cards

So I, with help from my carer, scanned each front and back in, edited them and sent them off to get printed.  Because this hadn’t been my original plan, they weren’t all set up great for this – you have to leave a printer margin and some of my words were very very close to the edge so some of them have white edges.  Also my scanner was a bit patchy so that affects the quality a bit as well.

Printed cards
See the white edges?
Backs of the cards

However, despite that, I love them!  And as I use them, generally alongside tarot cards, I find myself seeing new things in them and discovering more meanings.

Art goodies!

art stuff

A trip to Hobbycraft today let to a few impulse buys… They had a sale, I have no self restraint, it was inevitable…

So… The Windsor and Newton Promarker pens should have been £19.99 but my whole stash of goodies came to £21.25 overall!

Four shades of Daler Rowney Graduate acrylic paints.  A year ago I bought a large set of little Daler Rowney Graduate acryclic paints and I now have a better idea about which colours I like and use.  The sale was a good chance to pick up some of my most used colours in much larger tubes.

Posca paint pens; a 0.7mm black to replace one that’s running out and a 1.8-2.5mm bullet purple one.  I have lots of these in different colours, they are smooth and fit nicely in my hands and are easy for my poorly hands to hold.

And some half price gesso, of which I use a lot.




Little white book

A little white book is a small pamphlet which comes with a tarot deck and often includes a note from the artist as well as a brief meaning of the cards. As part of Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course, we’re making our own little white books (lwb).

I’m especially proud of mine because I made the book itself. It’s a5 paper (from various bits of other sized paper I had kicking around. My poor cutting skills means the pages aren’t exactly the same size and the holes aren’t punched in exactly the same place so it has a rustic, home made feel 😉). The cover is two pieces of Amazon packaging, cut slightly bigger than a5 and covered with decorative paper. I think covered the inside covers with a piece of a5 card and used book rings to hold it all together. 

Susannah suggests using something akin to this, eg a filofax, so that you can add pages and move them around later if you want. 

I’ve included some coloured card as a divider between spreads and card meanings and used washi tape to edge the start of each suite so it’s easy to find. I tried to go for associated colours so cups have blue tape, my tree card meanings have tree tape etc.

When my hands are happier I’d like to put tape on each page edge. 

Mixed media prayer flags

I’ve ended up falling behind on wanderlust which is disappointing.  I think it was because the watercolour section coincided with my nasty tramadol withdrawal.  I don’t find watercolours very good for my hands – you tend to have to do a lot of mixing and obviously you don’t get much colour for your effort which means more hand use.  I do however have a new love affair with ecolines which some people argue are watercolours, other people insist they’re inks.  Either way, beautiful products, lots of colour for your effort.

Anyway, one of the weeks I’ve just caught up on was about using watercolours to make mixed media (non traditional) prayer flags.

This caught my attention and, being in a bit of a creative slump, I quickly got onto it and although I’ve not used watercolours (except for dipping fabric in my ecolines, great tip from wanderlust) I have managed to make three flags.  The idea is that you then hang them outside and let the weather alter them.  But I only have a yard and my neighbours (not nice people) use it far more than me (I don’t use it because they do… can’t wait till they move…) so my flags are going to be indoor flags…

Traditionally, a prayer flag is a rectangle of coloured fabric with words and images on.  They are often found hung in the mountains in Tibet and are traditionally used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom.  According to wikipedia:

The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

Our lesson asked us to choose some words to focus on and inscribe on our flags.  I choose three words which are coming up a lot for me this year; intention, awareness and synchronicity (which I keep spelling wrong and true to form, spelt wrong on my flag… a lesson there in accepting things we cannot change I guess!).

To make my flags I used squares of cardboard (amazon packaging to be precise) for the base and have used old book paper, fabric and trimming dipped in ecoline and inks, buttons, washi tape, dress patterns etc.  I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out, spelling mistake and all.  I’m not sure even if I had the option, I’d put them outside…

Tree project update

Shush, don’t speak too loudly, you’ll spook it… But over there, behind the trees I think there’s a blog post emerging!

Trees you say? Yes indeed! Trees (and changing my painkillers and enduring the resulting withdrawal) have indeed been the cause of my empty blog.

So you may recall my year long tree project. Well it’s so far involved a leaf book, a mostly finished may day canvas and, drum roll please, my very own tree oracle deck! Which I love so be polite and coo over it like it’s a baby…

Made from my own photos and carefully curated from my many tree photos the deck was printed by

I very much rushed the design stage hence it’s simplicity but I really wanted to get the cards printed…



I love them!  And it was a lot cheaper than I expected as well.  I’ll probably do it again, possibly with water based images and probably make a bit more time over the design stage next time!

Image transfer

After years of seeing it on blogs and pinterest I finally attempted an image transfer myself. Mostly because it came up in last weeks wanderlust class.

Apparently it works best with a photocopy or lazer printer and gel medium.

I had pva glue and an inkjet printer.  But it turned out OK except the tail. I think it probably had too much glue or too much water on.



Very quick how to:

Cover your image and the page you’re transferring to with a thin layer of pva. Stick the image image side down and smooth out any air bubbles. Leave. I left mine about ten minutes. Spray the image with water and start smooshing it with your finger, the paper will start to come off. In my case a lot of ink also came off but there is enough left on the page to satisfy me. Perhaps leaving it longer would result in blacker lines. The image I used was darker than the outcome but I like this faded vintage worn look.