Blind emboss of wire netting with fish and Keep swimming text overprinted

An A – Z of Creative Activities (Part One)

Welcome to the second week of the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge, which you may have noticed is a bit different to previous years. There are so many hashtag challenges and online classes that we wondered if there was any room left for another challenge. So, this year the Challenge is about encouraging everyone to find their own challenge, their own line of investigation and experimentation rather than giving prescriptive assignments. In other words, being creative.

If you’ve decided to create your own alphabet project or work collaboratively with somebody else (and we hope you’ll try at least one) then you may be wondering what medium to work in or perhaps looking for a project to make, which is why we’ve assembled an A-Z of Creative Activities for you.

There are links to follow for tutorials and more information, to inspire you to be creative this summer. It’s not an exhaustive list so please tell us if you have something fantastic to share.

PART ONE – Creative Activities A to I

ANIMATION

Old style can still be fun. Do you remember those little books that you flipped through to make them look like moving pictures? This video shows you how to make a flipbook animation using a pen and paper.

If you prefer something more digital watch these stop motion films

BLIND EMBOSSING

blind emboss of honesty seedhead
Honesty Seed Head

Blind embossing could be described as printing without ink. Discover more about this process and many other experimental printmaking activities from the Curious Printmaker.

You need a lot of pressure to make a good impression so you won’t be able to do this by hand. First choice would be to use an etching press but we’ve discovered that a die cutting machine (like the X-cut Xpress or So Crafty Mini Die Cutting Machine) works brilliantly for small scale embossing.

COLLAGE

Cutting and pasting the old-fashioned way with paper and glue. Make pictures, greetings cards and collage into your art journal. This is a useful way to use up less than perfect or experimental paintings and prints. Colour plain paper with a gouache wash, spatter ink and add crayon marks, print with foam shapes or rubber stamps and make your own paste papers with flour and paint.

There’s plenty of inspiration in the book Cut Paper Pictures by Clover Robin

COLLAGRAPH

Use textured materials to make prints using intaglio or relief printing. It’s very rewarding to stick down a few bits of cardboard or found objects, make some cuts and brush on some gesso to make a printing plate that can produce amazing results.

Three hens collagraph
Three French Hens collagraph

Read about making collagraphs in our Printmaking section

DOODLE

Doodling is a good loosening up exercise before you start sketching or waiting for inspiration to strike and also be a great way to pass the time when waiting for appointments. Some people like to spend five minutes at the start of the day doodling to clear their mind. For a change, try Verbal Doodling

DRYPOINT ETCHING

Drypoint prints like these are made by scratching an image into the plate and then inking using the intaglio method.

ECO DYEING

Dyeing with with leaves and flowers can produce some unexpected and exciting colours and prints. Try it this summer using Elizabeth’s instructions.

ENVELOPE MAKING

While we’re still socially distanced and not meeting up with friends and family as we might like to, why not write them a letter? Or send a letter of appreciation to a small business owner, rekindle correspondence with an old penpal or start a letterbox collaboration.

Instead of slipping your letter into a boring plain envelope, be creative and make your own envelopes. Use patterned paper or draw your own designs.

FOAM SHEET PRINTING

Craft foam sheets are available from hobby shops and are a great way to start printmaking with too much fuss. Draw on the foam or cut it into shapes and ink it up with a roller. You can print onto fabric or paper so you could print your own design to make cushion covers, bags or givewraps and make greetings cards or personalised stationery (to slip into your hand made envelopes).

Find out how to make your own printing block with craft foam and a piece of cardboard.

GIVEWRAPS

Gift wrapping made from fabric can be used time and time again unlike conventional wrapping that's tossed in the bin after one use. Make your own with fabric that you print yourself.

Gift wrapping made from fabric can be used time and time again unlike conventional wrapping that’s often tossed in the bin after one use. Although you can buy ready-made fabric wrappers it’s very simple to make your own. Use fabric leftover from sewing projects or print test runs, print your own designs or make a patchwork giftwrap from a combination of fabrics.

Discover the story behind GiftWraps and how to make your own.

HUFFERS

If you caught the bread making bug during lockdown and are looking for some new ideas, try making huffers, which are traditional Essex bread rolls.

INDEX CARD ART

Our creativity may be limited (consciously or otherwise) by expense or scarcity of supplies so it’s good to use paints and paper that aren’t precious, which we don’t mind messing up.

Index cards are a perfect low cost resource. They’re small so there’s no enormous blank page to intimidate, they’re widely available and there’s little guilt if you mess them up and throw them away. You could use Index Cards as part of a collaborative project, for doodling or as an art journal.

Read how Linda Germain uses index cards as one of her liberating art supplies.

. . .

Drop by on Wednesday for Part Two.

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