Sunday 27 May 2012


These are not finished pieces of work.  They will provide the basis for further development, but I haven't decided what that will be yet. 

This is quite an unpredictable technique, which only adds to the fun of it, and it simply involves 

-  some absorbent string, cut plenty, 
   - any thickness, or even a mixture of thicknesses, 
-  paper - I used good watercolour paper, 
-  and some paint - I used well watered-down acrylic for these,
   just red, yellow and blue in fairly deep palette 'wells'
-  and rubber gloves.

Clear the decks and lay some newspaper on your working surface.  Careful as I was and even wearing an art apron I found that splashes had somehow worked their way over the apron on to my blouse and my cardigan - and even a little on the cream carpet but I managed to get that off before I had to admit to it.

It's a good idea to start with just 3 pieces of string, one of each colour, but then go on to trying a few more pieces of string to get different effects.

Put each piece of string in it's pool of colour to soak up paint, leaving a good sized tail trailing out with no paint on it.  Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, then open it out flat again.

One at a time, lay your pieces of string on one half of the sheet with the undipped ends lying out at different angles; the results will vary depending on how and where you lay the string, but overlapping them as shown below does help.  (Simulation with lengths of embroidery thread because I'm not getting all the stuff out again just to show you!)

Then carefully fold the other half of the paper over on top of the string side and hold it down flat with your hand covering as much as possible of the half page, like this:

Who put that ancient hand of a 125-year-old woman on my piece of paper!

Carefully collect the strings together and, holding down firmly on the paper, pull them out - or you can experiment with pulling them out individually.  When they come out they may be discoloured and you might want to use fresh string for another one.

Sometimes, as you will have noticed, I used pieces of paper on which I had already done some 'bubble' printing - a technique I keep meaning to add, and I promise to do so soon.

These are just some of the experimental pieces I did that day.  I've cut them down to postcard size or thereabouts.

If you've ever dyed fabrics, towels, blouses, etc, you'll have experienced the urge to keep finding more and more things to dye to use up the lovely colour you've got left.  It's the same with this, you'll probably keep reaching for more and more pieces of paper if you haven't prepared enough.

In the end, to use up the paints because there was nowhere else to lay the wet papers, I folded and scrunched up pieces of kitchen towel and soaked them in the colours.  I'm sure I'll find a use for these one day.  Hope you have a go and let the child within you enjoy itself.


  1. well isn't that just a heap of fun??? I have to do that. maybe even today. it's the most glorious of days here - too nice to be inside. lining up all the art projects that are too messy or smelly for indoors. I think I'll this to the list!

  2. I love this technique, you can use the kitchen toweling schunched on a canvas to create a texture.

  3. jez, this looks like great fun! I think I shall do this with 2 of my grandkids next weekend. They always expect to paint and make cupcakes when they come to grams! Good luck with your pre-op situation. healing thoughts your way!


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