Friday, March 1, 2013

Garbage Stamping!

The above photo shows an art journal page from a handcrafted journal that I made from an old Avon book. Garbage stamping was used to apply the flowery shapes throughout the lower half of this page. I used one section of the bottom of a clear plastic cupcake container from the supermarket with Gesso to create a forefront framing the woman's face.
By using items that you would normally just throw in the garbage you can create interesting shapes and textures in your art work. Styrofoam or clear plastic food containers with embossed designs or unique forms. Cardboard egg cartons have great texture and shapes. Packing materials such as bubble wrap or wadded up paper, toilet paper rolls, different types of sponge, scraps of screen, and string can all be utilized... just use your imagination!
Soon you'll be noticing patterns or textures in things that you've never paid attention to before as you're starting to toss them in the trash. You've got lots of free art materials at your fingertips and there's nothing wrong with recycling waste for a new use! It's a great idea for kid's crafts as well and can lend a creative touch to your layered mixed-media pieces.
 Simply use a brayer or paint brush to apply paint or Gesso to the surface pattern that will be transferred to your canvas. Or you can apply paint to a small piece of wax paper and just dip your stamping object into it. Play with it... different amounts of paint will create different results, various amounts of pressure can change the look as well. Sometimes a found item can work as both a stamp or a stencil leaving opposite designs.
Save the sturdier ones that work well, cleaning them well after each use. When they wear out you can usually find a replacement in your weekly trash or recycle bin.

I find that acrylic paint works well for Garbage stamping - as I've used in the example sheets here. Though I often use Gesso, watercolors or ink for the more porous found materials. Again, experimenting will provide you with varying effects. With some items you can use a stomping technique with dry pastels or chalk.
This type of stamping isn't meant to be perfect like purchased ink stamps are. Variations in the prints only give them more character. Don't be afraid to sometimes load up the paint on a garbage stamp once and then use it over and over again in your work until the image is almost faded away. It just gives the completed image more depth.  
Using different colors, different staining materials, blotting with a paper towel, using a lighter or heavier touch can all make the same stamp look different even in the same art project. Either bringing the stamped design to the forefront or letting it recede to the background.
Applying a rainbow of colors on one stamp surface can be fun too. Or try loading up one stamp, for instance a smooth round dot, with the paint spread on a another textured stamp surface. It will give you a the dot shape with the same texture of the other stamp when applied to the paper.  
You can create stamped borders, incorporate them into a larger design by sketching or painting around or on the stamped pattern after it dries or blend the edges of it while it's still damp.  


The above example shows journal pages in my Greeting Card Journal, in which I used garbage stamping with Gesso over the already dry background. For these textures and dots I used two different types of styrofoam, once it dried I continued on with paper collage and a few ink stamp swirls as the last layer. These techniques lend well to card making, art journaling, scrap booking or any sort of mixed media projects. Try it out as a family project! 

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