Blog: Batik

Letting Go – Art Journal

I found one of my fat Liquitex markers in Silver and as I rarely use those anymore I wondered if it was still working. It had been laying in the drawer for years.

So I started doing some marks on the paper and wow indeed it was still ok. I love how the big marker leaves a nice textured impression. To be honest this is probably the only way I would use them as they don’t really work with my own current style and artwork, but it was interesting here in my art journal today.

I layered my Batik stencil on top and added some acrylic color over it, then stamped with my Jazzed and Groovy foam stamps and then added more acrylic paint again.

It was fun to just play a little bit with layering – something I like to do often as it makes you see things in a different way and discover new connections.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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A Look Back – Lady in Red (in my Art Journal)

A Look Back – As I was looking through my blog archives I started to notice a reoccurring fashion trend happening right there in my art journal. There were a lot of girls wearing red. I don’t know why. I usually gravitate towards black or something a bit more neutral. But in the world of my art journal, the girls are rocking this strong hue. It didn’t take me long to find five of them, and I bet if you go back and look at my posts you can find even more. So I thought it would be fun to dedicate this Look Back to the Lady in Red in my art journal :)

This first one is from way back in 2014 when I came out with my Batik Stencil. This cool chick is standing strong in a red trench that means business. And I like how I used the Batik pattern on the left and then printed the reverse on the right using the painted back side of the stencil. You can check out the original post here.

At the start of 2015 my art journal gal is in a red dress AND some fierce makeup too. Don’t mess with her. But maybe you want to borrow something from her wardrobe :) You can see the original post for this page here. It’s all about that layered background – symbolic of the drama that can surround us and overwhelm us if we’re not careful.

Later in 2015 I had my girl in a fun red top and blue hair – she is definitely not afraid of color! Check out the original post here to see the full background and a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that works perfectly for artists.

In 2018 I traveled to Japan and brought back, among other things, collage material and loads of artistic inspo of course! I created this art journal page with a woman in a red jacket and hat, using inksticks and an inkstone – materials used for writing and calligraphy. I made quite a few art journal pages after this trip that were really pared down and only using a color or two. Pretty cool how travel can influence you like that.

Along those same lines, this spread is from just a few weeks later in 2018 and the white page still plays an important role …and my girl is still in red! Although in this page she is sporting a fun red print! I love how she is completely popping off the blue Manhattan stamped background. You can see the original post here.

I hope you enjoyed this. A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used in these projects:

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Stenciled Papers from my Creative Squad

Last month our Creative Squad member Judi Kauffman shared some stenciled papers she made while going through her stack of ink pads. Here is what she did with my Batik and Amsterdam stencils and the beautiful patterned papers that resulted:

I had started out testing my old ink pads to see which ones were worth keeping. Some of the foam on ancient pigment pads had disintegrated, others were dry and discontinued so re-inkers weren’t possible. (The first photo with lots of sheets show where things started.)

The rest of the photos show sheets that I stenciled and dry-brushed. 

Not shown: I trimmed the sheets, cut them into randomly-sized rectangles, and put the prints onto white and ivory card bases in three sizes ranging from A2 to 5×7. Also kept one scrap for a bookmark and made one card with the tiny slivers that were leftovers from trimming. I left one sheet as-is and made Mark Rothko-style cards, another sheet is waiting for some stamping. And I did use a stencil from another company for one sheet as well. (Last week’s Big Project was organizing ALL of my stencils – egad!)

Thanks for sharing Judi! What a great way to get organized and to make something beautiful from the process. And I love that the sheets then went into other card projects and a bookmark etc.

You can find all of my stencils in my Online Store. Here are some of the supplies that Judi used:

Comments (1)

  • Yvonne Marchant


    Think I need to go through long forgotten ink pads hummm big and juicy ones spring to mind though they might be all mud lol


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Creative Squad: Gratitude is my Attitude – Riikka Kovasin

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post and video from Riikka Kovasin who is sharing her take on our new monthly theme for November and it’s all about being thankful and showing gratitude: Gratitude is my Attitude – This month we are playing along with the November ArtCollab: Showing Gratitude – and specifically giving thanks to those who have helped us along the way in our artistic journey. Who was crucial in helping you become the artist you are today? Let’s give these amazing souls a shout out! Riikka shares her gratitude with a paper quilt using my Batik stencil, Queen Anne rubber stamp and Love Knots rubber stamp.

Quilt of gratitude 

Hello, it’s Riikka here today to share my monthly project. This time the theme was appropriately gratitude as Thanksgiving is just some weeks away.

Gratitude is something that might be easily forgot with all the hustle going on in the world. Gratitude is something I try to show each day, but a reminder to count my blessings made me happy. For this project I was thinking about those who have led me to this place artistically. As I couldn’t possibly name just one, I started thinking about how to honor a bunch of people but still keep the piece cohesive. That made me think about networks, trees, grids and then quilts. My first idea was to dedicate a patch to each person I’m feeling grateful for, but in the end the quilt is more metaphorical than actually consisting of patches dedicated to different people. It’s meant to show that there’s many people I’m feeling grateful for and that the entity is bigger than the sum of its parts.

This piece is surprisingly flat to be my project. I usually strive for dimensional things, but this time a more restricted expression seemed to be in order. I did add something raising from the picture plane, though. There’s a couple of stitches added to the quilt. They play homage to the actual hand sewn quilts but also repeat the X pattern that can be found on the “Batik” stencil and “Love Knots” stamp I used. Some may see an X as a prohibiting sign, but to me it’s usually a combining element. The two lines gather the sides together, make a bridge, combine things. Maybe that stems from my schooling as a seamstress, where for example hemming is done using an X like stitch. 

To have some texture and variation, not just that of color and pattern, I used two different papers in my make. I made the collage paper on top of regular 160g cardstock, which I often use as my starting point, but also on top of hand made paper. The soft handmade paper absorbed the colors differently and also had an uneven surface, so there’s a little variation in the piece. If you want to see how I made this project, please see the video below.

For the color palette I chose to go with my current favorite. The piece could have been almost any color, really, but I feel most at home when I’m working with teal and blue tones. But gratitude needed something more than just cool and aloof blues, it needed warmth, earthiness. For that I combined the teals and turquoises with rusty, amber tones. The contrast between the two colors makes each segment pop and keeps the piece interesting. At least I hope that it does that!

I’m grateful that you stopped by today. Thank you!

Xoxo Riikka

Thank you Riikka – such a thoughtful way to express your gratitude – in a quilt inspired project.

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps and Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

Comments (1)

  • Robin


    What a wonderful metaphor and project. Thanks so much for sharing it!


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The Fear of No – Art Journal

“It’s OK to say no, sometimes it is an expression of respect of the person asking.”

First I primed the ledger page with some light gesso as I did not know how the paper would take water. I used my Batik Stencil and traced parts of the pattern with a Derwent water soluble sketching pencil, then used a wet brush to pick up some of the pencil lines, dragging some grey coloring into the shapes.

I also used my Tokyo Stencil with a brush and watercolor and went over the stencil, knowing that it would not be a defined stenciled image, but liking it.

I added a sketch on deli paper, also done with the water soluble pencil, and adhered it with gel medium.

I finished up my page by journaling with a black Posca marker – a super thin one.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Print Collaboration from my Creative Squad

I’m sharing a nice collaboration that Judi Kauffman from my Creative Squad did with another artist.

Judi turned her friend Nancy McNiff’s cast-off gel prints done with Nathalie’s Batik Pattern 1, Pattern 2, and Pattern 3 foam stamps into some very striking cards. When the two friends have gel printing days Judi always rescues prints that Nancy would otherwise leave in the trash. Nancy’s much more ruthless, while Judi sees beauty in what Nancy thinks of as duds! Judi added her own touches with black, white and hot pink colored pencils and Tim Holtz’s stickers. 

What a great idea to do some printmaking and card making with another friend. Besides it being a fun activity, you never know what will come from it – collage material, print exchanges, and even a chance to allow ideas to flow back and forth. I just love how this session created some beautiful “trash to treasure” cards!

***A fun surprise: The rectangles on the two larger cards are removable ATCs, signed on the back and held in place with easily removable low-tack tape!***

Here are some of the supplies they used:

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Creative Squad: Primary Colors – Riikka Kovasin

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post and video from Riikka Kovasin who is sharing a trio of cheeky tags using my Batik stencil, Triple Play foam stamps, and Love Knots rubber stamp along with our theme this month: Primary Colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow it’s your time to shine. Let’s get back to the basics of color and light and play with primary colors. It’s elementary my friend! This month we are also pleased to be partnering with Grafix who supplied the squad with some cool products to try out. Read on:


Hi there all! It’s Riikka here today to share my take on the monthly theme of Primaries! This month we also got some lovely products to play with from Grafix. I used all three we were given and threw in one more from my own stash!

I feel like I must be honest with you. After seeing all the cool stuff you can do with Grafix products, especially by Tania Ahmed, I sourced some supplies through internet and ordered them. But then when they arrived, I had some deadlines closing in and I just put them aside with the thought “Need to play soon”. Then that pile moved to another place in my craft room and finally they went up on a shelf. So, while I have had some craft plastic in my craft room for months now, I’m so grateful for this theme and collaboration as it finally pushed me to take the stuff from the shelf and use it and fall in love all over again!

As before, I recorded a little process video while working with the Grafix products and primaries. As you can see from the pictures already, the project has blue and yellow and there’s red, too but not the same way as the other two. It’s because somehow I feel intimidated by red, especially in large surfaces. It’s such a vibrant, energetic color that I feel I can’t cope with it, I can’t harness it. So, instead of doing a red base and patterns, I started with a pink base and added red on top! More manageable!

I was amazed how well the craft plastic handled all the mediums I threw at it. Especially I loved using watercolor on top of the acrylic layer, it felt so soothing and rewarding. Another discovery was that I couldn’t rip the Double Tack Mounting Film. I was planning on ripping the vellum apart for the collage layer on the yellow tag, but it proved to be impossible. The Mounting Film was so sturdy that it wouldn’t rip! But still it’s so thin that it doesn’t add any bulk.

I kept the embellishments in the tags quite minimal. This shows the background better and also gives the whole thing a story book feel as all the texts connect. I guess this idea came to me while cutting the openings to reveal the layers underneath. The holes get smaller between the layers and that reminded me of a children’s book by Tove Jansson. It’s called “The book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My”. It’s the first picture book drawn and written by Tove Jansson, published in the 50s. The original title was “Hur gick det sen?” as Tove was a Swedish speaking Finn. Throughout the book there’s holes where you can have a sneak peek to the following spread. The holes get smaller and smaller in the course of the story and the last hole is so small that Moomins can’t fit through it and are thus captured in the book. The book has vibrant illustrations in Tove’s unique style. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend taking a look! Perfect inspiration for solid color surfaces and primaries! Here’s a link to Moomin site to get you going.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I really enjoyed my first go with the Grafix products and can’t wait to play some more!

Thank you Riikka – just love the gorgeous layers you were able to build and learning the inspiration behind the project!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps , Foam Stamps, and my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

Follow Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram too: Each week we post projects, ideas, and inspiration for mixed media art.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Riikka, awesome texture, colors and the expression about the woman shown are so delightful!


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Creative Squad: Primary Colors – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a really thoughtful card project from Maura Hibbitts that explores some pretty important ideas along with our theme this month: Primary Colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow it’s your time to shine. Let’s get back to the basics of color and light and play with primary colors. It’s elementary my friend! This month we are also pleased to be partnering with Grafix who supplied the squad with some cool products to try out. Read on:

Oddly enough, I don’t reach for just primary colors that often, I think I must like them better blended together to make green, purple, orange, and the myriad of colors they create. So, I find it a bit of a challenge to just focus on primary colors, but I did…with just a touch of blending (I couldn’t help myself, lol). I’m also using Grafix products for the first time, and they are wonderful! I tried out a number of mediums and they worked beautifully.

I started creating, thinking of the ocean and my longing to go there again. I was also thinking about my friends in education and the upcoming end to a very challenging year. Somehow this translated into the schools of fish I stamped on the cards. But then, I thought about how everything is interconnected on our planet, from the fish in different oceans, to the people of different lands, and I added some stitches. It’s inter-esting how our creative process can begin with a simple thought, yet end up very complex by the time we finish.

I started my project by cutting the 12 x 12 sheet of Grafix Craft Plastic into four sec-tions. (6 x 6), then stamped three of them with a single paint color of yellow, red, or blue with Nat’s ArtFoamie Batik 2 stamp. I find it easy to roll out some paint on a gel plate, and press the ArtFoamie into that, to get a clean image.

For the fourth section, I decided to use the Batik stencil (a favorite!), fluid acrylics in red, yellow, and blue, and dab in the color with a cosmetic sponge. I couldn’t resist a bit of blending here.

Next, I decided to go around each stamped piece with a contrasting color, using the Art Deco Fairview stencil. I just added the design around the edges, and left a circular open area on the plastic.

I found that acrylic paint works beautifully with the Grafix plastic, so I thought, why not try watercolor next? I painted watercolor onto each section with blue, red or yellow.

To create my “schools of fish”, I used the Neato rubber stamp with black archival ink, and repeatedly stamped the image across the pages.

Then, I cut each section into fourths, just slightly smaller than 3” squares. I adhered four different squares to a backing. I cut a 12 x 12 black card stock into fourths for this base. Next, I punched holes to do some stitching, using a Japanese screw punch (or you could use an awl). I stitched X’s with heavy black thread onto the cards, tucking the ends onto the back and holding them in place with scotch tape.

To finish the card design, I framed it using the edge of the Far Out rubber stamp and black ink. I stamped the partial image around all edges.

As I was working, I started thinking of how we are all connected, and came up with the quote to put on my cards “We are all stitched together…” I typed up my words, and printed them onto the Grafix Computer Matte film using an inkjet printer. I adhered these to the card fronts using a clear adhesive, so the design underneath would be visible.

Then, the final step was to adhere my card tops. I cut 12 x 12 card stock in half, scored it and folded it into a 6 x 6 card. One reason I decided to not work directly on the card itself was the stitching. It shows through the back, and by doing it separately, I end up with a nice, neat card. Hint: remember, if you mail square cards, the postage is a bit higher…or you can put it into a kraft mailer.

It’s the common threads that pull us all together, like color – yes, primary colors too, which are connected to all colors. Other threads that bind us are music, art, words, friendships, family, and so many more. Remember, we are all stitched together…

I wish you joy in searching for the stitches and threads in your life, Maura

Thank you Maura – loved how you shared your thought process along with such clear step by step instructions. These cards are so meaningful AND beautiful!!!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps , Foam Stamps, and my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Maura used:

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April ArtFoamies Challenge – Day 15, 16 & 17

Are you playing along with Nat and Sarah’s April ArtFoamies Challenge ? You can follow along on my Instagram feed daily with videos and photos, and I post updates here on the blog too from time to time throughout the month. Today I’m recapping 15, 16, and 17. Enjoy!

Day 15 – Plant – I love plants but unfortunately I am a really bad plant owner …so maybe printing a plant inspired pattern is a better idea ;) While my Jazzed and Groovy ArtFoamies were not designed with a plant pattern in mind- they definitely can stand in for that and I love the outcome. Wohoo for easy maintenance plants ;)


Here is a look at Day 15:


April 16 – Dots – Grove Street Positive and Negative Stamp is going to show off its dots today and since the Grove Street Path Station in Jersey City def. Is a route to get to Broadway… the Broadway Fan stamp made an appearance as well. I felt it needed a little bit of extra red omph, so for good measure I threw in one of my Rubber Stamps called Valley Road …because you know… sometimes you gotta change your plans.


And here is a look at Day 16:


April 17 – Layers – I love using the same patterned stamps but in different sizes, like my Batik 3 and Mini Batik 3 and then my Batik 4 and Mini Batik 4 – this was fun to stamp …and yes, the ledger is barely visible but it still adds to the whole. Keeping every ledger page pristine is overrated because why even bother stamping into it if you do. #myledgermyrules


Here are some looks at April 17:

Follow along with the challenge on instagram  and post your artwork too with the hashtag #artcollabChallengeAccepted

Everyone approaches Challenges differently. This ArtFoamies Challenge that Sarah Matthews and I came up with has had me thinking about how I want to approach it. In the past my Foam Stamplifier Challenge #foamstamplifierchallenge I used all kinds of different media, so I didn’t want to repeat myself. I also thought about how Sarah usually uses ArtFoamies with ink pads, while I use acrylic paints and the first parameter became clear: I will only use ink pads for the challenge. The other challenge is that I purchased an old ledger journal and I want to turn it into a pattern book. I usually make my own pattern books by binding loose printed papers into a book. This method has the advantage that if a print doesn’t turn out too great it can be discarded. By printing directly into this 125 year old ledger I have no out. So using my foam stamp designs to create patterns into a ledger book with ink pads is my challenge for this month.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Play along with us and our daily prompts:

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