Thursday, January 08, 2015


Gesso gesso gesso. Since venturing away from traditional quilting and getting more and more drawn into using paint and art journaling, I'd become aware of gesso but not sure of its use to me. So whenever I see one of my fellow internet artists pull out the gesso, I've taken note. And then one day as I perused the limited art supply section of my local Wal-Mart (American readers, please don't hate me - the nearest real art store is miles away), there sat this bottle of gesso, daring me to take it home. It's unlike me to purchase something like this without a lot of research, so once home with the research beginning, I was relieved that I had bought the right thing.

Yesterday's studio time included getting this gesso out and seeing what it's all about. Several of the bookbinding books I'd gotten from the library last fall talked about recycling food boxes into book covers. These cracker boxes were on their way to the trash when I realized they were a good size for recycling this way. But I didn't want to leave them as is, per some of the instructions, but wanted to cover them over somehow as I'd seen Hilary of Living to work - Working to live blog do in this post. Well, actually nothing that fancy for this first run, but oh, are her handmade books and journals inspiring! I'd read that gesso could do a good beginning cover-up, a priming as it were, for more complete coverage with acrylic paint plus add some tooth to the somewhat slick surface of the box, so that's what I decided to do.

I wasn't sure whether to use a roller or foam brush to apply the gesso, deciding on a 2" foam brush which worked fine. I expected more coverage with one coat but the box graphics still showed through quite boldly (right side of bottom box). I added several more coats, perhaps unnecessarily, but I at the moment think I don't want that showing through whatever I decide to do next. And frankly, I'm not sure what I'm doing next - maybe some stamping or sponging?

Remember the squiggles of release paper I saved from the fused mast reflections of the Sailing the Wine-Dark Seas quilts? I wondered if I could imbed them in the wet gesso rather than using matte medium or glue at a later date. They did not stick well, but I eventually got them flattened into the gesso where I am crossing my fingers they will stay. For the record, I did not like these Nut-Thins so I'd really like to obliterate the image!

I'll talk more about what will go inside at least one of these covers in the next post. In the meantime, I would welcome any advice from my readers with more experience working with gesso and recycled boxes.

1 comment:

Living to work - working to live said...

I had to go back to my own blog to remind myself what I did!

Okay so I think you probably need to start adding a bit of texture now. You don't need to worry too much about completely hiding the box at this stage because I think once you begin to tie the texture in more of the box printing will disappear.

I used squares of calico but I think you could successfully use shapes cut from paper all other fabric. Having added to the texture then you will probably find that you will want to add gesso or possibly white acrylic to blend the texture and the card.

Very exciting to see how this will develop. I've been collecting lots of boxes and it's time I made another book!