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All Things Ampersand

Project: Cradled Gessobord – The Seed Lady

This project was going to be simple and fast. I intended to rub Distress Inks onto a 12 x 12 cradled Gessobord and do some stamping with StazOn Inks. I had chosen Flying Seeds, Blossoming Woman and a long stamp with rows of dotted lines. I thought I’d enhance the woman’s hair with a light cream-colored pencil and hang it on the wall.

Here’s what it looked like at first:

But nothing popped or drew the eye, so I kept going with the colored pencils.

Here’s what it looked like:

Egad, the pink was too bright! The woman still didn’t feel important enough in the composition, so I added more details with a white gel pen. And yet I wasn’t pleased.

Here’s what it looked like:

I took a break for a couple of days after adding strips of lightly sanded Orange Iridescent Shimmer Sheetz to the sides, figuring that when I returned I’d know what to do.

When I looked at it again I realized that the Flying Seeds around the outer edges were way too important and needed to be pulled back and blurred, and the area around the woman needed to be emphasized quite a bit more. (The project remained super easy, and I was enjoying every second of the additional time it was taking.)

I did four more things –

  1. Smudged the inner frame with bright orange and the outer edges with mahogany.
  2. Randomly stamped a crackle pattern about 3.5” wide on all sides using dark blue and burnt sienna inks.
  3. Used a fine nib gold pen to accent the woman’s face, neck, hair, headdress, and the leaves just under the horizontal line below her neckline.
  4. Used a wide almost-dry brush to pull streaks of gold metallic paint along the edges, covering and blurring the Flying Seeds and colored pencil marks even more.

I think the project is now complete, but one never knows! Here’s another look at The Seed Lady, along with a few close-ups:


Your Turn

At the time this project was created, the rubber stamps I used were still available to purchase. If, however, you are seeing this when that is no longer the case, it will be easy to make substitutions.

First, choose one large stamp as the focal element (a figure, animal, tree, vase or another object).

Alternatively, for that central spot use a pictorial stencil, incorporate collage, add a photo transfer, or do an original drawing. Then choose small- and medium-size rubber stamps that coordinate with the focal element in scale and subject matter.

Pick a color palette that is the same as mine or head in a totally different direction! Work larger or smaller, stick with a cradled Gessobord or choose an un-cradled Artist Panel. Use paint throughout instead of inks and pens.

Look closely at the project photos, STOP after any of the steps and call your project DONE! No need to keep going if you like the first, second, or third versions.


  • 12” x 12” cradled Gessobord – Ampersand Art Supply
  • Rubber stamps:
    •   Flying Seeds – Red Castle, Inc., available only at The Queen’s Ink, Savage, MD
    •   Blossoming Woman – Stampendous
    •   Crackle Background – Quietfire Design
  • Distress Inks in four colors of choice
  • StazOn Inks in four colors of choice
  • Colored pencils
  • Gellyroll white pen – Sakura of America
  • Pen-touch gold pen – Sakura of America
  • Acrylic paint in bronze or gold
  • 2” wide stiff bristle paintbrush
  • Shimmer Sheetz in Orange Iridescent – Elizabeth Craft Designs   (Four 1.5” x 12” strips)
  • Sanding block

This is part of our on-going series of projects with artist Judi Kauffman. Judi is a nationally known designer, teacher, writer and product developer whose expertise includes collage, stenciling, paper crafting, stamp arts, embroidery, needlepoint, knitting, crochet, weaving and fabric piecing. She has written and produced three videos and is the author of five books. Judi developed and taught college-level studio art and graphic design courses for over 40 years, as well as art programs in public and private schools (elementary through high school levels). Judi earned a BFA in printmaking from Cornell University and an MFA in fibers from Antioch University. She credits her parents (both artists) and her grandfathers (a tailor and a blacksmith) for encouraging her to pursue art and for being among her favorite teachers.


5 comments on “Project: Cradled Gessobord – The Seed Lady”

  1. Avatar Denise says:

    Beautiful project

  2. This is just gorgeous, Judi! Love watching the evolution of the piece. Very exciting. Thanks for sharing with our Laurel Burch Blossoming Woman stamp set! She’s definitely still available.

  3. Avatar Kimberly O. says:

    This is a great post! I like how you mentioned your thought process and how you worked through the different steps to achieve your potentially final result!

  4. Avatar Denise Krueger says:

    I loved following the journey you took to create this project. I love how it turned out. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Avatar Jean Marmo says:

    Thank you for sharing your process! Love seeing how you worked it!

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