I've also had a play day with Claire recently. Honestly, my life is all play, play, play.. (I wish).
We decided to work with printing inks using stamps and blocks. I had my Permaset collection; Claire brought Derivan printing inks.
Our main interest was trying our compressed sponge to make stamps, because we'd both bought some, literally, years ago and had never done anything with it. Basically, it comes like a piece of thick cardboard, so you can cut it with scissors or a craft knife. A craft knife feels weird as the medium is a bit bumpy, but it worked OK.
I stayed with trees, because these play days may as well contribute to something I'm meant to be doing! I'm always interested in positive-negative effects, so I cut out my stamp in a way I hoped would allow me to play with that. Well, dummy, cutting the shape from one end means the edges will move around... Note to self, make sure the outer shape has four solid sides. I don't think I'd want to cut anything really intricate - my tree centre is a bit unstable and needs care when printing.
This is how the stamp looked once it had been expanded in water. That is such a fun process - the cardboard-like material just miraculously grows into a sponge. I could watch that all day.
We dried the sponges out as best we could and off I went, stamping my basic shape first with blue and then adding olive green. This was just to see how to printed and how dry it needed to be.
You can see the sponge has that lovely bubbly texture of a kitchen sponge. When it was a bit wet, it tended to push the ink around, so you lose the texture, as you can see on the right hand side. But I think it does need to be a bit damp to print well.
And here's a negative version, stamping with the surround and the centre. I blended the colour into layers when I put the colour on the stamp.
Then I tried using all three, and this is where the way the background moved around was a problem. I'm not sure it's a medium that works for this anyway, as there's too much of the same texture. I didn't bother adding the tree centre.
Just a trio of the three kinds of print...
I noticed that you tend to get more repeat prints from the sponge than from other media, each print getting paler and paler. That's probably because the sponge is wet, so the print media doesn't get trapped in it as much. So I decided to play with this process to try to get some depth.
Last of all, I made a print with Maz's stamp again, to contrast the printing inks with the thickened dye. This one's on cotton quilters muslin.