Gum Arabic Transfer

Gum Arabic Transfer (also called paper lithography) is a marvellously fast technique in which photographic images can be added to sketchbooks, paper or mixed media pieces. This is one of the techniques used by Sue Brown in her fantastic work. We were lucky enough to have Sue teach in our studio and hope to have her back soon!

First, prepare an image to transfer. This needs to be a laser print or photocopy – inkjet printers will not work. Remember that images will print in reverse so you may want to flip the design (especially if it includes text). This needs to be a positive image – the black areas of the design will print.

Start by mixing together your ink. Use Hawthorn Stay Open Inks. We are mixing a green from Process Yellow and Process Cyan.

The ink needs to be slackened a little with a small amount of linseed oil which can be purchased from a DIY store. Here, we added about 6 pipette drops to about 1tsp ink. Different coloured inks will require varying amounts of oil.

Lay out your materials for the remaining steps. A full list of materials and equipment needed can be found at the bottom of the instructions.

Using a piece of baking parchment as a base, lay your image face down and brush over the back lightly with gum arabic.

Flip the paper and lightly coat the front of the image with gum arabic.

Use a soft roller to roll out a small square of your prepared ink to a suede-like texture.

Move your image to a clean surface such as a shiny magazine page. Gently roll the ink onto the image. Roll from the centre of the paper outwards to avoid the paper curling around the roller. Build up the ink in light layers until you can see the image is inked up fully. The gum arabic on the white areas of the paper should resist the ink a little so you should be able to see your image clearly.

Place the inked up paper into a tray, upright over a sink. Spray water onto the paper. This should remove the gum arabic and take the unwanted ink with it. Spray the paper until the white background is as clear as possible.

Place the image face down onto your printing paper or sketchbook (we are using Kent).

Cover with a sheet of blotting paper and then a piece of baking parchment. Use a baren or wooden spoon to hand burnish the print: rub all over the back of the paper. The baking parchment helps the baren glide over the blotting paper.

Peel the image away to reveal your print!

For this project you will need:

Meet the Makers: Handprinted Christmas Makers’ Market!

The Handprinted Christmas Makers’ Market is back! We have an amazing group of local printmakers, artists and makers selling their handmade wares. Friday 29th November is Indie Friday! This is the perfect opportunity to support local, independent creatives and businesses with your Christmas gifts this year. Please join us!

Friday 29th November (Indie Friday) 18:00 – 20:30
Saturday 30th November 10:30 – 16:30

Handprinted, 22 Arun Business Park, Shripney Road,
Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 9SX.
Entry is completely free.
There is plenty of free parking right outside our doors.

There will be original prints, homewares, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, upcycled products, gifts, accessories, stationery, cards and original art – all handmade! Take a look below to see a sample of what will be available at the market:

Nicole Phillips England will be selling original kitchen and homeware textiles featuring foodie subjects and coastal themes as well as original screenprints.

Claudia Jones Art – AhWjaDat – makes bright tropical printed cushion covers, tea towels and bags.

Miss Rose Creates will be bringing her amazing laser cut and handpainted badges, illustrated cards and postcards and gifts.

Rosie Barclay – Design and Illustration creates a range of decorated earthenware pots, cards, tags and decorations.

Patricia Griffin will sell prints using linocuts, monoprints, carborundum, collagraphs and drypoint.

Wendy Middleditch is an artist and designer living in sunny Chichester. Her designs are inspired by her love of nature, pattern and fairy tales. Wendy’s hand-drawn sketches are made into screenprints, linocuts, Japanese Woodblock and digital designs.

Sylvia’s Sewing will have sewn cushions, door stops, bags, purses, make-up bags, oven gloves and more!

Diana Benham Ceramics is showing a range of hand-thrown stoneware pots, Christmas gifts and decorations.

Elsie Green is an artist making colourful oil paintings and limited edition digital prints. Her semi-abstract works are inspired by landscape and woodland in and around West Sussex.

Charlotte Deal Designs makes modern, functional ceramics in the studio pattern tradition. There will also be the return of the popular £5 ‘odd pots’ on sale!

Janes’ Textile Treasures create handspun yarn, Kumihimo bracelets and kits, needle felted and wet felted items, Pomimals and hand-dyed patchwork bags.

Holly Newnham (from our very own Handprinted team) will be at the market with colourful original prints, hand-printed textile homewares, stationery and a few stab-bound sketchbooks!M

Anna M Jewellery makes sterling silver and 9ct and 14ct gold jewellery inspired by nature. Anna will also have lino-printed Christmas cards and a lucky dip!

Barbara Lammas Prints creates gorgeous greetings cards and scarves using natural forms and transfer dyes.

Miss Mad Mod Screen Prints will be selling her pop art. She is
an enthusiastic screen printing artist who likes to use the vernacular to express thoughts and feelings.

Susy Designs uses a variety of techniques including wet felting and needle felting to create a range of bags, cushions, earrings and keyrings.

Please join us on
Friday 29th November (Indie Friday) 18:00 – 20:30
Saturday 30th November 10:30 – 16:30

Handprinted, 22 Arun Business Park, Shripney Road,
Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 9SX.
Entry is completely free.
There is plenty of free parking right outside our doors.

Meet the Maker: Claire Whitworth

Hello! I’m Claire Whitworth and I am a Graphic Designer and Printmaker living and working in Oxford.

How and where did you learn to print?

I fell in love with printmaking during my degree course at Bath Spa. We had open access to the print room which was fully equipped with beautiful printing machinery. I would find any excuse to go in and try out different printing techniques, but it wasn’t until my 3rd year that I really fell in love with lino.

Why printmaking?

There is a certain calmness to working with lino. The methodic process of carving away material to reveal an image, and then never appreciating the full impact of the piece until all the layers have been printed means that every piece is a journey but also a surprise. Each one is different and I
think that’s what I love the most. You have to let the ink do the talking and allow it to fall where it wants.

Where do you work?

I mostly work from my spare room in our little terrace house. Sketches and books do find themselves sprawled around the house (I sometimes need encouragement to keep things tidy) but I have hopes of converting our attic into my studio in the spring which would give me the creative
space I crave!

Describe a typical day in your studio.

As I only work on my prints two afternoons a week, a typical afternoon would consist of me either sketching up some compositions for my next print on my i-pad pro or continuing another layer on an ongoing print. I use an app called Procreate to do a lot of digital sketching. I was a bit apprehensive at first of using a digital tool to help what is a very analogue process, but it has completely changed the way I work for the better. It allows me to play around with colour so easily and quickly without committing to the ink and then rethinking my colour palette. I also love illustration and graphic design, and have recently illustrated a children’s book in collaboration with a friend. Some afternoons I will be working on some freelance work, so will spend time at my laptop producing branding or marketing material.

How long have you been printmaking?
I have been printmaking for about 3 years now.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspirations are landscapes, particularly welsh seascapes. I love the feeling of being on a blowy welsh walk breathing in the sea air, taking quick sketches and photos of stones, gorse and heather, the sea and beaches. I visit the Llyn Peninsular every year, it has a special place in my heart and it’s somewhere I always return to for inspiration. I also can’t ignore the inspiration I feel walking around my home city of Oxford and the River Thames which is just near my house. I’m always thinking about the next print and where it might come from…Wales, Oxford or a holiday to

What is your favourite printmaking product?

This isn’t really a product as such, but the best item I ever bought for my little studio was a nappy changing table. I needed a really sturdy structure for my Hawthorn press (which I also couldn’t recommend more – it is just so wonderful!), and I saw this changing table in a second-hand furniture shop. It’s a bit quirky and not the most conventional printing table but it’s perfect for storing all of my inks and rollers, and robust enough to hold my press. I love it!

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I don’t think I am proud of one specific piece, but I always feel excited when I create a welsh print. It gives me a rush of satisfaction seeing the landscape appear, and its my favourite place in the whole world so depicting it with ink and paper is just the best feeling.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

You can follow me on Instagram at @cwhitworthdesign where I love to show both my finished work and in-progress shots of what I’m working on. You can also buy my work on my Etsy shop under the name cwhitworthdesign!

I will be at the Maker’s Market taking place at Relics of Witney (Corn St, Witney, Oxfordshire) on Saturday 30th November. I will have prints, greetings cards and Christmas bits and bobs so I hope to see you there!

What will we be seeing from you next?

I did a ceramics course last year and have wanted to incorporate my work into ceramics ever since so that is definitely in the pipeline. I will also be making some cards and prints for the christmas period, and I will continue to make prints in-between that so I will be busy! I also take on commissions so don’t hesitate to ask if you have something specific in mind!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Don’t try to copy someone else’s style just because you can see its working for them. Be your own person and trust your instincts for how you want to create, I know it sounds cliche but it’s so true!

Also never be afraid to try something new, even if its completely different to your normal practice. New things can help you grow and develop your style, but it’s also a lot of fun to experiment with a new technique or process and see how you can introduce it into your own work.

Find me at:
Etsy shop: cwhitworthdesign
Instagram: @cwhitworthdesign