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Monday, 31 October 2011

gathering


I spent a couple of hours in my garden the other day.  It was sunny and mild and the perfect opportunity to clear some of the debris left from Summer's abundance and to collect some seed before it all falls to the ground, and before British wintertime began with the clocks changing.


I gathered seed and/or seed heads from poppies, fennel, aquilegia, love-in-the-mist, cerinthe and from some runner beans that had been left on the plant far too long to make pleasant eating.


While I sorted them for storage I laid them out, enjoying the different seed heads and forms of the seeds.


 Then I put them away into paper bags, ready for a new season and, hopefully, for a new garden.

 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

copper stitches

I've been away in a place on the edge of wild 
with cold beds but the warmest company, 
more lovely food than is sensible to eat 
and wall to wall music.


Before I went away I was making copper stitches



and once the kids go back to school after half term I'll be making some more.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

test

A conversation last week with my friend Claire, about light fastness, has prompted me to test some of the things I've been working with lately to see how their colour stands up to exposure to light.


I've taken snippets of samples of the naturally dyes papers and fabrics I've produced, sewn them to paper and then split it into two similar strips.


 One to sit by the studio door, in the light...


And one to sit in a drawer, in the dark.

Friday, 14 October 2011

slow printing


I'm experimenting with the marks that can be achieved by laying items on to paper that have either been soaked in the remains of a dye bath, or rusty items that are laid onto wet paper (in this case wet with tea or with vinegar).  It takes time, but as the moisture dries I am left with some exquisite marks that are a curious mixture of planning and randomness - something I feel underlies so much of my work.



This one isn't strictly printing, more dyeing, as the paper had been submerged in a dye bath with clamps to resist.  I love the randomness of the rust marks next to the straight line created by the clamp.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

collage


At the weekend I spent a really inspiring two days with Emily Harvey, printmaker.  My printmaking experience has been bitty (kind of on the back burner for a number of years) and, although I did have some access to the printmaking room at college, I never had enough time to give to it properly.   But the desire to integrate it more into my work has remained and this was an opportunity to learn a bit more and test out some of my ideas.  Collage is a tool I have often used as part of my design process; here it is key to the bringing together of texture and contrast that is used to make the print.


This intensive weekend was just what I needed to confirm to me that these processes suit my sensibilities.  I am comfortable with the whole routine of printmaking (more so, I have to admit, than with screen printing); I love the experimental nature of both making collagraph plates and of printing from them; I love being able to concentrate on texture and line and that the 3D element is important, even though it is a low-relief kind of 3D.  And, importantly, I can see how I can integrate my use of stitch into both the making of the plates and the resulting prints (something I started in my college work but that I want to push further).



We spent the first day making collagraph plates using a whole range of different techniques and resulting in a good bunch of different ones to then print from on the second day.



 There were just two of us with Emily this weekend, and it was perfect - enough energy and ideas bouncing around between us to have kept going for a week I reckon!  Here is the product of our labours (a bit more colourful than I would have naturally gone for, but using all that colour was a great way to understand the different effects you can achieve):




It was really interesting to see how different the resulting print can be using the same plate but with different inks and combinations of intaglio and relief printing.



I had a go once before at chine colle, so it was good to be reminded of this technique and to see how the layering up of a different paper can be really effective.  Some of my experiments with this technique worked better than others, but I had lots of ideas about using this more.


When I got home I spent a good hour scribbling down lots of notes and ideas.  It was a really inspiring weekend, I just have to let it all sink in and work out how to take things forward.  At a time when I'm trying to focus my work in I am suddenly faced with more possibilities than I know what to do with!

Monday, 3 October 2011

making the most


I'm making the most of the last of the Indian summer we've been having (it seems it will be all change by the end of the week): lunch outside, feeling the warmth of the sun, breathing in the delicious smells floating about on the warm air - a cocktail of summer and autumn.