Summer printing

In my spare time… I’ve been doing some printing; actually it is becoming a little obsessive which surprises me as it has taken a while for the process to become second nature.  I no longer approach the press with trepidation.  Anyway, there is a lot to learn which is good, and the block or plate making part of the process is great – full of possibilities.

I have been organising a life drawing group and the first print shown below started life as a transfer print from a photocopy of one of my drawings. The inked plate was run through the press after making the transfer print, so that the drawing appeared on this second printing as a white line.  The mossy, stone-like inky background has possibly a good connection to the second image which is a lino block print – and my second attempt at carving lino.  The print shows the reverse of ‘Meigle No 4’ which is a Pictish cross slab.  The decoration surrounding it is what I can only call an exercise in ‘control of the carving tool’.

We visited the Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum in Perthshire, Scotland, in 2012 when staying near Alyth which was home to the generations of Barclays and Colvilles in my family tree.  The cross slab image was copied from the photograph in George and Isabel Henderson’s book, The Art of the Picts.  This is part of my cultural heritage that I feel I can use in my art – by association with place if not by genetic inheritance which, if you go back far enough, will be unknown.  We also saw the Pictish stones at the Eassie churchyard in Angus, and my two photos taken there follow the print images.

life-drawing-print

Meigle-standing-stone

This Eassie cross slab is enclosed in thick glass for protection, accounting for the reflections seen in the photo. Very impressive object. The Historic Scotland information panel explains what is known about the iconography and history of these stones.

Eassie-cross-slab

Eassie-pictish-stone-info

Explore Find Collect Discover

Progressing with my little piece of fanciful endeavour. The weather is too hot to do much but I am enjoying this evening pastime.  Trying to contextualise this piece, I found it lends itself to ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’.  The ‘borrowing’ comes from Spirit Cloth, so thanks to Jude for her inspiration and putting me on yet another path.

It is quite difficult to find suitable, old, worn cloth, but I realise I have to collect all my textiles and yarns in one spot – I seem to be endlessly looking for where I have stashed them – and since we moved they could be anywhere!  I am using fabric dyed last year, snippets of my mother’s dressmaking, her box of embroidery threads, my threads from those I collected decades ago and even some old silk velvet from my sister’s mother in law.  The cloth (dyed in tea) with the holes was an old pillowcase into which we used to put horse riding gear when it was being machine washed.  The ‘something new’ is the print of the mallow plant growing in the new garden.

I really like the feel of the layers of cloth and the abstract forms created by the stitching on the reverse of the piece.  The space created by the circle (top left) seems to suggest landscape, or a vista.  It is the only part that has visual depth.  What to do next…

Piece

January 2015 printing – Seeds and Seed Pods

Seeds and seed pods are really quite beautiful, make good subjects for art and design.  This is a collagraph plate that I made ‘last year!’ in December from dried seed pods of the Honesty plant (Lunaria annua, aka Money Plant) and one of the plant’s leaves.  I had kept the dried specimen from 2012, so it has lasted well.  I glued the dried plant material onto a piece of mat board and coated front and back of the board in two layers of polyurethane varnish –  but it still had a little warp.  This did not make any difference when the plate was printed.  (Or so it seemed to me…)  A small piece of the leaf had already broken away in the past, but apart from an interesting phenomenon that appeared when I inked the plate (the layers of varnish came away from three of the seed pods) the plate has held up well through its various inkings and cleanings.  The photo here is what it looks like, cleaned, after an afternoon’s printing with Akua water based ink.

 

Cineraria-plate

 

This is a ghost print (i.e. second print from an inked plate) from one of the initial printings.

 

HonestyP3

 

The next two images are of a print made by inking up a piece of plastic, sending the plate and the plastic through the press, and then taking a print off the plate.  The plastic creates an interesting background with plenty of unexpected results which is one of the reasons I enjoy printing.

 

HonestyP2

 

Finally, here is a the result of selectively cleaning the inked plate, so that only the raised parts of the collagraph will print.  Still have a lot to learn!  At least I now know that placing the paper on top of the plate creates an embossed image.  The digital ink jet paper is dry and probably causes the creasing.  I really enjoy using Akua ink as it is easier to clean up and I do not like using turps!  The ‘black’ ink (actually a combination of colours, more a dark grey) creates an image that almost could be a photocopy.

 

Honesty-P1

 

I have been collecting Rocket (Eruca sativa) seeds from the veggie bed.  Really quite fascinating, and I notice that the membrane between the two halves of the seed pod is similar to that found in dried Honesty plants.  I would like to find Lunaria rediviva a perennial ‘cousin’ of Honesty which has yet another variation on this form with more elongated pods.  [Just found out that they are all members of the Mustard family (Brassicaceae)!]

 

Rocket-seed-pod narrow

Rocket-seed-pods

Finally, poppy seed pods from the garden.

Poppy-seed-pods

December prints

A few prints, one produced at home, and the others at printing group.

This print is produced with Akua inks, on a smooth card, and I used my printer at home.  The print is taken directly off some old wallpaper that came from my parents house.  The original illustration of what I think may be a conifer is pale green, but here I used red and it suggests the NZ Christmas tree – Pohutukawa!  I used this print to make Christmas cards for family and friends.

Christmas-print-web

 

I’ve always had an interest in pottery, probably because of the glazes, but I really like the shapes of vessels and I am also presently researching cardial ware pottery.  The next two images are of prints I made using a piece of flat, smooth polystyrene packaging that came with food from the supermarket (nice to recycle!).  I traced the outline, cut the shape out and used a pointed etching tool to impress the marks.  I am still learning, so it is helpful to have an image I can work up on a block quickly, then be able to concentrate on the printing process itself.  I used two small pieces of polystyrene joined with masking tape at the back, and the marks and pits on the surface of the polystyrene helped to suggest the surface of clay pottery ware – as you can see below.  I really think these printing block are artworks in their own right.

Cardial-ware-block

I found the cardial ware pottery image by Joanbanjo on Wikimedia Commons.  The neolithic pot is described as decorated impressed ware, from the Cova de l’Or de Beniarrés, (5000 – 4200 BC) in the Museu de Prehistòria de València.  I used water based printing ink and dry paper for these works.

 

Cardial-ware-Villanova2-print

Cardial-ware-Villanova-print
Credits:   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AVas_amb_decoraci%C3%B3_impresa_cardial%2C_Cova_de_l’Or_de_Beniarr%C3%A9s%2C_Museu_de_Prehist%C3%B2ria_de_Val%C3%A8ncia.JPG

By Joanbanjo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

Finally from the garden, a photo of poppies for 2014 – red for love and tinged with white for peace.

I wish everybody a safe and bountiful 2015!

 

Poppies-for-2014