Hot Off the Press

Tomorrow's Beginning

Tomorrow’s Beginning



Image in Search of a Title

An Image in Search of a Title

Hot Off the Press;  four printmakers showing at Arts in Oxford Gallery, Oxford, North Canterbury

This selection of monoprints is my first venture into exhibiting prints.  I hope I’m keeping true to my art practice of using process and chance to make the image.  I like to use recycled items, such as scraps of paper, cloth and plastic to print with. The scraps are either used as found or cut into shapes or patterns.

Through an interest in Japanese prints and making textile works I discovered the term ‘boro’. Boro is a Japanese word that translates as ‘rags or scraps of cloth, and the term boro is also used to describe clothes and household items which have been patched-up and repaired many times’[i]. The textiles could be passed down the generations and so also become holders of memory, in much same way as in old patchwork quilts.

In this set of prints I have interpreted this textile construction method by reusing the plastic, paper and cloth as the printing ‘plates’, integrating the shapes one on another to create an image that formed itself piece by piece. Would this go here? – What colour contrast will I do next? – the image in effect prompting a response from me.  Memories (for me) are contained in many of the ‘scraps’ used.

The base of all the works is a found shape that reminded me of a kimono, and from this emerged the idea of boro as a process to create these images.



Object or Thing

Cannot add more to this piece of work.  It sat there for a while, rolled up in the old bible box that my Grandmother used as a hat box (she had wonderful hats).  Then the other night I finished off the bottom right hand corner.  A little piece of family genealogy there, to me anyway…



Lying flat on the table, it is a thing.  Nothing wrong with being ‘a thing’ – it seems things in our lives are interconnected with our brains and consciousness and make us what we are, allowing us to make new connections.  Is it more interesting as a thing or an object now that I have fastened to the wall?  Does it take on a new identity?  Or has it lost its becoming and is now static – I won’t say dead.   Its new persona invites new becomings, however.








Lovely design on the ‘hat box’.

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…


Spring leaves, nature prints and patchwork

On a walk yesterday I found a windblown leaf, and later picked some leaves and flowers from the garden.  I am not sure at all what species of tree the leaf is from.  It is difficult to define, mainly because it is immature.  However, I think it may be a Platanus  (plane, sycamore) as suggested by the stem and leaf vein structure.  To memorialise this arrested development I made prints from the leaves.



I made a few nature prints, on paper and cloth.  The first print is from the inked plate (with the leaf removed after passing the two through the press).  I dropped the inked plate on the floor which accounts for the wiggly marks and scratches.  Liked the effect!


This print below, taken directly off the leaf alone, is particularly interesting, delicate.  


This print is made on damp 300 gsm paper   Leaf3  

Here is a small selection of the process – when the leaf was thick it caused creases in the paper and some areas did not print so well.  


I have been busy…  Here I have printed on cloth; works very well.  The impression on the right was hand done with the roller and not put through the press, unlike the other one on the left.  I am getting confident with using the etching press.  


Finally, the most beautiful object of all, the actual leaves, with a trace of the ink still on them. It shows the underside of the leaves.  I used Akua black ink, and many of the prints were printed on dry digital/inkjet A4 paper.  


To end, here is a textile work I have started in response to following Spirit Cloth. I have printed on to cloth a mallow leaf and an image off a piece of old wallpaper.


Leaf Prints from Glentui Valley

I am starting out on a printmaking journey. I have a new press, new inks and new paper, so lots of experimentation and not a lot of resolved or finished work just yet. I do enjoy the discovery of new ideas and methods. I have been been printing with two good friends, Ruth Stanton McLeod, printmaker and Sue Alexander, jeweller and printmaker, for about two years now, but it is quite daunting doing it all by yourself!

So, to encourage my artist into action, I thought I would post a few prints for scrutiny by the wider world – a sort of critique session.

I had an ‘artist’s date’ in September when I visited Glentui Valley to walk a Department of Conservation bush track, with the idea that if fallen leaves presented themselves to me during the walk I could collect them up and take prints – eco prints on paper or nature prints perhaps.

The  leaves in the nature print below are three finely veined makomako or wineberry leaves (Aristotelia serrata), a small fern and a whauwhaupaku (five-finger Pseudopanax arboreus) with only three leaflets, it had lost the other two.  I like the way the plant juice pressed out from the whau has contributed to the print – even providing its signature.  The print was made with water-based ink, and if I had used oil-based ink I could have coloured the leaves with my watercolour paints.  The paper was dry Tiepolo, 290 gsm, the ink was Flint.  I have also just started to print on a ‘premium digital ink jet’ paper, 100 gsm, which is acid free but not sure if that alone gives it art archival status.  With oil- and water-based ink you get a really nice print on the smooth ink jet paper, and it dries well.  Good for tests!

Glentui-leavesI also used the leaves collected at Glentui for a paper steam – some images needed further work.  I added in colourful plants from the garden,  to take advantage of the spring flowers.

Eventually, these images were made into a book which I have just completed.  The book’s cover is paper from a much earlier nature printing session when leaf prints were applied onto a sheet of paper coloured by earth pigments (Waikari green and an oxide brown-red watercolour).  The nature prints in the book were made using oil-based ink, and were added on top of the steamed ecoprints.

As an experiment for this book, I applied the Waikari green paint to the black beech leaves, a Winsor & Newton blue watercolour to the primula flower petals and above them a touch of Indian Yellow, and pencil outlines were used to define some other leaves and flowers.  However, the pink and grey marks on some of the sheets of paper occurred as I left the damp paper between plastic for a few days…  Mould, ie!  There is also a lot of colour transfer from the plants themselves through to the adjacent pages of the stack as it was being steamed.

The last page shown here, of two wineberry leaves, is a steam of leaves I had previously used in a nature print – hence the black impressions appearing within the colours of the leaves.

A good way to record a walk and the progress in using my new etching press!



Cover-black-beech Cover-cyclamen Cover-griselinia Cover-print-leaves Cover-whau Cover-wineberry