Sunday, 25 August 2013

Natural Selection

I have been teaching basic screen printing skills this week. Nothing too complicated, just simple screens and Procion Dyes. At the end of a long day I had a few pots of dye left over and I decided to paint them onto a piece of cotton.

We had been using discharge paste as an alternative print medium and a small amount remained in a pot. As I waited for things to dry I wondered if it would be possible to print directly from plants. No time like the present! I nipped into the garden and gathered a handful of interesting vegetation; spindly goose grass, fragrant mint, bracken laden with spores and feathery anemone leaves.

After patting the leaves dry on absorbent paper, I brushed them with a light coating of discharge paste before pressing them gently on the cloth. For me, the joy of working with discharge paste is that you are never quite certain of the result: there is always an element of serendipity as to how much the base cloth will be bleached by its application.

I'm pleased with the results.  The purple worked best, the green was a bit too subtle, whist the blue colour discharged to a dark purple shadow. A light touch of both paste and printing pressure was all that was required and I think with a little practise it would be possible to reveal more of the leaf structure in these prints. Not bad for an idle after-thought!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Make do and mend

I've been inspired by finds from my holiday to Turkey. Everywhere I looked I saw examples of thrift but also the desire to preserve. None more so than this lovely patchwork cushion that I found in my hotel room.

It had been created from a wide variety of fabrics, Ikat woven silks that were visibly deteriorating, heavily embroidered cottons, delicate Cornelli work, Jacquard silk, pieces of plain cotton pestemel. With seemingly little thought these precious fragments had been sewn together to produce a glorious riot of colour and texture. I loved its rustic honesty.

I have returned home vowing to do the same with favourite pieces from my stash  and not try too hard to create something too harmonious or contrived.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Travels with my Aunt

My sketch book this week is some simple pen and watercolour drawings which serve as an aide memoire of my annual Summer pilgrimage to visit my Mother's family in the South. 

We spend a lot of time talking, visiting other members of the family and remembering those that are no longer with us. For me it is always an opportunity to look back on carefree Summer holidays of my childhood and to  reconnect with my roots. 

This time we met new puppy Ruby and some crazy guinea fowl my cousin's farm. We remembered my Granny's birthday with a bunch of yellow freesias and indulged in a bit of designer shopping. 

Time well spent!