For my latest quilt project I have once again chosen to put together a patchwork of individual images. These images are printed on cotton lawn because as there is to be quite a bit of hand stitching I want to make it as easy for my arthritic fingers as possible. The down side of cotton lawn, however, is that it is so fine that it can fold imperceptibly, causing breaks in the print.
This happened to two of my 25 pieces – in a very minor way, but nonetheless rather obvious. I’m lucky that the design of the pieces is visually chaotic having been derived from a lino print, and deliberately includes the lino cutaway marks – as well as a kind of ‘wallpaper’ pattern superimposed. But I needed to fix the white jagged line as much as possible. Annoying, but not the end of the world.
I have found in similar situations in the past that Prismacolor coloured pencils have both the range of shade as well as the waxiness to achieve a good enough fix. Although it can be seen still in the pic below, I hope that once the stitching has been done that the flaws will not be obvious – especially as I will give them another going over with the crayons once stitched.
I’m still not sure about this blog – not sure about having enough to write. This year has been very bitty, and increasingly so. I lack a coherent plan; rather simply progressing from design to design. I am hoping to sort myself out in the coming year, at least for the core of my work.
Meantime I have been getting on with developing print work. I am enjoying using the Blue Boy press to work up the ingredients for the next quilt.
I printed a pattern onto tissue prepared with soft pastel, then once they were dry I printed the figures on top. I shall scan them before printing onto cotton – and then the stitching will begin.
Of course as occupation while watching the television or dvd during my hibernation reading I shall still continue with the odd pieces in my stitching pile – at present I have this one to hand:
with a further handful waiting to make sure that I don’t end up with nothing to do!
I have not had anything to write about for some time. Truth to tell I don’t really have much of substance to say now. I have been puttering along with bits and pieces mostly, with only one real project to move forward. I have cut several lino plates, both for the project called Soliloquy, and for other ideas.
I have not yet proofed these plates, but I have printed three of the others, and they are now ready to stitch as small pieces.
Seeking a perfect print is not my goal – or at least I am looking for a print perfect for my purposes. With the few exceptions of print as end product, I have to bear in mind that stitch is to be added without looking superficial – or even worse, excessive. For this reason I look at the proof stage of my relief printing as a possible source of material to progress. I am looking out for happy accidents which make the image speak louder in its own voice.
Sometimes I am compelled to put (at least) two elements together: such as this figure
and this background (street furniture in Oxford),
which was altered thus when I thought of the figure.
The idea was developed when I had taken the idea of a grid as a theme/exercise – and so I elaborated onto the body.
This became the template for my relief plate, as I want the movement to be to the right.
The proof onto plain paper came out boldly.
I had digitally printed the background onto 42gsm Murakumo Kozo Select White, which is actually cream-ish white. Perhaps because of my being aware of the thin-ness of the paper I did not press enough – I hand burnish my prints – and the result was much fainter:
I am delighted with the ghost-like qualities, and although I shall most likely print another, bolder version, I shall still consider the possibility of taking this proof forward to stitch. The original design was one of a happy conjunction of elements, but now I think I might be approaching ambiguity of meaning as well – which would be a much more desirable outcome.
I have finally got round to catching up with my plate making. There are several designs I’ve decided to try out, and so have had a great carving session.
Next week I shall start proofing.
Self portrait with ancestors (detail)
It has been over a month since the last post here, but I assuredly have not been idle. I’ve completed most of the backlog of quilts-in-progress. Indeed only two that are on cloth remain. I say ‘only’ two, but each of those will require much work, one by hand and to be left until winter, and one by machine. Here are some of the ones completed:
Chasing fish (detail)
Finding the edge (detail)
I have also completed many small pieces; several while watching tennis, including:
Point by point (detail)- silk
Contemplation (cotinus) (detail) – cotton
Hot novel (detail) – cotton
Building an argument (detail) – cotton
Both Triplicate and Contemplation were originated as what I will call traditional prints, although I’m not sure that a solar print is strictly speaking traditional. One of a series of monotypes using stencils led to Triplicate – the print scanned, and not much digital work needed before it was resized and printed onto cotton.
An experiment with solar printmaking: photopolymer plate origination and intaglio printing produced the main element of the image that became Contemplation (cotinus). I scanned one of the resultant prints, and in this case digitally removed the original background, reworked the composition, and inserted a new background consisting of a scan of diseased cotinus (smoke bush) leaves from the garden. Printed onto A3 lawn cotton, I’m pleased with the effect. I like this figure, and could well use her again with a different background.
The problem with being focussed on finishing one piece in slow stitch mode is that meantime other things pile up, mostly because my mind keeps ticking over. Well, the very nature of the slow stitching is that it provides the ideal environment for much thought!
Anyway, deadline stitching done with just sleeves to sew onto the piece I must now concentrate on progressing through the designs which have accumulated in my files meantime. I am using printable cotton lawn at present, and the result is a muted version of what I see on my screen. This is OK, and have allowed for it. The two I’m starting with are Building an argument (above) and Point by point. I shall also use cotton threads, with the addition in Building an argument of gold for the grid.
I already have a pile of designs waiting to be cut out of vinyl for relief printing, but of course I seem to just keep churning them out. The first one, Giggles, is now a definite template and added to the teetering pile, while the second is still in ponder limbo.