The development of Quiet work

quiet template

As with most pieces, Quiet work started as a doodle destined for lino cutting.  She was printed while I was experimenting with the use of handmade papers prepared for inkjet printing.  As she has such a large empty background – necessarily so – I used a photograph with faint texture and pale colour.  (A close-up snap of the Serpentine pavilion which is now at Hauser and Wirth Somerset.)

crafting back

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The print came out well, and after I had scanned it I put it up in my print kitchen.  But in order to stitch the piece I thought that more colour was needed, so I played around for a bit before printing the image onto cotton.

quiet work

The balance of visual weight had to be at the base of the image, so I decided to use a different stitch with the leaves to try to achieve that.  Also important is her hair, so more pattern detail was stitched into that.  The background, however had to be kept separate and airy, so I used a seed stitch – and I’m still not completely happy with that.  But it’s done now, and overall I’m pleased.

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Fixing a flaw

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.

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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.

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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.

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Ending the year

sol1I’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.

soliloquy2Meantime 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.

soliloquyI 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:

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with a further handful waiting to make sure that I don’t end up with nothing to do!

Summer sloth

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.

Three

TwoI have not yet proofed these plates, but I have printed three of the others, and they are now ready to stitch as small pieces.

memoir

chicken

salad days

 

Proofing can render results

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

new body

and this background (street furniture in Oxford),

flowers streetwhich was altered thus when I thought of the figure.

patchedThe idea was developed when I had taken the idea of a grid as a theme/exercise – and so I elaborated onto the body.

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This became the template for my relief plate, as I want the movement to be to the right.

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The proof onto plain paper came out boldly.

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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:

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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.

A pile of stitching completed

DSCN7009Self 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:

DSCN7008Plunge (detail)

DSCN7010Chasing fish (detail)

DSCN7011Finding the edge (detail)

DSCN7012Triplicate (detail)

I have also completed many small pieces; several while watching tennis, including:

DSCN7013Point by point (detail)- silk

DSCN7014Contemplation (cotinus) (detail) – cotton

DSCN7015Hot novel (detail) – cotton

DSCN7018Building 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.

dreamerAn 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.