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.
I was thinking about too many things to settle properly to doing any sustained work this afternoon, especially after having gone to an exhibition which got me thinking about an abstract idea completely separate from anything related to my recent workings. So after I’d checked my mail and looked up various things and written a post on my Threading thoughts blog, I fell to on-screen doodling.
This is at a very preliminary stage, as you can see from the wobbly lines. Unfortunately by later in the afternoon my hand quite often shakes when trying for a smooth curve. But so far so good.
Sometimes I cannot settle to one thing or other, and inevitably I turn to fiddling with designs in limbo. The fritillary I deconstructed has been on my mind, and added to the image of the gardener which is incomplete, I started playing about.
The result is not bad, but not right. I really need to be ruthless about putting this design away for a while because I do think that the figure is worth pursuing.
The design I was working on yesterday needs to be put away, but I somehow could not stop working at something on the computer. There are several designs floating about in my files, in some state or other – as well as many ingredients to work together. So today I have been working out the design need.
I’m calling this Paris balcony. It is a combination of several existing elements: the background is from a design for knitwear, the figure from my figure file, and the balcony from a drawing done in Paris some years ago.