Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trouble

Yesterday I spent the day at the Impress Printmakers Studio at Camp Hill, working on a series of monotypes I've titled "Conservation of the Species".  Previously I did works based on the humble pidgeon, but yesterdays efforts concentrated on the infamous local scrub turkeys that drive neighbourhood gardeners wild with their constant nest building and territorial behaviour.  Its another bird species that has a less-than favourable reputation in our urban landscape, but of course the turkeys are just doing what comes naturally.  Thankfully I don't have one frequenting my garden at the moment, but being a chicken owner I often experience the frustration of losing parts of my vegetable garden!

A day of printing is always a beautifully relaxing and all-encompasing experience.  And using the large press at Impress is good fun - the wheel is big you feel like you are steering a shipping liner.

By the end of the day, there were turkeys everywhere!

The press with prints drying in the foreground

Inking up....

Revealing a ghost print

Saturday, November 20, 2010

EcoDyed Fashion

After the inspiration of India Flint's workshop in September, I have been 'dyeing' to make some eucalyptus brew of my own.

I convinced Mum that she didn't need her aluminium pot anymore and I was ready to start.

Following the instructions in India's book Eco Colour, I pre-mordanted my cotton blouse using a traditional Japanese mordant technique to help the cellulose fibres to accept the dye.

I then 'rested' my blouse for a few weeks (ie I got distracted by other stuff including my day job) before bundling with leaves and simmering, then letting it sit in the cold dye bath for a week before finally giving up to temptation and unravelling my bundle. 

The colours are subdued but rich and earthy. Yellows, oranges and browns abound with shibori markings from the rubber bands and string used to tie the bundle. 

Whilst I still need more practice to get clear leaf prints, I am extremely happy with my first solo attempt.  Today a pre-mordanted linen blouse (bought for $5 at an op shop) has been popped into the black brew for another week of waiting, waiting, waiting until I can reveal the wonder of eco-dyeing again.

Eco-dyeing feels so gentle and natural and the eucalyptus smell in the house is beautiful.  It fits perfectly with my passion for the natural world.  I also like the idea of 'slow dyeing' where the process is not rushed, it takes it time to brew and work its magic.  The opposite to our frantic lifestyles today!

Thanks India again for your inspiration and guidance. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Printing Butterfly Angels

Yesterday was all about butterflies!  I did a whole day's printing session with Thumper (my press) to produce 12cm x 12cm prints for several upcoming Xmas shows.  These prints are designed to fit into a CD cover, a novel way to display paper-based works without the expense of framing.

After a shaky start producing prints I was less than happy with, I began to loosen up and subsequently produced some lovely prints with surprising texture and colour.  I found working on a small scale was challenging - I had to limit the number of stencils, plants and other materials to make my marks.  Simplicity was the key - not overworking the colour layers.   I've got a few muddy ones that I can use for collages and book covers, nothing is ever wasted!

I have titled this series 'My Guardian Angel'.  The reference to angels comes from my late Dad's affection for butterflies in his later years.  His butterflies are my guardian angels, perhaps his way of keeping an eye on me!

You can see how loose I was on the inking up for this one!

Lime green is a recurring colour for me, yum love it