Thursday, October 23, 2014

Using a MicroFleur Microwave Press

I've owned a MicroFleur Microwave Press ( for some time, but hadn't really used it until recently.  I usually press my leaves using phone books and plenty of time, but thanks to Robyn (at my Kenilworth workshop) I've become aware of the advantages of pressing leaves when on site, rather than transporting phone books (heavy and bulky).  I prefer to monoprint with pressed leaves (not necessarily bone dry) as they are easier to handle and don't  leak plant juices.

To use the MicroFleur system you need a microwave, so that rules out camping and some hotel rooms, but is good for cabins and self-contained accommodation.

I took my MicroFleur press on a recent trip to Margaret River in Western Australia - a great opportunity as its currently wildflower season, so there were lots of plants in flower.

But my greatest find was the Bull Banksia - my new favourite banskia!  It has an unusual leave shape - very dramatic.  I used my MicroFleur press to remove the moisture from the leaf and flatten it, then stored it in a plastic folder to transport home.  I've now got a folder full of interesting leaves and plants for future printing sessions.

Out riding on the Munda Biddi Trail, with a Bull Banksia

A Native Wisteria, beautiful!

On a rail trail between Margaret River and Cowaramup

One of the locals wasn't happy about disturbing him
on the track!

Bull Banksia

Bull Banksia

MicroFleur Microwave Press

Inside the press, felts and cotton sheets.
Note the burn marks - I got a bit overzealous and left
it in the microwave too long a few times!

My folder with the pressed plants, to take home

Pressed Bull Banksia leaves

A gelli plate print, using the Bull Banksia,
more prints below.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Monoprinting at Kenilworth

This week I spent 4 days in rural Kenilworth on the Sunshine Coast hinterland running a monoprinting workshop, using both my etching press 'Thumper' and gelli plates to create images.

I had a small class of 4 students - Kylie, Robyn, Denise and Wendy, plus Morag for one day of gelli plate printing.

The resulting prints were spectacular and varied, showing off the individual art talents and styles.

Its always great to have several days in a workshop to help everyone to embrace the new techniques and different ways of creating images, and this really showed in the prints the girls created.  Well done!

Denise's Banksias.
She used a lot of objects in this print,
 but the repetition of the banksia shape
 and the horizontal and vertical lines make it all work together
in a vibrant and energetic image.

Denise at the press with her plate and a print

Kylie's Fern print - beautiful lines and colours.
The detail of the middle fern is 3-dimensional and
together with the rich colours,
it gives the print its WOW factor.

Kylie at the press working on her Magpie series,
lots of work to construct but worth it in the end

Robyn's delicate print,
Subtle colours and repetition of
line and shape, with the zing of the red
ginkgo leaf popping out from behind.

Robyn's fern print on music paper,
created via a gelli plate.  This one was created by
printing the fern onto the plate then onto the paper.
Also lots of washes and delicate background colours to
set the main image off without overpowering it.

Robyn at the press, with her print and plate

Wendy's gelli plate fern print - lots of
layers and interesting marks.  The white fern is a ghost print,
very carefully orchestrated to provide a focal point
 on a busy background.

Wendy's print - I call this 'Steam Punk',
a very industrial but earthy print.
It works well with a variety of shapes, textures and lines.

Wendy at the press with one of her final prints -
gorgeous colours and textures.
Her 'graduation' print I think!

"Legs up!" for the group shot after 4 days of printing,
showing off their favourite prints.
I managed to do a couple of prints as well just for fun.