I've been working on a small series of prints that divert from my usual theme of the natural world and birds. "Women of Substance" is a print exhibition celebrating all things female, and is part of the 50 Years of Print celebrations this year.
Yes I could have printed images of chickens ('old chooks', referencing a nickname for older females) but I was drawn to a paper-cut silhouette that my mother recently gave to me. The silhouette of her profile, cut out in black paper, was made by an artist in the Showbag pavillion at the Brisbane Exhibition ('the Ekka') in the late 1950's.
To me, the paper-cut represents a time capsule - it tells me a story about my mother, capturing her in her youth at a time which she was just beginning her adult life, full of promise and probably excited by the Ekka atmosphere that day. The paper-cut is also a symbol of how over the years the Ekka has supported traditional arts and crafts, with displays and fierce competition in the categories of 'women's home interests' including cooking, sewing, stitching, and painting.
I've named this series of prints "Side Show Alley". This is the name of an area within the Ekka that has all the stalls with games and rides. I remember Mum spending a lot of time at the lucky ticket stalls at Side Show Alley.
Also by repeating her silhouette in my prints also gives the feeling of one of the game stalls there - the laughing clown heads in a row. Remember them? Sort of spooky but they lured you in to pop a ping-pong ball in their mouths!
|Prior to printing, I did a colour swatch|
to plan my colours. I did this because I wanted to
get away from my usual colour choices
but had to make sure it all still worked.
|The original paper-cut silhouette|
which I used to make my stencils.
|Printing in progress. The leaf featured is a Silkyoak -|
this is a feature tree in our family home'backyard, so it
was the focus of my life as a child. I also have
a SilkyOak in my own backyard today, a seedling
from the original family one.
|After printing, I used a sepia marker pen to outline|
some of the images to help them 'pop'
into the foreground.
|One of the finished prints, in a series of 7.|
|This is probably one of the most successful ones.|
I hope Mum likes them too!