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gira hanging out with a chalkboard jelly doodle

The next project I tackled, as I continued to get the hang of my new screenprinting studio set-up, had to be the jellyfish drawing I started working on W-A-Y back in 2015! If you’ve been visiting here for a while (firstly, thanks for sticking around despite an intermittent posting schedule!) you might remember these work-in-progress posts: jellyfish wip [1] and jellyfish wip (2)… cnidaria have been floating about around here for quite some time!

oral arm ‘dummies’ gathering dust on my studio window back in march 2016
(with a little bull-headed shrike from this project :)

I shelved the unfinished drawings for many months in 2016 while studio set-up and other work/life stuff demanded my attention.

(re)tracing tentacle tweaks

But I kept returning to the drawings, trying to get them to where I wanted them to be. (If you’re a drawer/maker of stuff you have no doubt also experienced the disconnect that can sometimes – or often! – occur between what you actually draw/make in the real world and what you imagined it would look like in the magical fantasy world in your head ;-)

Sometimes the drawings and I had effortless fun together…

Sometimes we got caught up in dark, tangled, indecisive ‘to-vectorise-or-not-to-vectorise?’ webs…

And sometimes things just didn’t ‘gel’ and had to be figured out anew…

heeding the edict of my furry overlord helpful input of my studio assistant

But finally I decided it was ready to print! (It still didn’t look like the thing I’d imagined in my head, but sometimes you’ve just gotta move on, right?!)

double vision: film positive and exposed screen on light table

let the printing games begin!: setting up the registration

(finally!) finished print

This project was as much an exercise in perseverance as anything else. I created all sorts of printing headaches for myself by including so much fine detail in the original drawing, but the setbacks and challenges I encountered during the printing process taught me a great deal and hopefully have equipped me to better solve or avoid similar issues in future projects.

finished print: tentacle and oral arm details

Naturally I could not resist incorporating some glow-in-the-dark details…

finished print: patterned jelly bells (and a smattering of marine bioluminescence) glowing in the dark!

The deckle-edged paper I printed on has a lovely knotted watermark which obligingly echoes the tangled tentacles and oral arms of the jellies…

the dutch papermaker’s ‘van gelder zonen’ watermark

This jellyfish print, the third in my ongoing ‘Animal Diorama’ series (remember the owl and the octopus?), is now available to buy in my Etsy shop >

the jellies’ diaphanous qualities enhanced by the late afternoon play of light and (plant) shadows in my studio

I finished the new screenprinting studio set up just in time to print my annual ‘New Year’ greeting cards in December 2016.

lotsa cards!

The design was inspired by a very beautiful wooden box, inlaid with silver, admired at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design during a visit to Oslo in 2014.

wooden box with silver inlay,
thorbjørn lie-jørgensen and a.j. damm, norway, 1943

I love few things more than getting sucked into a drawing tangle and this was a particularly pleasurable and absorbing drawing to make. I was sometimes so engrossed that I had to be given a ‘gentle’ reminder that suppertime had come and gone…

feed me!

… and that blowing on wet drawing ink to speed up drying is a really dumb thing to do.

doh!

Thankfully there’s Kuretake’s highly opaque ‘White Ink 30‘ for fixing these little mishaps!

phew!

I enjoyed making the drawing and printing the cards so much that I decided to print a larger, limited edition version of the image – I thought it would be a fun project, but also a great exercise for familiarising myself with my new screenprinting equipment.

image exposed onto screen, ready to print

prints stacking up on the makeshift print-drying rack

I made an edition of 30 prints in velvety black ink on crisp white watercolour paper (to stay true to the dense black and high contrast of the original drawing)…

print detail

… followed by a second edition of 20 prints in an optically-addling combo of white ink on Fabriano’s beautiful ‘Blu Notte’ (Blue Night) Tiziano pastel paper.

I love this print – and it’s not often I like, let alone love, something I’ve made – so despite numerous learning curve glitches (alluded to in my previous post) making these prints was a very rewarding experience!

print detail

The limited edition prints (in both colourways) and a handful of greeting cards are now available to buy in my Etsy shop:

two-colour screenprint with hand-coloured details in watercolour & gouache, made in late 2011

I was first bitten by the silkscreen printing bug back in December 2008 when I joined a two-day workshop led by the inspiring Christina Hallström at the Amsterdams Grafisch Atelier (now the AGA LAB). I’ve since been most grateful to have access to the AGA LAB’s facilities to realise various printmaking projects… but I also began to dream about setting up silkscreen printing facilities in my own studio, where I could work more spontaneously, be ready to dive in whenever inspiration struck, and to have the luxury (and there’s no question that’s what it is!) to experiment in my own space and at my own pace.

2016 was the year I finally made this dream a reality!

our ‘stoere jongen‘ guards the shiny new vacuum printing table!

sunsrise and screens… ready for some early morning printing!

Setting up the studio was quite a project in its own right and required plenty of research and careful planning. It was a time-consuming, sometimes tedious (darkroom curtain-rail research & comparison, anyone?), frequently frustrating (did the installation technician really just cut off that impossible to replace power plug!?), always challenging labour of love. Then towards the end of last year it was finally done and high time to get back into the real labour of love… making and printing stuff!

colour mixing

a film positive (for exposing image onto screen) casts an interesting shadow

And that’s what this year-so-far has been about – getting to know the quirks of new equipment, figuring out optimal screen-mesh threadcounts for image detail, printing with different inks, optimising processes…

multitasking bathroom… now doubling up as a screen washout booth

… trialling (& much erroring!) of photo-emulsions & exposure times, step wedge test adventures, and trying not to get (too much) ink on the cat!

aarrgh!… another failed (under)exposure

I’m still learning – there’ve been some hold-my-head-in-my-hands-in-despair moments (see previous pic!) – but it’s also thrilling and exciting and a lot of fun to be working in my own space!

checking ‘off contact’
(to ensure optimal space between screen mesh and printing substrate)

glorious, gloopy ink!

My (furry grey ;-) editor tells me that’s enough words for now… but I’ll return soon with more about some of the print projects I’ve been working on. In the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed the ‘teasers’ in the process shots illustrating this post.

This is Part II of the most recent instalment from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko. For Part I click here.

If you’ve been following the progress of this collaboration you may remember the mysterious, magical forest scene from Yoko’s previous entry (partly pictured below, or you can click here to see it in more detail).

muji notebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook (amsterdam) – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

I was so enchanted by this mystical forest I wanted to create a protector for it, a guardian spirit if you will. She appeared in the guise of a tenacious, green-eyed owl.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

late night prototyping

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

ear tuft/eyebrow, work-in-progress

muji notebook (amsterdam) - completed double page spread

notebook (amsterdam) – completed double page spread

She looks rather flinty, but she’s really quite friendly. That’s just the outward manifestation of her resolute determination to protect all those that call the forest home from all those that would cut down, kill, consume & catalogue.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - glow-in-the-dark eyes!

Of course no guardian spirit would be complete without glow-in-the-dark eyes! (My penchant for GID paint, and in fact anything that glows in the dark, does not seem to be abating.)

muji notebook (amsterdam) - eye see you

ear tufts folded for transit to tokyo

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

" "

notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) | (7 – part I)

" "

At last, I’m back with new instalments from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko Hayashi.

It’s always a thrilling day here when a MUJI notebook sized package, postmarked Tokyo, lands in my letterbox!

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

In my previous entry (which you can see here) I’d left Yoko with a rather awkward, untidy-back-of-embroidery page to work with…

muji notebook (tokyo) - back-of-embroidery

I was intrigued to see what she’d done with this page. I knew it would be beautiful and inventive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful – there was actual gasping when I turned the page to reveal Yoko’s most recent entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

This fine lace-like filigree evokes a constellation of delicate celestial bodies or magical snow crystals.

Although they are painted they have an enticing three-dimensional quality – like real openwork – that makes one want to reach out and touch them.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread (artwork by yoko hayashi)

The village beneath this constellation (itself, it would seem, born of fallen stars/snow crystals) exudes a peaceful otherworldly calm, and that deep stillness that almost always accompanies abundant snowfall.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

Soft, substantial snow came to Haarlem a few days after the notebook arrived. Coincidence or enchantment? I favour the latter…

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – all artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II)

All artwork in this post is copyright yoko hayashi

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

instagram

Good morning moon, good morning cumulus congestus #moon #morning #clouds #cumulus #blue #sky #dutch_sky Some tigery goodness in honour of Global Tiger Day today! A day held annually on 29 July to raise awareness for tiger conservation around the world.
I made this screenprint several years ago to raise funds for wild cat conservation organisation Panthera (@pantheracats). You can support the crucial work they do at www.panthera.org, or if you fancy one of these screenprints they’re available to buy in my shop – I donate 100% of the proceeds of every sale to Panthera (www.etsy.com/shop/sakurasnow)
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#tiger #big_cats #wild_cats #endangered #conservation #panthera #panthera_tigris #leopard #panthera_pardus #panthera_pair
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#donation #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #ink #pattern #stripes #spots Rainbow over Haarlem, shortly before last night’s big, beautiful thunderstorm arrived #rainbow #haarlem #storm_clouds_gathering #moody #sky #clouds #colour #summer #thunderstorm #dome #verdigris #cathedral #kathedralebasilieksintbavo #studio_view #rooftops #netherlands A very happy 54th wedding anniversary today to my magnificent Mum & my dashing Dad!
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#mum_and_dad #happy_anniversary #1960s #classic #style #1960shair #lookin_good #family #old_family_photos #sepia #black_and_white #patina Luminous jelly bells! Jellyfish silkscreen print detail…
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#screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #ink  #glow_in_the_dark #GID #phosphorescent #jellyfish #cnidarian #bells #marine_bioluminescence  #pattern #black #green #glow
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https://tinyurl.com/yclpowve I am indebted to the always inspiring artwork of 19th/early 20th Century German biologist Ernst Haeckel. These recent pop-up interpretations (by Maike Biederstädt) of various plates from Haeckel’s masterpiece ‘Art Forms in Nature’ (‘Kunstformen der Natur’, published between 1899 and 1904) are very cool! Swipe right to view ‘em all (six images in total). Japanese woodland spirit, Chibi Totoro, particularly likes the ‘forest’ of sea anemones (5th image :-)
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#ernst_haeckel #art_forms_in_nature #kunstformen_der_natur #biology #natural_history #marine_biology #sea_creatures #creatures_of_the_deep #octopus #octopus_vulgaris #red_starfish #asterias_rubens #acanthophractida #cyrtoidae #radiolaria #protozoa #sea_anemones #actinaria #chibi_totoro #popup #pop_up_book #maike_biederstädt #paper_engineering #prestel #pattern #texture #form #design
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‘Ernst Haeckel Creatures of the Deep: The Pop-up Book’, by Maike Biederstädt, published by Prestel August 2016

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