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Here’s another instalment in the long-distance notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko for the past few years. I sent my most recent notebook entry off to Japan in late February, and as it has (long since) safely arrived at its destination it is (long overdue) time to document it here!

In her previous entry Yoko had ingeniously flipped the notebook (a simple 21 x 21 cm square, ringbound, kraft paper notebook from Muji) 90° to create an expansive portrait, rather than landscape, orientation image.

notebook [tokyo] – yoko’s previous entry, double-page spread
(artwork © yoko hayashi)

(You can check out more pictures of Yoko’s previous entry here)

I was really taken with this orientation and somewhat abashed not to have considered it before. I was also very enamoured with the magical universe Yoko had created and wanted to ‘dig deeper’, so to speak… What better way to do this than to travel straight down into the earth below Yoko’s enchanted, snow-laden village.

notebook [tokyo] – seedlings

One of the (many) great joys of this collaboration is the unfettered ‘playground’ the notebook provides: when we began the collab we had two simple tenets: “No Pressure. No Rules.” – so anything goes, and working in it is a welcome opportunity to step away from other projects, to explore ideas for possible future projects, to experiment in a new or different medium etc. I hadn’t done any papercutting for a very long time and was hankering after a bit of scalpel action…

papercutting work-in-progress

multi-layered papercuts in fiery-coloured mulberry/kozo paper
[sunrise and a (grubby!) window make a good lightbox in a pinch]

I also used it as an opportunity to pay homage to our beloved (and very deeply missed) Gira, who we lost to cancer – at the very young age of five-and-a-half – in November last year. Figuring out how to draw a curled-up feline skeleton was both tribute (Gira knew a thing or two about the contented curl-up!) and catharsis…

And applying hundreds of copper and bronze gouache dots to the loamy earth was comfortingly cathartic too…

notebook [tokyo] – gouache stippling as moving meditation

Here are Yoko’s pages and mine combined into a single image, so you too can journey down through this world’s cool, crystalline firmament to its fiery, molten core…

notebook [tokyo] – four page, vertical spread
(artwork top © 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) |
(7 – part I) | (7 – part II)

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

copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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A jaw-dropping summer sunset in Haarlemtown this evening… - #sunset #summer #evening #sun #light #golden_orb #dusk #clouds #roofgardenviews #haarlem #dutch_sky #painterly #colour #awe_inspiring #nature -
A parade of pampered pups at London’s National Gallery (@national_gallery) - Details from the following paintings: - Gerard David, ‘Christ Nailed to the Cross’, c.1481 - Thomas Gainsborough, ‘The Morning Walk’, 1785 - Gerard David, ‘The Virgin and Child with Saints and Donor’, c.1510 - Luca Giordano, ‘Homage to Velazquez’, 1692-1700 - Francois-Hubery Drouais, ‘Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame’, 1763-4 - #dogs #canidae #canis_lupus_familiaris #pomeraniansheepdog #lapdog #hairlessdog #skull #mementomori #art #arthistory #painting #oiloncanvas #oilonoak #colour #pattern #gallery #museum #nationalgallery #trafalgarsquare #london -
I will always make a beeline to this painting when visiting London’s National Gallery (@national_gallery). It captures the lashing winds and torrential rains of a tropical jungle storm beautifully, and I love the surprised expression on the tiger’s face captured at the moment lightning strikes. - Two details from Henri Rousseau’s ‘Surprised!’, 1891, oil on canvas - #art #arthistory #rousseau #henrirousseau #surprised #tiger #jungle #foliage #verdant #lush #tropical #storm #rain #lightning #painting #oiloncanvas #colour #gallery #museum #nationalgallery #trafalgarsquare #london #catsofinstagram
Vegan heaven in 16th Century Antwerp! (at London’s @national_gallery) - Two details from the painting ‘The Four Elements: Earth’ by Joachim Beuckelaer, 1569, oil on canvas. Swipe left for a mouth-wateringly vivid abundance of juicy fruits… and left again for this painting’s violent counterpoint: ‘The Four Elements: Fire’ (detail), Joachim Beuckelaer, 1570, oil on canvas - #vegan #fruit #vegetables #plants #plenty #crueltyfree #abundance #earth #compassion - #art #arthistory #beuckelaer #joachimbeuckelaer #flemish #painting #oiloncanvas #colour #gallery #museum #nationalgallery #trafalgarsquare #london -
Summer daze... 🌴☀️ - (almost too) #hot (to handle) #cat #grayson #greeneyes #summer #colour #flamingoes #palmfronds #philodendron #deliciousmonster #tropical #catsofinstagram - @kitschkitchen #tafelzeil #oilcloth
These long, light, summer evenings feel like being inside a Magritte painting… - #summer #evening #light #dusk #twilight #moon #waxing_gibbous (26 june 2018) #haarlem #dutch_sky #painterly #magritte #empire_of_light -

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