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gokstad viking longship, vikingskiphuset, oslo, norway

golden tree, akershus slott, oslo | gokstad viking longship, vikingskipshuset, oslo

Anyone who has seen the harmoniously rhythmic curves of a Viking longship (as I have now learnt) knows that Nordic craftsmen know a thing or two about working wood! I was very smitten with the elegantly curved Gokstad & Oseberg longships (housed in Oslo’s purpose-built Vikingskipshuset), the handsome 13th Century Gol stave church (at the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo), and the many other fine examples of woody craftsmanship we encountered while in Norway earlier this year. Some of these marvels are pictured here…

gol stave church, from gol, hallingdal, 13th century

gol stave church, dendrochronologically dated to 1212 [originally from gol in hallingdal, now located in the norsk folkemuseum at bygdøy in oslo]

gol stave church, from gol, hallingdal, 13th century

stave church details

oseberg viking longship, vikingskiphuset, oslo, norway

oseberg viking longship, built c. 824 AD, excavated from the
oseberg burial mound (where it was interred in 834 AD) in 1904-1905

gokstad viking longship, vikingskiphuset, oslo, norway

gokstad viking longship, built c. 850 AD, excavated from a
burial mound on gokstad farm in sandefjord in 1880

'loft' storehouse, from rofshus, telemark, built 1754

goose… very much at home on the comfy turf roof of a beautifully
carved ‘loft’ storehouse from rofshus in telemark, built 1754

sami turf hut, lyngen alps, norway

weathered wood, sami turf hut, lyngen alps area

top: cupboard, painted spruce, dragon-style, c. 1899 ; bottom: cart, oseberg longship grave goods

fantastic felines!
[painted spruce cupboard, detail, made in the ‘dragon-style’ by lars kinsarvik, hardanger, c.1899  |  saluting cat (?!), carved details on the side of a cart found amongst the oseberg & gokstad burial mound grave goods]

'loft' storehouse, from vinje, telemark, c.1750-60

carved pattern details on a ‘loft’ storehouse from vinje in telemark, built 1750-60

gol stave church details

gol stave church – looking out from within, and more wonderful carved details

looking out from gol stave church ; chibi totoro

chibi totoro contemplates the wonders of wood

sunday market, westergasfabriek, amsterdam

I’ll be at Amsterdam’s Sunday Market at the Westergasfabriek this coming Sunday (3 Nov). It will be my first market experience as a ‘shop keeper’ rather than a ‘shopper/browser’, and I will be sharing the stand with my talented friend, Carmen – the designer and maker behind the unique carhusa range of bags, purses, phone & tablet cases. In addition to some of my ‘Curiosity Cabinet‘ and ‘Specimen‘ prints I will also have lots of new work available – such as this print, as well as the hand-coloured ‘huisje’ (‘little house’) screenprints and various hand-printed & hand-coloured cards shown here…

'dragon' cards - screenprinted and hand-coloured

screenprinted and hand-coloured ‘dragon’ cards in blue…

'dragon' cards - screenprinted and hand-coloured

… and orange

'huisjes' - hand-coloured (watercolour) screenprints

hand-coloured (watercolour) ‘huisje’ screenprints

'sprig'cards - screenprinted by hand in two colours with envelope detailing

‘sprig’ cards, hand-printed in two colours with envelope detailing

'huisjes' cards - screenprinted by hand

hand-printed ‘huisje’ cards in a restrained range of colours…

'huisjes' cards - screenprinted by hand

… and some eye-popping colour combinations too

If you’re in the area on Sunday pop by and say hello. The market is open 12 – 6pm, and I have it on good authority that in addition to the art and design that will be available to peruse and purchase there will also be lots of good things to eat and drink, and plenty of reasons to be merry :) Hope to see you Sunday!

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint

‘The Sleeping City’ is the silkscreen print I completed recently (and for which the drawings in an earlier post were made). It was inspired by a slightly disquieting, though strangely invigorating, dream I had in which a ghostly, glowing thylacine-headed dragon-creature twisted and turned its sinuous body across the dark night sky above a silent, sleeping Amsterdam. I have long wanted to make drawings of Amsterdam’s iconic canal houses and this perplexing dream gave me the nudge I needed. Of course I couldn’t draw the beautiful step, neck and bell gables as they actually are – I wanted them to appear slightly ‘other’, to give them a dreamlike quality… gables for an alternative-reality Amsterdam. The octopus gable and the dragon were particularly fun to draw – I love making drawings that allow me to lose myself in their intricate twists and turns… so much so that I’m sometimes reluctant to resurface!

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, detail

In the dream the city’s slumbering inhabitants were oblivious to the creature’s presence (which, although not malignant, was also not entirely benign). But not everyone slept through this anomaly… Amsterdam’s cats – shape-shifters and dimension-skippers one-and-all – were awake to commune with the strange apparition in the sky.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, details

I have no idea what this dream meant, if indeed it meant anything at all, but it did provide me with some fun material to work with!

the sleeping city, pots of ink

As I generally favour working in black & white, colour-mixing the inks for this print was quite a challenge – I really wanted to capture the harmonious, almost monochromatic midnight-blues, purples and ghostly-glow qualities of the dream, but also wanted enough contrast for the individual elements to have the graphic impact I was after. So I worked with tints and shades of a single colour (that ‘midnight-blue’ I’ve mentioned) – and for the colour layers that called for a more translucent quality, I added lashings of transparent base to the ink.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, details

I chose to print on a coloured paper (Fabriano Tiziano 160gsm pastel paper in ‘Danubio’) as I wanted the elements to emerge from a darker ground, to appear out of ‘the night’ as it were. Printing such a relatively complex (seven-screen, five-colour) print on coloured paper was a first for me and doubtless increased the colour mixing challenges, but generated some very interesting effects. The image disappears almost completely in very dim light, but in brighter light elements positively *pop* off the page – it therefore seems to shift & change in the fluctuating light and as a result replicates a certain surreal quality of the dream that inspired it. I’m fascinated by these temporal effects of colour, light and darkness and will definitely be experimenting further, in future projects, with printing on different coloured papers.

Here’s a little animated GIF showing random snippets of the process, including some of the film transparencies created (from the drawings featured in my earlier post) for the seven separate print layers, exposure (of these transparencies) onto screens, ink/colour mixing, test prints, the print at various stages of completion and finally cleaning/reclaiming the screens at the end of the process.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint, process pics

And here is the print, temporarily framed and hanging on my studio wall, to give a sense of scale (those are standard sized postcards on the pinboard to the right). It’s available now, in a limited edition of 45 pieces, in my Etsy shop.

the sleeping city, limited edition screenprint

Now to put Kronk‘s yeti back where he belongs, before his temporary displacement angers him…

yeti screenprint by kronk

… oops, too late!

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

The Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg has a series of six magnificent wool and silk tapestries, made between 1593 and 1604 that tell the story of Zeeland’s most important sea battles fought against the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648). The tapestries are vast in size and the sea battles depicted are very epic indeed…

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

… but as I don’t know much about ships or care much for battles I was most interested in the small, beautiful details at the water’s edge…

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

… and the flora and fauna depicted in the tapestries’ intricate borders.

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

There are many other fascinating and beautiful artefacts to be found at the Zeeuws Museum, presented in a fresh & simple manner which works beautifully to enhance the history, the detail, and the (long lost) craftsmanship of the objects.

I usually try to make a note of the things I am inspired by and photograph in museums… but on this trip I was short of time and eager to see as much as I could. Apologies therefore that I cannot provide much information on, or attribution for, several of the objects pictured below.

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: carved ivory comb ?]
[bottom: mummy of a child (organic material, textile, wood, paint), Egyptian, c.332]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: the Egyptian mummy again]
[bottom: more intricately carved ivory… wish I’d made a note of what this thing is! A Chinese puzzle ball, perhaps?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

colour parallels…
[top: painting, Dutch, 19th Century ?]
[bottom: ceremonial woman’s blouse or huipil (cotton, silk), K’iche Maya / Quetzaltenago, Guatemala, 1930-1940]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

a very beautiful stitch sampler… hard to believe it was made almost 120 years ago – the patterns and colours (especially that almost-fluorescent pink!) seem very contemporary [Netherlands, 1896 ?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[pig mask worn by a dancer during harvest rituals (wood, rattan, feathers, mirror glass), Dayak / Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia, 1930 – 1960]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: Guido Lippens ‘Memento’ (oil on panel, sawn, burnt), Middelburg, 2002-2003]
[bottom: monkey skulls ?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: war hat (rattan, leather, teeth, shells), Lesser Sunda Islands,
Indonesia, 1850 – 1900]
[bottom: shards of ancient green glass ?]

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint  wip

soap etc., at the printmaking studio

While I was at the printmaking studio several weeks ago playing with colour, I was also working on a new creatures-in-jars-on-shelves print. Creatures-in-jars seem to be a bit of an ongoing obsession for me and since making my first ‘Curiosity Cabinet‘ screenprint over four years ago (where does the time go!) I have continued to draw new creatures, many of which I have made into little, individual screenprints. But for some time now I have had a hankering to fill a second cabinet with some of these new creatures – nothing happens too quickly in my world, but I finally got around to filling that second cabinet…

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint  wip

exposed screen  |  pile o’ prints printed

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint  wip

tentacles!

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint  wip

cleaning/reclaiming the screen
(one of my favourite parts of the process)

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint  wip

squeaky clean screen… ready for a new project!

'Curiosity Cabinet II' screenprint

‘Curiosity Cabinet II’

The resultant prints are one colour (velvety black) silkscreen prints made in a limited edition of 44. They’re available at the wonderful Otherist store in Amsterdam, and now in my Etsy shop… if it’s pickled tentacles you’re lacking in your life you know where to go!

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.

instagram

Cloud monster! - #white_light_from_the_mouth_of_infinity #lensflare #cloudcreature #monster #clouds #silverlining #sky #dutch_sky #crappyphonephoto -
Peace ✌ - #peace #streetart #urbanart #graffiti #meta #purposeful #gnome #kabouter #kbtr #buttocks #billen #spraycan #symbol #red #hat #rotterdam (artwork by @dekbtr) -
Darkroom shenanigans! (My ‘darkroom’ is simply an area in my studio that can be enclosed by light-proof curtains when needed. Grayson had not yet discovered this fluid ‘space within a space’ and was mightily intrigued when I recently used it while exposing some screens for a new print) - #darkroom #lightproof #blackoutcurtains #black #grey #cat #greeneyes #grayson #explorer #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #catsofinstagram #screenprinting #zeefdruk #lowkey #lowkey_photography -
This was a relatively good inking session, but the intense & unprecedented heatwave we’ve been experiencing in NL has had some ‘interesting’ effects on my drawing ink – turning it (and me!) into a rapidly congealing, sticky mess. The second pic illustrates a particularly bad inking session when, on lifting the freshly dipped pen to continue drawing, the entire inkpot came with it and crash-landed across the drawing. Ugh… a sticky mess indeed! This is, of course, a very trivial effect of the #climatebreakdown we now find ourselves in the midst of, but no less vexing for its insignificance in the great scheme of things… #no_use_crying_over_spilt_ink - #drawing #inking #indianink #encredechine #dippen #spillage #blunder #stickymess #sunlight #shadow #organic #pattern #mycelium #tangled #chaos #climatecollapse - Thankfully today is a cooler, rainy day… perfect inking conditions! -
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 -

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