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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…
exposed screen | pile o’ prints printed
cleaning/reclaiming the screen
(one of my favourite parts of the process)
squeaky clean screen… ready for a new project!
‘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!
I recently spent a couple of days in the printmaking studio working on a new “Curiosity Cabinet” screenprint (I’m still sorting through and editioning that big ol’ pile of prints, but hopefully more on them soon!). I had a bit of time to spare on completing the CC prints and, as I often work in black and white, thought it would be a great opportunity to spend some time simply playing with colour. Playing being the operative word here!
I made a quick drawing in Indian ink which I could use to create the films for exposure onto my screens, keeping the drawing very straightforward (a simple circular ‘mandala’ motif) as I didn’t want anything too complex distracting me from the serious business of playing with colour.
simple ‘mandala’ drawings | resultant film transparency for screen exposure, and a screenprinting ink colour chart (I do love a good colour chart!)
mixing delicious, gloopy inks
(colour choices perhaps inspired by the garland bedecked patchwork ruminant that presides over the hand-basins in the studio’s WC?!)
I split the design into two parts – an inner and an outer ring – so I could experiment with various colour combinations in simple two-colour prints, and then printed nine different two-colour combinations…
checking registration | turquoise and red
prints awaiting their second colour | nine different colour combinations
I always find it fascinating to observe the ways in which colours shift and change, resonate differently, when juxtaposed alongside other colours.
I’m still trying to decide what I’ll do with these prints – having laid them all out in rows on the floor I’m partial to the repeat pattern they produce and am considering stitching them together, with some gorgeously coloured hemp string (pictured below), to create a vast and colourful ‘wall-hanging’ of some sort…
hemp string | repeat pattern
I’ve also enjoyed pairing them, as notecards, with a stack of brilliantly coloured envelopes I picked up at my favourite paper shop here in Amsterdam (Vlieger – the hemp string was also acquired here).
Although I’ll probably always gravitate towards working in black and white – I like the clarity and simplicity of it – occasional forays into brighter realms are undoubtedly good for the soul!
I took advantage of my time spent recently in the powerful and abundant South African sunshine to experiment with some ‘Sunography‘ paper I’d bought several years ago at the MoMA museum shop in NYC. The paper is a beautiful heavy-weight cold-pressed cotton watercolour paper treated with photographic chemicals which make it (sun)light sensitive on both sides. Sunlight sensitive paper (the cyanotype) was a forerunner of modern photographic processes – invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel and popularised by one of the first female photographers, Anna Atkins, in her very beautiful series of cyanotypes depicting British algae, ferns and other plant-life.
The process is wonderfully simple:
on a sunny day…
gather interesting objects
(whatever you have close at hand)
arrange them on sheets of sunography paper
and expose them to sunlight
(I exposed mine for between 71/2 and 81/2 minutes in very bright sunlight. The longer you expose the paper to the sunlight the deeper the resultant blue, but bear in mind that exposure time will impact on the detail achieved, which will also partly be determined by the transparency/opacity of the individual objects used. Cover flat objects with a sheet of glass to keep them in place on the paper during exposure – this is especially important if there is any wind about)
rinse the exposed prints
(using ordinary tap water)
hang up to dry
et voilà!… sunlight immortalised!
The results are infinitely pleasing, and the simplicity of the process makes it a very rewarding way to spend a lazy, sunny, summer holiday afternoon.
Hmm, now I think I’ll have to start planning another trip to NYC to get my hands on some more Sunography paper ;)
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by sakurasnow this year, and for your fun, supportive, inspiring comments. And thanks to all of you who have bought my prints ‘n things over at Etsy – I’m humbled, honoured, and grateful. You guys rock!
I’ll be closing my Etsy shop for the rest of 2012 at the end of tomorrow (Friday 7 Dec), so if you’re still hunting for the perfect gift for the trickier members of your gift-giving circle head over to my shop before Friday ends (everywhere in the world) and you might find just the thing for…
and the panthera pal…
… in your life.
100% of the ‘Panthera Pair’ print price will be donated to the Panthera wild cat conservation group, and all orders placed (for anything) will receive* a couple of kirigami snowflake cards as a thank you.
* while stocks last ;)
In the unlikely event that stocks don’t last I’ll send some specimen collection cards instead.
At last (it has taken me a while!), some of the results from my screen printing session a week and a half ago. First up, an owl perched amongst the acorns on a high oak branch…
…with a fresh ‘n tasty snack to look forward to
Also a curvaceous (aren’t they all!) octopus…
… enjoying some quality time amongst the (hand) spotted sea anemones
Naturally neither wild woodland dweller nor denizen of the deep would be complete without glow-in-the-dark eyes:
[a close relative of this little guy?]
The first owl print (at the top of this post) is a three-colour screenprint, but in honour of this owl’s crepuscular nature I also made a small edition of prints in one colour – my approximation of that indescribably beautiful violet-blue sometimes visible on the horizon at dusk or dawn (sans the seemingly impossible-to-replicate otherworldly luminescence!)
I had a lot of fun making these prints ‘though there were a few challenges along the way (e.g. my screen’s mesh is too fine for the phosphorescent ink’s particles so I had to hurriedly arrange for a screen with a lower mesh count – there was absolutely no way I was giving up on the GID eyes! – hurrah for the AGA who happily came to my rescue with just the screen for the job. My nemesis – The Snap-Off Problem – reared its ugly head a couple of times as well. One day, when there’s time to spare, I shall have to ask all you seasoned screen printers out there how you perfect the snap-off…)
All three of these limited edition prints are now available in my Etsy shop, where you can also read more about their making and see some work-in-progress pics if you’re interested (some of which you may already have seen in previous posts here). I had hoped and intended to do a more detailed process post (because I love to see pictures of, and read about, other makers’ processes… and I’m pretty sure you do too :), but freelance work deadlines are now looming and time is short.
I’ll be back in a little while though with some more things I made during my week long printing sesh…