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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:

I’m in the process of packing up to move home and studio to a new city (albeit a nearby one) and it’s proving, not surprisingly, to be a time-and-energy-consuming process. Luckily I have a very attentive project manager keeping me on my toes…

gira - packing project manager

project manager gira oversees the packing process from atop a pile of boxes

In between house-hunting (& finding :), renovation work (& countless trips back and forth between Amsterdam and Haarlem), packing, and all the other stuff of life I’ve spent some enjoyable time finally completing my ‘noir’ specimen collection with this moth print

lepidoptera (noir) - limited edition screenprint

It’s printed in a limited edition of 13 (plus 1 AP) and completes this collection, made a couple of years ago…

specimen collection - limited edition screenprints

At that time I printed the moths as a four-colour screenprint, but I experienced some technical ‘snap-off’ problems when printing them, and also wasn’t fantastically happy with my colour choices – I felt the crisp, graphic lines of the original Indian ink drawing would be more satisfying as a one colour print (I’m a sucker for the graphic simplicity and velvety tactility of dense black screenprinting ink). Not wanting to waste those dud four-colour prints, I stained them with tea and set them free…

tea-stained moths

moth-bombing in the ardennes

in the hills above la roche-en-ardenne (ardennes, belgium)

moth-bombing in berlin

in st. elisabeth cemetery (berlin, germany)

moth-bombing in cape town

in tokai arboretum (cape town, south africa)

(and in several other places I no longer recall)

If you would like a single specimen or collection of your own, all of the (still available) prints from the ‘noir’ and colour series can be found in my Etsy shop. (I’ll temporarily close the shop from 19 September until ±1 October ± mid-October while I move etc.)

And now I must dash as I think I can hear my project manager calling…

gira - catnap

False alarm! He’s having a well-deserved catnap.

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!

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…

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

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Psychokinetic cat...
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#amsterdam #ndsm #streetart #graffiti #telekinesis #cat #black #white #texture #the_vandal_cat #art by @mineki_
- A month has passed since we had to say goodbye to our beautiful, gentle Gira. I still hear the clickety-clack of his claws on the wooden floors. From the corner of my eye I think I glimpse the tip of a silver tail rounding a doorframe. I hear his peeps and purrs and calls for breakfast in the murmurings of the central heating coming on at 6am. I mistake a castoff garment on the bed for a curled-up, contented cat. And for a brief moment my heart soars… and then breaks all over again.
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#house_of_shadows #phantoms #void #loss #grief #yearning #rip #gira #best_fur_buddy #cat #shadows
- Eerie glow in my late night studio...
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#screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #permasetaqua #ink #GID #glow_in_the_dark #phosphorescent #birch #trees #eerie #forest #thetreeshaveeyes #black #green #pattern
- I’m having a gargantuan sale in my Etsy shop (link in bio) – 20% off everything, including this limited edition, seven screen silkscreen print made a few years ago and entitled “The Sleeping City”.
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And yes, that is Gira perched in the only lit window keeping watch over the sleeping city and communing with a thylacine-headed ghost-dragon...
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Swipe/scroll right (or is it left?!) to see the whole image and go grab a bargain at www.etsy.com/shop/sakurasnow (sale runs until 1 December 2017)
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#handmade #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #ink #blue #cat #gira #amsterdam #canal_house #gables #grachtenpand #gevel #pattern #thylacine #dragon #dream #fabriano_tiziano
- WARNING: when you’ve turned the music W-A-Y up - to drown out the noise in your head - and you’re singing along at the top of your lungs… printing missteps may result #misregistration #understatement #wrongwayround #allbacktofront #theupsidedown #shithappens #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #mistakes #ink #pattern #music RIP Gira Lunar Mare
30 March 2012 – 7 November 2017

Moon Gazer, Sun Seeker, Shape Shifter, Silver Rocket, Constant Companion, Curator of Cuddles, Purveyor of Purrs, Dimension Hopper, Bug Squasher, Cardboard Killer, Spinnende Aap, Invisible Scratch Pickle, Best Fur Buddy, Finest of Felines

#gira #rip #heartbreak #studiomate #best_fur_buddy #grey #cat #kitten #catsofinstagram #takentoosoon #fuckcancer #gonebutneverforgotten

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