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'floral mandalas'

ink & watercolour ‘floral mandalas’

This time last year I was a bit snowed under by the many ‘to dos’ associated with moving to a new city so I took a break from my annual handmade festive greeting card manufactory… and I thought I’d be doing the same again this year (it’s December already??! where did 2015 go!?!) but then I got caught up in the colourful fun of painting a series of small ‘floral mandalas’, first as doodles in my sketchbook and then in a somewhat more ‘considered’ way on watercolour paper off-cuts that I’d been hoping to find a good use for…

'floral mandalas' details

'floral mandala' cards - work in progress

work-in-progress

I soon realised that I seemed to be making cards, and almost as quickly realised that hand-painting cards for all the friends and family I’d like to send festive new year greetings to would be completely insane quite unachievable in the time available. So I decided to try out the greeting card printing services of MOO (I’ve had business cards & stickers printed by them in the past and the quality is great… btw, this is not a sponsored post, just my personal opinion ;-). A unique (as far as I’m aware) and very appealing feature of MOO’s service is that you can have a different design printed on every card in a pack at no additional cost… so the possibilities are almost endless!

I scanned some of my ink & watercolour ‘floral mandalas’ and played around with them in Photoshop to arrive at five festive designs to have printed by MOO. These are they…

'floral mandala' greeting cards

‘floral mandala’ cards

Unable to resist the ‘multiple designs’ feature of MOO’s service I also had some creature cards printed (with designs based on these limited edition ‘animal diorama’ silkscreen prints made a few years ago).

owl & octopus 'animal diorama' greeting cards

‘animal diorama’ cards – octopus & owl

Not traditionally ‘Christmassy’, for sure… but I say good riddance to the jolly, fat man in the red suit and all hail the red-eyed kraken! ;-)

owl & octopus 'animal diorama' greeting cards

Some of these cards are now available in my Etsy storethey can be found here >
Or you might like to give MOO’s greeting card printing service a whirl yourself, here >

'floral mandala' greeting cards

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!

'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!

re-purposing test and dud screenprints as gift wrap

March and April are big birthday months around here, with lots of friends and family celebrating another year on the planet. In an attempt to spring-clean and clear some much needed storage space in my studio I’ve been re-purposing test- and dud-prints from previous screenprinting projects as gift wrap, cards and gift tags…

re-purposing test and dud screenprints as gift wrap

re-purposing test and dud screenprints as gift wrap

re-purposing test and dud screenprints as gift wrap

They make for some beady-eyed packages… but so far the recipients haven’t seemed to mind being eyeballed by their birthday gifts!

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The colourful wrapping papers in the third ‘diptych’ are by
(top image) 1973 and (bottom image) Sukie

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…

the beachcomber

part of 'An amateur naturalist's specimen collection'

the entomologistand the larva-lover

part of 'An amateur naturalist's specimen collection'

the collector

'Curiosity Cabinet' creatures

the cephalopod-o-phile

'Octopus & Anemones'

the ornithologist

'Owl in Oak'

and the panthera pal

'Panthera Pair' - 100% donation to Panthera wild cat conservation group when you purchase this print

… 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.

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* while stocks last ;)
In the unlikely event that stocks don’t last I’ll send some specimen collection cards instead.

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

A gift from a friend @jessebreytenbach a couple of years ago, this tiny, beautiful artwork has taken on a deeper poignancy and significance… [Artist: Stephanie Simpson @me_and_norman] - #stayhome #isolation #art #hope #collage #foundtext #goldleaf #gold #crescent #moon #spring #blue #sky #birds #seagulls #soar -
There’s a cat among the pigeons... A very good reason to #stayhome Be safe, be well. - #idiom #pigeons #cat #grayson #grey #greeneyes #ThinGreyDuke #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #GraysonTheGreat #socks #catsofinstagram #catsofholland -
Venetian grafica, part II - #venice #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #vermeer #scubamask #architecturalsculpture #stonework #pinecone #water #reflections #canals #seaweed #shrine #jesus #lion #planetearth #strongman #flare #emergency #climatechange #pattern #texture #colour #art - Credits: The ‘woman in scuba mask’ street art is by Blub, based on Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ c.1665. Other artist’s unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
Venetian grafica, part I (part II to follow, because Venice is an incredibly visually rich place – what textures! what colours! what magnificent, ancient urban decay! – and I was incapable of culling my photos down to just the ten permitted by IG in a single post!) - #venice #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #architecturalsculpture #stonework #medieval #embellishment #grotesque #chimera #water #reflections #canals #damp #edvardmunch #scream #selfie #baroque #vivaldi #scubamask #violin #owl #tourist #raven #plaguemask #pattern #colour #art #climatechange - Credits: The ‘man with violin’ street art is by Blub, based on an anonymous portrait of (probably) Antonio Vivaldi c.1723. Other artists unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
The only thing crazier than one one-lunged-wonder is two one-lunged-wonders! - #grayson #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #GraysonTheGreat #doppelgänger #doublevision #tightsqueeze #thecrazies #grey #cat #greeneyes #darkroom #blackoutcurtain #window #reflection #russianblue #catsofinstagram #catsofholland
Glasgow grafica… - #glasgow #scotland #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #mural #mushrooms #amanitamuscaria #highrise #highway #creatures #animals #cat #entangled #yarn #birds #beak #steeple #sandstone #gardenshed #hedgehog #treeskeleton #silhouette #concretejungle #pattern #colour #art - (December 2019)

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