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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

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)

" "

While Yoko was producing the beautiful pages in the ‘[amsterdam]’ notebook of our long-distance MUJI notebook collab (featured in this post a couple of weeks ago) I was enjoying working in the other / ‘[tokyo]’ notebook. Yoko had previously provided this trigger for my next entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

… and I leapt at the opportunity to raid my stash of postage stamps amassed over the decades – soaked off correspondence received from distant friends and family, flea-market finds etc. While sifting through this trove I restricted my selection to stamps with animal or vegetable themes and collaged them onto the notebook’s left page.

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

postage stamps

Then I chose eight of my favourites (chosen for their excellent animal subjects and not, in the case of some, for the pernicious colonial legacies they represent) to use as the basis for a series of black and white ink drawing exercises exploring pattern, texture, positive/negative space… and fun!

bull-headed shrike - based on a 1998 postage stamp from japan

bull-headed shrike (japan, 1998)

7th century celtic dog - based on a 1971 postage stamp from Ireland

7th century celtic dog (ireland, 1971)

sloane's viper fish - based on a 1961 postage stamp from the congo

sloane’s viper fish (congo, 1961)

chameleon - based on a 1967 postage stamp from ghana

chameleon (ghana, 1967)

sun squirrel - based on a 1984 postage stamp from malawi

gologolo / sun squirrel (malawi, 1984)

To give my failing eyesight a fighting chance I made the drawings at a larger scale than they would finally (re)appear in the notebook… then scanned, scaled down, printed and ‘stitched’ them back into the notebook using bright embroidery thread.

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread  |  back side of stitching

" "

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)

" "

houseplants enjoying the winter sunshine | yellow lichen, green moss in the zuid-kennermerland dunes | hanging globe lights @ tolhuistuin, amsterdam noord | art deco fabric lampshade @ tuschinski theatre, amsterdam | drawing work-in-progress | warm 'n cosy @ home | handpainted owl kite (detail), made by leendert masselink | two sunrise views from my studio windows | king midas sound performing @ paradiso noord, tolhuistuin | murex pecten (venus comb shell) | blue nail polish (a gift from yoko :) | blue cat | january sky | nitnit and inky, by chares burns | a favourite folded paper lampshade (designed by studio snowpuppe) | brittle, bone-white deadwood in the zuid-kennermerland dunes | drawing work-in-progress (bull headed shrike - stern?) | drawing work-in-progress (sloane's viper fish - aghast?) | gira doing a laudable viper fish impression

houseplants enjoying the winter sunshine  |  yellow lichen, green moss in the zuid-kennemerland dunes  |  hanging globe lights @ tolhuistuin, amsterdam noord  |  art deco fabric lampshade @ tuschinski theatre, amsterdam  |  drawing work-in-progress  |  warm ‘n cosy @ home  |  handpainted owl kite (detail), made by leendert masselink  |  two sunrise views from my studio windows  |  king midas sound performing @ paradiso noord, tolhuistuin  |  murex pecten (venus comb shell)  |  blue nail polish (a gift from yoko :)  |  blue cat  |  january sky  |  nitnit and inky, by the great charles burns  |  a favourite folded-paper lampshade (designed by studio snowpuppe|  brittle, bone-white twigs in the zuid-kennemerland dunes  |  drawing work-in-progress (bull headed shrike – he’s a stern little fella)  |  drawing work-in-progress (sloane’s viper fish – apparently aghast?)  |  gira doing a laudable viper fish impression (‘though he needs to work on the ‘wide-eyed expression of astonishment’)

It was a colourful month…

january colours abridged

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


Always rewarding to encounter a ROA in the wild!
#pangolin #roa #graffiti #ipaf #streetart #internationalpublicartfestival #saltriver #capetown #art #drawing #creature #blackandwhite #scales #scutes
(Freshly painted in February 2018 – as part of the International Public Art Festival #ipaf – in Salt River, Cape Town)
- Around the bend…
#chapmanspeak #capetown #southafrica #epic #scenic #drive #turquoise #blue #atlantic #ocean #mountain #peak #topography #aerial_view #pattern #colour #form
- In celebration of World Wildlife Day today, and all creatures great and small, here are some beautiful beasts encountered during a roadtrip across Namibia a couple of years ago…
black-backed jackal | ostrich | burchell’s zebra & springbok | cheetah | giraffe | ground squirrel | gemsbok | dassie | elephant | chibi totoro
#roadtrip #africa #namibia #desert #etosha #wildlife #animals #conservation #pattern #colour #WorldWildlifeDay
#black_backed_jackal #ostrich #zebra #springbok #cheetah #giraffe #ground_squirrel #gemsbok #dassie #african_elephant #chibi_totoro
- Playing with fire…
#papercutting #wip #workinprogress #mulberrypaper #kozopaper #scalpel #sunrise #makeshift #lightbox #filthywindow #pattern #colour #red #orange #yellow #fire #handmade
- Bearing a heavy load…
#streetart #graffiti #graphiscape #urban #signage #noentry #silhouette #bentdouble #heavy #weight #typography #tatemodern #bankside #london #texture #red
- Aerial landscape…
#moss #islands #aerial_view #map #damp #green #flagstone #london #winter


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