Last year I was commissioned to make a special record of a garden. This record was for the occupants of the garden (and its house) for over 20 years to take with them when they move on to pastures new. There is more information about the project here and there are some images of how things developed in an album here. The final set of prints were chosen over Christmas and are now with the framer. I’m looking forward to seeing how they look as a finished series. Meanwhile, I will be bringing the experiments and developments together in a special book to go with the framed prints.
My book is a record of things picked up in the streets around my home on everyday short walks during autumn and winter: on the way to the post office or back from school. The things I’ve picked up are insignificant: a rusty washer, a few leaves, a beer bottle top… They have come together with the help of the chemistry of tea to make marks on the pages of the book. I’ve then used rollers and ink to build up more marks and texture and finally there are stitches added in response to the other marks.
This morning I finished my book and now I can post it off to the Brooklyn Art Library for it to join all the other books from around the world. Eventually my book will be available online to view digitally, but for now here are a few peeks at the detail:
My little tapestry weave samples are progressing slowly. The next stage for these is to be left outside for the winter weather to play its part and see how the rust marks the cotton.
I’m hoping that the rust will seep its way into the thread and stain the cotton in a similar way to my rust prints on paper. I haven’t yet added any agent to help the process as I’d like to see what the elements will do on their own.
I’ve been stitching into some of the prints I made earlier in the week. This one has a tea and rust print and then a collagraph print over. There are embossed and printed marks from stitches on the collagraph plate and my little seeding stitches play about amongst those marks. I’m really pleased with the effect and some late afternoon sunshine (it rained most of today) enabled some good photographs.
I spent a morning in the print room at college this week. As a recent graduate I was able to apply for access to the facilities for this year and got it, so I felt it was about time I started making use of it. As my studio is still a little way off being workable in and I needed to do something other than planning, paper work and sitting in front of this screena session in the print room made sense.
I made two screens, one based on the silhouettes of items found beach combing a year or so ago and one using part of a poem written by a companion on the same trip. I purposefully made the text pretty small so that it wouldn’t all expose clearly and so some of it would be legible and some wouldn’t. I wanted to experiment with this and use the shape of the words on the page as much as the words themselves.
I layered prints over pages from my sketch book that had been dyed, stained and rust printed, playing about with the tones already on the paper and using different combinations of prints.
Some of these pages will be worked on more, stitched into and further dyed. Some are quite striking as they are. All are part of a process, growing ideas, developing thoughts…
I’m experimenting with the marks that can be achieved by laying items on to paper that have either been soaked in the remains of a dye bath, or rusty items that are laid onto wet paper (in this case wet with tea or with vinegar). It takes time, but as the moisture dries I am left with some exquisite marks that are a curious mixture of planning and randomness – something I feel underlies so much of my work.
This one isn’t strictly printing, more dyeing, as the paper had been submerged in a dye bath with clamps to resist. I love the randomness of the rust marks next to the straight line created by the clamp.