Monday, May 23, 2011

A brew worth bottling!

Yesterday I introduced members of the Queensland Papermakers to the exquisite exploration of eco-dyeing on paper.  Although time was short, enthusiasm spurred them on to create some wonderful examples of dyeing on paper with onion skins, leaves, berries, and metal (amongst other things!).  I'm sure everyone has gone home to try some more dyeing in their own art practice.  That's the wonderful thing about eco-dyeing - it doesn't require any special equipment or expensive materials.

And one of the perks of keeping the 'brew' from yesterday is that the colour of the dye bath is well developed.  A beautiful dark inky brew smelling strongly of eucalypt.....yum!

So today I indulged in my own eco-dyeing frenzy and produced some great pieces.  Thanks to my friends I have an overwhelming supply of onion skins, so I packed my paper bundle solidly with onion skins.  This produced very intense prints.  I also let the brew simmer gently for an hour, usually only half an hour.

I used full sheets of Raines paper, folded concertina style.  I intend to make these into books, enhanced with some monoprinting (especially in one section where I forgot to put onion skins!). 

I will post more photos when the resulting books are completed later this week.  I'm waiting for the paper to dry before cutting it up.  Its been raining all afternoon, so they unfortunately they won't dry overnight.

Below are some photos to wet your appetite for yummy textures and colours!

Packing the folds with onion skins etc
After cooking but before the objects have been removed,
looks a mess but lots of interesting marks

A close up of the paper after dyeing

A delicate leaf print

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monotypes at Primrose Park

This weekend I flew to Sydney to run a 2-day monotype workshop with members of the Primrose Park Arts Group.

The idea behind the workshop was to use monoprinting to extend their creativity and art practice.  We started out by playing around with small plates and simple designs using plants, onion bags etc just to give everyone an idea of how collage monotypes are created, and to introduce them to the wonderful ghost prints.

The remainder of the weekend was spent with each participant working on their own projects.  Some used the large plates I provided, others explored hand-printing and water-based oil paints.  I was extremely pleased that they were able to work within their own art practice using the collage monoprinting process. 

This is the first time I have had an opportunity to share the techniques that I have developed over the past 2 years.  Usually there isn't enough time.

I returned to Brisbane last night after a most enjoyable weekend.  I stayed at the Cremorne Point Manor and enjoyed walks along the harbour foreshore with views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. 

Thanks very much to Jean for her very efficient organisation and tasty lunches, and most of all thank you to the girls who joined me in the workshop - you were very friendly and approachable but most importantly, willing to try new ideas and push yourselves to new creative heights.

Inside Primrose Park Art Centre - home to papermakers,
calligraphers, and photographers

The Primrose participants with some monotypes
completed at the workshop

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Water Portraits

Today I went to the beach.  In the name of 'art', of course!

I've been selected for a joint exhibition of Queensland and Quebec (Canadian) artists, the theme is 'Water Portraits'.  The work that I'm creating is based on my previous experiences at Coochiemudlo Island.  I plan to use monoprinting to express my personal connection to Moreton Bay and its estuaries.

So today as part of my research I visited an old childhood haunt of mine, Nudgee Beach, and wandered along the shoreline amongst the mangroves and driftwood.  And to my delight, I found the biggest stand of Cottonwood Trees ever, a great source of one of my favourite monoprinting leaves.  I was like a kid in a candy shop!

This afternoon I prepared my registration sheet in anticipation of starting some prints in the coming weeks.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Cottonwood Trees along the shoreline

Looking across the mudflat - I love the earthy smell

My registration sheet and plates, ready to go

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Etching over Monoprints

Today I have been printing some small etchings over monoprints.  This works best when the monoprints I use as background are indistinct and are in need of 'something' to create a focal point. And of course there's no shortage of monoprints that fall short of my expectations in any session of printing that I do.

For a change, I used water soluble ink - Caligo Safe Wash Etching Ink.  It was so easy to clean up - just water and detergent.  The downside was that I accidentally stained my press blanket.  I suspect that I overdampened the paper and during printing the ink mixed with the surplus moisture and leaked through onto the blanket.  I immediately washed the blanket in wool-wash but I was unable to use friction to remove the stain as I was wary of any rubbing action which might have caused the wool blanket to start felting. 

So now my blanket is permanently stained.  I guess its not really that bad considering I've used the same blanket without mishap for the past 2 years.  It sort of looks like a tatoo, a 'right-of-passage' perhaps?

One my prints - note how the ink has run,
creating some nice effects but staining my press blanket!

One of the prints used for a book cover