Projects and Workshops

Life seems to be unusually busy at the moment and I feel like I am splitting myself in several directions at once.  Projects, workshops and lampshades, I will explain…

I have an exciting project on the go which is a collaborative venture.  One of the biggest challenges with working as an artist is that it can be quite solitary, and unless you have a deadline, it is very easy to get sidetracked (into lampshades etc see below).  So, together with a friend, Naomi,  we have decided to work on a project together.  We are both very interested in the subject of ‘memory’.  Everyone can have a distinct memory of the same event and it be quite different, and although you think you remember clearly, actually there are often gaping holes.  Intriguing!  So that is our starting point; we are going to travel with it and see where we arrive.

Meantime I am embracing teaching as I have so much enjoyed it.  I have been asked by the Craft Barn in Lechlade to do a White Line Woodcut Workshop for them in April and hope to increase that side of things in 2017.  White Line Woodcut and Monoprint would be my favourite ways of working I think although I have booked up for a week learning Screenprinting at West Dean in January.  My treat to me!

At the same time I had a good idea (!) which involved using old embroidered tablecloths to make lampshades and/or quilts – I have started with lampshades as they are smaller  and they are, of necessity, a bit frilly but quite pretty I think – below a couple of examples – what do you think?  If I am going to run with this then I need to access cheap tablecloths – the irony is that everybody’s aunty has a shelf somewhere full of them, often teastained (which doesn’t matter to me) but how to get hold of them?  The second problem is how to access a market for them.  The trouble, as usual, is that I really like making things, and then lose interest a bit when it comes to trying to sell them.  What I need is an agent…or perhaps I should investigate Etsy?

 

 

 

 

National Print Exhibition Bankside London

pure white line woodblock

pure white line woodcut

Just a very quick post as I am a bit swamped with work but just wanted to let the world know that I have two pieces of work selected for the National Original Print Exhibition in Bankside, London.  I am really excited as I entered 4 prints for selection and had 2 accepted – competitions are such a lottery that one is always braced for rejection!  Both pieces are white line woodcut and maybe the novelty of that process helped – I feel like I am operating a one woman revival of white line woodcut!

This is one of the prints that was accepted and I rashly said I had an edition of 8 so when the print got in I had to speedily make the edition before I lost sight of the original.  Hey ho!  So, the Exhibition is on from 21 September til 2 October and is just below Tate Modern (next venue?) so if anyone is in London please do pop in and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile I am offering Workshops in White Line Woodcut – one in October in Faringdon so get in touch if you are interested.

Gotta go now…fish to carve, people to see…

 

White Line Woodblock Printing

Just before Christmas I discovered a form of printing that was quite new to me – White Line Woodblock.  I thought I would do a post about it because it is really low tech and could easily be done on the kitchen table which makes it beautifully accessible to anyone.

It was dreamed up in America in 1915 as a way of getting multi-coloured prints from a single woodblock, using watercolour.  There is a good explanation online at www.barenforum.org so I won’t go into too much detail, other than to say that they fix the paper with screws and I do it with masking tape (pic below): sorry it is a little indistinct but it is japanese paper, hence you can see the woodcut underneath and is attached on the left side.

demo to attach paper

demo to attach paper

Key top tips I have learned so far:

  1. damp the wood before applying the watercolour.
  2. Use a paper that is absorbent, not watercolour paper.  Blotting paper works really well, interestingly.
  3. apply thin layers of colour, working from light to dark.  Depending on the effect you want, let the paper dry in between applications.
  4. Plywood woodblocks are very adequate, and don’t forget you can use both sides (but not at once!)
  5. Because you are working on one section at a time you can apply as much colour as you like.  Go mad!

There are surprisingly few artists working in white colour woodblock.  I think it has huge possibilities especially if combined with monoprint for example.  I have attached a few of my effortsRefugee 1 just to give an idea of the kind of variety of effect that can be achieved.

 

pure white line woodblock

pure white line woodblock

tango in blue dress

Getting Ready for Oxford Artweeks

I can hardly believe it is that time of year again.  Emma Ablitt and I have exhibited together with Oxford Artweeks for the last five or six years so we reckon we have it down to a fine art (no pun intended!).  However, it still always takes me by surprise how much of one’s time is taken up with the peripheral things that aren’t actually making images – so, framing, mounting, signage, personal statements…the list goes on.  I have just lately been having a go at carving in soapstone.  I am really enjoying it but it brings its own set of problems – how will I display them and do they need attaching to their base in some way?  Decisions decisions!   Anyway, I have collected the last few of my pictures from the framers, added the finishing touches to my paperwork and then I should be pretty much ready for the big hang.  Artweeks are a great opportunity to show friends and followers what you have been doing through the year so I try to put a selection of all the different things I have attempted over the months.

Ground-feederThis year I have a handful of carvings, quite a few linocuts and monoprints, and some pastels.  I am generally reasonably pleased with the selection so hope people like them.  It is incredibly useful to get feedback from ones audience and if people are enthusiastic about one direction then I will often go back to the studio and pursue it further.

Setting up starts next Wednesday and we continue the exhibition from 15-25 May – please do drop by and say hello if you are in the area.  Details on the Oxford Artweeks website.

Back at work!

monoprint with drawing

monoprint with drawing

More-autumn-fruits

Monoprint with drawing

Finally I have got back into my studio and started printing – feels great to be back.  So I thought I would update with a couple of examples that I am working on.  I have been looking at Ben Nicholson among others and really enjoy the way he uses line, and different viewpoints so have been experimenting with that.  They are, I suppose, monotypes rather than monoprints but that is quite a technical difference.  We have quite a crop of apples, and gourds from the garden this year and autumn feels like an appropriate time for these sorts of colours.

What else has been going on?  Well, if you subscribe to ‘Artists and Illustrators’ then check me out as I wrote the ‘star letter’ which resulted in a lovely voucher for £50 for art materials.  Decided that maybe I should abandon art as a career and just write letters to magazines!  I have nothing booked up in the way of exhibitions till next May when we do Artweeks but that always requires a lot of new work, and, in addition, publicity photos need to be in before Christmas!  I have another biggish exhibition in October 2015 in New Brewery Arts Cirencester, which feels like a long way off but, again, will require all new work, so I really do need to start getting serious.