Wednesday, 27 June 2012

And now we're into June!

Isn't the year flying by? Perhaps it seems faster because we're being so creative lately! Some of us managed a visit to the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair and were blown away by the work we saw there. Maz had a piece of work on display at the ATASDA stand. The theme was Little Fragment and each work had to fit inside a 25cm (10in) square, and you can see her work here.

Tricia and Nola had some more breakdown printing playdays. Tricia still had her second never-ending screen to print from, and both painted new screens. Nola wanted to try block printing with the thickened dyes onto fabric as a first layer.
She plans to print over these pieces to see how this influences the pattern.

She also painted two screens:
She used her Indian print blocks to print on this one, building up layers on the screen and letting them dry in between. The layers were very thin, compared to other methods she's used so they dried quite quickly. For the last layer, she used black thickened dye. The screens that have been so reluctant to break down were built up using this layering method, so she expected to produce a screen that would print quite well.

The results were mixed. The initial prints were very interesting but the screen discharged very quickly.
The strongest area of print is in the lower right corner, and it's certainly very interesting. But the dried media broke down very quickly. 

Her other screen was painted using more usual methods, using sponge brushes, syringes, stamped elements with plastic containers and thick drizzles spread with a comb. These are the techniques they used on the screens that were reluctant to discharge.

However, this screen also discharged very quickly.
The dye was slightly runnier than last time, because they had a problem with the screens clogging up. The humidity was slightly higher as well, and the screens did not sit unprinted for as many days. A couple of the screens were dried using a hairdryer. Clearly, there's a dynamic between all these things, determining the kind of results.

Meanwhile, Tricia was printing from her second never-ending screen.
She printed from it in various colourways.
Even washing the screen out between colours didn't cause it to break down...
...nor did using very runny media. The screen hasn't  been washed out, since it's making such lovely patterns. The resist design looks more ragged each time, so it is finally beginning to break down.

Tricia also painted another larger screen.
Like Nola's screens, it broke down quite quickly.
They are producing some breautiful fabrics, though, aren't they?

Meanwhile, Bev was creating some interesting effects on paper. She took various leaves from her garden, including eucalypts, oak and other unknown ones. She laid the leaves on paper and steamed them in a bamboo steamer, the kind used in cooking Chinese food. Here's the results:




Aren't they fantastic? Another interesting way of making patterns.

Helen brought along an embroidery she's made, for a challenge in another group, of a puppet soldier. 
Meanwhile, she was working on her triptych.
They're looking good.

Bev brought along her Lost Treasures piece from last year, which as risen to the top of her pile.  It's coming along nicely.

Nola made a visit to the bead shop this week and was making some new earrings.

We also brought along our works-in-progress Fragment sections to share. The group is making a collaborative piece for ATASDA's biannual exhibition at the Palm House in the Sydney Botanic Gardens in August. We cut a photo into sections and each of us is making a work inspired by that section of the photo. The finished works will be 8in square and will be mounted into a cube for exhibition.

This one is Helen's...
(which is finished, of course), and Maz's...
...and Nola's, she's building up layers with applique, stitch and Inktense pencil...
... and Tricia's...
... who's also building up layers with applique, pencil and stitch.

Stay tuned for images of finished works!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Catching up a little

Are we the only ones or is this a very busy time of year? Our meetings have been rather scattered lately, but we have been getting together to share our work and inspire one another.

Helen is the most productive member of our group. Every meeting, she seems to bring along incredibly beautiful and intricate work. She brought along this collaborative work from her embroidery group at Mt Colah.
Each member had a section of an image of the Ian Potter Centre in Melbourne, to inspire their work. The individual members could use all of their section or just a part of it, but all works had to be black, white and grey. All the pieces were mounted along with the original photo for an exhibition. It's not easy to see in the photo but the individual works are hand stitched and have a lot of gorgeous texture. The enforced limitation of the colour palette made all the members focus on the shape and line in their image - a very interesting exercise.

Helen also brought along another work she made, on the theme of Faces.

She enjoys manipulating photographs, so each page of the accordion book has a different face image. Isn't it wonderful? Making self portrait or portrait works can be really daunting and this is such a fun take on the idea.

Helem also brought along a book cover she'd made. One of her groups had a mini workshop on this technique and this is how she used the resulting sample.

They began with washed calico fabric, and bonded tissue to it, using fusible web. The resulting surface was painted with acrylic paints and gesso, so it had a very stiff and textured hand. Helen has added some of her signature rug canvas, stitched with a metallic medium rubbed over the stitching. She added a bead and a thread tassel and stitched it into a book cover. She's not sure if she likes the result, saying, "it's very blue..." but we think it's altogether lovely.

Tricia and Nola had been doing some more breakdown screen printing.  Tricia had a couple of screens that really did not want to discharge, but they continued to give such interesting prints that she was reluctant to clean them off. Here are some of her prints:

These two are very similar bit the colours are more muted in the second one. Tricia was printing with just the thickened medium, in the hope of loosening some of the dried dye on the screen.
In this one, she was spritzing the screen with water, or adding thickened dye directly to the screen, rather than in the well, to try to soften the dry medium. Hasn't it given interesting prints?
Eventually, she gave up on this screen. A few days later, Nola took some prints from the same screen.These three were taken in rapid succession, using different colours.


When you see them together, they look like different colourways of a fabric range.

In later prints, she was adding chemical water to the dyes to try to break down the resistant areas. The resulting prints were very runny, but there are still traces of the pattern.
Finally, Nola scrubbed the screen off, using a soft brush under the high pressure hose.  She was worried it might not come off at all but it did come clean without damaging the screen. It was reassuring to know that resistant screens like this won't automatically need to be resilked.

Tricia made this print with another screen, which was also curiously resistant to breaking down.
We'll see a lot more prints from this screen, as she's printed from it several times and it still hasn't broken down fully.

As always on our second meeting day of the month, we swapped postcards. Here's Tricia's...
...and Helen's...
..isn't it strange, they are quite similar to look at, but they worked independently of each other. Helen's is made of paper; Tricia's is from fabric.  Here's Nola's:
This one was from a paint rag, drawn on and then painted.
And Maz's:
This one used a paper serviette, bonded to fabric.

More from our June meetings soon!