Thursday, 16 January 2014
Other than the dreaded tea towels something else that's been giving me a headache lately is recycled card! I usually buy A4 white recycled card from Eco Craft, screen print two designs at a time, then fold each sheet of A4 card using a bone folder before cutting it in half to make two A6 cards. But since Eco Craft have changed to a heavier weight of white recycled card I've found it's not as easy to fold, every sheet has to be scored first which takes ages and doesn't look as nice. So I've switched to coloured recycled card which is a little easier to fold. I know I need to find a new card supplier, it's on my to-do list.
I haven't thrown in the towel but I was tempted to after having a terrible time screen printing tea towels and ruining most of them. I'm not exactly sure what the problem was but the Speedball screen printing ink I tried blocked the screen after I had only printed a few tea towels. I've never had that problem with Permaset textile printing ink. I didn't think the consistency of the Speedball ink was as good as Permaset inks and the colours didn't seem as strong, Speedball Magenta ink looked pale when compared to Permaset Aqua Mid Red which is what I used previously. So I ordered more tea towels and more Permaset ink and managed to successfully screen print more Folk Dancing Girls tea towels. Another thing that helped was Crafter's Companion Stick and Spray for Fabric. I used it to temporarily stick the tea towels to newsprint which kept them fairly taut and made printing alot easier. As if by magic there's no trace of the glue after printing, the tea towels just need ironing to fix the colour and they are good to go!
My friend told me about a Russian tin doll she had as a child in Bulgaria. I'm not sure if her memories of it were good, I think that she would have preferred a Barbie doll or the choice of the different toys I took for granted growing up in the west. The Russian tin doll clearly doesn't have the same significance for her as it does for me. To me it's a fragment of a wonderful culture very different from my own so I was excited to actually find the dolls on the internet. Even better than the dolls is the packaging they come in with it's beautiful Russian lettering and vintage style illustration. For my Russian doll I tried to keep as many of the original elements as possible but also wanted to create something new. The actual dolls are red, blue and yellow with black outlines but I only wanted to use two colours so chose crimson and metallic blue. I originally screen printed them for Christmas but I'm hoping to continue with the theme and create a collection of designs inspired by Eastern European dolls and toys.
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Somehow Jennifer Collier managed to fit all my folk tree screen prints into her gallery, Unit Twelve, for the '21st Century Farmer' Exhibition. She even squeezed in a few of my 3d card folk trees. It's great to finally see everything together and so beautifully displayed. The little details like farmyard toys perched on frames and Duplo blocks with name labels make it all the more special. Added to which it's also a really well curated group show and I'm very lucky to be included with so many talented designer makers. One of them is Melanie Tomlinson, many years ago we were on the same degree course at BCU and both of us stayed to do an MA in Visual Communication.
'21st Century Farmer' is on at Unit Twelve from 5th Sept until 30th Nov 2013
Unit Twelve Gallery
Tixall Heath Farm
Gallery Opening Times
Thursday - Saturday
10.00 - 4.00pm
Friday, 23 August 2013
This September some of my screen prints will be in the 21st Century Farmer exhibition at Jennifer Collier's wonderful Unit Twelve Gallery in Staffordshire. I've been looking forward to this all year because I know the gallery is professionally run, my work will be well presented, taken care of and returned in good condition. The exhibitions at Unit Twelve are always beautifully curated with lots of attention to detail and they feature an exciting mix of different designer makers. They are also very well promoted, I couldn't ask for more.
It goes without saying that this has been a great excuse for me to draw more chickens, roosters and folk trees. I've finished two new screen prints just in time for the exhibition though there may not be room for them as well as all my other folk trees. I'm more than happy to leave the final selection up to the gallery and I'm excited to see how they display the work whether it is new prints or favorites like these from last year...
Summer has been very busy because, as well working on a new series of screen prints, I have been putting together the fifth Girls Who Draw postcard book. The theme of the book is Masquerade but I left this open to interpretation so the 12 illustrators involved have all done something completely different. There are some masks but also theatrical characters, traditional costumes, animals in disguise and even camouflaged insects.Initially I wanted to produce a series of mask designs but after seeing some vintage stamps featuring Bulgarian and Romanian costumes I decided that was what I wanted to do. My original designs are A3 but because they are quite bold they also work at A4 for screen prints and even smaller for postcards.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is very difficult to do my own work as well as manage a group of illustrators and get a book to print. I don't get paid, I don't really know what I'm doing and it takes up alot of my time an energy. In the end it is worth the effort because I get to work with some very talented illustrators. I'm really happy Sandra Dieckmann agreed to contribute two new postcard designs for the book. But even better than that she also illustrated and designed this beautiful cover for the book.
This is my favorite Bulgarian folk costume so far, I really enjoyed doing the research, drawing and printing. Working from images of actual costumes and trying to retain some authenticity pushed me to use colours and colour combinations I would have previously avoided. Printing four colours was also a challenge as I normally only use two but it wasn't as difficult as I expected and I'm happy with the results. It seemed fitting that she should have a male companion but he was more of a problem mainly because the a lot of the men's costumes are either black and cream or black and red. I try to avoid using black because to me screen printing is all about colour. After trying out a few different combinations I mixed red with a bit of purple and decided to go with that.