Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Saltaire Maker's Fair Festival Special!

In a few days I'll be heading north to Leeds and then to the beautiful World Heritage Village Saltaire where I'll be exhibiting my screen prints at this year's Maker's Fair Festival Special. The Makers’ Fair is a showcase of original, hand produced art and craft in the unique setting of Victoria Hall over the weekend of 13th and 14th of September. 
Maker's Fair Festival Special
10am - 5pm
Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th of September
Victoria Hall

New Screen Prints for Autumn 2014

This year's been so busy and stressful that I've had very little time to work on new prints, there just haven't been enough hours in the day. But at last I've managed to screen print two new designs ready for upcoming Autumn and Christmas Fairs. I've switched to using 'Clear Daylight Film' to make my positives for photo screen printing and it's so much better than using acetates. Clear Daylight Film is compatible with ink jet printers and the positives print out perfectly. The black is more opaque than it is when using acetates which means I can expose my screens for longer and I get better quality photo stencils with very few imperfections. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Girls Who Draw present Marine Life

My summer was spent working on a new Girls Who Draw postcard book, although the preparations actually started in spring. It took quite a few emails to sort out the lineup of 12 illustrators for the book and get it confirmed. Some people said yes straight way, a few said yes and then forgot or dropped out, others said no or just didn't answer. I was worried it was never going to happen but in the end it all came together perfectly. The contributors are all illustrators I know or have met through selling work at fairs and that is really important. They all need to be reliable, professional and also self sufficient... they must already sell and exhibit their own work. I've been very lucky this year and everyone involved has been amazing to work with, in fact it's been the easiest book to do so far.

The theme for the postcard book was Marine Life which was really an excuse for me to draw more mythical creatures. I've wanted to illustrate Greek mythology for quite a while and was spoilt for choice as there are so many ancient Greeks sea deities. There's Poseidon, the Greek king of the sea, Amphitrite the Greek goddess of the sea, their son Triton, aswell as Nereus the old man of the sea and his daughters the Nereids. It's not hard to find images of these characters as they are all represented on ancient Greek ceramics. My illustrations were inspired by these and I chose to use colours similar to the red figure style of vase painting. I decided to draw a hippocampus, which is part horse, part fish and some of them are even depicted with wings. For my second illustration I drew a Nereid or sea nymph riding a dolphin.

Now the Marine Life postcard books are finished and back from the printers I'll be adding more details about them and the illustrators involved to the Girls Who Draw Facebook page.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Christmas is coming!

This summer the weather has been amazing which is great for day trips and holidays but not so good for screen printing. The print room has been unbearably hot, ink has been getting thick and sticky on the screen and printing has been hard work. It seems wrong to be getting ready for Christmas and I would much rather be at the beach, sitting in the garden or eating ice cream. But this year I'm trying to be organised so I've just screen printed 100 bird and snowflake Christmas cards. I'm hoping to get another card design finished and printed before the end of August as well as squeeze in more ice cream and a trip to the seaside.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Art in the Pen Skipton 2014

Over the past few months I've been screen printing flowers, trees and birds when ever I get the chance. Then with a bit of folding, gluing and cutting I turn the screen printed recycled card into colourful three dimensional decorations. 
I've amassed quite a collection and will soon be putting it all to good use at Art in the Pen in Skipton. Art in the Pen is a contemporary art fair which is held in a cattle auction. Over 100 selected artists transform sheep and cow pens into mini galleries from which they sell their original works of art. I'm really looking forward to having my own space and the opportunity to do something creative with it. I'm planning to decorate my pen with three dimensional flowers, trees and birds as well as framed prints.

Art in the Pen Skipton
16-17 August 2014
10am to 4pm
Skipton Cattle Auction
Ling Fields
Gargrave Road
BD23 1UD

Summer Screen Printing

These new screen prints look familiar because they are actually designs which I have been printing as cards for a while. I always draw all my designs either A4 or A3 and make sure they can be reproduced in a variety of different formats. Most of my designs are just two colours so they are also fairly quick and easy to screen print which is good, especially when the print room is as hot as it has been lately. These prints were fun to do but I'm really looking forward to printing some new designs and maybe even something a bit more challenging when the weather is cooler!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Royal Shakespeare Company & Who Wears the Trousers?

Earlier this year I was contacted by Lisa Meyer from Capsule after she was invited to curate an exhibition for the Royal Shakespeare Company inspired by the Swan Theatre production of The Roaring Girl. The central character from The Roaring Girl is the notorious thief Moll Cutpurse who dresses in men's clothing. Lisa wanted to work with Girls Who Draw on an interative family friendly exhibition which explored cross dressing in theatre. Her idea for the exhibition was a series of wooden blocks with life size characters on each side. The blocks would each be divided into three moveable sections so they could be turned and the characters mixed up like a three dimensional exquisite corpse. Luckily designing and making the blocks was not my job, I just had to create a set of three characters, find seven other illustrators to draw characters and organise getting all the artwork from them. Not only did we each have to produce full colour artwork but we also had to provide black and white line art for activity sheets. It was definitely a challenge but a really interesting project and a great opportunity to work with some regular Girls Who Draw contributors as well as new ones.

Much of my illustrative work is inspired by folk art and craft from around the world so I wanted my characters to reflect this. But many traditional costumes follow the norm of skirts or dresses for women and trousers for men. The main exception to this seems to be India where, in many regions trousers are part of traditional dress for both men and women. These styles have remained popular and also influenced contemporary Indian clothing so that they do not appear unusual or novel even here in the UK.

My female characters are inspired by Odissi and Bharatanatyam dancers with their ornate jewellery, head dresses and trousers with pleats which open and close during dances. By contrast my male character is inspired by Kathak dancers and in particular the simpler Mughal style of costume.


All twenty four finished characters were printed onto self adhesive vinyl and installed on eight wooden blocks along with mirrored vinyl so one side of each block is reflective. The wooden blocks were the work Joseph Welden who always seems to be able to make even the most challenging ideas a reality. Just as required he made the blocks in sections so they can be turned and also put things inside so the make a noise when moved.  

The characters can still be seen and heard in the Who Wears the Trousers? exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Company until August 31st 2014.

Who Wears the Trousers? 
Ferguson Room
Swan Theatre
Stratford upon Avon