Friday, 6 April 2018

WITH WINGS

I am having a small break from bird collagraphs. I am giving myself sometime to explore new techniques together with new subject matter.
But as you can see, I am not moving too far away from the subjects I love to research.
Entomological collections and wings.
Natural history together with the collection and study of it is close to my heart. 
Something that my father encouraged.
So as you know I start with drawing, drawing, drawing.
Then plate making, yes there has to be collagraph here somewhere. 
But I need to push myself and my use of materials further.
Caroline McCatty, a super supportive artist friend has given me lots of silk. 
So 'what if ' I print my collagraphs on silk?
What if I rust the silk first, then print on it?
What if I combine collagraph with gum arabic transfer printing and start to layer everything up...
on silk? 
I am at the experimental stage, but thanks to the encouragement of Caroline
 I am beginning to move in a very different direction...or am I?
I am realising that I have missed doing proper research and development work and have to acknowledge that it is not always about producing sale-able work.

While I am in a thanking mode, I received an email this week from Anuj Agarwal, founder of Feedspot. My blog has been voted one of the Top 20 Printmaking Blogs on the web. 
Thank you Anuj and everyone who reads  this blog. I look forward to many more posts. 

Monday, 12 March 2018

WHAT A WEEKEND!

If you are reading this you may have missed the Made By Hand show at Cheltenham Town Hall this weekend. 10-11 March. 2 days of wall to wall of varied creative talent in the middle of town.
I was lucky enough to be selected to demonstrate my printmaking processes. On Friday I loaded the studio into my car and set up 
my collagraphs in the pillar room.
The calm before what was to be a very busy weekend.
It was a very sociable weekend as I had 2 other exhibitors staying, Katie Wallis from Bristol and Claire Cawte who is coming to the yard:ARTspace in July to teach an Eco Dying workshop
I could not have done the show without the support of family and friends, particularly Caroline McCatty who looked after me the whole weekend. 
I didn't just stand about in the space, I spent 2 solid days inking and printing.
Talking to people about collagraph, gum arabic transfer and the creative courses and workshops on offer at the yard:ARTspace
It is thrilling to surprise people with the simplicity and
and effectiveness of
the processes I use.
Thank you to everyone who came to talk to us, who bought work and look forward to seeing some of you at the yard:ARTspace, Cheltenham. 
Lets get inky!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

MEDAL-LING WITH MEDALS

Yesterday I found myself back at the Museum in the Park, Stroud.
I was installing my last response to the Museum's WW1 collection as part of the Arts Councils funded project Echoes in Enamel. Thank you Alexia who supported me throughout the project.
For this collection of work I have focused on medals and have made an alternative selection of awards. 
Looking closely at the feeling soldiers may have experienced while at the front and the emotions of their waiting families, I have created medals exploring the language of bravery and fear.
Printing with oiled based ink onto copper I then etched the medallions. The ink resists the ferric chloride leaving the words as an eaten edge.
The pieces were then enamelled with white and black to echo domestic enamelware.

 We know that  medals are awarded for bravery and gallantry; this of course should be celebrated. But we should also acknowledge fear and anxiety, both natural feelings in the stressful environment of conflict. 
The medals have been made in collaboration with textile artist, Viv Sliwka aka Hens Teeth. Viv created the medal ribbons, inspired by bandaging and rusted to create an earthy colour. A far cry from the jaunty grosgrain tapes supporting conventional medals. The enameled copper together with the enamelled bars create a more domestic looking medal. Very different to the grand awards made for actions at the front.
I have placed the new awards among the museums medal display. In comparison they look very handmade, almost as if they were made by the soldiers in the trenches for each other or family at home.
But this is the display that has given my enamel pieces real presence, pinned to 
this beautiful uniform jacket.
This small but beautifully formed exhibit is on display at 
the Museum in the Park's foyer now until 29 April. 
Come and meet me and find out more about the Echos in Enamel project on Sunday 25 March. I will be at the museum with examples from the project and demonstrating Gum Arabic Transfer printing.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WORKING PRACTICE, NATURAL COINCIDENCES

The weather has been awful, so I have spent several days snug in my shed. I am working on some ideas for a project that will appear in the Autumn. 
 Yes I am once again absorbed with entomological collections housed by museums. I am at the drawing stage and thoroughly enjoying the mixed media process.
I start off with white acrylic printed texture so that I am not faced with a white page. Perhaps a bit of wax mark making...not that apparent  in this image
Then fun with acrylic ink, there is almost colour here, not like me at all!! 
I will then progress by working into the surface with collage, more white paint and drawing. 
Gradually moths and labels start to appear. 
Wings emerge from the mixture. 
More white paint, more definition. 
I like to allow the initial ink patterns to describe the marks of moth wings.
The drawings take on a life of their own, dark background or light...I quite like both.
These moths are generic shapes and patterns,
reminders of moths we may have encountered.
With all this looking and drawing going on I am beginning to make connections
with some enamel experiments I made just after Christmas. 
Particularly these 2 pieces...bugs, moths and now nests.
All roads are leading to this subject matter as this week I found an old wrens nest in a winter tree in our garden. Just look how everything is connecting. I just love coincidences. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

IT'S NATURAL

It is this time of the year that I find myself trying to fend off those winter blues.
These visitors to my garden really help. Not only do they lift my spirits, 
but give me an endless source of inspiration. 
I adore these little ball of feathers  hurtling through the garden and
can't wait to start a new piece based on this plump chap. 
To raise my spirits further on a cold damp day Mr Brown and I jumped in the car and went to the very exotic, Stratford on Avon .
We found ourselves in the Butterfly Farm enjoying the warmth, tropical vegetation and these flying jewels.
This wonderful display of emerging Atlas moths 
was a sight to behold. 
Strange fruit indeed. 
At every turn there is colour and the
gentle movement of equisite
butterfly's and moths sailing through the air.
 Lots of ideas, but more to the point a delightful way to fend off those dismal winter blues.