Saturday, 5 May 2012

Serigraph Monotypes

.. or breakdown printing, if you prefer! My friend Robyn wanted to have a try, so we spent a day playing with dyes and screens at Easter.

This one was a fragment of a cloth we used as a tablecloth under various messy activities at Fibrecircle last year. It began life as off-white quilters' muslin. This part of the tablecloth looked pretty boring, so, before we cut it apart to share, I threw it in the waste dye bucket after an earlier printing session, which turned it pale blue.
Here's how it looks after printing:
It just looks like a tree, in full autumn splendour, with traces of a house behind it. I'd love to pretend that this was an effect I achieved with planning and purpose, but it's basically serendipity! I think it just needs a little painting and maybe some stitch now, don't you?

I have a real problem with acquiring or making samples. I'm trying hard to use them up but I currently have nearly 200 pieces of cloth, of various sizes, all painted, printed or block printed, often more than once. If I use ten a year, that's 20 years' supply! Friends have suggested it's time to weed out my sample folders and toss ones that I can't see myself using. But I hate to do that, not because I'm unable to throw useless things away! Here's why:

This is one of my paint cleanup rags. It was first photographed for my files in mid 2010, which was probably when it first had some colour added to it. I made a patchwork cushion for the Kambra Challenge, with fabric I block printed and I think I used up the leftover colour on this piece of cloth. It was used as a brush-wiper a few times. Then I grabbed it to wipe off a Shiva paintstik and I ended up with blobs of paintstik in the middle. Not very exciting, is it?
Ever the optimist, I drew lines on it with black pen, which made it look a bit more interesting. But it still had that awkward blob of paintstik right in the middle, which was thick and ugly and would not peel off. I thought of tossing it again then, but it just didn't happen.

Then a month or so ago, I was looking for something to use as the basis of a postcard. I realised I could cut six, 6in x 4in postcards from this cloth, and still miss most of the chunky stuff.

The postcards looked pretty boring, when cut apart, so I started painting. I laid down a transparent wash of colour on all of them, using Setacolor paints - some yellow, some green, some blue, just to unify what was there and see what emerged. Then I began to build up layers, mostly with transparent paint but some small areas of opaques. Here's the first one in progress:
I finished it in time to swap with the Fibrecircle girls last meeting.
It's very stylised but I quite like the way it's turned out. I have a couple more in the works from the same piece of fabric, also forest-themed ones.

Now see, if I'd tossed that fabric as useless, I wouldn't have made those postcards. What's a girl to do?

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