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Monday, March 31, 2008

Have a Gander at These!

I've started (yet another) new design of brooch. These are gocco screenprinted onto calico then sewn onto layers of felt with a sewing machine. At the moment I have only printed white on white, I liked the subtlety of this, but I'm thinking they don't stand out very well so I am experimenting with printing coloured birds too.

I've also been stitching in my spare time and made another hand stitched brooch. Now I'm going for a half price dinner at The Builder's Arms (monday night only!) and to the cinema with my friend Hayley.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Print Gocco, Layering.

I thought this time I'd mention how to layer exposures. By this I mean printing one screen, perhaps in colour, then printing a second screen on top, perhaps the outlines in black. It took me a few attempts to get this right the first time.
A few things I realised were -
*Cut down your images to fit the print bed when exposing the screen. This helps you to keep registration correct. (When I say 'registration' I mean one layer fitting perfectly over the next layer.)
*Also cut down the paper you are printing on to fit the print bed, this also helps with registration.Without this I find it is pretty much impossible to get registration correct.
*Use a light box to make sure both images fit well on top of each other. I use a thick perspex sheet balanced on top of an ikea lamp because I don't have a proper light box!
* I sometimes use photoshop to figure out my layers. I first scan in my drawing, then on photoshop I make a new layer and basically colour in the drawing. Then I hide the original image and print out just the coloured in layer. I then sit this printout onto my lightbox with a blank sheet on top and, using the gocco carbon pen, I trace onto the blank sheet. This will be the image I expose first.

This is the carbon drawing for the first exposure, I will print it in three colours. I used the foam blocking tape in between colours on the screen, this stops the colours from running into each other, although it still happens slightly. I think it is part of the charm of print goccos.

So, this is the result of the first exposure. Now I want to make the outlines and a bit of detail. This I take from my original drawing traced in carbon pen. This is the result printed on a blank piece of card just to show the image. For some reason the end of the tail didn't expose onto the screen very well. This is possibly due to only one of the lamps flashing, make sure both lamps are screwed in completely. This may be the reason, but it may not be. It's still a bit of a mystery to me. If anyone has any other possible reasons for this happening I'd love to hear! To correct this I have bought a dark grey ink and I will draw in the tail with my dip ink pen on each print.

This is the final result. It is a haddock, an illustration for one of my mum's recipes for her cookbook. Below is another sequence for an illustration of a pheasant and a chicken.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Print Goccoing

This is a Print Gocco, it looks like a toy, but it enables you to make intricate screen prints easily.

You slip in a screen and then place your image that you want to expose on the print bed. This image needs to be drawn either with a special print gocco carbon pen, or it needs to be a photocopy. I've only made prints from carbon pen drawings.

You then need to get the light box and put in the lamps. It takes two flash lamps and they can only be used once. I buy packs of 10 but they still don't last me all that long.

Then fix the light box on top and push down. DON'T look at the flash! It's very very bright. I almost blinded myself when I first exposed a screen! Your drawing will stick to the screen, peel it off slowly.
Your image should now be exposed onto the screen. Take off the light box. Now you have to ink up the screen. This uses a lot of ink, but you have to put enough on it to make it go through the screen. I've also found that when you are mixing colours make sure you mix more than you think you need because if you have to stop and mix more paint while in the middle of printing the screen dries and it gets frustrating.

Pull out the screen, peel back the film, and thickly apply the paint. (sorry I have no photos of this at present)

Now slip the screen back into the gocco, place a trial piece of paper on to the bed, close the top and push down. Your image should be printed! Now continue with the paper of your choice. I normally get about 75 prints, although I do have to top up the ink every now and then.

This post has got rather long, I think I shall continue it another day. There is other work I should be doing! and I wouldn't want you to get bored.

To be continued...!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After the Calm of Easter

I came back from Jeremy's parents' house yesterday and got stuck into making making making. I felt a bit starved of it over the holiday weekend. I'm not very good at just relaxing. I had been all prepared and brought a bag of felt to make brooches, but managed to leave it at someones house on our way to Geelong. (rather typical of me)

So, I got back into the swing of things yesterday afternoon and tried screen printing onto some bags I had bought ages ago. I remembered how at art college we had just used newsprint paper to make the stencils, so I tried that and it seemed to work quite well.

I also finished off my owl brooch that I had started while at Rose Street Artist's Market.

Now I really have to make more gocco prints for my mum's cookbook. Maybe if I say I will show at least two in my next post that will give me a shove!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Editioning and Birding

I'm slowly getting my etchings editioned in time for an exhibition entitled Bird Song at the Australian Print Workshop. It starts on 13th April and I have to have my work finished before then. It's slow work, but satisfying. I'm only in the Print Workshop once a week at the moment, maybe I should go more often?!
Here are some of the pieces that are going to be shown.

I've been doing some looking on the Internet lately at other bloggers. I found a really lovely site called bird by bird in which the author/ artist, Pica, draws a bird she has seen for every post. It's very interesting reading about American birds and her sketches are beautiful, really capturing the essence of each bird.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Felt Species of Bird

I've been playing around with a needle and thread and lovely colours of felt and although my back and shoulders are getting worse and worse I am enjoying myself greatly! Here are my new creations which I will soon list on etsy and take with me to Rose Street Artist's Market on Saturday.

I just remembered this story as I was correcting my spelling of Saturday. I've never been the best speller, I was always in the catch up classes at primary school. I always found it difficult to spell the names of the days I wasn't at school and the months when I was on holiday. 'Saturday' and 'August' particularly as I never really had need of writing them regularly while at school. By now in my 30th year I have mastered how to spell 'August' and 'July' and 'Sunday' (although that was always a fairly easy one) but I was never sure whether it was 'Saterday' or 'Saturday' until my brother told me, "just remember there is a turd in Saturday." Simple! Very brotherly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

At the Farm with Anna

Have a look at Anna's blog, she'll tell you about our great day at the farm!
As requested, here are a few drawings. I want to see more of Anna's too though. It would have been far easier if we had just looked at each others sketchbooks yesterday! Maybe next time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Memory of Horses

To be around horses reminds me of being in the Holywood Hills looking out over Belfast Lough. (yes we too have Holywood Hills, except ours only have one L) The whole view, taking in Belfast city to the west, with its two huge yellow cranes, Samson and Goliath, looking toylike and misty at this distance. The Belfast Hills curving round the city and down the north side of the Lough. The sun setting behind them, late, in the summer evenings. The Lough itself, with container ships and Scottish ferries ploughing the waters, keeping to schedule, creating big waves lapping on the shores.
You can see Scotland on a good day, and unless it's a really bad day you can see Ailsa Craig, the strange, dumpy, gannet inhabited island that sits by itself in the Irish Sea. It's also known as Paddy's milestone, I always used to look out for it. Some days it looked so close, others it seemed to have floated off towards Scotland. Maybe it still hasn't decided yet as to whether it is an Irish rock or a Scottish rock.
For me these images go hand in hand with the comforting smell of horses and the sound of soft munching of grass. The reason for this is my one summer of looking after a horse when I was 17. It was idyllic and I have for ever after missed it terribly. Every time I am around horses I want it back. That’s what nostalgia is though, I never
seem to remember the winter months, when I used to stuff hay down my boots to insulate my toes from the cold, or trying to walk my horse on ice, feet skittering all over the place. Or the rain, the rain, the rain. No, those parts are left out of my perfect memories!

As I drift back into the present, I'm trying to remember why I started this post. Ah yes, the horses. Yesterday evening. Drawing at the Children’s Farm.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gripes and Awards

The conditions have been 100% perfect today for drying washing. Hot temperature (max 39 degrees celcius, (over 100 fahrenheit)) and warm winds. My undies are blowing on the line, dry in half an hour. YET STILL, still my neighbours are using the tumbledryer. WHY?! It's been tumbling all day. I managed to ask one of them. I said 'would it not be quicker to use the line today?" and he replied "but then my towels wouldn't be fluffy."
Fluffy towels indeed. For some reason this makes me very cross. I'm not an eco warrior, but the tumbledryer just doesn't make sense on a day like this. (he's just walked past my window with another load grrrrrr!)

Anyway, griping aside.

Last night was the opening and award giving of the Port Jackson Press Graduate Printmaking Award. I am pleased to say my piece (also below) was highly commended. The overall winner was Glenda Orr who I think well deserved the award, her piece was beautiful.

Tomorrow I'll be at Rose Street Artist Market which will be another hot hot hot one. At least I'll be next to AnnaLaura, looking forward to it!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Goats and the Sheep

Apart from going to the supermarket this morning I've been in all day working on a few commissions. I decided I needed to get out of the flat so I jumped on my bike and cycled down the road to the Collingwood Childrens' Farm where I found a field of African goats, their goaty smell wafting into my nostrils.

I then found a field of very woolly sheep, they were a little less pungent. Thats not to say I don't like a good strong goat smell. I can smell it now even, it's been left on my hand after rubbing a goat's forehead.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Missing Apostles and Cheeky Coots

I have just returned from a trip down the Great Ocean Road in South Victoria, Australia with my mum, her man Brain and Jeremy. We stayed the night at Wye River, camping and my mum asked why we hadn't gone there earlier, in fact I think she would have liked to have spent the whole two and a half weeks there. But alas, they have to leave on Thursday and go back home to Ireland, where, they were informed this morning by Brian's sister, it is snowing.

Here is a family of terns I met while taking an earlyish walk along the beach. I haven’t seen this type of tern before, I'm going to look them up in my bird book, although if I'm using my sketches, I don't know if my identifying will be entirely accurate.

On down the road from Wye River are the Twelve Apostles, famous stacks of limestone jutting out of the ocean. Quite the tourist attraction. They are called the Twelve Apostles and even though a few years ago one fell down, I could still only count 10. Here is my detailed visual account of this amazing natural landmark.

I thought I'd also throw this photo in. It is a pair of cheeky Coots (although actually I think they are Dusky Moorhens to be presise!) at the Studley Park Boat House where my mum, Brian and I hired a boat for a spot of river rowing this afternoon.