Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inkless Printmaking with Velvet (burnout technique)

This little project is categorized in the file: "keeping myself sane in the midst of other obligations." A brief detour. All that is necessary is a carved linoleum block or wooden block with something carved into it, some velvet, and an iron.

I have no memory of where I learned this. Wikipedia says it is called "devoré" or  "burnout technique,"and the entry says it was done with caustic chemicals. Apparently it was popular in the 1920s, and revived in the 1990s, which is probably when I first encountered it. I don't think this version is toxic. Just watch out for the hot iron.

For an example, I chose one of the blocks used in my clownfish print.

velvet cloth, carved linoleum block

Place velvet right side down on the block.

Preheat iron to the highest setting.
Place the iron on the velvet and count to 20.
Remove the iron.

Remove the velvet from the block.

Wherever there was a raised area on the block,
the velvet was burned away.

I tried it on burgundy colored velvet as well.
It's a bit easier to see in this photo.

And an enhanced detail of the black "print."

After doing this I ended up back in my studio at the letterpress with a new project: printing linoleum blocks on cloth. Just keep swimming!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Seager/Gray Book Art Exhibition in Brooklyn

The Seager/Gray Gallery of Mill Valley has curated a show, "Ten Years of Artists' Books" at the Brooklyn Library. Donna Seager has been championing artists' books in her galleries for a decade now: giving talks, bringing books to art shows, to Codex, and having regular book art exhibits in the gallery she shares with her business partner Suzanne Gray.

A full catalogue, with images and descriptions of books by twenty-four artists, may be viewed online here. (Click at the right edge to advance.) I am happy to say that my letterpress printed, perpetual haiku book/calendar Days Made Strange is included.

It's a visually interesting and tactile collection of handmade artists' books, altered books, and book-related art.

Artists: Guston Abright, Jody Alexander, James Allen, Islam Aly, Doug Beube, Macy Chadwick, Julie Chen, Cathy DeForest, Marie Dern, Jessica Drenk, Arían Dylan, Casey Gardner, Alisa Golden, Andrew Hayes, Meg Hitchcock, Charles Hobson, Peter Koch, Lisa Kokin, Jacqueline Rush Lee, Sandi Miot, Elizabeth Sher, Seiko Tachibana, Danielle Giudici Wallis, Kazuko Watanabe

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sacked Out: from Bag to Pillow

My friend Celeste took a trip abroad this summer and brought me back a sack. Not an ordinary sack, but a sack with letters on it. Not just letters, but find-a-word style. I wondered at first if there were any words in English other than the ones that were printed with red circles around them. The letters looked suspiciously Scandinavian. It was printed with the same letters on both sides.

I told her I thought I would embroider it. She said she had a darling basket of floss from an elderly friend, (my story based on the friend is here), and if I would use it, she would pass it along to me. Yes! I would use it! It was a darling basket.

It has a sampler and an instruction sheet. 
It is not dated.

We have some Glossilla (no relation to Godzilla).

The internet gives me a rough date of early 1900s. The previous owner is in her nineties, so these could be from the 1930s-1950s.

This one is also Glossilla, but it is boil proof.
"Brighter than Silk."

J. & P. Coats 
Six Strand Floss
9 yards
Skein Pat. Dec 27, 1921
one is marked 8 cents

Royal Floss
Fast Color
Carlson Currier Co.
Phoenician Dyes

I got so inspired, I bought a wooden needle case from The Caning Shop.

And so, after marveling at the labels and colors,
I went to work.

When I was finished, I removed the handles.
At Jo-Ann's I got a 14" pillow form.
And sewed it inside.

The beauty shot.

But really, it's going to live in here.

Thank you, Celeste!

It made me think about letterpress printing my own words in a big grid…

Friday, September 18, 2015

Painted Prints: Monotypes with a Gelli Plate

Of making prints there is no end, to paraphrase a popular saying. This time, I wanted to try painting the entire image at once, without overprinting. And creating a varied edition of these prints, all based on the same drawing, or key. Monotypes.

Restless, I wandered around my yard for a subject. Aha! One bloom on the Bird of Paradise plant. That would be it. I took it inside the studio.

I drew the outlines, then mapped out the colors with colored pencils.
I wanted the final print to face left, so the drawing faces right.

Placed the transparent Gelli plate on top of my drawing.
After deciding where on the page it would be printed,
I drew around the edges of the plate.

Painted and printed, first on pieces of maps,
then on black Stonehenge paper, a better choice,
partly for the color, partly because it was more absorbent.

After looking through all of them,
I decided I liked two.
Each has unique qualities.
They look different on screen as well.
I'm really enjoying this process.

If all the birds align, I'll teach a workshop featuring this technique in the Spring.
Keep in touch…

Other experiments here and here.