31 August 2019

Studio Saturday - woodcut based on weaving

Even the best of the "Korean dolls" prints left several things to be desired:
1. using better paper than the flimsy stuff. It was hard to position.
2. using more congenial colours, rather than what happened to be at hand.
3. getting the registration right ... did the warping contribute to this...
4. using better wood - all the time spent carving, and I'm reluctant to pay out an extra fiver for the wood? False economy!

At least the loosened wood didn't break. I put the board between lots of layers of newspaper and set books on it, then let it dry. It went flat at first, but released from the weight it developed a bit of curvature, so it went into the nipping press for a few days, and I've been getting on with something else.

The new project is based on a weaving by Anni Albers. I was intrigued by how it uses the dark and light threads in the warp and weft to form the pattern, but when it came to draw out that pattern for carving, it cried out for a little creative readjustment -
Instead of using the small board and carving four blocks, I found another bit of carpentry plywood in my stash of offcuts and set to work on that, plunging into doing a reduction print.
Too enthusiastically - that middle 4-block should have been a 2-block, oops! Major readjustment in design was needed!

Nor did I wait to get Decent Wood - the long-desired visit to Intaglio Printmakers for "better" wood and paper happened several days after my "realisations" (above).
This is the difference between the 4mm shina ply (centre) and the 6mm, which costs twice as much -
 Meanwhile cutting on horrid tough splintery suboptimal wood continued...
and eventually the first block was printed, on thin paper (left) and on the new stuff. The difference in colour is alarming, but hey this is still a bit experimental.
 The extreme graininess may be due to too much nori so I then used just dots -
 and the pigment was very dilute -
 Another experiment was to keep diluting the pigment with each print, and at this stage there's not much difference between the first and last of the six prints -
 Or is there? -
I'll be diluting the pigment in the same way for the other layers, and it should make quite a difference when all three layers are printed. Or will it?

Those prints are 20cm square, no border. These have a 1cm border and, using a floating kento, were a lot easier to register -

A little break for a bit of sewing, one morning - lavender bags (using lavender from my garden) and a stuffed dragon (for the grandbaby, who already has a mirror-image dragon) ...

The second layer of "Anni Albers" is  nowbeing cut, amid extreme precautions so as not to get into any mixups this time -
 At the end of the day, just the printed crossbars need cutting away.
 'm regretting using this plywood. See what it's done to my nice little hangi-toh - the toughness has driven the blade down the handle! On the left is the hangi-toh from "the cheap set", a better choice for this wood and I shall continue using it, with frequent sharpening.
Fortunately Tom has been able to pull back the the blade and I'll keep the smaller one for less arduous carving.

30 August 2019

Blast from the past - advice to self

Admonitions, worries, moans, doubts ... 'tis always thus!

These were probably written 15 years ago, during a low point. The two sides of the tiny bits of paper seem to relate to each other.

It's interesting to find "old stuff" like this - you do wonder if you've moved on at all, if you have different ways of coping with things, if the same problems keep occurring or if new things have arisen.

There's the surface, and there's the depths, wot?

Into the bin they go!

28 August 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - holiday weekend project, not finished yet

Once I figured out that only four blocks would be needed, it fell into place -
 And there was a board on hand that could hold all four, so the tracing started -
 and the carving went on apace
 as I sat for hours by the window, listening to, and making lists of, podcasts -

 as the shavings accumulated -
 careful outlines emerged -
 Done! (Note the useful wood glue in its practical dispenser) -

 Then came the printing. It was distressing to see that the board had warped - it had been left soaking too long -
 Bendy ...
 and I used horrible colours...
 and even forgot to add colour, printed the red just with nori! Some colour got picked up so I printed the other blocks just with nori too.
 The "best" print but you can see the registration of the red is waaaay off...
 Despite the danger to this delicate section, I printed the outlines before gluing it down -
 And even before soaking the block, I took several rubbings for colouring-in to figure out possible colours - really liked the results, so my actual prints were/are a bit of a disappointment.
 With the registration sorted, the block flat again (sprayed not soaked), nice paper, and subtle colours strongly applied, it will work out eventually.

Meanwhile I'm enjoying the brushes and small chisels in one of my "travel lines" toolrolls -
 For the Wednesday printing session I revisited the circles -
 and at the end of the day (literally) printed out some simple bokashi and a couple of grids. They'll be paler when they dry -

27 August 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Frieze sculptures

The sculptures associated with the Frieze art fair (3-6 October) are in Regent's Park till 6 October.

These "impacted" bollards caught my eye -

Challenge to self: use non-dominant hand -
Liberal use of rubber to remove smudging (B pencil)
For Robert Indiana's "Numbers one through zero" (1980-2001) -
my challenge was to use a felt-tip pen and straight lines -
Each number is about 8 feet tall
"Numbers one through zero" proved popular -
Judith's version (she had already drawn a different scene and said
that this one took "rather longer")

Carol's version (her challenge consisted of limiting the number of pens
she brought along)
 Sue fit "Numbers one through to zero" into the background -
In the foreground is "Strange Temporalities", by Toronto-based artist Ghazaleh Avarzamani - “a sculptural re-assemblage of a deconstructed slide, [which] embodies the failed assurance of safe enjoyment,” says her website.
Extracurricular activities

Judith had taken her sketchbook to Machynlleth -

Carol took the colours for the felt from a stone, and added "lichen" -

26 August 2019

Holiday at home

Because of the heat, and having so many nice projects to keep me busy indoors, on this gloriously sunny (and warm!) Bank Holiday Monday I stepped out only for a few moments this morning, to water the garden and trim the hedge a bit (trying to stave off, or mitigate, "box blight").

Haven't spoken to anyone all day. This is unusual.

Have walked only 3000 steps. This is very unusual, the target is 12K. However, whenever the fitbit gave that hourly buzz, I dutifully leapt up and ran on the spot till it buzzed again to tell me that 250 steps had been taken. Pat on the back. Fine.

I made a "pot" - based on a wide bias tube. It elongated itself on the sewing machine -
 ... and looks quite elegant when turned inside out -
 Ideally, this should be sewn on the serger. Next time...

In the Woodblock Department, all blocks for the "Korean dolls" print have been cut, and I was ready to start printing -
But the apples got in the way. They have been dealt with, to the accompaniment of two episodes of Beyond Belief, which along with On Your Farm (and The Life Scientific) is one of my favourite Radio 4 programmes -
Tomorrow, the prospect of printing will have me leaping out of bed at dawn. Like today -