New Year resolutions usually come out of guilt and feelings of inadequacy are to be avoided and as someone who suffers winter downers I am making plans to be kinder to myself and the world and try to do more of what makes me feel good. I have been thinking of positive plans for the year as I want to build on all the good things that came out of 2013. Already I have bookings for the Mud resist course in July and the Bundles and Books in October which is heartening.
When I moved here from London I decided to get a dog to motivate me to go for walks and even during the darkest and miserable days of mid winter I have no regrets. The leaf printing has added a deeper sense of mindfulness to my walks and focused my attention on the changing seasons, the many varieties of trees and plants along the path and a deeper sense of place.A walk today found aconites, snowdrops coming into flower and the sun made a welcome change from the cloud and rain filled days of recent weeks.
This blog has added a discipline to my work and a more thoughtful approach to my practice. I have a tendency to try and do too many things at once and not follow and record an idea to a conclusion. The discovery of new techniques can take me off on tangents leaving work unfinished and ideas unfulfilled.
I have been continuing with paperwork, folding, printing steaming and steeping ideas developing around the kitchen table. Boats, boxes, maps all conjuring up memories of far away places and journeys I have taken in my life.
I’ve had a lovely day yesterday playing with different types of paper to see how they take leaf prints. I know others who mordant paper with aluminium acetate to get lovely clear prints but I am hoping to find papers which give me the results I’m looking for without mordanting.
My good friend and artist Duncan Clarke gave me two sheets of acid free cotton rag paper to try and I already had sketch books of various types of water colour paper. I was also given a bag of lovely red Virginia creeper to add to the Prunus, Amelanchier, Cotynus and Sumach leaves I gathered on my morning walk with the dogs.
After a day simmering and steaming I got some lovely prints and such a variety of colours. Duncan’s paper really pulled out the yellows and turned the Virginia creeper green and blue. My smooth water colour paper produced pinks and blues though not such clear prints and my sheets of rough water colour paper made very blurry images so I have left it folded up hoping for more.
Cotynus on rag paper
Cotynus on watercolour paper
Cotynus Grace print
I have folded some thread book boxes using standard printer paper and put leaves in and around them and they are now in the steamer with bits of metal. The challenge will be to find a strong, printable and light enough weight paper to make the folded books. There seem to be lots of info on the web on making simple origami books which I have also tried successfully using heavier weights.
The folded printing paper turns out to be promising though very fragile when wet. Most of the other papers are too heavy to fold into boxes except for a cartridge paper which didn’t take a good print. onion skins, sumach and Prunus turn out to be stars of this show.
A lovely Autumn day and I have been taking photographs. Here is my prototype of the Chinese folded thread book.
This could be the final outcome of the 3 day Bundling and Books workshop. It was a lovely thing to make even in newspaper and everyone could make their own very personal book using their lovely bundled papers and stitch or glue it all together.
It will have lots of compartments to put notes and the threads and string which get dyed along the way. We will also aim to make a fabric cover which will also be stitched and dyed during the workshop. Now I just have to find the right materials and make sure this is all possible in 3 days.
Took my silk stoles for an outing to a Textile Fair at Bisley village hall on Saturday. I sold my Japanese indigo stole, even though I was determined not to, but a lovely lady fell in love with it. I was also promoting my workshops and there was quite a lot of interest in the eco bundling which was encouraging. India Flint breezed through Stroud this summer and many people who were interested in the process but either couldn’t afford or get a place want to know more.
Ann, one of the lovely workshopees from my last workshop in Herefordshire appeared and we had a lovely chat. I think I will be seeing more of her next year on a mud resist and eco – bunding course. There were a few familiar faces from other workshops and other connections and it was lovely to renew contact.
I also spent time talking to the very interesting and knowledgeable Martin Conlan of Slow Loris who had wonderful textiles from south west China. Intricate indigo and wax pieces, tribal hemp, wedding embroideries and the most lovely woven pieces made using rags which really appealed to me. They had the same aesthetic appeal and spirit as Japanese Boro textiles. The one I particularly liked sold before I could summon up the justification to buy it. How much for inspiration?
We talked about indigo and hand weaving and the rapid changes that are occuring in SE Asia and the rapidly rising prices of textiles. He had some lovely Chinese decorated chinese folded thread books or Zhen Xian Bao. I have had an idea to incorporate making something similar in a workshop.
They have lots of origami type of pouches and compartments to hold threads, needles embroidery and keep sakes.
I spent yesterday working on a newspaper prototype while not as beautiful was very enjoyable to make.