Where did I read “if it isn’t beautiful it isn’t finished”? How many of us have piles if failed experiments or pieces that just don’t make the grade? Well this weekend some of us had a go at solving this little problem and it seems to me that bravery is what is required and perhaps a touch of blue!
We gathered for the last of the six monthly workshops this weekend and despite the rain there were some wonderful results. Claire bought a pile of eco printing experiments which she felt disappointed with or the colours just weren’t right. They were re- bundled with more leaves for a second steaming and then a dip or two in the indigo bath. What resulted were beautiful pieces of silk and wool.
Sue brought a eucalyptus wool shawl dyed on a previous month and folded and shibori tied the bundle before getting the indigo treatment. Again the teal colour and string marks added a new dimension to the already lovely piece.
Lyn brought some of her handwoven cotton and linen pieces and some itajime and indigo brought contrast and depth.
An old damask table cloth cut and hemmed became beautiful shibori table runners came out of the vat.
Katie and Mary Ann experimented with iron, leaves, shibori and indigo also produced some exciting pieces and others took away wet bundles to be revealed in a later post.
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.