As part of Medway Print Festival 2017 we were invited to the Huguenot Museum in Rochester to demonstrate a Japanese printing technique called Hapa Zome, using the natural dyes from flowers and leaves to decorate headscarves and hankies. Some people went for strategically placed patterns whilst others tried something more avant-garde. The prints fitted in well with the museum’s collections which showcase the Huguenot's love of using nature to create intricate designs in silk and precious metals. The local paper dropped by to find out what it was all about.
If asked to describe my style I'm not sure what it would be (answers on a postcard, please). One thing's for sure, I wouldn't call it contemporary. So when Art Market invited me to do something a bit more contemporary for the workshops I'll be running for them on Saturday 30th September I had to get my thinking cap on.
After some experimenting and scouring flea markets here's what I came up with. It's a bit different from my usual workshops but I'm liking it. What do you think?
"A series of fast paced screen printing workshops at Art Market, Maidstone where you will learn the basic principles of screen printing and produce a professional looking piece of contemporary art, ready to be framed and hung on your wall.
**Special show price £17**
Saturday 30th September
Art Market, Lockmeadow Market Hall, Maidstone
Workshops start at 10am
For more information and to book click the button below
The black and white background image that you will print onto is taken from a catalogue of Victorian household goods (lots of different pages and interesting subjects to choose from!) which you will then overlay with your bold and bright iconic print.
There are over 20 screen print designs to choose from or you can bring your own. Either print it from a computer or design it on paper. Maximum A4 size. The final print is a one-colour print."
You will need:
Fresh leaves and flowers. Avoid waxy ever-green leaves like ivy, holly etc.
Plain, light coloured fabric with a natural fibre content eg. cotton or linen
A solid, unbreakable surface. We used a wooden chopping board.
1. Collect together your fabric, flowers and leaves. For rules about what you can and can't pick outside of your own garden here is a handy guide.
2. Arrange the flowers facing up on a single piece of fabric
3. Lay a spare piece of fabric about the same size over the top making sure not to move your flowers and leaves then using the flat end of the hammer head start hitting the the fabric to release the natural dyes from the flowers. You'll see the colours coming through the fabric straightaway. WARNING: Keep fingers clear of the fabric whilst you are using the hammer - trust me, hammers hurt!
4. Continue until you're happy that you have flattened all of the flowers and then carefully peel the top sheet of fabric away revealing your hapa zome print
5. Using your finger-tip rub away any flower parts that have stuck to the fabric during printing, leave to dry and then iron to heat set the colours.
Moving around from place-to-place, putting on screen printing workshops (*imagines self as Victorian travelling medicine man*) means that I need to travel light. However, after packing up from a workshop I always end up with one more thing than when I arrived. A black sack full of rubbish.
Thankfully this rubbish consists of newsprint covered in non-toxic water based paint and although the recycling men don't like it the worms do. Worms you ask? Yes, there's a worm at the bottom of my garden (or in this case, allotment) and his name is Wiggly Woo. I shred the newsprint and add it to the compost bin where the worms and microorganisms break it down ready to be spread on the ground. But instead of sharing a rather unappetising brown mess I thought you might like to see some of the results.
Bias binding is extremely versatile and easy to make. In this tutorial I show you how to make it using a bias-binding-making-thingamajig, otherwise known as a Tape Maker.
1. Cut strips of fabric on the bias grain line, double the width of the final binding.
2. Cut off the diagonal ends to leave a straight edge.
3. With right sides together place 2 strips at a 90 degree angle to one another, lining up the straight edges you've just neatened.
4. Sew a straight, diagonal line from outside corner to outside corner.
5. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8" or 3mm.
5. Press the seam open.
Take another strip and with right sides together add it to the end of the strip you have just sewn as in step 3. Continue doing this until you have used up all the strips and have one continuos length.
7. With right side down feed the strip through the wide end of the Tape Maker so that approx 1/2" or 2cm is protruding from the narrow end (you may need to use a pin in the top to help it along).
8. With the metal bar of the Tape Maker in your non-writing-hand and the iron in the other, place the iron onto the fabric now protruding from the narrow end. Simultaneously pull the Tape Maker whilst ironing the strip of bias as it comes out.
Continue until you reach the end.
And there you have bias binding.
Perhaps I've been a little bit dim (no pun intended) but I'd never put two and two together before and realised that photography is basic printing with light. Back in the old days you'd take your film into Boots the Chemist and and hour later you could pick up your "prints" yes, prints, the clue's in the name, duh!
In very basic terms you start with a blank piece of paper, all be it a light sensitive, introduce a resist, expose it to the light, place it in the developing solution and hey presto you've got your print.
At an even more basic level are photograms but the resist is not a plate or negative but objects placed onto photographic paper.
I got to play in the dark room experimenting with different exposure times and a variety of sewing related objects, oh, and a fork.
Take a Biro and scratch a boy's initials to the inside, pull the metal teeth shut and only you know the truth.
I've still got my last pencil case (pictured above) which holds the initials of a teenage crush. Not so secret anymore as it turned into love and he's now my husband!
Here is a round-up of some back to school creative ideas for you to try to perk up any pencil case:
about this blog
Here I'll share with you ways to create prints and things at home. There's also a good chance of some of my general thoughts and ramblings.