Getting older is a right pain in the behind. There are some benefits, if you are lucky enough, but generally the physical side of things just steadily deteriorates. The only variable there is the speed of the deterioration!
That said, onto some other stuff!
As my vision is not what it used to be I’ve had to rethink my Master’s proposal. My ability to focus visually is essentially gone now, and isn’t stable even on a good day. Doing anything requiring fine attention to detail and working with sharp objects is no longer on the table. On a really good day I might be able to read a label, with my prescription glasses only; most days I have to ask someone to read them for me. So reading warning labels, instructions for mixing materials, etc. is not possible. Why oh why do manufacturers insist on printing instructions in a font size of 0.002?
I’ve discovered that monoprinting is something that I can do without having to be concerned about my ability to focus! I can get assistance from the in-house studio technician to find the ink colours I need (as I can’t read labels and actually can’t tell brown from purple anymore, amongst a few other colour identification issues.)
Also monoprinting is something that doesn’t need precise detail; it is a more intuitive process of creation. No two pressings will be the same, no matter what you try – and that, I am discovering, is exciting about it. What I’ve made so far I like and am stoked to continue to create in the technique. I plan to incorporate mixed media into a lot of my work too, playing with different mark-making methods, media and collage. It is getting my enthusiasm levels back up to where they used to be when thinking about my upcoming projects! I didn’t realize how much of that excitement has been missing.
Back in November and December I did the induction workshops for the Screen Printing studio and the Printing studio and I blogged about those here. And next week I will be doing the induction for Collagraphic printing as we didn’t cover that in December – now that I am interested in exploring it more.
I’m planning to do most of my experimenting at home, and then use the studio for the larger formats and scaling up ideas I tested at home. Also, printing the backgrounds in the studio is a lot faster and smoother.
I like utilizing uncommon methods to get an end result. Usually involves using craft materials or techniques to make “fine art”… to me it is all art. It is the creative process that is used to create something to been seen that is the “art” part to me.
We have a lot of crafting equipment and supplies at home. While I had to disburse all of my lifetime inventory when I moved to the UK, my friends have TWO lifetimes worth of stash which I now can access! I’ve already been utilizing the die cutting machines to make the cutouts to use with monoprinting. There are also embossing machines, cutters, a Cricut, thousands of metal dies, many types of paper and cardstock, stamps, inks, markers, adhesives, fabrics, fibres, stretchers, ribbons, floral crafts, wire, beads, and a lot more. There is an entire room in the house that is floor to ceiling art/craft supplies.
I’ve also managed to accumulate a fair amount myself lately – those art and craft box subscriptions are helping with that. I’ve now got a fair stash of lino blocks, cutters, screens, printing inks, rollers, markers, bookbinding supplies, as well as the usual paints, etc. So I have MANY ways of making marks.
I haven’t been back to the glass studio since before Christmas – which is when my eyes started to get bad. Hopefully, once I’ve got my school work up-to-date (was totally unproductive for most of January and all of February due to my eyes) I can get back to that, carefully though – blood can spill quite freely working with glass.
I picked up the prints I did last Friday in the studio yesterday – quite a few aren’t dry! I was a bit heavy handed with ink as I was using a palette knife to apply it as well as the rollers. I did 21 prints in total and about half are still sticky – I had them laid out all over my room, trying to balance them near the radiators. Then I had an epiphany… bought a two pack of those wire drying racks that sit on the radiator! Perfect! I’ve got two – one on each radiator in my room… Fits (just) on the radiators, sits behind my table so no contact with anything to transfer ink onto. The other one is also blocked from any contact. So glad that occurred to me before I started playing with wet inks at home.
I think my drying rack is actually better than the one in the studio! What do you think?
Monoprinting means you get one impression, and subsequent pressings (the “ghosts”) are faded versions of the first. I mess around with the plates after the first press, moving things, adding things, removing things, even re-inking parts, etc. And you NEVER know what you will see when you pull the paper off the plate. That’s the really exciting part I’ve discovered.
Here is what I produced last week – some will be used to create mixed media works, others I am going to leave as is as they are really cool (at least I think so!) I used cardboard cutouts and die-cuts, and pampas grass (the curly stuff) and plant parts I’d collected while walking the dog.
I am partial to the ones that are messier looking… I think because the results are more of a surprise. Once I get more familiar with the whole process I may be able to better predict what I will get, but, maybe not. That keeps it exciting. Right now, the predominantly yellow ones are my favourites – might be because of the contrast as I can see them better.
I’ve collected a lot more grasses (the pampus grass grows all over the place here, and I just love the curly strands,) spent seedheads, twigs, and other things to use in my next batch. I’m also pressing flowers to use in the mixed media aspect, or maybe even in the printing process if they lose their colour when dry.
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