Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Collagraph prints - Take 2.

Or that could read:  Take two collagraph prints!    I made two more print blocks on much thinner card, this time using the back of a cereal packet.

Once again I didn't get the results I expected or really wanted, but I think they could be improved with a colour wash or some other work done on them.

I am finding it quite difficult to gauge the right consistency of paint.   Using it straight from the tube is too thick and adding even a small amount of water seems to make it too runny.  I also think that this card is far too thin  even with a piece of felt as padding.   There is card out there somewhere which is perfect - I just have to find it!

I quite like the lefthand one below, even though so little of the paint has been transferred.

My favourites are the two below, made with one of my previous blocks on heavier card and printed onto painted calico.   The heavier card definitely works best and these will be perfect for stitching onto.
The search continues!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Playing with the pasta machine.

Above is the first of the two blocks I made.   I cut a piece of card from the backing of a sketchbook, as advised by the lady in the art shop who had sold out of the thick card I had gone in to buy.  She said it was practically the same thing.   I followed the instructions to the letter but found that even with the rollers of the machine on their widest setting, I couldn't persuade my sandwich of paper, felt and card to go through so actually made all my prints without the felt.   On this block I stuck a scrap of jute scrim, one of fine scrim some thread, a lace motif and some punched paper shapes.
I suppose they have worked reasonably well for a first attempt - it is the first time I have met a pasta machine too!   I think the paint was a bit too runny and I shall try using better quality paper next - these have been done on ordinary sketchbook paper.

Having made it, and even though I know it's too thick, I thought I would see how this one turned out.   This time I printed onto good watercolour paper and got better results even without the felt again.
I like the subtlety of the shapes cut with a paper punch and wondered if they would show up at all as they are quite thin compared to other textured bits.  On this block I stuck a small feather, some rug canvas along the bottom, scraps of lace at the top, a piece of wool, a piece of torn textured paper and the punched paper flower shapes.  It is easy to see how one might suggest a simple landscape with these little bits and pieces.
It was good to use these trial pieces to get the hang of the procedure.  I must now find some thinner card strong enough hold the textured bits I want to stick on and to allow enough room for the piece of felt as well.   To anyone who has mastered this technique these must look pretty awful, but I quite like their distressed, imperfect character - just as well!

The only drawback is that it takes ages for the glue/medium to dry completely to apply the scraps to the card, and you have to use two coats, then apply varnish when they are both dry and that takes even longer to dry, and I am impatient to try again.    Back to the drawing board - I may be gone for some time!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Who says romance is dead?

I don't think I have ever had red roses before so it's been a long wait!    I was surprised and delighted to receive a dozen red roses from my husband this morning.

Changing the subject slightly - I bought myself a pasta machine this week, not for making pasta but for making collagraph prints.   I often use things for quite another purpose than the one for which they were made.   I have made two printing plates and am waiting for the varnish to dry before trying them out.   If I produce any worthwhile prints I will show you the results, otherwise we will both have to be patient while I try again.   This all came about from a free taster by Jane Wild for Workshop on the Web which I subscribe to anyway - it's excellent value - and I thought this technique sounded interesting and within my capabilities.   The machine came with three sets of rollers so if all else fails I will still have two clean ones for making pasta!

While shopping in my favourite branch of Sainsbury's (Barnwood, Gloucester)  I came upon some very nice white recessed frames.   They are intended for photographs but will do very well for small pieces of textile work, or even collagraph prints!   They were half price too.   I bought four to take postcard sized work and two larger ones.

The collared dove is still sitting on her nest behind our Sky dish so we could have baby ones in another couple of weeks.   She must have enjoyed the sunshine today - I certainly did.  More of the same please.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday, soggy Sunday.

I took these two photos a couple of days ago and have only just go round to posting them.   This cheeky little character stared me out for a few moments and then thought he'd better make himself scarce.
My husband designed and made these boxes with an aperture narrow enough to deter starlings from pinching all the nuts.  He keeps them topped up with crushed peanuts for those small birds which don't use the hanging nut feeders.  They keep the starlings out but nothing keeps the squirrels out.  They seem to be able to flatten their bodies to get inside.

I was hoping to walk round the garden to see what plants are developing but it is so wet and squelchy again. Our back lawn is on a slope and I don't fancy ending up on my backside in the mud.   The garden is quite small and I can see most of it from the windows anyway.  I hope it dries up soon as there are jobs which need to be done and they are beginning to mount up.   At least I am not a market gardener or farmer wondering how on earth I am going to make a living this year.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

She's Back Again!

It is probably another collared dove altogether, of course.  Come to think of it, the nest looks quite a bit more substantial than last year's effort, so this pair are better builders.

   My husband was concerned that the birds might peck at the TV cable and ruin his reception of sport programmes but if yesterday's rugby results were anything to go by, they have had the reverse effect!    I wonder why this is such a popular location for their nests.   I suppose it is quite a sheltered spot - the Sky dish itself, the overhang from the bedroom windowsill and maybe warmth from the brick wall of the house all helping to keep the elements at bay.

I hope you have had your fair share of the recent sunny days - what a treat.   Back to damp and dreary today sadly, but we are moving slowly in the right direction.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Right on Cue!

Fair Maids of February.   Inspite of all our crazy weather here they are just waiting for a bit more sunshine to open them up fully.   They are such a treat on a dull and dreary rainy day and look even lovelier when the sun is shining.   They are in danger of being swamped by weeds and dead bits, and there is no hope for days yet of me getting out there to do any gardening.