Friday, 18 November 2022

More beginnings

I seem to have a lot of different things on at the moment. All of them very much at the experimental and thinking about them stage.

This is working on 'Spring 'but thinking 'spring up' or 'spring out'rather than daffodils.

Monday, 24 October 2022

Mad, Bad and Dangerous

Starting to play with ideas for Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, the latest project in conjunction with Lancashire Archives.


 I've chosen to base my work on a set of police handbills from the 1830s

These are just roughs. I'm not sure where it's going yet but I've several ideas to try out

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Mata Hari

 Just spent the day at Hot Bed Press printing my contribution to the 20:20. 

Think it must be the first time I've not left it till the last minute.

Saturday, 20 August 2022

More portraits

 More gum arabic portraits and objects printed on paper and organza. I think there's a lot of potential in using organza for overlaying images. I won't have time to explore it in this project. The deadline with drying time is about the begining of September. But I will be coming back to it later.

The photos are a bit dark because I'd put the prints in protective plastic wallets for carrying about.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

different surfaces

 Not sure where I'm going to go with this but I'm exploring printing on different surfaces. 

On paper ...

on cotton...

and on organza...
For the first time ever I managed to get three prints off the same paper litho plate

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

More paper litho

A group of us are starting a quick project at the Lancashire archives for exhibition in September. It's based on the work of John Mercer, dyer, chemist and early salt print pioneer.

In response to one of his sets of prints (same image different colour ways)  I found myself asking questions . Who is the boy?  Do the props say anything about him?  Or about John Mercer’s musical and scientific interests? Is the setting significant? What is that building?

OR could it be simply set outside for light using a collection of stuff that was to hand to see how the detail would work in print.

My instinct is to try and make a story out of the image.

I’ve started by making images containing a person and several objects.

Hopefully the viewers will be led to infer something about the character and their history because of the elements contained in the image. There is no right or wrong story, the narrative will depend on the experiences that the viewers bring and the connotations that the objects have for them.

As characters I used people taken from family photos, mainly Victorian or Edwardian and added ‘props’ from my own photos or scans of objects

 As a link to Mercers experiments I have started to explore these as monochromatic prints in similar colours to those used by Mercer. I don’t have the equipment to make cyanotypes (or other salt prints) but have made initial experiments  trying to replicate their appearance with paper lithography

And as some of the images held by the archive are printed on fabric I’ve also printed onto thin cotton.

The Mercer images are copyrighted but you can follow this link to find them 

Monday, 27 June 2022



The theme for NWBA this month is biscuits.

I associate factory biscuits with committee meetings and tea breaks, especially the drama group I belonged to for the best part of thirty years (St Andrews and Tanterton Allsorts to give it its full name).

I wasn't sure what to do for this so I started line drawings of biscuits,

collaged old scripts and scanned and printed the drawings, 
 glazed with acrylic paints,

 scanned  a section and used image processing to put on text and print out the covers, 
finally folded and put under weight .

The thick collaged paper is not ideal for this type of structure but given I had no idea of what I was going to do when I started drawing I’m quite pleased with it

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Witch Balls

I’ve recently taken part in “All life is here”, a project at the Lancashire Archives , making  a visual response to quarter sessions petitions from the 17th century.

Because of the short time scale for this work, about 2 months, I chose to use as my inspiration the seven documents from the period that were accessible on line as a transcription and accompanied by a good quality photograph.

All seven referred to people accused of witchcraft.

Whilst wondering how to tackle the project I vaguely remembered hearing about witch balls and on googling it I found they were real.  They are hollow spheres of glass, hung in cottage windows in 17th and 18th century to ward off evil spirits and witches.

This gave me a circular format to work in. 

Whilst researching further I found a copy of The History of Witches and Wizards (printed in 1720) in the Wellcome foundation’s online resources. I didn’t want to copy from this but decided to use this woodcut style to make illustrations to some of the stories in the archive documents.

I added illustrations of the type of plants that would have been used by healers, again in the same woodcut style, that I derived from historical herbals that were around in this period.

I also decided to use part of the original script of each document.

I decided to use the prints to make two different outcomes, a simple line of double sided prints, one for each document, with text on one side

  and an illustration on the other and a spherical book incorporating the same double sided prints.


Sunday, 5 June 2022

It's been a while

I realized today how long it's been since I posted anything. I think now life has opened up we've all got so busy again.

I'm not going to try and catch up with stuff I've been doing over the last couple of months (most of it is family and allotment related, not art making) but just to get started here's a picture of some of the double sided prints I've just finished as part of a project at the Lancashire Archives. When dry they'll hopefully become a book and a hanging thingy.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022


Because the only lightweight paper I had for scroll pages was Chinese calligraphy paper (which while it drapes beautifully its lack of sizing means it’s difficult to work on) I played with the whirlwind and dragon scale books adapting the structures to a more western style of bonding. 

 Please ignore the colours they were chosen to show up on a zoom workshop.

I especially liked the whirlwind and thought it would work for the NWBA theme of ‘Round’.

I played with monoprints and labyrinths as a motif to give the books content but I'm not happy with them yet.

Though I did turn one into a paper orb