Thursday, 30 March 2017

Butterflies and Shells

As part of my attempts to put hand printed text into my books I have gone back to exploring gum arabic printing.

I started playing with images, two of my husband’s ancestors combined with clocks and butterflies, to relearn the techniques and explore registration
 The butterflies look too cut out next to the figures and I should have  introduced more contrast into the images before printing them with the laser printer.
I do like the ghost that has printed from the paper onto the second printing plate. 

These were made by overprinting colours on plates that were printouts of a black and white image

The next step was to try colour separation and text. I put Ariel’s song onto some images of shells that I made a while ago. I used a cmyk separation to print the plates.
Spot the not so deliberate mistake.This was printed with prussian blue, burnt umber and yellow
ochre litho ink

Next session at HBP I explored process coloured etching inks with cmyk separations.
I'm happy with the registration and printing now I need to go back to the drawing board and work out the images to go with the words I want to put in the book.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Circle Book Finished

I had an idea for the circles book, necessary opposites, yin and yang. I printed paper using bubble wrap, sequin waste and a lot of stencils cut with my new toy.  My black/white colour scheme needed greys as intermediate printed layers.

When I cut and assembled the book I realised that the pages were too busy to take text well so I decided to let the book dictate the direction and this version is just patterned.

I used a red thread for the closure as a hint of colour and a reference to the Chinese influence on my original idea.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

And more circles

I’m hooked on this construction. I’ve been playing with the loose edges of the cover.  With the centre piece wrapped round and tucked inside it holds them together
 If it is cut level with the other pieces it allows them to fan slightly.
I’m thinking that I could hide the unspoken thoughts that went alongside a conversation in the main body of the book in here 

I’ve been shaping the covers 
 And changing the shapes of the flaps
I like the asymmetry of the original idea but wondered what would happen if I repeated the interweaving on both sides. 
 It’s a whole new book.
The circles reminded me of the different hemispheres and the lines on the flaps (which are purely accidental, they are from old templates for panto stuff) look like contours.
I think I may have found my way back to the Wayfarers book

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Fiona mentioned in her blog that she had been using a circle cutter which works without puncturing a hole in the centres. I didn’t know such a thing existed but having heard about it I wanted to try one out.

I started cutting up bits of old gelli print. The complete circles are great and I have an idea in mind for them but what caught my eye were the ones where the paper shifted and I’d abandoned the cut. I realised I’d made flaps.
 Which led to more playing on scrap white paper to look at structures and flaps.
 Which led to this..
 and this.
I liked the back where the pages interlock.
So I put a clear plastic cover on to protect it. Then made another with a shaped front. 
 Which led to shaping the flaps on the left side.
 I’m thinking about making a finished version of each. I’m not sure about content yet. The interlocking circles, which allow the viewer to see a tiny bit of the next circle, seem to be relating to each other.
While the version with the rectangle flaps, which hide all of what is behind, Has a different rhythm. It feels more stop/start.
 I'm looking forward to playing with it a bit more.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pasta Anybody?

Not quite the day at the press that I had promised myself. I haven’t got an image prepared yet so a trip to Salford seemed a bit of a waste of petrol.

However I did get ink onto paper. Yesterday I think I may have agreed to give a demonstration/workshop session at the Art Society. It won’t be until next year but I thought I should make sure that what I thought I would do was at least possible

I want to get people making collagraphs but for that
 I need a portable press. I vaguely remembered someone somewhere mentioning using a pasta maker.

I thought today I’d better have a play and see if I can make it work. I also need to keep costs down, so using recycled materials as much as possible is the idea. And it’s only a two hour session, including tea break, so clean up needs to be fast and easy.

The plate and ‘press bed’ has to be flexible to pass through the pasta maker. I thought I could use a laminated postcard (used teaching resources) for the press bed and an old (as in destined for the bin not as in antique) photograph for the plate.

I cut and stuck shapes onto the photo using masking tape, magic tape and sellotape, overlapping some elements, and I scored the card with a scalpel to give an incised line. I wasn’t bothered about the design I just wanted to see if it would work. I inked up using scrap card and Calligo safewash ink and wiped using newspaper (no scrim to keep costs down).
I made a stack of the laminated postcard, a sheet of scrap paper, the plate and damp cartridge paper, and wrapped tissue round it to help it hold together in the ‘press’.  I laid two layers of craft felt on top and carefully fed the whole thing through the press.

I had it set on number 4 for the first print but it was a bit of a struggle to get it through
I re inked and tried Number 3 for the next one, the background isn’t as dark but it seems to have printed ok
I had meant to use the shiny photo side to get a white background but stuck the first shapes on the back by mistake. It has a satin finish and has printed as grey which I quite like.

Now I’ve established that it will work as a press I need to put some real thought into the image making.

Sunday, 5 March 2017


The book which was turning into a print has turned back into a book.
I finished painting the illustrations,
and combined them into a long frieze to fold into an accordion book

Medieval mapmakers invented sea monsters and fantastical beasts to explain the dangers of venturing into the unknown. Today’s refugees must experience the same sense of terror as others who have been forced to leave their homes over the centuries 

In this small book, whilst trying to keep a sense of the original inspiration from medieval maps,  I have tried to combine a sense of the perils the refugees are fleeing, with the dangers they face in going, and the welcome that they are likely to receive.  

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Print Experiments

Spending so much time at my parents means producing work has slowed down quite a bit so I’ve given myself an extension for February’s Bakers dozen book. I hope to finish it by next week.

But over the past few days I have managed to do some experiments prints with trace monoprint, exploring possibilities for the map beasts book....

and also with text, considering drypoint and monoprint...

and collagraph.
For some reason the mountboard wouldn’t peel smoothly so it didn’t make a good enough plate for an edition but it’s OK for experimenting on.  I was undecided whether to glue the plastic with the text on before or after I shellacked the plate because I was worried about the ink collecting under the plastic and blotching as it went through the press. In the end I sealed and inked the collagraph plate and the text piece separately and just laid the text on the surface of the collagraph before pressing. The ink on the collagraph seemed to be tacky enough to hold it in place.