Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Printing Workshop

Over Easter I did a four day workshop in printing; as usual it was exhausting but really interesting. Fortunately there were a range of different presses to use, and as I have a problem with my back the easey peasey electric one was made for me - just press a button and away you go. This really is the way to make monoprints, so much better than by hand. After the first impression you use a weight to hold down the paper and then you can move the masks, lace whatever to a new area. The oil based inks give a really clear colour. I also had a go at collograph and an etching using a leaf to make marks in the soft ground. The leaf was hard work as it took lots of patience to get it away from the ground and still leave enough to be etched away in the acid bath. I am going to use some of the prints in my book about signs and symbols and will show you those as I go along. See my current header for one of the prints using an Adinkra symbol.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Adinkra symbols

For the final project I am going to be working with images from packaging. I started by scanning in lots of bits of packaging I had saved, one of which was an elaborate wrapper from a bar of Fair-trade chocolate. When I looked at it in detail I found that the symbols were called Adinkra and were traditional allegorical symbols used on the robes of chiefs in Ghana. I really had not noticed them on the wrapper but just thought it was a nice piece of paper. The symbols tended to be used on mourning robes and only by people of special standing. Now they are used on many types of festive occasions and also as logos on a variety of items. I have made some printing blocks from cord and also a couple of lino prints.
The bird symbol is called ‘return and get it’ and is the symbol of the importance of learning from the past.
The ‘Siamese Crocodile’ is about the animals sharing one stomach but still fighting over food. As I understand it the message is that infighting and tribalism is harmful to everyone.
My plan is to juxtapose these symbols which carry a thoughtful message with those which are on nearly every piece of packaging we throw away but are hardly ever noticed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I did a number of pieces for the assessment for Part 2 of my course. I had to decide on a final piece and this was the one the other students thought appropriate.

I enjoyed the process as I have never stitched figures before but I felt technique wise it was rather derivative, based on the work of artists whom I had researched. I took photos and then traced the figures on the computer. Printed out the shapes and used silk organza like tracing paper to copy the figures with erasable marker prior to free machining.

It’s much easier to machine back and side views, it gets really difficult when you get to faces. I suppose it calls for more practise. I like the technique of leaving the loose threads and layering the pieces. You can't really see the layers in the photos, but I played around with the effect of putting some figures at the back and getting a layered effect to give some depth.

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