Sunday, 29 March 2015

Feet on the ground (almost).

Today my body has slowed my pace right down. This is because last night, my brain foggied by aches and fever, I managed to fall down our steep, dimly lit stairs and sprain my ankle. I have always had weak ankles, prone to spraining, that's why I hardly ever wear heels; it's just an accident waiting to happen... in any case, despite of a total annoyment at my bad luck and ill health, I cannot lie down and wait for a better day. Even if it's at snail pace, I try to find ways of completing my work, preparing my stock and planning for the trade fair in Harrogate, which takes place in only two weeks time.

Yesterday, before my accident, I managed to try out a new screen print, which I had prepared from one of my paper cuts, 'Girl and the Whale'. I have set up a cheap screen printing space in our cellar, where I prepare and expose my screens with photo emulsion and do the actual printing (and ironing). I have only ever done a short course in screen printing basics so a lot of what I am doing is learning by trial and error. But of course, like with so many creative things, it is often the only way to learn.

Girl and the Whale - my new paper cut greeting card

For a while I have wondered how better to make use of my paper cut designs, as selling them as cards is fine but quite limiting in the long run. Also, some of the new designs I have made, are simpler to screen print than the previous ones, and a lot of the times, simpler is ... well, better. I have so far made five totem animal cards; a whale, an eagle, a hare, a red squirrel and a bear. Most of them also feature a young child with/on these animals, to convey that often magical connection between our inner (childlike) nature and the natural world.

So I wanted to try to add hand printed household/giftware items to my line of products, for those who want my designs in 3d form and maybe in a more permanent medium than paper. Everything is still handmade: I use organic cotton for my fabric, environmentally friendly printing inks and I even sew every cushion by myself (my mother being a seamstress helped me to learn sewing in my childhood, in fact one of my earliest memories is falling asleep to the sound of my mother's sewing machine across the wall - and as a professional factory machine, it was LOUD...).

So, I printed a couple of test batches with my Whale design, which weren't perfect as the screen leaked a little, but gives a good indication on whether the idea works. And in my opinion, it does. Earlier the week, I had transferred my 'Magical Hare' paper cut design onto a silk screen and also made that into a cushion. Here are both of them, sitting on our sofa. I hope you like them. :)

Another silk screen is currently drying, ready to be exposed for two smaller paper cut designs, which I am going to use for printing on paper, including paper bags and cards. In some ways it's an interesting process to learn, but I also seem to lack a bit of patience when it comes to all the different stages, and, waiting. Today however, I am cutting greeting cards, as that requires the least movement on my part, but of course I could think of millions of other things to do - if I only could. Luckily it's raining outside so my twisted ankle will have a good excuse to rest, and hopefully, heal, quickly.

Some of my paper cut work, 2d and 3d... getting ready for BCTF.
 Hoping you all a safe weekend x

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