Monday, 27 June 2011

Chaos reigns - Open Studio soon!

I love working in my studio, it's a lovely room that was a large dining room when I bought this house. In those days I made soft furnishings for clients and it was ideal for laying out the enormous curtains I was making. When I returned to teaching it reverted to being a dining room plus teaching prep. place. On my retirement - hooray!! I at last had time for my art so it became my studio, which soon seemed too small. I decided to make it bigger by using the store room behind it, which involved knocking down a wall! Here it is before the building work, this was my Open Studio Christmas 09.

The wall has been knocked down!! It was great to see the extra space I would have, with the window and the door to the garden. 

But what a mess! this was my 3rd phase of building work last year, all dovetailed round my open studio events by my builder Matt. It was all worth it!!

How big it looks with not much in!!

Fantastic to get my books organised.

So that's how my studio came into being. Back to a different sort of chaos!!

I even had help one morning from my grandson Barney, just 1 year old!

With Barney starting to crawl, it will be fun in my studio!!

Cambridge Open Studios happens over 4 weekends in July. I am opening for 3 weekends, the 1st one July 2nd and 3rd. I've tried to get ready early as I'm also preparing for my end of course exhibition in July. Another day at the Curwen tomorrow, week 8 which is a personal development day. I must sort out what I'm going to do. I'm so tired I nearly fell asleep watching the tennis earlier!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Week 6 at the Curwen

This was another day on photo screenprinting. First a cup cake print from last week.

This is quite appropriate, as Sue Jones our tutor has nick named us the cake group - we do seem to need cake and sweets to keep our energy levels up!!

I played around with different colours:

I don't know what got in that photo!! I love screen printing, it's fast once all the preparation of the screen is done and it's great trying out different colour combinations. Another fun day!! Such fun that I sneaked in on an extra day at the weekend - Open Access and more photo screen.

This is my 'tea' image, drawn on truegrain like the cup cake print. I printed it in some great colours.

              I also printed some plain backgrounds on another screen to overprint next week. It was an interesting day with some stone lithography going on, which I'd never seen before. I find printmaking fascinating, with all the different processes that are involved.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Monoprinting day

On Saturday I went to White House Arts in Cambridge, where various art and craft courses take place. My course was monoprinting with Valerie Armstrong. It was a fun day using Caligo inks, trying out different techniques such as transfer drawing, negative images, painterly prints and using masks and textures. Here are some of the results of a great day playing with colours and effects.

More birds.....

and more, smaller birds using paper stencils.

I  used stencils (just rectangles cut from paper) to create some monoprints loosely based on buildings.

I like the effect of layering different colours and textures - this one used some fine, lacy fabric, paper and overprinting - good fun! Another busy day printing. I should also mention the delicious soup made by Caroline. We sat out in her garden by the river in the sun having lunch; very pleasant.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Open access day

On Friday I did an extra day at the Curwen ; there was a collagraph course taking place with 4 people, so room for me to do some lino printing. I overprinted the 2nd colour on several shoe prints which worked well and did some more printing on to maps. This is some pieces of an aerial view I cut up so I could place them in different positions.

I love the green of this mapping print; it's printed on a French map. The roads make an interesting pattern. I also printed my other aerial view in some new colours; I like the grey and yellow.

I  printed some paler grey backgrounds and some lime green ones for future use, also this honesty lino cut.

A busy, successful day; I achieved all I wanted to do, a rare event! I was also pretty exhausted, it's quite a work out on the press!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Curwen week 5

After a week without any printing (half term) it was good to be back at the Curwen for week 5 of this term. This Tuesday it was photo screen, so more screen printing using photos as a stencil. First one had to alter the image digitally on photoshop or a similiar programme, to end up with a black and white image to print onto an OHP transparency. I prepared several photos before I went and also drew a cup cake design onto Truegrain with black felt tip, Truegrain is a transparent acetate with a grainy feel to one side.

Preparing the screen took all morning. Basically you had to degrease both sides with a special soap (sudless!) and then dry with a hair dryer. Then you go into the darkroom to coat the screen with photo emulsion, which is a light sensitive solution designed to create detailed long lasting stencils. The screen then has to dry for an hour, after which  you tape your transparencies onto it. The screen then goes into the exposure unit to expose the image onto the screen and then the image is developed by washing off the emulsion. Once the screen is dry you can start masking off areas of your screen with parcel tape and START PRINTING!!!
I had 3 images on my screen and managed to print some of 2 images. The cup cakes will have to wait until next week. The first image was from this school photo of me and 2 of my sisters many years ago!!

I printed it in a pale grey, then a greeny sepia colour.

I then overprinted the sepia over the grey, which looks good.

I remember my mother saying laughingly that we looked like little ragamuffins!!
It brings back happy memories of childhood.

The next image was from a photograph of the multi storey car park at Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge. My daughter's baby Barney arrived 7 weeks early by emergency C section, nearly a year ago. She stayed in a hostel on site while he was in the special care unit for 3 weeks. Normally you wouldn't see this view of the car park but I saw it on the way from the hostel back to the car and thought it would make a good photo.
I think it will be a good print to play around with; so far I've just printed some pale grey, next week I'll do some over printing and print some backgrounds for all 3 images

Today 3 friends came to lunch which was fun, I like being retired! On Thursdays I teach some 1:1 at a local school, that went well and then I played tennis; so a busy, happy day.

Friday, 3 June 2011

My 'map' photo

I chose one of my prints as 'my' photo because it shows where I come from. It is a lino cut of 'fields' inspired by my love of the countryside and maps; and printed onto a map showing where I was born and live now in one of the spaces. Also Norfolk and Suffolk both of which I love. I have only lived away from Cambridgeshire for 7 years of my whole life; those years were spent in Cheshire, Belgium and Bucks.
Yesterday I took prints to my framer Denise at Castle Camps; getting ready for Open Studios and for the end of course show at the Curwen in July. My printers in Royston are great. This is one of the postcards I've had printed to advertise my Open Studio, the text is on the back. It's a screen print called shoes and handbags, both of which I rather like!

This morning I drove up to Grafham Water with my son and we hired bikes to cycle round; it's about 7 miles and a great ride through countryside and woods with some good fast downhill bits! Of course the uphill bits are harder!
This weekend the Curwen hold open days and the tutors exhibit their own work. It will be interesting to visit in a different capacity.