Sunday, August 29, 2010

Textures, Textiles and Twigs

This was the title of an impressive exhibition recently held at the Pine Rivers Art Gallery which included a collection of lino block prints on fabric by Jim Aitkenhead, Wendy Sonnenburg's containers "more than a basket" and contemporary embroidery by Fran Robinson (her work features on the exhibition invitation below).

I am now the proud owner of one of the lino print pieces "Crowned Mallee 3".  Have since discovered that the crowned mallee (Eucalyptus coronata) is a small mallee species found on heath-lands and coastal hills in the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia.

The artist has been a practitioner and devotee of lino block printing since 1947! In the artist's statement he talks about the floor being his printing table, inking the lino block and then standing on the back of the block after it has been placed on the fabric (he uses very big blocks). Carving a print in lino is addictive but very slow - a very small hand painted lino print on card I did while still in Melbourne.
I'd love to have a go printing on fabric - one day....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moreton Island - for a Bit of R & R

Moreton Is - the jewel of the great sand islands of Moreton Bay and still primarily a wilderness with 98% of the  Island protected as National Park, yet so close to Brisbane. I have been wanting to write a short post about Moreton Island for a while now - so after a recent visit and lots of photos I have no excuse. 

Hard to believe this place is so close to Brisbane and so unspolit but I was horrified at the amount of plastic of all sorts that is watched up by the tide - thongs, bottle tops, bits of bottles etc etc. Makes me sad this thoughtlessness of others. Strong westerlies over a few days threw up some interesting flotsam - heart urchins, starfish, anemones and juvenile sand snails (I think) as well as plastic.

And lots of sea hares

And mangrove fruits - which way's up?

On the ocean side and not too far out, lots of humpback whales at the moment, on their annual migration north

Not much flowering in the bush yet except for a wattle and the beautiful Wedding Bush shrub - also prevalent on Bribie Is. Lots of my favourite Banksia fruit lying around.

Interesting critter basking in the sun just above the high tide mark.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Art than Design

A couple of weeks ago I went to a screen printing workshop held in conjunction with the exhibition "ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions" at the Redcliffe City Art Gallery. The curator of this touring exhibition is Marie-Therese Wisniowski who exhibited a piece in the exhibition and was also the tutor for the workshop. I found it interesting the exhibition's proposition that an art metamorphosis is taking place with some contemporary fabrics now being cast as fine art cloths, and may be the start of a separate art movement. The exhibition consisted of works by Australian, European and North American textile artists. Each piece is  approx 1 metre wide by 3 metres in length and demonstrates a wide variety of techniques - the catalogue describes in great detail. I think my favourite piece is Treescape by Annie Trevillian - an Australian artist - clean and simple effect.  
The workshop explored some of the techniques used by the artists including use of materials to provide positive and negative space, producing ombre/blended effects using the indirect stencil method, creating colour and texture effects using a blank screen i.e. no stencil by overprinting, as well as providing some basic screen printing techniques which I am well versed in. There was also some info on colour basics. We ran out of time to try the cold wax technique so just saw the demo.

Here is my effort - not an art work but a tryout of some of the techniques - ombre effects and using a blank screen and overprinting - love the colours created...

What did I learn?

1. using acetate for the stencil - much prefer Eazy Cut stencil paper
2. using gloves during the process is not for me
3. that the quality of masking tape you buy these days is crap
4. that you don't need to iron to heat set the inks - just leave to cure for a couple of weeks (never heard of that before and don't know if I would ever trust not heat curing but I will test it)
5. Permaset inks are the best
6. there is a product called print paste which is used to make colours more transparent (and this is not the transparent white fabric ink)

In all it was a very well structured workshop and well organised. Marie-Therese is developing a website so once it is up and running I'll do a link.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Latest Design

My printing effort this morning - the native violet (Viola betonicifolia). Okay so it is purple in real life but I fancied royal blue today - artistic licence! I had a lovely time learning about colour mixing yesterday - it's opened up a whole new world for me.

This is the print on unbleached linen.

And this is the print on fabric which is a mixture of bleached and unbleached (so a bit lighter in colour) but it is hard to see the difference in a photo.

This species is the host plant of the rare and threateded butterfly Laced Fritillary Butterfly so here's hoping it makes a visit to the Redcliffe Peninsula where my little plant is waiting for it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Designs - Finally

Finally my head is in the right place to do some new designs and try some new colours on the lovely unbleached linen I have in my stash. The Brisbane Wattle design I tried in white and the Grevillea in a mid red. Not sure which I like the best - very happy with both. I have another new design - native violet - that will have to wait until tomorrow. Inspiration for these have all come from my newly planted native garden - so they are all local plants.

And this afternoon I am going to do some colour mixing - approaching this bit more systematically than usual (like measuring amounts and keeping records) - not the usual "mix it all together" and hope it comes out like last time!