Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winding Down for Christmas (and my 130th blog post)

Online sales have just about stopped - Christmas shopping is over for most online buyers now - and so I am taking a break very shortly for a few weeks. This year my online sales have overtaken sales in the physical shops that I supply - a sign of the times perhaps?? Each year has been busier than the previous for PalumaPrint (of the three years I have now been screenprinting) - I am just about as busy as I want to be. I don't what a proper job again! I love to be able to try new things and this year have moved into table runners, fabric baskets and a new small purse design. But I have only had time to produce two new native flora designs in the labour intensive way that I do them.

So I have been looking at digital assistance. I have started to play with Photoshop Elements and investigating tutorials for designing, and in particular how to produce repeat patterns. Haven't got very far yet as Elements is very complex and I need a manual So New Year's resolution no.1 - Get a copy of Photoshop for Dummies (and please don't tell me I should be using Illustrator).  I have found a few good tutorials on the web, such as those put out by Color on Cloth and there are probably lots more out there. So armed with this new somewhat confused knowledge, I produced a couple of designs for cards, using Photoshop to produce half drop repeats and then using the digital colour palette to colour. Finally they were printed out on my little Canon inkjet. How cool is that. I'm calling them my prototypes. A bit primitive but hey - it's a start.
I am also fascinated by the SpoonFlower service (in the US) of digital fabric printing of designs which anyone can upload. I still prefer hand printed fabric though where you can feel the inspiration and passion of the artist transmitted directly onto the fabric, and where an individual has control of the whole process - from original design concept to the final product. Not really an economic proposition these days sadly.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another Botanique Event

Time flies - another Botanique event is about to happen in the Richard Randall Studio, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens, Dec 4 to Dec 9, 10am - 4pm. Perfect spot for Christmas shopping. I'll be there - shopping as well as participating! It's the perfect event for me being a native flora "obsessive".

I' ll have tea towels, placemats, table runners, fabric baskets, purses and a couple of shoulder bags for sale.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Table Runner

This time I tried printing my wattle print on an unbleached linen table runner and here is the result. Might even be my favourite so far.

It's very satisying creating new beautiful items, both planning the design layout and testing and extending my printing skills. I love the finished table runners so far (grevillea, wattle, wheel of fire, tea tree and gumnut). My fan palm in red is next.
And then I plan to try cushion covers!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Artist in Residence - Tricia Smout

I have been meaning to do a post on my friend Tricia Smout who is Artist in Residence at the Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens this year. Tricia is a talented multimedia artist with her own website . We actually went to uni together many, many years ago and have only recently reconnected after very diverse careers.

She has a fabulous blog where you can read about the enormous range of activities she has undertaken this year as part of the residency. The culmination of her year will be an exhibition to be held in the Richard Randall Gallery in the Gardens, from  6 - 14 November (10 - 4pm). Much of the work has involved collaborative activites with her many artist friends (she is one of the best networkers I know!)
I am honoured to be one, and this is one of two collaborative works which will be in the exhibition.

I printed my wattle and grevillea designs on fabric and Tricia has written lovely descriptive words (composed by Alison Hurley, her sister) over the prints, and embellished them with embroidery. I haven't seen the finished wall hangings so am really looking forward to my visit to the exhibition. Don't miss it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

More Library Bags

My recent blog post here generated a custom order for some library bags. After some experimenting I was able to make them out of unbleached linen including linen straps - just a bit classier than the average calico tote.
I was also able to use my existing print stencils but needed to reposition them differently (from the usual tea towels) for printing on these items.
  The totes just need a good press now and then off they go to new homes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back to Baskets

I haven't made any for a while - so while it was a bit quieter over September/October I got to work

A couple of these are now in my Madeit and Etsy shops.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Table Runners - Success!

I've been wanting to try my hand at printing table runners for ages. Finally I plucked up the courage and here is the result of the first two goes - my beautiful grevillea in white and a newish design - the lemon scented tea tree in crimson.

These runners are 150x45cm in size and using my existing designs and screen size, that meant printing six times  per runner. Six opportunities for smudges, runs and general mistakes. I never could have done this two years (plus) ago when I first went back to screen printing. Then my mess up rate was sometimes 20%. Now I rarely have problems. I don't know why. I can't pin it down to any particular change in technique - except to check and double check everything before making each print. Having this routine and general experience I guess. But I'm glad I didn't try to do these back then.
This was also the opportunity to see how they looked as repeat prints. Very happy with both, but especially the tea tree. I might try some yardage with this one next.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Trouble with Yellow

Recently a customer asked me to do some teatowels in yellow. I've never done much printing with this colour before - the closest I've got is a burnt orange. 
So lots of experimenting and large quantities of ink were used last week to try to produce some "nice" yellows. It is definitely the hardest colour I have had to print with - very difficult to predict the final outcome on my unbleached and oatmeal teatowels - and even on cream. So there were lots of test colours on strips of cloth and by the time I had found something I liked I had forgotten the proportions - of course I had not methodically written them down.
After a few disasters I found that mustard is yellow with a touch of brown (from a Google search of course) so that was one success eventually. But is mustard yellow? Too much yellow with white and brown turns the ink a vivid garish orange. Some might like this I suppose but I prefer more subtle colours. Even using yellow straight from the Permaset pot on cream linen is too bright for me. Another hurdle - if the mixed colour is too light and transparent, the print disappears on unbleached linen. I finally discovered using white (a mixture of standard white and supercover white) and yellow produces an attractive lemon colour. 

So it's off to the library to find more information on colour theory and colour mixing, and a closer look at the colour wheel tool!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Etsy Treasury - My First Attempt

I have been meaning to create a Treasury for some time but have never got around to it. Then I discovered a tool that makes the whole process very simple - shmetsy. I have featured screen printers - of course - a mix of Australian artists and from the rest of the world. My theme is celebrating the end of winter in the southern hemisphere, but also acknowledging the artistic inspiration generated by the colours of winter. So here it is (created using this tool)

Grey and White Screen Printed Stunners                                        

Screen printed grey...

Tea Towel 'Grey...

Owls in Cool Grey -...

stormy weather in a...

Tea Towel- Organic ...

GRAY SCARF- Screen ...


Leaves Grey Charcoa...

Wobbly drop in grey...

Braemore Moroccan S...

Dotty Leaves - hand...

Gray linen- hand s...

Arrows cushion cove...

Moose hand screen p...

TYPE screen printed...

Little Bird in grey...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Market Bag or Library Bag?

I discovered this great tutorial on making totes from tea towels on Helen Rawlinson's blog. My teatowels are really too small but I decided to try out the idea using some heavy cream cotton printed with my designs. It was a bit of mucking around especially as I do not have an overlocker so used french seams to achieve a finished off look (haven't done them since school days!). And here is the result. I didn't get the size right for the first one (too narrow) so decided that will be my library bag.

The second attempt was more successful with plenty of room for goodies from the local farmers market.

It was also a good test to see which of my designs would work as repeats (they weren't planned with that in mind but some work quite well). There is really too much work and fabric in these totes to make them a worthwhile proposition to sell - but they will make nice presents.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And Yet More White on Grey

Before I went on my holiday I did lots of printing - the bread and butter stuff - getting ready for the Christmas rush. However I did try a new colour combination with one of my new designs - the lemon scented tea tree (Leptospermum petersonii) - white on unbleached linen. I think it looks quite stunning as a teatowel and placemats. And did you know the leaves can be added to tea to give a lemon flavour?
These are now in my MadeIt and Etsy shops.

And by the way this is what I did on my holidays - a little too close for comfort?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Trying Something New

Recently I participated in a workshop held during the Bribie Island Art Festival (From Banksias to Beach) in July. The workshop was "Twisting Silver Wire" and the teacher was Catherine Bilson of Banksia Creations. It was all about making jewellery. I thought it might give me some techniques in wire wrapping my sea glass creations a bit more professionally, but it was really all about making jewellery from polished regular gemstones. Never mind I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with these after only one day! The earrings (the simplest to make) were subsequently gold plated (took about 2 minutes) by one of gem club members at Bribie.

Catherine did a lot of one on one help so I can't claim them to be totally my own work but hey who cares. Catherine is an excellent teacher and the workshop very well organised (well she was once an aerospace engineer). Now I know what wrapped jewellery is and how it is done. But it is very hard on your fingers so I don't think I will be pursuing it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Product Development - or More Messing Around

I have been wanting to try another version of a purse - this time one with a shoulder strap. I got the idea from a little one I purchased in Noumea and found very handy for carrying a few bits and pieces. So out came the drafting paper...
This time I made up the prototype in calico and other scraps just to make sure I had the dimensions right, and also how to work out how the lining was fitted.
Et voila - this is the result. Unbleached linen and denim with a navy cotton strap and navy zip. The lining is cream cotton also printed with the gumnut design.
Quite quick to construct (compared with my other little purse design) and casual but smart. This one's for me to road test.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Learning about Leather

I've had a few pieces of leather in my stash which have been sitting there forlornly for a few years now. I have always had in the back of my mind to use leather with my screen printed fabric, but until now have only tried sewing it once and then using suede. These are the only photos I have of that experiment and the purse was sold long ago, but you can just see the suede on the back of the purse.

So today was the day to do a bit more experimenting. This time with some soft black leather I bought long ago while still in Melbourne. Lots of questions - can you iron leather? How will it sew? Will it be too bulky?...
Foolishly perhaps I also wanted to try out a new design - a simple rectangular sunglasses/spectacles/pencil case. And here is the result. The case is too small lengthwise but I was happy with the way my little Elna machine handled the leather (using a leather needle). I wouldn't use a metal zip again. I think it looks a bit clunky and is also quite difficult to sew. And I am nervous of breaking the sewing needle.

The screen printed front of the case is in unbleached linen and it is lined with black cotton. I'll see how it survives some hard use next.
Now I want to try something else new!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to Business

Botanique at the Richard Randall Gallery, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens is over for another 6 months but I am already looking forward to the December event. Lots of beautiful botanically inspired creations. I am very pleased with the sales and feedback on my items, and I am full of enthusiasm again. Of course I purchased as well, and this now adorns my wall - love it.

It is three botanically inspired prints on paper - eucalypt, grevillea and beach hibiscus leaves. Here is a closeup of the beach hibiscus print.

It is the work of Panda Bean from Byron Bay who describe their work as "Natural plant dyeing techniques and screen printing applied to natural textiles, paper and wood". Have a look at their website gallery to see the range of stunning prints which adorn scarfs and cushions as well as wall art. 
I really want to find out more about this eco dying and printing - so much to explore so little time.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Botanique is on Again

Event Botanique is on at the Brisbane Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens from Wednesday 4 July to Sunday 15 July. This year the event is in two parts
Catwalk Botanique on Tuesday 10 July at 7pm - this is a parade of original wearable art held in the Auditorium

Bazaar Botanique 4 - 15 July, 10am - 4pm - this is a display of botanically inspired items for exhibition and sale held in the Richard Randall studio. Items will include books, stationery, paintings, sculptures, jewellery, shoes, toys, homewares and more, presented by 30 local artisans. PalumaPrint will be participating in this event. I had great plans to produce scarfs and other wearable art but alas only shoulder bags and purses got made.... Next year perhaps....

For ticket sales and enquiries contact Bettina on 0405402340 or email botanique.events@gmail.com

While you are there take plenty of time to explore our beautiful Botanic Gardens

Friday, June 22, 2012

More NZ Finds

A while ago I blogged about some NZ screenprinters and some examples of their work. Today I received an interesting followup - an email from Anneliese of Tikitibu, a NZ run company that works exclusively with NZ artists and produces a range of gift and homewares for the retail market. Tikitibu  makes the wooden gift tags with Ingrid Anderson's (and others) designs and I featured the Pohutikawa design in my blog post. 
I actually bought myself the gift tag with the Kowhai design from a little gallery in Rotorua and it is hanging in my little studio as a wall decoration, reminding me of my NZ trip. 

 In the same gallery in Rotorua (can't remember the name)  I also purchased a Tikitibu desk calendar, designed by Jane Galloway. This is the June design, but every month is just gorgeous.

Check out the Tikitibu website for more stunning New Zealand art products.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cool Cushions

I thought my chairs needed a little brightening up for the winter months so I tried my hand at making cushions (need for much more practice and an overlocking machine I think). My cheery red umbrella tree and kangaroo paw prints did the job - the umbrella tree on a silk fabric which printed up very nicely, and kangaroo paw on a very heavy weight calico.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kangaroo Paw Tote

Another product from a wet, windy and cold long weekend. Feels like Melbourne, but great sewing weather! I think it needs a button on the flap to finish it off.

This tote is destined for Botanique 2012 to be held at the Richard Randall Art Studio, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens  from 3 - 15 July.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different.....Pincushions!

It's grey, cold and a bit wet here so what better way to spend this dreary Sunday than trawling MadeIt for something. And why not pincushions! Aren't they spectacular? These are really works of art. Hard to imagine sticking pins into them.

Both Spincushions and Plushka have featured PalumaPrint in their blogs this year. So I am returning the compliment :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ready To Go!

My new designs have now been printed as tea towels and placemats. In my MadeIt and Etsy shops now!

Oh - and a cute little kangaroo paw purse

Plus lots of other little purses - been on a bit of a sewing binge again!

Monday, May 7, 2012

More White on Gray

These only lasted in my MadeIt shop a couple of days. The fabric is unbleached linen  and the ink is Permaset standard white. I love the smell of unbleached linen - it's almost edible.

Most of my printing in done on linen sourced from Europe but the other day I came across a vintage linen tea towel woven in Ireland which gave a photographic history on the growing and harvesting of flax in that country - in particular Ulster.

The process of growing, harvesting and turning flax into linen was long and complex. Flax was sown in spring and ready for harvest about a hundred days. The mature flax was not cut but pulled, roots and all so that no part of the stem was wasted and the fibres were as long as possible. The stems were then put into ponds or dams and left to rot and soften for 8 to 14 days (called retting).

(photo courtesy of  lurganancestry.com)

This resulted in the breaking up of the flax fibre and generated a noxious smell. The flax was then drained on the banks and then laid out in the fields for 6 to 12 days to allow the wind and sun to dry it. After stacking it was sent to the flax mill for "scutching" which removed the skin and core leaving only the fibres for spinning and weaving. Not the most pleasant job by the look of it!