January 11, 2014
If I Woke at Dawn, Work in Progress update 2
I’ve started the beadwork on “If I Woke at Dawn”, working on adding delineation and sparkle to the river water. Doing hand beadwork is wonderfully meditative, giving my hands just enough to do so that my mind can enjoy some quality contemplative time. As I worked I considered my options for presentation for this work—at just under 20”, it’s an awkward size to stand alone. I decided to create a separate background quilt to mount it on.
I want the background to continue the river landscape theme, but to be muted enough that the beaded centerpiece will display to its best advantage. Since I am purposefully taking some time this month for experimentation and exploration, I decided to try collagraph, a new-to-me technique of printmaking. I gathered my materials, including mat board for the base, string and twine, beads, foam, fabric scraps, bubble wrap, and hand made paper. I arranged and glued my materials to the mat board to make two different printing plates, and when the glue was dry I coated them with varnish to seal the surface and left it all to dry overnight.
Today I made a bunch of prints. I used a Gelli Plate as a surface for spreading textile paints, pressed my collagraph plate into it to make an impression, then lifted the paint off it onto a piece of cloth. I then made a “ghost print” by pressing cloth directly onto the collagraph plate. I used a variety of different colors, and printed on both plain white fabric, and fabric I had previously done surface design work on. It took some experimentation to get a feel for just how much paint to use and how to spread it. I had a great time and got some very usable prints. The less-than-acceptable ones are still very good for cutting up and using in patchwork. Here they are pinned up on foam boards to dry.
Here’s a nice crisp print, where you can see the suggestion of the river’s flow, and the textures along the riverbanks.
And here’s the ghost print in the same colorway.
Here’s one done on previously painted orange fabric.
And one done on a purple background.
As often happens, the mop up cloth is also pretty fabulous!