This was my most successful foray into print making, I had already found my self adding items to printing plates to act as resists and I love the drama created by having pronounced negative spaces.
The majority of the prints I made for this exercise were done on the Japanese calligraphy paper with the contrasting sides. The paper is called Hanshi and is made from mulberry pulp, it’s not the cheapest, I’d forgotten that because I’d had it such a long time, replacing it might have to wait!
Having 2 sides with different absorbency qualities was an advantage, it also becomes transparent without ripping too easily, this had the added delight of allowing you to see the print as it was developing in front of your eyes.
Wanting to develop more interesting compositions I experimented with some fabric.
At this stage my brain was hurting; I was building very interesting paint plates but that wasn’t always translating well into print.
Overlaps and lace quickly lost the complex texture and details. The prints looked like they were base layers not completed compositions. I was learning that selection and placement was important and had to be viewed as as a means to an end not as an artistic, aesthetic artwork in its own right.
The answer? Press harder!
Or, add more layers.
Now I was getting somewhere, I was able to print light over dark.
And then really mix up the stencils to create large resist areas for the quiet and small areas of intense detail for the noise to create more dynamic compositions.
I even had a play with printing on fabric and the dried out wet wipes that I’d used to clean the printing plate, they just love to be printed on.
At this stage I went back and had another look at Making Your Mark a book by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan, they are textile artists and when printing they use thickened dye. I’ve had some Jacquard dye thickener hanging around for ages (was this yours Anne?) and I thought now might be a good time to use it. I mixed up some black procion dye and used it for a top layer which looked like this.
But before the black layer I added a red and yellow layer and in one case I did some back drawing.
The process was quite frenzied, I have a tendency to work like this when a process really grabs me. I used blank sheets, pre-printed and dried sheets, wet wipes but not fabric which I now wish I had.
My sketchbook page doesn’t really express how much I enjoyed this printing session.
I really love these specific prints that came out of this session, they have a fractal quality, not in the tessellating way but in the way that clouds, trees and the works of Jackson Pollack are similar when viewed in their entirety or up close in detail.
They could be abstract landscapes or autumn leaves captured in puddles.