Friday, September 28, 2012

Iris is Ready To Rock and Roll

The proofing went relatively well today - with a minimum of additional clean-up carving.  Registration is still a problem, but much better than with the poppy.  Of course anything short of hari-kari would be an improvement over the Poppy Problems.  So, Iris is ready to go and now we are on to the next one. The drawing hasn't even started on that, yet. Heck, I haven't even decided on the flower.  Right now the sunflower (adoration) is in the lead, but inching up close on her hienie is a yellow tulip (love & friendship).  And, of course, there are others.  There are two that have to be: Amarylis (Beauty) and a thistle (Nobility and the flower of Scotland).  Meanwhile, here's a look at today's project.

Stay tuned - you never know what might happen tomorrow....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Iris in the Making

A couple of weeks ago the image was transferred to the block via the magic studio paper sold at McClain's Printmaking Supplies.  I love this stuff - it is truly magic.  You just scan your image and print it (ink jet) onto this paper and while the ink is wet lay it upon the block and burnish lightly with a baren. Poof! Your image is on the block and ready to go. Magnifique!

So, then comes the carving.  It is mesmerizing when it is complex and there are many little fine lines. There is nothing quick about it, but as my friend Dave once said, "If you love doing something isn't it a good thing if it takes a long time?"  Or words to that effect, and I have to agree whole heartedly.  I've spent the greatest part of the week, whenever I wasn't doing laundry or cleaning up a mess, in the studio carving away and tomorrow we proof.  I can almost smell the ink.  Proofing days can be both exciting and depressing.  If there is only a small amount of correction that is good, but more can be a problem.  Mostly because now the block has been inked and either you clean it vigorously, or you muck about in sticky ink.  That is when you know the Japanese have it right and you should be using water color, rice paste and sumi ink.  But, this is going to be printed on fabric, so I think it will have to be printed in the Western tradition.  Ahhh, well - wish me luck and check back tomorrow.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

One more poppy & an Iris

Spent a few more minutes working on the poppy and opened it up quite a bit more.  It should print better on the fabric when I get to that point.  Meanwhile, I'm much happier with the lighter look.

The second image will be the Iris.  It is such a delicate and beautiful flower.  There are iris gardens not far from here where they have every color you can imagine, even black.  They are not in bloom now or I would trot over and take a photo to share.  Remind me next spring and I'll do that.  But, for the time being I have to be satisfied with some old photos from my morgue.  This one is actually a combo of two images, one for the flower and another for the stem.  And, I love the meaning that this flower carries with it: wisdom.  Isn't that supposed to come with age?  I don't know how much longer I can wait.  But. perhaps with this on a flag, blowing in the wind it will scatter a bit of it my way.

This time I hope to eliminate at least one of the previous registration dilemmas, hence the text below.  It will all be transferred to the wood and will only need the addition of the border.  I won't be able to work on this next week, but the following week I will be up to my ears in wood chips and ink!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poppy Registration Solved

A HUGE thanks to Terri Peart for the suggestion to use freezer wrap to solve my fabric registration issues.  The puzzlement was that I needed to register three times for this image (chalk that up, at least partially, to very poor planning).  Accomplishing this feat with sturdy paper you could do with your eyes closed, but a floppy piece of fabric? Not so easy.  However, Terri wrote to say that quilters often use freezer wrap - it has a plasticized back which allows it to adhere to the fabric with the help of an iron and when you don't need it anymore you simply peel it off and it leaves no residue. Well, call me Ishmael, if it isn't true!  It works like a dream.

Coming up with fabric scraps 11 inches wide was not easy.  I was able to find a piece just large enough - it is left over from making a dust ruffle for my granddaughter's bed.  The flags will not be pink and green stripe, but this fabric is the approximate weight and texture of what I will be using, so it was perfect for the test.

So, aside from needing to do a much better job of inking, I think the Poppy Problems are under control. The thing I really appreciate is being able to use the freezer paper over and over.  Once the required size has been cut it is a simple matter of adhering it to the back of the fabric and then treating the paper and fabric as one piece.

It's too bad the flags won't be pink and green stripe - I rather like it, but I suppose it would be good to hold to tradition somewhat, so they will be solid colors.  This might look good on a sweatshirt or a T, though.... hmmmm, more registration issues, maybe not...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Proof is in the Poppy

There were a few strung together moments this afternoon which allowed time for some cleaning up on the blocks and pulling a few proofs.  Cleaning up the blocks was quick and easy, and creating an acrylic mask for use when printing the poppy itself was a no brainer, but oh! the registration nightmare. I will certainly do things differently on the next flower.  And I see that I still don't have the text perfectly level, so still adjustment is needed there, but that won't take long. (She says with the utmost confidence, knowing full well that it will probably take hours.)  The next decision is whether to do color blocks for leaves and flower or stick with the black ink.  These will be printed on the traditional Prayer Flag colors of red, yellow, blue, white and green.  I think to stick with the black is the answer!  I may want to print these on paper, too, and maybe for that I will make color blocks and maybe even do moku hanga - who knows?

The first image is the California Poppy.  It was chosen for its traditional meaning.  Particularly in Victorian times, and probably before that, too, meanings were given to flowers and you better be careful what you sent, or delivered, because you could really create a societal faux pas.  Most of the sites agreed that one of the poppy's meanings was "imagination".  When these flags are out in the garden fluttering in the breeze I want as much imagination flying around in the air as possible.

The next problem is how to get this transferred to the fabric.  The first thought is to spray a re-positionable adhesive onto paper to act as a support, or carrier, through the printing process.  After printing the paper would be removed, of course.  So, tomorrow I will be heading out purchase spray adhesive of the sort I will need.  Unless someone has experience with this and can offer an easier solution??

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Helen Frankenthaler

Last week Helen Frankenthaler's work was mentioned on the Baren Forum and it reminded me of the print I did about Ms. Frankenthaler.  It was for a Baren Exchange about someone who had been influential to your printmaking.  At the time I was heavily into her imagery and the methods she used to make her prints.  There had also been a fantastic show of her work at the Portland Art Museum.  They had the paintings she did with the print made from that image next to it.  Fantastic!

The print that I did had her work East and Beyond: 1973 which was a puzzle print, behind her.  In my work I attempted to duplicate that work by doing a small puzzle print just like hers, with the woodblock of her in the foreground.

That total image was then trimmed and adhered to a digital reproduction of her work on a ph neutral paper for that purpose.  Finally, her name was printed and the stamp with her image (also an inkjet print) attached.  That was probably the most fun I have had doing something that I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but it all turned out successfully.  The moral of the story is: Go for it! Experiment!  Have fun!  You will learn a lot and have a whale of a good time doing it!