Since taking the quilt exhibition down on Wednesday, I have been putting together some ideas for the next six months to keep our wonderful group connected, and perhaps bring in other people too. I think what will work best is to have a theme for each month, and some inspiration to kick off individual’s creativity. I thought it might be good to keep the options of how to interpret the theme a little open so that people can choose the medium that they prefer. October’s theme is PRINT. My inspiration came from a group activity that we did in the past which was led by Kayrakise, she collected autumn leaves from her local park and we used them to produce a variety of prints in hues of the season.

The clay tiles that I was intrigued by and mentioned in last week’s blog, also made me consider the different ways that the theme could be interpreted. Printing onto and into things can be quite an organic process and produce surprising results. Of course, we were also getting into lino printing too, after our excellent session with Fiona of Minifi, so there is another option open to us and one that Ruth have been discussing as a starting point for our exploration into printing. Lino printing is a longer process than some, but the actual carving of the block can be so meditative that it is a great place to start, it is also great to know that once you have cut your block it can be used repeatedly in a variety of ways.

Simple repeated patterns can look really effective, but also layering prints over the top of each other can also produce exciting results! Helen Bulmer’s vibrant prints have now taken the place of the quilt exhibition, so it’s worth popping down to Canalside again if you can. Helen depicts natural forms in her prints and it is the clever layering that brings them all to life. You can read all about Helen’s print process in this blog post, she describes how she uses a sketch or photograph as her starting point and carefully works out the composition before committed herself to a block. She uses two blocks to achieve the layering effect, a great deal of accuracy is needed to line up the second before printing.

 

If you have been following the recent posts of our friend Helen of Polly Dextrous, you will have noticed that she has been successfully incorporating lino printing into her stitched designs. Adding stitches to images helps to define details and adds depth to the 2-D prints in a way that appeals to me. I think that layering different mediums might be also something to explore. I also like the way that prints can vary depending on the surface that they are printed on. I am reminded of an obsession I have for pressing objects into plasticine as a child and then discovering that I could paint over the top on it and print the image that I had made on the newspaper that had been used to protect the pine kitchen table.

I am also quite liking the possibility of printing onto wood. Having followed designers like Ding Ding Designs and more recently Sarah of Spruce Interiors, I enjoy the contrast of the solid colours on grainy wooden surfaces. On the eve of starting a new job, I am keen to plan in some artistic time this month and I am hoping that keeping connected to the group will encourage that. After the burst of spring, I love the colours of autumn the best and believe there will be plenty to motivate me to create. In the meantime, I am also planning another trip down to the Canalside Heritage Centre to get a proper look at Helen’s work and make time for a leisurely cup of coffee in their stunning garden.