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Posts Tagged ‘printmaking’

Strange as it seems, even to myself, a few years ago, I did no crafting at all. None. I couldn’t knit; I didn’t bash metal; I didn’t know one end of a spinning wheel from the other, and I wouldn’t have known my lino from my litho if it bit me.This, after a childhood and adolescence spent almost entirely amidst craft materials. As a child, I stole the soap from the bathroom to carve into some kind of printing block in the middle of the night with my penknife. I spent my pocket-money in the hardware store on fuse wire, to bend and sculpt. I plagued my mother for months to save onion skins to use as a dyestuff (giving up when I realized that a) an entire toy-chest full wasn’t enough to dye so much as a t-shirt, and b) I had no idea how to access any kind of mordant in those pre-internet days). I calligraphed and illuminated my way through my teenage years, occasionally dabbled as a student in watercolor and acrylic (increasingly embarrassed, this was pretty much as covert as the soap-carving phase), and then… I gave up. I went into ‘making’-latency for about fifteen years. How ever could I have imagined I was me?

I guess, mostly, I was busy elsewhere. I was very much a word person during that phase of my life, and struggling to maintain equilibrium in a foreign-language environment (yes, I spoke the language in question – I even earned my living translating from it), but it drained my creativity to live, essentially, alienated from myself.

Also, I was making several other things. Like this.

Don’t you just love the cute father/daughter nose?

Anyway, that one is six today. Quite the competent young miss, off to school in the mornings, full of the joys of being six. Full of hope. Full of potential. With all the doors of life still open.

Look: I was making great stuff back then, now I think about it.

And here’s one I made today: this is drypoint, printed on the pasta machine press.

Happy birthday, my sweet.

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Maybe it’s just the autumn – all those fallen leaves – getting into my brain, or maybe it’s been the leaf-blown, cobewebbed, windswept state of my tiny garden (with one brave fuchsia hanging onto blooms) but I’ve been in a bit of a groove over the last week or so. May I present my latest mezuzah?

Iridized glass, and copper wire. I really like this one. I was less happy when I nearly knocked myself out on the Brasso fumes as I was polishing it, but at least I’ll be a lot more cautious next time I go near that stuff. (If there is a next time.)

Next up, a couple of collagraph prints. One was made with PVA school glue on an acetate transparency sheet, and the other employed the copper tape I use for foiling round glass (as in the mezuzah above). I make no great claims for my fine art skills, but I am certainly enjoying exploring printmaking techniques and media.

Really, for me, printmaking is ALL about the journey – the processes rather than the results. I have few, if any, illusions about the results, for all that I occasionally quite like them. I’m learning a really important lesson of creative humility: I can’t be good at everything, and so what? As an habitual perfectionist, I find it hard to let go of what I can only call delusions of grandeur and just make what I can. Even if it’s simplistic; even if it’s crap (which it is), as I make, I learn: letting go and accepting that is actually as hard to do as it is easy to say. It’s very salutory. And still fun, which isn’t always the case with humbling life-lessons. So I’m feeling pretty blessed.

Oh, and then along came a spider. The children say I cast a spell on it and turned its web into silver. And who am I to disabuse them? So here is my latest piece of jewelry – a sliver cuff bracelet which I made yesterday, wore today, and already have a commission to repeat. That does mean I’ll have to order some more silver wire this week, but I’m not going to complain about that, now, am I? I just mustn’t get seduced into ordering anything else at the same time. Simple, really.

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