I haven’t been feeling my best, with an annoying head cold lurking in the background and generally slowing me down. Production has been slow and steady and the realisation that the Sherwood Christmas Craft and Food Fair is now only three weeks away threw me into a mild panic!
I spent yesterday tidying the hive, organising the stock I have and making a VERY long list of things to make and do so that I will be ready for this popular event. Feeling much calmer today, I have decided to continue with a bit of experimentation that I have been wanting to undertake for a while now. Back in January I took part in really enjoyable lino cutting workshop run by Fiona of Minifi and loved it!
I wasn’t overly impressed with my first attempt but Fiona explained the process well and I could see what I needed to do to improve. I had ideas about how I could use the hand carved stamp that I was making but shelved it for later. Having a dull headache for the best part of a week did not encourage sitting behind a noisy sewing machine but provided the ideal opportunity to quietly carve lino blocks. I started with a sunflower as they are a particular favourite of mine.
I had seen a collection of carved wooden Indian print blocks in an antique shop in Cromford, they were quite expensive but I liked the idea that a collection of them would make a beautiful repeat pattern.
I sort of had that in my head when I started carving the lino blocks and made a pair of smaller flowers to go with the sunflower.
As you might expect, my flowers took on a retro form and I think compliment each other well. I was pleased with how they turned out and tested them on paper to see how they printed, before trying them out on fabric. The detail came out much better than I had expected and the edges smoother than they appeared to me, despite my careful carving. I think I do have a tendency to be heavy handed and am always worried that I am going to take too much off!
The test print of the sunflower was perfect first time, as I plonked it down on a Levis pocket lightly coated in fabric ink. It produced a subtle yellow hue that rather suits the worn faded denim and I can see this working as part of a future sewing project. The yellow appeared green on some of the denim piece I had bit I was really liking the grainy effect on the textured fabric. The sunflower is twice the size of the other two flowers so certainly makes a statement on its own.
My sample prints with the smaller flowers were a a little messy as the ink was transferring from around the image I had carved. However, the orange was striking against both the pale blue and darker denim pieces that I printed on. I really do like how these two prints look together though and would like to try and create a larger pattern by alternating the colour of the flowers too. Not really one for planning, I didn’t really set myself up to use more than one colour at a time today.
Instead I just added a darker colour to the ink tray, once the lighter one was finished, and mixed in the remaining colour. As they were all in the same ‘warm’ colour family this did not matter at all so when I got to the magenta my stamp rewarded me with a deep blossom pink against the grey blue background. I dried the stamps in between colours and carved a little more lino away to get a cleaner print, which solved the problem straight away.
From just four teaspoons of screen printing ink, I managed to print roughly twenty flowers, some in groups and some on their own like this pretty pink bloom. Some of the centres are crying out for a vintage button I think and of course the cogs are whirring with ideas at what else I can do. What I can tell you though, is that I have spent a very relaxing afternoon getting inky and playing around with pretty colours so it has been time well spent.
And I am rather pleased with this one…
Until next week then
don’t forget to make time to play
and stay sweet