Lines of Inquiry II

I have been trying hard not to lose the sense of momentum that I gained from the Michael Brennand-Wood workshop I did earlier this month. Without the excitement of the class atmosphere I find it all too easy to fall back into familiar practices and patterns.

I was pretty excited to realise that one very direct response that I could take from the class was to use one of the pieces I produced for it’s original purpose, as a screen to print from.

The screen with cut and stitched sections.

The screen with cut and stitched sections.

In the workshop the screen had been the frame for exploration of 3D layers with connecting threads between them. When it came to printing I first put the thickened dyes I use onto the ‘back’ of the screen and then placed paper directly onto it, carefully pressing down to transfer the image. The result is a subtle background with a much stronger transfer of colour where the original image remains on the screen.

Stitched and cut screen image using thickened dye on Japanese paper, 9 October 2013.

Stitched and cut screen image using thickened dye on Japanese paper, 9 October 2013.

In order to use the ‘front’ of the screen, the normal approach, I had to cut those strings that prevented me from running the squeegee across the screen.

The 'front' of the screen prior to printing.

The ‘front’ of the screen prior to printing.

Because the screen already had an exposed image on it, the thickened dyes only transferred to the paper where the original image was and where the screen had been cut away. This resulted in a very different image from the one above. I like the large amount of white space in this piece.

Image resulting from the 'front' of the screen. 9 October 2013.

Image resulting from the ‘front’ of the screen. 9 October 2013.

I have continued to use the same screen for printing, modifying it as I go. Most recently I combined the use of certain sections of the screen with other techniques to produce this multi-layered approach.

A combination of printing approaches, using the manipulated screen and de-contructed screen printing, with masking and overlapping. 25 October 2013.

A combination of printing approaches, using the manipulated screen and de-contructed screen printing, with masking and overlapping. 25 October 2013.

I think this is a very fruitful approach and I intend to continue exploring this idea at my next sessions at Megalo.

Michael Brennand-Wood workshop

I had a tremendous day last Sunday doing a workshop with UK artist Michael Brennand-Wood, who is in Canberra as an artist in residence with Craft ACT.

The workshop was called Random Precision and was focused on “the construction of component parts that fuse at a distance into a coherent form.” Everyone was asked to make two,  3-dimensional or relief constructions, using fabric, thread, wire or whatever else we bought to the class. Given that my work barely moves off the flat plane I figured that this would be a workshop to challenge me.

A quick trip to the recycling shop at the tip the day before the workshop found me with two old wooden silk screen frames, which I figured, if nothing else, I could always re-use afterwards. I found the rest of my materials by roaming around the house picking up random bits of dyed fabric and string, embroidery cotton and other left over ‘art’ experiments.

My first piece, fabric embroidery cotton plastic and other bits.

My first piece, fabric, embroidery cotton, plastic and other bits.

I found that the element of depth in this piece really engaging.

Looking into my first piece, side-on.

Looking into my first piece, side-on.

Michael emphasised the benefits of photographing the various stages of the construction. Apart from keeping a record of the work as it developed, Michael suggested that by printing these photos and working into them, adding or subtracting colour, line or other images, they could be used to further develop ideas. Even putting the 3D work over the pages of my visual diary suggested new ways to approach my work.

My second construction held over my visual diary.

My second construction held over my visual diary.

Holding the two pieces I made together also demonstrated further depth and complexity.

Michael holds mt two pieces of work to demonstrate how these might work together.

Michael holds my two pieces of work to demonstrate how these might work together.

Apart from challenging us to work in a new way Michael was also generous in the time he spent discussing our work, both from the workshop and that of our current art practice. I thought that his very constructive (pardon the pun) approach and considered suggestions were particularly valuable as an artist working by myself.

If you are in Canberra Micheal will be giving a talk at the ANU School of Art at 1.00pm this Thursday 3 October. The work from Michael’s residency will be shown at Craft ACT in 2014.