I always loved these two pieces by famous wood block printer Fannie Mennen. I bought them years ago when they came up for sale out of the collection of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and had them framed together. The quote by Christopher Morley is perfect for me and even more appropriate now when I get so little time in the studio. And isn’t her owl wonderful! There is a glare as these are behind glass and there was not much I could do about the reflections.
So this is the progression of what I started last week. First the plain block prints.
And pulling out an older small block of a similar scene.
Next I tried chine colle on some of them.
Then I stuck on some fabrics because I knew it would shift too much if I tried the cloth as a chine colle.
Notice the mottled paper used on some of them. It is the paper that I hand marbled using my earth pigments from right here at home. It is a simple process.
First get your pigments into a fine powder by sifting. Then put some in a jar with boiled linseed oil and add enough mineral spirits to make the solution very watery. After you have all your colors in separate jars and have put in a feather or group of tied grasses/sticks into each jar, then prepare a large open container like a deep cookie sheet or lasagna pan by filling half way with a thin solution of corn starch (or corn flour as it is called in Australia) and water. It should be a very thin paste so make it about one part corn starch to eight parts water.
When the corn paste is level in the pan splatter with the earth pigments by flicking your brush. Do not try to mix them around to make a pattern as it will only muddy them. Just be happy with the spots inside spots.
Then lay a piece of paper on the mixture starting with one corner and carefully dropping it as to not trap air. Pull up, rinse and let dry. It may take a while for the linseed oil and mineral spirits odors to evaporate, but the results are worth it.
And finally the stitching.
These were fun to do and I think I might just have them framed. The paper I printed the blocks onto is a thai kozo that I use to spin paper threads. The threads were one third of the six threads in embroidery floss. And oh yes, because I wanted to reinforce the paper after stitching I backed it with an iron on facing used in sewing.
Bits of my old pajamas were used in that top one. Pajamas I made from fabrics I bought from a local warehouse that only handled scraps from textile industries that have long left the state of North Carolina. The man who managed the old barn of a store had the kind of a southern accent that could readily read southern novels and make you glad he did.
Anyway he said that there was no telling what the fiber content was and we were to just take our chances. These felt like a smooth Egyptian cotton so I could not put the cloth down once I held it. Besides it was super cheap.
You could also use a large scoop to dip into an old washing machine full of assorted buttons at a dollar a scoop. I still have so many of those that I would carefully dip my scoop around to fill up with more of what I liked.
The framer called me today to say that the frame for the long travels in Australia piece came in with a crack in the wood. They are sending a new one and I won’t get the finished work til next week. No worries, I will get it eventually.
Not much else new. Except this from the makers of Saunders Malt Extract.
Good Morning Sandy, Thank you for your email,
Unfortunately we do not export Saunders Malt, so it sounds like you have been very lucky purchasing from Amazon.
I am sorry I cannot be of more help so you can continue to make your delicious Cookies.
Personally I think Angela could have just sent me a case but no, not happening. I have put my name on a list at Amazon in case some of this wonderful elixir comes in.
Til next time.