Friday, 28 January 2011

Chinese New Year Prints

I attended a workshop today about traditional Chinese New Year woodblock prints, led by visiting printmakers from Hong Kong.  The talk was fascinating as it explained how these cheap, often locally made prints are regarded as a craft or folk product, as opposed to the high-end woodblock printing that is considered art.  The explanation of the materials and process used also helped to put the prints into context.  I really liked the idea that the prints for this particular celebration are so specific, and though beautiful are seen as being disposable.  I'd like to play on that idea in something I do, it seems counter-intuitive to make something that you attach little value to, but liberating at the same time.

Fortune god.

We were able to print our own copies of two blocks, and although the process was different to that used traditionally it did give the idea of how the prints are produced, and the imagery and qualities that are representative of the style.  I also liked the idea of the use of the prints, that they are put up in particular places for different reasons.  I'll be putting fortune on my door!

A good face, no?

Monday, 24 January 2011

I heart February

I am trying to decide if I can turn some of these scraps collected from the laser cutting bureau into a collagraph to use for the Russian - UK artists' book collaboration about the seasons.  I need to make an A4 page that represents the month of February, but all that springs to mind at the moment is kitsch Valentine's day cards, surely there is more to the month than that?

Christmas hangover

Although the festive season is behind us I have been completing a Christmas crochet project as I knew if if was left until next December it probably wouldn't happen.

Inspired by a pattern by Pip Lincolne over at Meet Me At Mikes I set out to crochet some baubles as Christmas gifts in 2010. I started out with some pretty nasty cheap silver baubles, so adapted the design to give them fairly solid crocheted jackets made from a deep red double knit cotton.  

Eventually I tracked down some clear baubles and was able to try out a version of the original pattern.

During January I decided to set about my stash of leftover baubles and finish them in preparation for next year (yes I know).  I also spotted some very cheap black baubles in the sales so tried them out with pale blue crochet cotton, these have a completely different feel to them and I really like the effect. 

Now that I have completed my task I don't know if these baubles will be for gifts, selling, or decoration, I'm just happy I can box them up ready and move on to the next thing.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ticket books

For the first abc (artists' book club) meeting of the year I put together some book prototypes on my ticket theme so that I could get some feedback before launching into production mode.

The first is a folded structure, from pieces of train timetables, with a rubber stamp railway symbol tracking a journey through.  It aims to keep the integrity and aesthetics of the original ticket and folds up to the same size with a greyboard back.  The ticket destinations are not specific to me so the idea is to evoke the experience of a journey, as well as creating a tactile object.

The second book was a play on the VOID tickets that I collected from my weekly commute last semester.  The concept was to make a cut out train silhouette, and I wanted to enhance this by making each carriage line up so that opened at any point you would get the clear cut shapes of the train.  The prototype was hand cut and made from sheets of joined paper to get the required length.  After completion I added black card to the inside end pages to give a more defined outline to the engine cars.  I intend to experiment with laser cutting this design from a single sheet of paper, and compare it to the hand cut version before deciding which to use.  I envisage this will be an open edition of books that I will add to as I acquire more tickets.

Just the ticket

New year = new projects and at the start of January I decided to take the plunge and create some works using the collection of 1960's train tickets that I acquired when the picture library at my old job was disbanded.  I have been saving them as I love them as objects and have the fear of wasting the opportunity by not using them in the *best* way, but this is the right time to exploit those qualities that I like.