Rust, and it’s getting messy

Been quiet on the blog front – trying to sort out a variety of questions I had on the technical aspects of what is supposed to be a simple little blog – oh what a difference a few dots and dashes make……. hopefully sorted now.

Whilst that’s been rumbling on in the background I’ve been escaping into the happy world of print, dye and sew.

printing with thermofax screen

A lovely day thermofax screen printing with Handprinted in Bognor Regis.  using an “old school” thermofax printer and  the magical transfer screen. Not quite as versatile as conventional screenprinting, but SO much simpler for a quick result!

Another eye-opening experience with Handprinted at one of their “Fab Fridays” workshops taught me how to print with my (many) pressings of seaweed and ferns – I knew there’d be a use for them!

transfer dyeing with ferns and seaweed

And then…..a great day with Jule Mallett, learning about the messy and smelly process of rust dyeing. Such lovely and unexpected results made by combining iron objects with either vinegar, tea, water, salt water (I do live beside the sea – knew that would be useful too!), and any number of other combinations, wrapping in fabric, laying on paper, leaving to the elements, putting in plastic bags, so and so on! Jule was an enthusiastic mine of information and ideas.

Soooo…thought I’d combine some of it all together….

Printing with thermofax on rust dyed and transfer dyed fabric

I am just going out to the greenhouse now (surely you didn’t think it was just for tomatoes?), and I’m going to put a rusty old Victorian drain cover – purloined from Tom (Harbon Builders) onto a piece of silk noile and cover with sea water and tea in a deep tray. Then leave. We’ll see what happens. I really hope to avoid vinegar – the smell at the workshop was almost overwhelming!

With the help of Geoff and some copper tubing, I’ve put a couple of fused glass installations into “hot” areas of the garden. The colours look beautiful with the sun shining through them. I wish I could find some more rusty tubing on the beach, it made a good contrast with the smooth textures of the glass. (Not that I want to encourage throwing old car parts over the harbour wall in ANY way – I’ll do that “rusting” in the greenhouse too if necessary).

Fused glass installations


Ah yes, the sewing….it’s coming on….more next time.

glass and marbles

Autumn panel and Sea panel
Autumn panel and Sea panel

I suspected I’d fall in love with making fused glass – and so it is! These are my first two pieces to come out of the kiln, and even though they have “undesigned” bubbles, I’m so happy to have produced anything remotely as intended! Now working on some more – with perhaps a few more curves included this time. The possibilities are endless, although my ambition immediately exceeded my skill – a lot to learn – and some science, not my strong point. But it’s like holding colour in your hands, so tactile. Hope to make progress.

Teaching by the excellent tutor Kate O’Connell at Making Space, Havant.

Seachange 1
Seachange 1

Still painting though! – this painting in ink and gouache was inspired by a workshop at Pallant House Gallery to do with interpreting sound. It was in connection with the artwork of the month by Wihelmina Barnes Graham, although I never really understood what the connection was! I must have missed a bit somewhere….. Nevertheless I was interested to read in her biography that she was inspired by Turner’s seascapes, although there isn’t an obvious connection to her work there either I think. It must be all in the mind……

I have done several more versions, the colour becoming more adventurous as I continue. Must be the glass!

Marbled papers
Marbled papers

Also been on a day’s “marbling” – another very interesting way of “playing” with colour, really enjoyed the experience. This method above is Suminagashi (floating ink) first practised in Japan in (?)12th Century and different to the Renaissance and Ebro methods which use feathers and combs. This is all about gently blowing and allowing ink to find it’s own course. Not quite in control – and a bit unexpected. The professionals are of course in control, but I don’t think I can wait that long to learn how, so I’ll have to make do with happy (or otherwise) accidents. I’ve always believed painting should have serendipity too.

Anyway, I see  some collage work coming out of it in the near future, and no doubt I will be mightily inspired by Mark Hearld’s work currently showing at the Bankside Gallery London in “St.Judes in the City” exhibition. I’m off to see it tomorrow – Southern trains permitting of course. I’ll be reporting back…