Sunday, 13 October 2013

21st Century Farmer Exhibition at Unit Twelve Gallery

Somehow Jennifer Collier managed to fit all my folk tree screen prints into her gallery, Unit Twelve, for the 21st Century Farmer exhibition. She even squeezed in a few of my 3d card folk trees. It's great to finally see everything together and so beautifully displayed. The little details like farmyard toys perched on frames and Duplo blocks with name labels make it all the more special. Added to which it's also a really well curated group show and I'm very lucky to be included with so many talented designer makers. One of them is Melanie Tomlinson, many years ago we were on the same degree course at BCU and both of us stayed to do an MA in Visual Communication.

21st Century Farmer is on at Unit Twelve from 5th Sept until 30th Nov 2013
Unit Twelve Gallery
Tixall Heath Farm
ST18 0XX
Gallery Opening Times
Thursday - Saturday
10.00 - 4.00pm

Friday, 23 August 2013

21st Century Farmer

This September some of my screen prints will be in the 21st Century Farmer exhibition at Jennifer Collier's wonderful Unit Twelve Gallery in Staffordshire. I've been looking forward to this all year because I know the gallery is professionally run, my work will be well presented, taken care of and returned in good condition. The exhibitions at Unit Twelve are always beautifully curated with lots of attention to detail and they feature an exciting mix of different designer makers. They are also very well promoted, I couldn't ask for more.

It goes without saying that this has been a great excuse for me to draw more chickens, roosters and folk trees. I've finished two new screen prints just in time for the exhibition though there may not be room for them as well as all my other folk trees. I'm more than happy to leave the final selection up to the gallery and I'm excited to see how they display the work whether it is new prints or favorites like these from last year...

Girls Who Draw present Masquerade

Summer has been very busy because, as well working on a new series of screen prints, I have been putting together the fifth Girls Who Draw postcard book. The theme of the book is Masquerade but I left this open to interpretation so the 12 illustrators involved have all done something completely different. There are some masks but also  theatrical characters, traditional costumes, animals in disguise and even camouflaged insects. 
Initially I wanted to produce a series of mask designs but after seeing some vintage stamps featuring Bulgarian and Romanian costumes I decided that was what I wanted to do. My original designs are A3 but because they are quite bold they also work at A4 for screen prints and even smaller for postcards. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is very difficult to do my own work as well as manage a group of illustrators and get a book to print. I don't get paid, I don't really know what I'm doing and it takes up alot of my time an energy. In the end it is worth the effort because I get to work with some very talented illustrators. I'm really happy Sandra Dieckmann agreed to contribute two new postcard designs for the book. But even better than that she also illustrated and designed this beautiful cover for the book.

More Bulgarian Folk Costumes

This is my favorite Bulgarian folk costume so far, I really enjoyed doing the research, drawing and printing. Working from images of actual costumes and trying to retain some authenticity pushed me to use colours and colour combinations I would have previously avoided. Printing four colours was also a challenge as I normally only use two but it wasn't as difficult as I expected and I'm happy with the results. It seemed fitting that she should have a male companion but he was more of a problem mainly because the a lot of the men's costumes are either black and cream or black and red. I try to avoid using black because to me screen printing is all about colour. After trying out a few different combinations I mixed red with a bit of purple and decided to go with that.

Bulgarian Folk Costumes

Over summer I wanted to challenge myself and push both my drawing and printmaking as well as continue to develop more folk art themed work. So I have been working on a series of new screen prints inspired by traditional Bulgarian folk costumes and also Bulgarian wooden dolls. There are many different costumes, all of them are colourful and very ornate so to begin with I found it difficult to make sense of them. Looking at the simple wooden dolls made it much easier for me to interpret the folk costumes. I was able to identify the key elements, simplify them and produce black and white artwork for four colour screen prints. Although I have already printed this design it isn't finished and as well as redrawing some parts I will probably add a fifth colour.

Monday, 8 July 2013

More Mythical Creatures

Much of this year has been taken up with creating, organising and installing the Mythical Creatures exhibition. In April the exhibition finished at Here Gallery in Bristol and then there were just a few weeks to get it ready to go to Hereford College of Arts in May. Alot of the work had sold including some originals and the exhibition space at HCA was much bigger than at Here so it meant framing more prints and in some cases even making new work. I had screen printed card mobiles to hang in the windows at Here Gallery but there were more windows to fill at HCA. It was a real challenge and quite daunting, I spent hours screen printing, folding, gluing and cutting recycled card to make sure I had enough mobiles. I also created a series of simple floral designs which were cut from vinyl to make colourful wall and window decals. It took about a day to hang the mobiles in the windows so there wasn't enough time left to install as many of the vinyl decals as I would have liked to. I also forgot how difficult it is putting decals in windows and on a hot sunny day it is especially torturous.I'm looking forward to doing more large scale installations combining screen printing and vinyl decals, but perhaps not quite as big in future.

Folk Tail Cat and Kittens

First of all I reworked my original Folk Tail Cat drawing, rescanned the artwork, reprinted the acetates and then at last was able to print an edition of the finished design. Next came a litter of kittens, actually just mini versions of the Folk Tail Cat on A4 Fabriano paper. Some of the kittens have already been packed and posted to shops so I hope they find new homes soon.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Tale of the Folk Tail Cat

I decided to combine my interest in folk art with something else close to my heart and this is is the result, a new three colour screen print inspired by my little ginger cat. Of course a ginger cat means there has to be orange and lots of it, but this time I've also included my newest favorite colour, buff titanium. 

A Cornucopia of Cards

This year I've been working hard to add to my collection of cards and these are some recent designs. There are more to come but hopefully no more orange, it's definitely time to try out some different colour combinations.

What's New Pussycat?

Do you like pink? Do you like Cats? And do you like Tom Jones? If so it's your lucky day because I've printed this card especially for you, yay!

I Only Have Pies for You

Do you love someone who loves pies? Me too, so I made him this card as well as a few hundred others. Once I've drawn my design, tweaked it in photoshop and printed the artwork for each colour onto acetate, the rest of the process is fairly straight forward. I usually only screen print around 100 cards at a time and then print more as and when I need them. It's a little bit easier to print two cards together onto A4 sheets of 280gsm recycled card, then use a bone folder and guillotine to fold and cut them by hand. But it still is a labour of love and not something I would recommend!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

More Folk Trees and Birds

I actually drew this Folk Tree last year, it was originally only intended to be for Christmas cards but it's still one of my favorite designs, perhaps because of the patterns and symmetry or maybe because the lines look so crisp and clean. I'm always striving for perfection and working by hand means this is probably unobtainable but for now I'm happy to keep trying. I like to work as large as possible and then reduce the size of my drawings because it helps makes the lines look smoother. This Folk Tree is A4 but the birds are both actually A5 and when reduced the lines became very fine so I'm amazed at how well they screen printed. 

I was hoping to print an edition of these Folk Trees on 300gsm soft white Somerset Satin printmaking paper. Unfortunately when I went to buy more paper from Cass Arts in London they had almost doubled the price of Somerset Satin from £3.50 to £6.50 which seems a bit excessive. I've printed some of the edition on Fabriano paper and the rest will have to wait until I've found some reasonably price Somerset Satin.

Hello Spring!

It seems like we've been waiting months for spring to arrive but it looks like it's finally here, just in time for summer! I'd almost forgotten what sunshine and warmth were like. It's so nice not to be cold all the time and it's great to see leaves on trees and flowers in gardens. Inspired by this I've drawn and screen printed two new card designs for spring, Hello Flower and Cluck Cluck. I love orange and yellow at the moment though probably should use other colours for a change so will be making an effort to try something different in future.

Obviously I like drawing flowers, birds and animals, but if I had time I would definitely draw more bees. They might look cute and furry but these little insects are also very important so it's worrying that they are under threat and that their numbers are declining. Because bees pollinate plants we are dependent on them for many basic things we need to survive, not just fruit and vegetables but also cotton for clothing. Apparently Albert Einstein even said 'If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.'

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

You're So Sweet You Give Me Toothache

In January I designed a new card for Valentine's Day,You're So Sweet You Give Me Toothache, which was inspired by one of my favorite films, Clueless. If you've seen the film you might know what I'm referring to. The character Elton says that Tai gives him toothache, and one of the other characters explains that it's because she's so sweet. If you haven't seen the film then you're missing out, it's a really clever, funny, version of Jane Austen's novel Emma, and so much better than all those costume dramas.

As well as printing new cards I also spent a lot of January reprinting some of my favorite designs from last year including Made For Each Other and You're a Star. They've already made their way around the country and into a few shops, fingers crossed they're selling well so I can buy some more printing supplies.

Spring is in the air

It's a probably a bit optimistic to be thinking about spring at the moment, especially with all the snow we've had recently, but I really wanted an excuse to use some lovely bright colours. This Spring Flower Tree is my first screen print of 2013 and as well as a bright green and dark green colour combination I've also printed some in yellow and orange. The Spring Flower Tree cards are printed on cream recycled card which I folded and cut by hand. But I've been using a bone folder and it's much quicker than scoring and folding the card.

Mythical Creatures Exhibition at Here Gallery

For the latest Girls Who Draw exhibition we will be unleashing an array of fabulous beasts and beings to fill the windows and walls of Here Gallery. The show accompanies Mythical Creatures, the fourth limited edition Girls Who Draw postcard book, and will include a selection of prints and original artwork from the book as well as new pieces created especially for the gallery.

The exhibition line-up features a range of emerging and established female illustrators from around the UK and different characters from myths, legends and folklore. Amongst them will be Wood Troll and Firebird screen prints by Ruth Green, Pegasus and mermaid paintings by Lee May Foster-Wilson and prints of Imaginary Beings by Sarah Lippett. Some of the exhibitors have also made Mythical Creatures inspired products and craft-work such as Kate Hindley’s Ratatoskr cushions, Yee Ting Kuit’s Gnome and Unicorn brooches and Beth Morrison’s hand painted, wooden figures of Bigfoot and Brownie the helpful elf.

As part of the exhibition there will be a small showcase of self-published books from some of the exhibitors including mini comics by illustrator Kristyna Baczynski and handmade comics and zines by screen printers Esther McManus and Helen Entwisle. And as if that isn’t enough Gocco queen Xtina Lamb and myself will be printing, cutting and sticking to produce a large scale installation in the windows of Here Gallery.

The flyer is another amazing design by the super talented Kristyna Baczynski

Mythical Creatures Exhibition: 
Saturday 9th of February – Saturday 6th of April
Opening – Saturday 9th of February 1pm – 4pm
Here Gallery
108 Stokes Croft