Friday, 23 August 2013
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...
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.
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.
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.