Part 5: Stage 3: Samples

I’ve continued with the visual research into my own ideas and those of others to me. Yet the energy, gestural drawings constantly draw my attention. I’ve explored further ways of mark-making and sequence of creation. I’ve also varied the way I’ve set the asemic text – as little tags or as complete ‘sentences’, in others more like a whole text.

This most recent sketch has been much busier yet offers me various points of interest within the whole.

We have some old mattress springs lying around that are begging to be used. Thinking of how a coiled spring stores energy I wondered how I could utilise these into a wrapped form of the soundpaintings.

The 2 samples below are a start, but I can feel that the form that is calling to be wrapped is not figurative. The wrapped central spiral in the top row that uses embroidery thread, curled wire, mattress spring and red florist wire is offering itself up for further investigation and I have sketched many ideas from this in my journal.

I wanted to take this sample further and see how it works as a hidden structure wrapped in acetate and paper so that when you look down is like a kaleidoscope the energy and reflection is revealed.

The next sample offers me the route that is suggesting itself for the final piece. AS can be seen I created another gestural sketch, crumpled this, pierced it and embroidered it under the machine making further tears and knots as the weight of the khadi paper refused to co-operate with the machine and threads. I then pierced this with the mattress springs. This piece is now on hold as I am interested in discovering whether to suspend it within an acetate ball. Finally, I rolled and sewed an acetate tube and posted the sample from above inside it. I then wrapped this in plain white paper and looked down the tube to photograph the resulting 3d image of the energy drawings. This now seems to be the direction that is more natural to me at this time.

T1: MMT: Pt 4; Pj2 ex3 finished!!

Collatype boards for last 4 samples using found items and pva technique:

I really didn’t think I was going to make it through this but it is done. I’ve hated every moment of collatype following the instructions in the course notes. It has not been inspirational nor expansive, nor has it encouraged me to be brave and daring. It has lacked imagination. It has felt dull, dull, dull. There are many, many artists creating beautiful and considered collatype landscapes and abstract works – just see pinterest! My fellow coursemate Julie has the most stunning collection of these works on her board. Yet, for me, as maker I draw a line. Then I’ve beaten myself up about why I have such a block with it and why I can’t produce something beautiful, imaginative, inspiring and creative with this process too. Then yesterday in amongst the rest of my crazy world I just realised I can’t because I can’t. And what I’m actually dealing with is disappointment at ending a part of this module on a low note. Admitting that to myself was really tough, yet writing it today seems rather foolish. What a lot of energy I have wasted wrangling with this!


I looked back through all my prints and realised I have accomplished the process of collatype using the gelliplate and it was decorative and textural and usable.

I have, rather, failed using the pva and filler technique. Just like I fail at running, or getting up early. I still walk, quite lengthy walks sometimes, I still get where I’m going on foot. I still get up and get on with the day – I don’t spend the whole day in bed (chance would be a fine thing) I am just not a wake up and immediately with it type of person. So enough of the woe is me I can’t do this exercise. It’s done.

What is emerging from the print research is an ongoing interest in using gestural and expressive line – a desire for something much more raw and ragged – inspired further by Tracey Emin’s monoprints and her drawings.

Continuing with more TE-style blind line life sketches:

I am still passionate about using some of the print techniques to develop the mini-series ‘Not All Wounds are Visible’, and I have made progress sketching (albeit in the tiniest hidden book) in public.

So, this post is sharing the failed collatypes, but awakening a refusal to be limited by this.

Truth be told, the only thing I do like is the left-behind damaged surface of the print-stained collatype board after its use for the last samples: made from the back of a cardboard postage packet, on which I pva’d stitched materials where I had been trying to fix the tension on my electric sewing machine and realised no matter what I did it wasn’t changing – I couldn’t control what was being drawn up from inside the machine, from the bobbin, neither could I loosen the surface tension that kept making the thread from the spool break– so the tension control has broken.


Typing these words I cannot think of a better metaphor for where I’m at in me than that last sentence!! This work has thereby earned its title and I have understood my problem – well one of them…

T1: MMT; Pt4 Pj2 

Ex 1 & 2.

I followed instructions. I printed from prepared collage boards. It was dull. The results were dull and pre-school-esque. Actually, no the results felt like something straight out of the 80s. 


Moving on. One more exercise to go. 

Combining MMT pt4 pj1 ex 3 and mini series

This is where the exercises and the mini series combine further.

After doing the back-drawing on to the blouse I had another go using the 3d printer pen, writing out and insult then placing it on to the gelliplate to take the first and ghost print – on to paper and on-to the blouse. Looking at the effect I decided to layer on the actual 3d printing too. This blouse now has all stages of printing and layering – yet it still felt incomplete, so I worked further.

I am pleased with the different layers of text, the back-printing that I wrote by hand, the shadow print of the 3d printed insult, and the 3d printed text. Using the 3d printer I can make writing for the stencil of ex 4 and can choose whether to have the text mirrored or normal on the gelliplate.

This piece builds from the babygro sample as it was a threat I received, an insult that still haunts me and I need to spit it out of me. These wounded prints give me a safe platform to do this. It doesn’t need to be decodable by the ‘reader’, but the many layers of its imprinting damage are inferred.

Using dissolvable fabric I was able to stabilise the layers and embroider using the machine with the thicker bobbin thread on the bottom, but once the stitching was done and the material dissolved this became the upper surface. The stitching enabled me to hold the binding in place, the bandage at the angle I wished and then I could layer one more ‘bleed’ print to the surface. This time I left the sample to dry and it bled through onto the reverse of the garment.


For some strange reason this moved me more than all the rest of the surfaces I have created.


Again, I deliberated for some time over the title of this piece. Did I use the insult? Did I find another saying? How could I convey the ambiguity of viewpoint? How could I convey the effect of gaslighting and the denial of injury by others. I settled on another common phrase of those times – something that is impossible to prove and disprove and over which I am still stunned at its efficiency in quashing the truth:

“You’re imagining things…she’s just attention seeking.”

I hope the image and the title create the confusion and impact of being injured and denied, hurt and disbelieved. I hope it also acknowledges what it probably on the lips of many critics – the self-serving therapy of this art, this work, ‘the attention seeking’; but then immediately throws you with the realisation that this is how abuse and bullying work: denial and diminishment.

Let me know – I’d really appreciate your reading of this piece in the same way that many have helped move this printing part on with the forum critique.

Tell me what this piece does – straight and without gentleness works best I find for me. Thank you.


Developing mini series

I bought a white babygro for this sample that becomes part of the mini series ‘Not all Wounds are Visible’

I wanted to combine techniques learnt so far and add to these the back-drawing of exercise 3.

I had a big lump in my throat when I approached this work. I knew the wound I was going to make on this pristine and baby-pure basic item might bring some stuff up for me. I bought the babygro at a second-hand shop. I don’t know its story except it has a tiny pink stain at the centre of the neckline. I don’t know whether it is necessary for any purpose to share what my intention was – except that it was important that I acknowledged the wounding and gave myself a means of expressing it and thereby grieving a multitude of losses symbolised by the garment as well as actual losses.

I did weep.

But looking at the piece now, the wound is too low. It should be higher – centred around the belly button where the umbilical cord would have been.

I worried this piece was too graphic. But I kept on with the layers: printing the babygro, then printing bandage and dictionary page, then assembling, then heat-gunning a hole, adding more, then using the technique I learnt at the Cas Holmes course – loading the bobbin with embroidery thread. In order to free machine on the growing layers I placed a page of dictionary, embroidered over this and then tore it away.

I had many possible titles but settled once I found a Danish proverb that explained everything. With three babies I could never leave carrying them all in my arms, on my own, quicker than him, down 3 flights of stairs down from my then top floor flat to escape. He who dealt the wounds, would sleep across the front door, or across the door of the girls’ room or always made sure he had one of them in his arms. This proverb said it all and gives the piece its title.

‘Whoever takes the child by the hand takes the mother by her heart.’

This is a personal piece, but sadly it is not unique. I hope one day it can speak to others of the truth behind these silent invisible wounds that many bear and help someone else to heal too. If nothing else I hope it shouts out for those who are suffering silently.


T1: MMT: Pt 4; Pj 1 ex 3

I’ve been trying to combine monoprint techniques in the latest sample for the mini series that keeps growing (‘Not all Wounds are Visible’).

To keep developing techniques I have been running the project exercises simultaneously. I have enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity of ex 3.

My first sample (the orange block) was completely unsuccessful. Back drawing onto the gelliplate with acrylic and printer plate does not work. So I had to have a rethink. Having no glass plate to hand, I found an old vinyl stick down floor tile. The surface has a mottled texture which interested me too.

First samples:

Top row left to right: failed sample 1 on gelliplate. sample 2 Biro case used to draw (vinyl tile plate); sample 3 suprasemic writing, sample 4: biro lid held sideways and smudged across plate, then developed on bottom row with layers of 2nd colour and biro edge, then finally biro point.

after this: onto cotton fabirc: first failed sample – too much acrylic, then fingernail traces, the sample face down on plate drawing the spiral motif and finished print;

This encouraged me to explore different fabrics and to take a ghost print too. Using suprasemic writing and spiral motif : first picture show the sample face down on plate – the backdrawing begins to bleed through very rapidly.

On to different weight fabrics: I like the suprasemic text on the dyed cheesecloth. The sheer fabric was difficult to work (top left) and left a sample that works as a base layer.

The sample in the bottom row encouraged me to write on the blouse. To air all the grief I feel at the wounds that don’t show, but in the script that cannot be fully decoded:

It felt reminiscent of shirt-signing session when we left school. The mark-making recalling an earlier moment of end-marking and beginning-hoping when I left secondary school. The backdrawing was done to the under surface of the blouse, but it stained through in a pleasing way to the front.

This is the beginning layer of something that will have much more story and combination of print techniques.

T1: MMT: Pt 4; pj1: ex2

I thought it would be healthy to do this exercise: 1) It is using up a lot of brain space not wanting to do it; 2) it might be wise to do something process orientated since much as I know I would like to keep poking at the hurt bit that I’ve found, it’s probably a good idea just to cradle it for a little.

Rather than chosing from my sketchbook I decided to combine some of the image and influence research with this exercise to help give it some weight. In the days of mass produced prints, home copying and laser printing, a monoprint drawing makes absolutely no sense to me. If it’s my drawing why add another process in – if I can paint it, why paint it to a plate and then print it to paper/fabric? I kind of see the value in printing to stabilised fabric as the plate retains a certain amount of paint so the fabric doesn’t become too saturated.

Anyhow, I though it healthy and wise and went for the first painting which always offers me solace, and with the prominence of blue has a calming and stabilising effect on the expression of the last couple of days.

The painting is Casper David Friedrich’s ‘Monk by the Sea’.

I needed to mix my blues first and then work fast painting in strips of colour. I omitted the fine details but It did make me look even closer at the image of the picture I had.

First print and ghost print:

I was surprised how much more I could paint today before it was too dry to print, since the weather is cooler and more damp.

I then chose a contrasting mood. Sickert’s ‘Lazarus’. I think the connection to my recent work doesn’t need spelling out. I had to leave out the pink and red tones in the painting as the work was drying rapidly – is this something to do with green pigment?


From left to right – ‘Lazarus’ image that I laid gelliplate over – thereby resulting in mirror image. Hardly any acrylic left for ghost print.

Finally, I’ve been continuing to look at the work of Elka Kazmierczak and have started to research her influence (German Expressionists) so I looked to the work of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and his work ‘Gap in the Dyke’. At first I misread the title as ‘Gap in the Dark’ and read the picture with this in mind. It was only when I cam to annotate my samples that I realised my mistake and created a different narrative. Point being the massive impact of titles! I missed the figures completely in my copy! I was so interested in the movement of the lines of colour and getting the orange/red mix just right that I missed them.

As can be seen below the ghost print is almost non-existent. I am concluding that different pigments have a different drying rate – or the large sweeps of paint in the Friedrich print prevented it drying so quickly. I know you can get acrylic medium to solve this.

It was a healthy exercise simply working with colour and pigment. But I don’t quite get the point of it… one more sample and I can move to ex 3 which inspires me more in its unpredictability and freedom.