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…

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.


T1: MMT: Pt4; Pj 1 – monoprint series

There seems to be a mini series developing here and it won’t leave me, so as it gains momentum and an energy of its own I will follow. I am wholly unentranced with ex2 and if it is a reaction against this exercise that is in its turn creating this series, then it has been successful in encouraging the monoprinting required of this project.

I’ve continued to paint the plate with water, then sprinkled brusho colours – the first print I take is on acetate and this then blends the water and powder. I wondered how the plaster would take up this print and used the ‘meat bag’ from part 3 and rolled it over the plate to pick up the print.

It was interesting to note that a pinkish waterline crept up the sample and the brown became the predominant colour. The plaster immediately absorbs the paint and so there are more precise lines and speckles of colour – not the marbling and flow that is the experience on the acetate. It also seems to isolate the colours – e.g. the red splodge seems to cancel out any other colour.

A trip to Barnardo’s came up trumps though. finding an alpaca sweater for £2 and a silk top for the same I immediately siphoned off the silk top for sampling rather than wearing. I don’t know what story this shirt has but it is pristine, it looks hardly worn and is as clean as if it were for a washing powder advert. This made me consider about outward appearances be-lying inward truths. My psych used to tell me to stop swallowing all the bad stuff into myself in order to neutralise it, because it would grow again and make me sick. I thought I had no anger – but that has since surfaced in the wrapping sampling of part 3 – I also felt that I had absorbed all the violence and it would not re-surface. Urm. I think the current series shows that she was right and I was wrong. Neutralising it internally does not make it go away. It has to be purged. Perhaps this series is part of that process?

I’ve been reading Tracey Emin’s ‘Strangelands’ and her confessional and abrupt tone is a real strength. It’s made me realise that although there may be many, many damaged people trying to piece it all together through what should be intolerable circumstances, it is not the damaged, the harmed who are sick. It is those who prey on them. I got angry for her too. And I realised, all those words that were said to me are still inside and are imprinted on my soul. It’s like they are a trap to the light getting in and out. Like a net of words around my heart trying to keep it and my life small. I was deeply affected by a dream I had that I was trying to get out of a car that had gone into the ditch in the floods. I was on my own and I realised my legs were caught in a net and the more I tried to wriggle free the more net I discovered was around me. I was supposed to stay still and not struggle and go down without a fight – the plastic line round my neck  got tighter and tighter the more I fought and I kept looking up wanting to shout but the water got in my throat and choked me awake.

I think this stuff needs to come out!!

Following the process that has refined into: gelliplate, brush on water, sprinkle brown and scarlet brusho, lay acetate, smear colours then lift, then take subsequent prints; I used some of the fabric from Nina and found a triangular bandage from the first aid kit (there were 3 in the kit and I figured with only 2 arms that I could spare 1!!) to print on.


Letting these dry I thought about what I could do with the silk top and played with various ideas and the dried materials from the last print run.

This all felt very safe and predictable. The thought was leading the composition rather than the materials and intention coming together and directing.

I haven’t printed to silk, and I have pristine white silk to hand – it felt deliciously wrong to print to damp untainted silk with wild abandonment. I set up the process as above then lay the front of the wet blouse to the plate. Again, the abdominal area is speaking to me as the place this wound resides.

The prints were delicious and incredibly the stain didn’t make its way through to the back – which still looks faultless and impeccable. There is much metaphor for me in this – that saying ‘behind closed doors’, but significantly what it tells me is there isn’t an exit ‘wound’ – it has to come out.

Inger has sent me some links to Nava Lubelski who embroiders stains and I wondered if the influence of the research on this that I did following the tip off (thanks Inger) was going to come out on this piece.

It had other ideas.

I had discovered too in the way that research goes, that Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois had collaborated on a very hard-punching series. The things we’d really rather not see and say made explicit.

I remember many placating words. These alienated me from people then and infuriate me now.

Never, never tell someone how they should feel. Ever.

Trying to layer up the meaning with the materials:

A bubbling irritation made me want to rip the shirt, to make holes in it and layer that hidden hurt behind and beneath. Then I remembered the heat gun… and how in previous feedback it had been suggested to revisit this one day.

That day was today.

I layered on the printed bandage and scrim to ‘soak up’ the pain that was going to be released. But, oh my goodness how long does silk take to burn?!! Highest setting of an industrial heat gun (thank you Mr Man), nozzle held mm from the surface of the fabric and I waited and waited – there was a lesson here for me – I had suppressed every reaction to avoid igniting any further fury, I had stopped talking (I know incredible isn’t it?!) in order not to say anything, because every word I said was used as a weapon against me. I had stopped showing anger, fear, hurt, happiness, I simply waited and waited in a tightly coiled spring ready to escape when that chance arrived. The slow burn seemed symbolic of this, and in the end it didn’t smoke or flame it just burnt out all the colour from the print, then made a singe mark which, when touched with the lightest pressure, fell apart. Hmm. I patched up this hole with my sacrificial dictionary. Still on ‘h’ I found ‘haven’ – so I made this crumbling point safe. The fabrics are pinned – I’m not sure yet whether to leave this or stitch it. It’s not speaking to me enough about that yet.

I’ve given this piece the title of something someone once said to me when my soul was bleeding, and at a point when, like the burnt silk, I could have disintegrated in a breath, ‘It’s not that bad – you haven’t even got a bruise.’



T1: MMT: Pt4; pj 1 lost count…

Some things just won’t go quiet!!

I feel really excited today – I feel I’ve earnt my first art trade! Thank you to Nina who read my tutor feedback and has generously traded her copy of Sara Impey’s ‘Text in Textile Art’ in as she puts it ‘a fair trade’. However, being a fellow textiler the package came with gifts of fabric too. These had to be put to use immediately and as they were drying I got stuck into reading (thank goodness for Iceland pizza – all fed and watered with barely a moment from the page).

On pg 9 Impey writes:

‘Artists find that text-based found objects are ideal vehicles to articulate personal or collective memories or to highlight issues…’

So, the bloody pieces continue to evolve. This is where I was at last night.


With Impey’s words in mind I played with creating another similar assemblage but wondered what would happen if I placed it? This work originated from the green heart print – what would happen if I removed the heart form and placed the ‘blood’ print in the location of a heart. The dummy was to hand this evening:

To start, I placed the acetate, dictionary layer straight on the form, then with white materials behind (this looked stupid – no other way of saying it- like some hideous corsage or napkin). So, then I found an extra large bandage from one of the first aid kits and wrapped the form imagining a wound being covered – bringing into play those ongoing concerns of hurt, harm, wounding, healing, scarring… but it all felt very contrived and daft.

I took a step back to consider – if this work represented some kind of internal wound that I have sustained what is it and where would it be located. Thinking bodily my hand instinctively clasped around my belly as if I’d been shot (I think this is the location of the solar plexus?) but to me it is my core. This is where you’d be punched to sustaining that winding feeling isn’t it? Thus this seemed a more truthful place to visualise the invisible layers of hurt/harm.

The dressing (as you can see I am no nurse) creates a corset bodice. I am not yet sure what this is saying, but in a slightly disturbing way it seems quite beautiful to me…? (Perhaps Inger, this is with your words from the forum as there being a sense of past).

The acetate is very difficult to photograph so using some of the new materials from Nina I’ve made up some samples that are now drying. I have posted this on instagram hashtagging it with domesticviolenceuk’s campaign #lovedoesnthurt – using my art, and the text behind (which is a page ranging from ‘hard’ to ‘hardly’) to support and highlight the issue. I think if I were to argue with the campaign I would ask for the word ‘hurt’ to be changed to ‘harm’ because real love does hurt me. I’ve had to learn to trust. This is frightening. Fear hurts. But to heal I have to learn to trust and to love. As for the love we have for our children, that Does Not Harm, but gosh it hurts sometimes. My elderly neighbour used to say: as babes they weigh heavily in your arms, as they get older they weigh heavily on your heart.

Drying samples on new materials to me, again same print process as before. Can’t wait to see what next with these.

Finally, there is only so much blood a girl can deal with in one day… so I turned to bruises (cheerful soul aren’t I?). Not managing the right mix of colour on the print plate yet…

As Impey directs, are these pieces ‘inviting the viewer to look beyond the surface’?