Sunday, 13 January 2019


January can be a difficult time for creatives. There is something about a New Year, post Christmas that makes us think about what we do. My antidote to this...and I am not immune to the negative thoughts that creep in when the weather is gloomy and the days are short, is to draw.
I hit those sketch books hard and fast, I try not to think too much. This is where gum arabic printmaking comes into its own. I took some new photos before Christmas and then printed photo copy versions of them at the beginning of the month.
I try not to start brand new things, but go with what I know I can do.
Rework ideas in the hope they might work this time and
generally experiment. I fancy focusing on flight this year, but don't hold me to that.
I leave unfinished projects to develop after the festivities.
So I have cranked up the Bernina and started stitching into these prints on silk.
The best thing to get me and others going is holding a Mixed Media Sketch Book weekend. Yes, this week term started at the yard:ARTspace.
Take eight talented women, give them ink.
acrylic paint, wax and bleach.
Teach then how to print gum arabic transfers and
wonderful experimental works on paper appear.
Transform these random marks on paper into folded,
glued booklets. Everyone took home several little treasures and
loads of new techniques to loosen up their drawing.

So halfway through January and I am now feeling creative and positive for the year to come. How lucky I am to be working in a field I love, with talented enthusiastic people.

I hope your year has started as well?

Sunday, 16 December 2018


It has been a really busy year, lots of workshops at the yard:ARTspace and loads of experimenting with new textile techniques. 2018 is coming to an end and my workshops and courses stop over December to give me some breathing space, but I can't just stop.
I have a bit more time to work in my sketch books
and make a few decisions about what to develop next.
I find Christmas makes me feel cosy and nostalgic, so I often find myself 
knitting or as here, crocheting. I now have a garland for my fire place this year.
This mouse is from Christmas past, I must search out the pattern again, you never know when a knitted mouse will be needed?
Not satisfied with the garland I embarked on a pom pom wreath. Not for the faint hearted this project.
When completed it weighed as much as a sheep and takes more yarn than expected.
I ran a very enjoyable Christmas fairy workshop at the end of November at the yard. Another excuse to get the pom pom makers out. Nothing says Christmas like a fabric pom pom, especially in net or velvet. These ladies are waiting for wings and faces.
Last year I was lucky enough to have Hens Teeth in the yard with her take on Christmas angels. I love finding makes from the past and getting them out for the season.
Talking of fairies here is the result of an annual event that has been happening for about 15 years now, the fairy swap between me and talented artist Caroline McCatty. This years theme is fungus fairy, I still reckon I get the better offering, I just love this earthy little character that Caroline has made me, he is sitting happily on my mantle piece.
So as I get closer to Christmas day, mince pies are made, presents bought and wrapped and the annual arrival of the tree in the 2CV has happened.
After an hour of straightening and stabilizing with the lovely Mr Brown we are now decorated and ready for the festive off!
2018 has not been without its challenges, but on the whole everything has gone relatively smoothly.
Here's to a creative 2019, have a Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 7 October 2018


Into the Light is an exhibition by IN-sight Print makers at the Museum in the Park, Stroud. On now until 28 October. I am delighted to be part of this group of talented artists.
Into the Light is IN-sight’s third exhibition together but our first themed show. 
We were given a rare opportunity, as a group of artists access into the Museum in the Parks stores to discover obscure artifacts and hidden treasures. 
We have brought part of these collections into the light and used printmaking in its widest forms to make diverse and contemporary objects. There are 6 of us in IN-sight and our approach to printmaking is varied. Here are edited highlights of the exhibition with each print makers statement about their pieces on show. 
Jane Sasanow a multidisciplinary print maker and book artist takes inspiration from many sources. Social history, materials, objects, man made and natural environments.
From the Museum stores Jane selected a box of cogs and shuttles used in textile production as the stimulus for a new body of work.
Wendy Rhodes is an artist, educator and researcher who explores drawing and etching through an experiential connection with place. 
For this exhibition Wendy took inspiration from the engravings found in a rare book published in 1797 by Samuel Lysons. The document illustrates the excavation of a Roman mosaic known as the Orpheus pavement (AD 325), found in a churchyard in Woodchester. Intrigued by the notion of buried history Wendy regularly visited the site to record the place as it appears today. 
The work shown here represents a palimpsest of place; from the ground plans of the Roman villa to the remains of the priory, which was built on the site, and the imprint of the 1973 excavations.
 The processes of etching and drawing will reflect a layering and erasure of histories; describing a narrative of this place. For Wendy, drawing is at the core of a reciprocally informed etching practice; concepts investigated through plein air sketchbook work are given flight through the action of ferric chloride on copper. 
Katie Wallis designs and creates products for interiors and accessories, appropriating her own colourful, symmetrical and geometric patterns, Her work is usually inspired by pollinators such as bees and bats, but also peacocks. So it’s not so surprising that, on this occasion, she has been looking at the museum store’s collections of butterflies. 
She regularly uses a range of contemporary printing techniques including screen printing and laser cutting for her decorative mirror surrounds. 
This time she has been inspired particularly by the British Butterflies to design her first digitally printed wallpapers to sit along side some coordinating lampshade designs also digitally printed on fabric. She has designed and made a special laser cut and screen printed mirror surround for a convex mirror, which includes all the butterflies depicted in her wallpapers. 
I feel that the best stories are often found in the background, interesting things are hidden away and this is the case with museums. Like icebergs there is more beneath the surface than on show. 
I concentrated on the entomological collections of the Museum in the Park and examined the delicate, vulnerable stored moth collections. 
I then developed a series of collagraphs, gum arabic transfer and eco prints on silk that describes how they are displayed and conserved. The thin printed silk echoes the delicate nature of these specimens and hints at the difficulty of preserving ephemeral collections. This work is certainly a new departure for me and very much at the experimental stage. This project gave me and my fellow artists a creative challenge.
For Sarah Salaman the museum collection was a plethora of objects and artifacts left behind by previous generations, but the individuals who utilised, and valued them have become invisible.
Sarah made large scale mixed media drawings and mono prints inspired by vessels and tableware, creating an intriguing interplay between fiction and observation. Vessels and tableware combined with archival photographs, objects and the individual where re-united. 
The artwork arises from a passion for social history, and professional experience designing sets and costume requiring detailed historical, visual and literary research.
Nature is the inspiration and source for Coo Geller’s work. Drawn to a particular natural material, perhaps a piece of moss, she notices a tiny aspect of it and communicates these often overlooked qualities.
“I want to bring a sense of wonderment to my work, to give value to each little thing, and show its importance.”
New work for this exhibition has been inspired by The Museum in the Park’s collection of nests, birds’ eggs and records dating from the 1870s. The process of making focuses on considering the attributes of each egg: colour, shape, markings, size, fragility, strength. The record book entitled The Data of Collection of Birds Eggs…  lists, in beautiful script, almost two hundred entries detailing eggs taken from nests:

IN-sight is a group of individual practitioners brought together by a passion for exploring and extending the possibilities of printmaking.
This creative group was formed 6 years ago after they all studied for an MA in multi-disciplinary printmaking at the University of the West of England. 
Thank you to The Museum in the Park for allowing and supporting this exhibition.

Friday, 31 August 2018


Summer time, well July & August is an important rest time for me...usually. This year my summer has been full of teaching and experimenting. Both of which I love. 
The experimentation has been all about mark making on fabric, learning new techniques and finding out about new materials.
It all started in June when I started to explore
eco printing, yes it may be about textiles, but printmaking gets in there somewhere.
I have been thrilled with the results, particularly on silk and have started to incorporate it into my work. More of that later in the post. Not satisfied with that I took myself off to an Art Van Go workshop at the Textile Bazaar in Much Marcle.
Entitled 'How Can I Resist' it was all about resistant marks on fabric.
Whoops, look at all that colour, but such a reminder of all the materials that make a delicious resistant mark when washed with inks and fabric dyes.
I got these samples home and stitched,
spending an excelent day with textile artist Catherine Kingzett, who egged me on.
As with most things for me over printing is key and
all my mixed media samples under went a layer of gum arabic transfer printing.
Even the stitched piece, the gum arabic transfer covers all textures beautifully.
What next in this summer of textile experimental frenzy? The Festival of Quilts of course held at the NEC.
It was an opportunity to do some research into art textile practitioners, such as Nancy Crow
And see the diverse world of quilts,
competition pieces using traditional and digital techniques. 
Art pieces breaking all the rules.
Exquisite technique by the Japanese artist, Kuroha Shizuko. So now into August and I have a great deal to think about as far as textile techniques and resulting works are concerned. Lets face it paper is just another form of fibre substrate and the printmaking techniques onto fabric are similar to that on paper. To compound this theory I took myself off to Knebworth, to the headquarters of Art Van Go and participated in a monoprint onto fabric workshop. 
Look more colour, it is all very liberating being told what to do.
Monoprint is super spontaneous and allows fast build ups 
of marks and over lays of colour. In 2 days it is possible to make a number
of rich samples.
The revelation for me is the transfer monoprint line drawing, I know that is possible with paper and oil based ink, but I was thrilled to do it onto fabric with acrylic paint.
Folding the piece into a pamphlet book, embellishing with puff binder and stitch finished off this sample. I am very happy with the result. Thank you Maria Boyle for introducing new materials to me.
The biggest problem with being at Art Van Go is that it is exit through the gift shop!! I had a very enjoyable morning buying lots of things to experiment with as they have it all there in one place!
So I came home with all the things I needed to experiment with breakdown screen printing...and then some. A day mixing Procion dyes. What I hear some of you say, I would never go down the dye route. But never say never. A day waiting for the breakdown screen to dry.
Then a morning of experimental screen printing.
This organic mark making was enabled by the excellent instruction booklet
produced by the textile group Committed to Cloth
Samples washed and drying, I now can't wait to experiment further. 
Back to the research part of this summer. This meant a trip to MAC, Birmingham to visit the exhibition Ctrl/Shift a project by the 62 Group of Textile Artists. Be quick this exhibition finishes on the 9 September.
So much expertise in one room, but I particularly liked the work of Sumi Perera
Very different to the Quilt Festival, I found the exhibition inspiring and supports the direction I may want to go if I develop my experiments further. 
But I have been putting some of this experimentation into practice in preparation for the group exhibition Into the Light. These silk prints will be showing with the group IN-sight at the Museum in the Park, Stroud.
Starting 29 September the exhibition is the result of 6 printmakers going behind the scenes into the Museums store rooms. The work on show will be based on hidden collections and
there will be a diverse response in a variety of printmaking techniques.
Check the Museums website for workshops and events around the exhibition or keep an eye on my Facebook page Sue Brown@printsandenamel and Instagram sb.brown21 for up dates.