I haven't drawn or made a collagraph of a bird for months. Instead I have been working on a project which will be exhibited at the Museum in the Park, Stroud in October.
I will be part of a post MA group of artists call IN-Sight. 'Into the Light' will be our 3rd exhibition together and will be about items kept in the museums stores.
The preparation for the exhibition has been on going since last year...yes, it takes that length of time to create an idea and then make work from it. I have chosen to look closely at the museums collection of moths, I am never too far away from a wing or two.
We have been allowed behind the museums scenes and I have been drawn to the rows of specimens collected by local enthusiasts...when it was not frown upon to do so.
It would have been easy to then make collagraphs from this resource material, but IN-Sight is a chance for all of us to try new ways of working and push our practices.
With this self imposed challenge I decided to print onto silk.
I experimented with collagraph plates covered in carborundum and plaster to create backgrounds, did you really expect me not to print? But these samples made the silk loose it's soft diaphanous qualities.
Frustrated I went back to look at the museums moth collections.
I loved the shadowy cases of slightly crumbling exhibits.
Then did more drawing.
I wanted to capture the soft faded look to the exhibits.
I like the idea of the labels and scientific reason for how
they are set out.
The natural colour palette also became alluring.
Using collagraph to print first onto the silk,
then by layering on top with gum arabic transfer images,
I am beginning to create the delicate effect I want.
I am beginning to add rust printing
which is adding the natural colour I am looking for.
Potassium permanganate is also creating depths in the layers.
I can't wait to get the lemon juice onto this one!
These are all still experimental, there is more rusting to be done
and a bit more exploring before I start the 2 large pieces that will go into the exhibition. But so far so good, although I have dissolved one piece through over bleaching, I have so much to learn and many decisions to make...do I add stitch for instance. The jury is still out on that one!
But am loving the process.I just love my job.
Want to know more about gum arabic transfer and collagraph? Check out my Esty Shop, MadeBySueBrown for leaflets about the technique or join a workshop at www.theyardartspace.com