Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Colour from the season - Tulip (Grand Perfection) Red

A more colourful notebook page than usual! inspired by the group of Tulips painted by Phillip Reinagle for 'The Temple of Flora' by Dr. Robert Thornton.

When, last week I spotted a pot of crimson striped tulips in the market, they made me think of this painting, and as I'm fortunate to have a full size facsimile of Dr. Thornton's book, I heaved it out to have a look.

Apparently Dr. Thornton bankrupted himself creating this book, known and prized primarily for its wonderful illustrations, it's also filled with poetry and exquisite hand flourished scripts. For further reading, there's a very good article about it with more illustrations on Dunbarton Oaks research library and collections blog here..

Far too large for a coffee table at over half a metre in height!

One of these days I hope to have a chance to draw a few additional stripey tulips to join the one above, meanwhile I'm in the middle of a Spring clean up of the studio in preparation for a screen -printing workshop at the end of the week, (necessary every time unfortunately as I'm pretty messy!)...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Forty Seasons Scarves - Jay blue

Ten years have passed since I returned to art college to start an MA and stopped making the embossed velvet scarves that I'd become known for.

That's forty seasons!! 

To mark this momentous (to me) decade, I'm developing a new scarf collection! Very different from the last London inspired scarves, these will tell a story of some of the detail in the Exmoor landscape and its colours because that's what inspires and motivates me now. 

Over the past few weeks I've been exposing images onto screens, washing and ironing down clean backing cloths on my print table, mixing and sampling dyes, and this week, after several months of thinking about them, finally printing the first scarves. 

The colours of the first (three) scarves are inspired by the amazing colours of the Jay. Remember him? Soft pink browns, deep red brown, black, warm grey with a flash of electric blue. 

Mixing dye pastes is not dissimilar to baking a cake, in that once you've worked out the exact balance and quantities of the ingredients, you should in theory get perfect results every time, providing of course you use the same oven, or in the case of these Acid dyes, the steamer. My steamer is a very Heath Robinson affair, made from a Baby Burco and a welded tube of stainless steel, nevertheless after 45 minutes, it fixes the dyes perfectly...

Every scarf will be unique and have a different pattern/colour balance to the next, these first three are in the colours of the Jay, the next, well - I've a whole landscape of colours to choose from.

The first two scarves ready to wear..!

Last panel printed on the third scarf earlier in the studio today (with the unbelievably pesky rabbit hunting rascal of a dog Luna! (x)...

Special scarves, require beautiful fabric, so these are printed onto cashmere. I've been road testing the first sample I printed a few months ago and (until this recent amazing sunny spell) worn it every day, not exactly a hardship as it's the softest scarf I've ever owned...

(p.s. lovely article about my work and our workshops on the Devon Life Magazine website here )...