Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Waxy papers and a piece of cloth

Whether the next project is boxes, bowls or as yet half formed ideas for something yet unspoken, each requires a bit more imagining, free-form exploring, sketchbook developing and journal musing before I actually feel I am committed to a new body of work.

In a way this is quite a novel way of working for me. Leaping in and seeing what happens is more my style in the studio but in the current spirit of change, I’ve been feeling the need to act like a “proper artist” and do a bit more exploratory preparation so I can at least pretend that I know what I am doing.

I have started doing a bit of experimenting with encaustic monoprinting, using a makeshift system of baking sheet heated over an electric hotplate as my printing bed. Here I make marks with encaustic wax pigment bars melting unctuously directly on to the tray before laying down paper on top to make the print. It is a mesmerising and compulsive activity and indeed much paper and wax is used in just observing obsessively as the molten pigment draws the paper to it, flooding and owning.

Then I remember that this is about sample making - different papers, different colours, using tools to manipulate the spread and line of the wax, adding ground graphite to swirl in plain wax pellets.
Making notes, scribbling ideas that just might make the next print so irresistible.

Then right at the end as I need to finish up or I miss my bus, I grab a strip of natural crumpled linen with straggling clots of threads and lay it on the waxy plate. And it works. This is quite different from the effects with finer rice and tissue papers, rather more like heavy textured handmade khadi paper. The slubby fibre tangles acted like resist leaving uneven trails across the surface.

Mmm gorgeous marks...