Monday, 24 September 2012

In which something will stink

I think I'm going to have to do a bad thing.

I harvested my flax a couple of weeks ago.  It looked great!  But the weather's turned cold before I've retted it, and you need warmth to ret flax... Essentially, you need to give the flax moisture, warmth and time (about 5 days?) and it starts to rot.  That breaks down the outer, bark-y bit of the flax and allows you to get at the fibres inside.

I don't know how long you can keep harvested flax before retting it, so... I think I'm going to have to ret this indoors.  Rotting vegetation.  It will be steeeeeeeenky.

Sorry Mr P. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

In which I update you

Oh man, I’m really sorry, blog!  I done deserted you for two whole months. 

And what have I been up to in that time?  I’ve been cracking on with my print course, that’s what.  After my Clifford’s Tower linocut I made this linocut of a goose.

I was at the University while the Church of England’s General Synod was on, and snapped a quick pic of one of the campus’ savage graylag geese.  When you look at these little dudes you can totally see how they are descended from dinosaurs.  There’s the touch of the T-Rex about them.  I offered this one my hand to see what he’d do, and he nipped me with his beak!  It was very cute.  I wanted to cuddle him but he wouldn’t let me.  Anyway, I printed out my photo and copied it onto lino – I like the way the pattern of the feathers contrasts with the pattern of the bricks.  I think the balance of dark and light is pretty good too.

Then, I went up to the moors with Mr P.  It was a gorgeous sunny day and I stood in a field and sketched the White Horse of Kilburn.  It’s always been on my mind to try to make a print of it – first time I went to York’s Open Studios I visited the workshop of Catherine Sutcliffe-Fuller who had done some gorgeous intaglio prints of it.  So, I converted my sketches into a three colour lino cut. 

Then, I made another three colour lino cut, this time of Joan of Arc.  I’ve been listening to Kate Bush a bit recently, because she is amazing.  On her album Aerial she has a song called ‘Joanni’, with the lyrics

“Who is that girl? Do I know her face?
Who is that girl?

Joanni, Joanni wears a golden cross
And she looks so beautiful in her armour
Joanni, Joanni blows a kiss to God
And she never wears a ring on her finger”

I wanted to make a print about Joan, so I looked online for pics of here.  I found a great poster of Sarah Bernhardt as Joan, and used that as a basis for my print.  I took out the weapons and the banners at that seemed a bit complicated!  Glad I did – thei was hard enough as it was.  It’s A4-ish, and the black outline was pretty tricky.  But I’m really proud of it – I think it reflects something of Kate Bush’s lyrics.