Lake Pigments

By Art, Botanical Dye, Botanical Ink, Experiments, Play, Process

I recently did an online lake pigment workshop with Natalie Stopka (I’d recommend) which was super informative and fun and has opened up a whole other dimension of exploring plant colour. Being able to transform exhausted dye baths into pigment powder colours is very useful since storing them can be difficult and often leads to mold and in my case rows of jars of murky liquids whose labels have fallen off.

The process is so alchemical and beautiful. There is frothing and fizzing and pools of deep colours as the pigments are filtered. Nothing is fixed and there are are so many changes, colours that start bright purple can end up pale pink.

m a g i c

30 Days

By Art, Play, Process

In April I took part in this 30 days 30 works project with the 12ΓΈ  collective. A month long project to make a work every day, meant to be a playful way of engaging artists with their practice and encouraging experimentation. It could not have been better timed, with most of the world finding itself quarantined on the 1st April, they had a higher uptake than usual. For me having been working so furiously on something that was abruptly cancelled, it seemed the ideal time to participate in something lighter and change my focus.

I liked the way it was open, you could choose to respond or not to the daily prompts, to be as active or lazy as you choose. I found the prompts sometimes fun, sometimes silly, sometimes thought provoking and I enjoyed getting a new brief each day…try cheating today, make a work that takes 5 minutes, what does a failure look like to you?

Sometimes I focused and completed something I had been thinking of. Some days I was inspired. Some days I was lazy. Some days things didn’t work out. But what was interesting was to follow my thoughts and my actions. I played with video which I don’t usually do. It was good timing, finding myself at home, schooling children, with limited resources and time I had to be inventive. Some days the action was mostly in my head but it helped to push me to play and experiment to think about the way I make work.

I am used to working within my confines, my limitations, my family responsibility, my skill, material availability. It is good to dream and think and it is good to work with what there is. It is good to be pushed to think in ways you wouldn’t. And it is good to participate. I enjoyed seeing the other works. I especially liked the presentation, low-fi, like Instagram as it used to be, seeing the most recently posted first works first.

A month is enough! But it has given me some food for thought and material for action.

Shibori: Folded Paper Dye

By Paper, Play, Process

Quarantine activities with the 7 year old. Very satisfying and simple. Taking from traditional Japanese shibori resist dying techniques, though we are using paper not material. Paper is folded and dipped in ink, we fold however we can, we do not use such sophisticated neat folds as we have seen in the true shibori, it gets a little complex with small fingers and thick paper. I happen to have Japanese washi paper to hand, which is perfect as it is absorbent but strong.

We use my botanical inks and also some old inks I have (which are the brighter stronger colours). We like both effects. After we make a paper kite with some of the sheets of paper that flies really well. And an origami house and envelope.

Shadow Theatre

By Play

Theatrical fun with light, shadow and silhouettes. Paper and sticks and glue. A very simple but effective activity. An old cardboard box, some baking paper and card for cutting silhouettes.