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Here is another example of a block I did using the xerox roll up technique. Several of you have written to me to ask about the steps involved. I will describe below with the assumption that you have some experience with printmaking techniques (please note that other than silk screen, I had very little experience!)

First, the image

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As with the image below I printed on canvas. I like the added texture and graininess that canvas adds to the image. I have not decided whether I will keep the border on the finished piece or not. Maybe I will cut it down. I don’t know yet. Anyway, here are the steps I learned to create this image.

  1. Make a copy of a personal photograph or copyright-free image. Enlarge the image if you choose.
  2. Cover the back of the copied image with a light coating of gum arabic and attach it to your plexi-glass plate (make sure that your plate has beveled edges before you run it through the press).
  3. once you have attached the copy to the plate cover the front of the image with a light coating of gum arabic.
  4. At this point I have a bucket with a large sponge on my printing table. I also roll out my ink making sure it has a nice swishing sound when I roll it out (I know, not scientific but what can I say!?)
  5. Take the sponge and squeeze water on the image covered with gum arabic. Blot the water with the sponge.
  6. Starting in the middle of the image (not on the edge where it will tear or lift the image) begin to roll ink over the copy.
  7. ALternately squeeze water over the image, blot and roll ink until you begin to see a build up of the ink. Then you are ready to print.
  8. Follow necessary procedures to protect the press before you are ready to print.

I learned this technique at the Atlanta Printmaker’s Studio from Terri Dilling. Hope I have answered your questions!

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I can’t believe that we are already at the end of February. Luckily it is leap year this year or I would have missed posting in February completely. Couldn’t let that happen. February is my birthday month (Feb 19th) so I always hate to see it go. I

For the last 8 weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying the printmaking class I mentioned in an earlier post. I have been experimenting with inks, dyes and paints to create images on cloth — usually canvas. A number of these images will find their way into larger pieces. For now, they are just blocks. My work in printmaking has been specifically focused on monoprint techniques. In particular, I have done inkjet transfers, xerox transfers using wintergreen oil and a technique called xerox roll up. Xerox roll up is a faux-litho technique that uses gum arabic, water, oil-based inks and color xeroxes. In the first example I manipulated a found photo of some ancestors. I have already begun to sketch out the project I want to build around this image. In the second example I used color copies of Michelle Obama and my own mixture of blue ink to print these images on canvas.

Michelle Obama Xerox Roll-up Image

A funny thing happened on the way to the trashcan. I found a quilt. The pieces in this exploration quilt come from scraps from other projects. I usually toss medium to large scraps in a basket on the floor near my cutting table.  After (attempting to ha, ha) tidy my studio after working I thought I would dump the basket.  And then all of these batik scraps and some of my hand dyed scraps fell on the floor.  I began to sew the strips together, cut them and sew them together again.  Hmmm, I said to myself, what would happen if . .  . . and here is what I have so far . .  .

Exploration Quilt #3 http//www.dgbquilts.wordpress.com

Though I have completed this exploration quilt for now I decided not to layer it piece because I think I want to grow this into a wall or lap quilt.

Monoprinting

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I mentioned before that I was going to make a point of getting out of my studio and out of my own little world more. My first step was taking the plunge to participate in an 8 week workshop on monoprinting at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. I am sad to report that I have found a new addiction. Karoda mentioned that like quilters, printmakers have their own language, tools and groups. I already knew this from my days as an undergrad. Still, I let myself go into this space knowing that I would be drawn in. Shame on me (not!). Monoprinting is a favorite among many because of its painterly style. Since I love painting this workshop seemed like a match for me. This year I want to explore as many ways to get images on fabric as possible. This process especially includes the unusual and extraordinary. I am experimenting on paper and fabric during this workshop. Right now I am using soy based inks. Next week I will be experimenting with water-based inks and procion dye. I have a batch of sodium alginate setting up right now. Here are some samples of my work on paper. Used the soy based ink and Utrecht’s American Masters printmaking paper. The images are drawings I did for my next several exploration quilts based on LOVE. I obviously need to keep working but I am proud of my first efforts. I see the potential of new and exciting things to come. I have plans to go back in to two of these images and do a little watercolor to bring out the images more. What I like about this method of trace monotype is the interesting line that you can get.

With this image I tried drawing in the ink with odorless mineral spirits. Kind of creepy but I kind of like it.

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BlueCOloredGiRL by www.dgbquilts.wordpress.com
Alright, so part of why I decided to take the plunge and do these weekly exploration quilts is to work with my materials and see what happens. Can you tell I am not totally wowed by this week’s effort? I used rubber stamps, commercial fabric and my color laser printer for this one. I printed the image (yes, that’s a picture of me) on raw canvas. Then I added the commercial fabric (I have no idea why). I thought I saw pink highlights in the image after I printed so I layered the piece and then began to do a little fme with pink thread. I think I want to explore this quilt a bit more so I am going to continue working on it. I hope that’s not considered cheating. I also have a few more ideas I want to throw at this quilt before I am done. I stuck with the 8.5 x 11 format for this week’s exploration. The quilt I am working on for week 3 is 14 x 14 provided I don’t end up cutting it up. . . . although that might not be a bad idea. . . .
I have already learned a few new things in my first two exploration quilts:
  1. I sometimes find it stressful to fly by the seat of my pants when designing/working. Nevertheless, I find the fear and stress exhilarating.
  2. Playing with the exploration quilts has made me pull out my printmaking supplies. I want to revisit silkscreen and monoprinting as techniques for getting images on the page.
  3. I really enjoy the feedback you all are giving me on what I have done so far. Keep it coming 8 ).

Googras Crochet Block

I was deep in the throes of working on my latest two exploration quilts when I realized I needed to take a break. Sometimes you need to walk away before you can actually see what you are doing. I will return to the exploration quilts a bit later today. For now I want to talk about what we do as quilt and doll artists, as painters and sculptors, as makers of things with our hands. I was reading Paula Hewitt’s blog, The Beauty of Life this morning and she asks the following

I wonder what we would think if our work was so undervalued by the people we give them to, or by our descendants. What is going to happen to all the quilts, embroideries, postcards, ATCs we are making? Do we care? Is it enough to be creating, designing, doing…providing a beautiful/useful/artistic piece…or is it important too that these pieces are cherished? I wonder if the women back in the 1800’s making samplers for their own purposes – remembering and practising stitches, quilts for their beds out of scraps, making their homes beautiful – wondered what would become of their work. Would they be surprised to see how highly it is regarded now? Are they valued because they are relatively rare, or because they are old and tell us something of our past, or both?

Have you ever wondered about this? I know I feel so good to have been able to collect and preserve the hand work of my grandmother and great grandmother. I have a quilt my maternal great grandmother made. My great aunt saved it and passed it down to me. Apparently my great-grandmother made a quilt for each of her 12 (?) children. We are not sure how many of the quilts survived but I do know that I have one. The quilt is so heavy that if someone threw it over you when you weren’t looking it would probably take your breath away. I was told by my Aunt Viola that the quilt has clothing from several of her siblings in it. Cotton truly is the fabric of our lives. Something about touching scraps from the clothing that my ancestors wore makes me feel more connected to them. I also have three handkerchiefs that she embroidered. I carried one on my wedding day. All of the handkerchiefs are very delicate. The one I carried when I got married has a blue cone flower embroidered on the edge. Finally, I have twelve purple and pink blocks that my grandmother crocheted. The squares are purple and she then crocheted pink flowers on top of the block. She kept trying to give the blocks to me herself but I am ashamed to say that I was always too busy to fly up and go get them. She finally gave them to my father to mail to me here in Georgia. Somehow she knew how much they would mean to me. When she went home to be with the Lord I immediately went to the cabinet where I had placed them to touch them.

I definitely value — really cherish handwork of my ancestors. When I quilt or make dolls or paint I think it is always in the back of mind that I am leaving some type of legacy for future generations. I always wonder about how family pictures, quilts and other family heirlooms end up at estate sales or on e-bay. Yes, I have spent a small fortune trying to rescue these materials. I have all kinds of wonderful pictures, antique blocks and handkerchiefs that I attempt to preserve and/or use in my art work. It’s my way of saying “you are not forgotten and thank you.” One of my favorite artists, Whitfield Lovell , does installations of large charcoal drawings featuring “rescued pictures.” Mr. Lovell is a 2007 recipient of the MacArthur or “Genius” Award. Genius indeed.

I think a lot of the responsibility falls on us as artists to educate people about what we do and why and how we do it. Make sure you DOCUMENT all of your work. Keep a journal, a sketch book, write detailed labels about why you created what you did. I promise you that a great granddaughter, a granddaughter, a daughter, a son, will be very glad that you did.

As I mentioned below one of my art goals for 2008 is to create a small weekly quilt. This is not an original thought obviously since so many others have been taking part in this process for years. Still, I think I will learn a lot by working this way. In the midst of working on larger projects I find sometimes that it is nice to stop and do something small. Working small is also a way to clear my head.

SCREAM by Deborah Grayson Bailey

Here is my first exploration quilt, “Scream.” Unlike my usual process I did not do a thumbnail before I began. I simply sketched right on the canvas. I used primed 7oz canvas as my surface, painted the face and then stitched. I did something weird here that gave me an interesting result. When I painted the face it was too yellow (I was going for a glow). Using Golden matte glaze I covered the entire face in purple to tone it down and then I went back in and rubbed off the paint in areas where I wanted highlights. You can still see some areas where the paint dried on me and I couldn’t get it off. At first I panicked because I had a big purple mess. Still, I kept rubbing. I then free motioned stitched the hair to make her face pop more. I wasn’t using the right needle for stitching through the canvas but I kept going. Despite the look on *her* face *I* am pretty happy with the result. The piece is neither beautiful nor horrible it just is.

In the coming week I hope to experiment with either monoprinting or silk screen. Right now I am finishing another 8×10 piece using my printer and neon pink thread. Exploration is GOOD.