Still experimenting with gelatin printing.
I used a biscuit cutter to cut nice round circles out of the sheet of gelatin, and experimented using those as block for printing. Since my biscuit cutter is smaller than my circle-a-day circles, there is an unprinted edge that I wanted to accentuate.
I realized I have not yet posted links to my sources for gelatin printing.
My favorite, and primary source, is Linda Germain, and her blog Printmaking Without a Press. Linda does lovely, delicate work. She has answers to frequently asked questions, and videos on YouTube for those who want to see what she's talking about.
The Sketchbook Challenge blog also has a tutorial, and some pictures of the process.
I have really enjoyed having the gelatin block around to experiment with this month. It has been a lovely cool way to spend time working with fabric and color. I found it easy to get started. The gelatin block was fun to make and fun to hold (and fun to make wiggle! think industrail strength Jello Wigglers…) The materials I used were things I had on hand (white fabric, fabric paint) so the project scrimmage was small.
It took me a lot of experimenting to come up with truly lovely things, making me uneasy until I hit my groove. I am also not entirely sure what to do with the pieces I don't love. I finally decided I'd hold them as potential blocks for stitching together into a lightweight coverlet or unfilled quilt. Or maybe I'll just give them away. It is a good year for it!
The title is, as many of you know, Gollum's last cheating guess of three (because it was two guesses) at what was in Bilbo's pocket(esses)(precious).
I am hugely relieved at the cooler weather. The horses are also hugely relieved at the cooler weather and have demonstrated this with cheerful forward motion. The mosquitos cannot breed in a drought, although the corn is suffering and the river is way down. We have rain forecast for Monday – it might damp down the dust, but I think it won't make a dent on the low water.
It is absurdly hot and dry. The studio is not air conditioned, while the downstairs is, so I spend more of my time experimenting with the gelatin plate and various paint options than I do with the stitching.
I think I am letting my brain refill? or sort things out? Processing would be another good word for it. I am not strongly moved to make anything in particular, so I have found a process I am content to explore for the remainder of the month.
Gelatin printing produces astounding numbers of more-or-less gorgeous or interesting prints. I like the print quality best on the quilting cotton. The prints that don't go into circles will be stitched together into a very light quilty thing. I may have to research bojagi – the Korean single layer piecing process.
I got a smaller brayer for rolling paint, because the brushes (shown lower left) make streaks and bubbles, but the brayer wouldn't turn freely and I had to wait for Al to come back and break it loosen it up for me. Which he did, with style and grace, but not until I was done with the process for the day. The lower right shows some swatches I made, still working with smaller pieces of fabric. That great sun shape is a washer I found and used for a resist.
Imagine, if you will, making Jello extra strong and wibbly, and then painting ink or fabric paint onto it, placing interesting things onto the paint, then placing fabric over the paint and pressing gently. That is gelatin plate printing. My bestest table-mate ever from Haystack (hi Cami!) said it was a fun process, and she was exactly right.
There are some very good sources out there, which I will list tomorrow once I've got them straight.
This is my first piece – purple fabric paint from Jacquard with a piece of Queen Anne's Lace flower and a fern. The plates keep for a while in the fridge. I'm entertained by the idea of printing with Jello. Now all I need is use Kool-Ade dye, thickened with marshmallow fluff and I'll have a pleasures of childhood trifecta.
Crow feathers always feel like a message. Actually, most feathers feel like a message, generally telling me I should look up more often. That is one of the things I learned from my mother – look up. You'll see amazing things. In town, you'll see architectural details, and interesting things on fire ascapes. You will almost always see interesting clouds. At night you can find friends in the constellations. And as Alice has found, you can see a lot of different birds. She has a knack for spotting the really big ones: eagles, hawks and herons.
I also finished this piece today –
I can't remember where or when this particular feather arrived, so I'm reduced to titling the piece Mystery Feather. It might as easily be a chicken's feather as a red tail's – and I'd hate to guess wrong! This one will be mounted and framed and taken up to the gallery at the end of the week.
Alice's last day of school was today. They had a field day in the afternoon, so I went and retrieved her early. The woman behind the desk raised her eyebrows over skipping Field Day. I told her Alice would rather eat nails than have forced academic fun, and after a little thought she agreed with me. I haven't been so startled since Aerin first started middle school – I thought she was completely humorless.
The best thing about school vacation for me is not setting my alarm. Not having to wake up sleepy, grumpy children is also very nice.
Two circles, because I feel bad about missing one yesterday.
I was home with Alice today, who I think was poisoned with some allergen last night. She was sick last night and wibbly today, but seems much better now.
Red Kate – I promised you a blue heron, and I swear I'll do it tomorrow!
I made a circle today, and it failed in different ways three different times.
1. the bleach doesn't make black threads white, it just made them kind of green
2. the white paint doesn't sit nicely on the black thread, it soaks in
3. even when the white paint has soaked in and dried, it is not waterproof, and it washed out when I tried to rinse off the water soluble stabilizer I'd constructed the feather on
And I could have stopped there, but instead I persisted, and then:
4. the water soluble stabilizer did not rinse out completely
5. which wouldn't matter except when reapplying the white paint that washed out and trying to remove some of the wetness by ironing the circle, the leftover stabilizer kind of crystallized on top, and then
6. when I tried to photograph it anyhow, just for completeness sake, the photo won't email, so I can't even show you the catastrophe that resulted
So. I'm done now.
A leaf from the tree at the center of the drop-off circle at the middle school. I'm pretty sure it is a chestnut oak. I should find a leaf from a tree at the high school, marking the end of Aerin's era there, but there aren't any very distinctive trees in the way this one is.
There was an awards ceremony at the high school tonight – over 160 awards given to over 100 kids for everything from skill at sports to skill at music, or math, or intent to be in medicine, to "nice guy" awards. There was a vocal crowd of guys at the back, cheering on their friends. My hands are sore from clapping. Aerin won something to do with band, and something for caring about academics.
The camera remains unworking. I am grateful to have a back-up on my incredibly smart phone.