Project 5 Painting and printing

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I picked these two lino prints from my last lot of work to develop further, I wasn’t sure about the rough broken lines around the central triangle patterns though so I recut a new piece of lino with a plainer background, then made a larger and smaller version to experiment with too.

I tried my new linocuts out both in my sketchbooks and on various types of fabric. I also experimented with different ways of tiling them together.

These are the two final samples I produced. The blue and white one is a repeating pattern printed using acrylic paint on to white quilting weight cotton, it has to be my favorite piece so far, and I think it would be lovely made up into a skirt or dress. The second piece I produced is a single unit design, it uses both the biggest and smallest linocuts. It is made using both acrylic paint and Dylon metallic fabric paint on to a heavy cotton twill. I’m not pleased with how this one turned out, the back ground is not how I imagined and it detracts from the main print – I was hoping for a gently glittering background, but instead it just looks dirty.

Review

  • Do you feel you made a good selection from your drawings to use as source material for your design ideas? Which interpretations worked best? Why?
    No I found I didn’t really have any suitable sketchbook work to turn into prints. Most of the things I’ve drawn seemed too complicated to make in to prints, and so while I’d initially thought of developing some sketchbook work of deer that I’d done in to a linocut similar to some I’d found in a magazine, it was taking too long to work out a design and I felt I was getting nowhere. Looking back through my first experiments with printing I thought a simple triangle lino print I’d done really stood out as quite striking so I tried working with that one again. However, I wasn’t happy with the background around the triangle so I made a new linocut with a more defined background. I felt this worked better as it made the triangle shapes stand out more clearly, but the background has a little bit of texture to make it interesting.
  • Which fabrics did you choose? What particular qualities appealed to you?
    To begin with I tried working with different weights of cotton, including voile, calico, quilting weight, poplin, canvas and a heavy twill. I then moved on to polyester, stretch denim, linen and a very sheer net curtain fabric. The cotton, linen and denim took the paint very well and still felt similar afterwards, the polyester felt very stiff after it had been painted and the thin net curtain didn’t take up much of the paint at all. I liked the way the pattern of the cotton twill shows through the print, but it can also detract from the overall texture of the print so I used both the cotton twill and plain quilting cotton for my final samples.
  • Is the scale of marks and shapes on your samples appropriate to the fabric? Would any of your ideas work better on a different type of fabric, for example, sheer, textured, heavyweight? Why? Do the marks and shapes seem well placed, too crowded or too far apart? Were you aware of the negative shapes that were forming in between the positive shapes? What elements are contrasting and what elements are harmonising in each sample? Is there a balance between the two that produces an interesting tension?
    I am very happy with my repeating pattern, I feel the size and shapes work very well, to me they feel an appropriate size although I think the smaller size would’ve worked too from my experiments but it would’ve been very time-consuming to produce. I feel this pattern would work just as well on lighter or heavier weight fabric, but not textured as that would interfere with the sharp, clean edges of the triangle shapes, the larger linocut does however work on a more textured fabric as the unprinted sections are larger. I could’ve lined up my prints better on the repeating pattern to try to reduce the dark lines where the prints tend to overlap, but I found this difficult and didn’t want gaps in the pattern as I like the pattern the negative space between the triangles forms. The only change to spacing I would consider is that the overall diamond shape formed could touch at all there points producing a more definite diamond shape in the areas in between, but overall I am pleased with the placement. I feel the white diamond shapes contrast very well with the background, and that the areas of fairly solid but textured background areas blend together pleasingly to form a diamond shape which balances the overall feel of the piece and makes it interesting to look at.On the other single unit sample I’m not as pleased with the placement of the shapes, the big print isn’t squarely in the frame of the smaller ones, and even after experimenting separately with ideas for where the smaller prints meet at the corners I couldn’t come up with a design I liked, so it feels unfinished to me. The larger print size shows up nicely on the more textured fabric, but maybe would’ve been better without a gap between the large and small prints, I’m not sure though and don’t think my linocuts are quite the right size to match up properly when touching. The textured background of the small prints doesn’t really show up on the textured fabric, and I feel the small triangles get lost against the bigger one so there isn’t really a good balance. Apart from the contrast of the diamond against its background in the centre I don’t feel this piece has such a good feel of contrast and harmony in it.
  • How succesful do you think your larger sample is? Do you like the design? Have you recreated or extended your ideas from the smaller samples so there is a visible development between the two? Does your repeating design flow across the surface, without obvious internal edges, or do the shapes and marks in your single unit sample relate well to the size and shape of the fabric? Do they make an interesting composition on this larger scale?
    I really love my repeating design and think it is very succesful, I’d be so happy to turn it into something I could wear – I feel it would make a beautiful skirt! I don’t like my single unit piece though and I don’t feel that it worked – it definitely didn’t come out like I’d pictured it in my mind, I still feel that there’s design in there that could work, but not this one. Both pieces are developed from my smaller samples and earlier sketchbook work, although I feel I could’ve done more work on trying different single unit designs. My repeating pattern does have obvious marks where the edges of the prints meet, but I don’t feel it detracts from the flow in any way. I’m not pleased with the composition of the single unit piece though, it feels uninteresting to me. It works within the shape of the fabric, but seeing as the fabric is just a simple rectangle there wasn’t going to be much difficulty.
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