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Posts Tagged ‘ukiyo-e’

I was asked to come up with three cards for assorted birthdays and anniversaries in short order this week and having no time to start anything completely from scratch, I went delving into a box of assorted bits and pieces and managed to come up with five finished cards in a day!

First was a piece I started at a 2015 workshop on sculpting silk paper with Linda Rudkin. Sashiko stitching on a scrap of indigo dyed sheeting. This one was completely finished and just needed mounting.

Next a couple of cards created from some samples I made playing with a soldering iron. This one has been enhanced with a scattering of silk French knots.

I finished it by stitching it onto the blue silk backing with herringbone stitch in the same thread.

I’d already started couching a frothy white thread round this sample when I found it.

The layered spirals and slashes combined with the frothy white thread made me think of the way artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai represent sea foam in ukiyo-e prints. I carried on doodling with the couched thread and added some split stitch spirals with the cream silk thread I was using to couch it down and two nuggets of sea glass.

Finished as a card.

Next up a piece of crazy patchwork that I stitched at least ten ago. I had half thought about appliqueing it onto a shoulder bag made from the cut off bottom of a pair of jeans. But the upcycled bags I’ve made in past from jeans bottoms and patchwork panels had very little interest when I tried to sell them, so I decided a card was the more sensible option.

And last, one of the back ground pieces from our teabags workshop with Fran Holmes in October 2019. This literally only needed about a dozen stitches into the lace border to finish it!

So not only did I manage to deliver the three requested cards, I actually have some in reserve for upcoming celebrations. Makes quite a change to be beforehand with the world instead of chasing my tail!

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I’ve finished a couple of samples for my sketch book. First, the slightly sashiko inspired stitching on the screen printing I did here. It was a piece cut from my last print of the day and unwashed, like the other bits.

Slightly sashiko 1

Inspired by a ukiyo-e print of people with umbrellas scuttling through the rain, I stitched the dark areas with long running stitches in natural undyed silk and then following the waves imagery I added french knots to the edges of the curling shapes.

Slightly sashiko 2

Slightly sashiko 3

Then I had a page of notes about ruching fabric but no samples as I’d used the one I made as part of my rusting quilt, so a piece of hand dyed purple muslin and a square of gold silk dupion later…

Purple ruching 1

I do like this effect. Scrunching up a much bigger piece of fabric into gentle folds in a smaller space and then nestling french knots clusters into the valleys and crevices.

Purple ruching 2

The soft texture of the muslin works perfectly for this type of work.

Purple ruching 3

Just a sketchbook sample with scraps, but I had fun with it.

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Last weekend at our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, we had a whole day screen-printing workshop with Dionne Swift, working on images with the theme of ‘Waterways’. I chose a ten year old photograph of one of my favourite places,  Snape Maltings in Suffolk, to work from.

Apologies for a photo of a photo, taken in failing light and light drizzle but it does give some idea of the silvery blue East Coast light that I love, with the reed beds of the River Alde in the foreground and the Maltings, turned into a world renowned concert hall by the composer Benjamin Britten, behind.

Snape Maltings

Dionne’s method involved painting the Procion dyes directly onto the screen, letting it dry and then using Manutex (a seaweed based gel medium) squeegeed across the screen to transfer the print to calico. There was enough oomph in the dyes to give one dark and one fainter impression.

Snape screen print 1

It’s not a bad simple representation of the Maltings but I just can’t get my head around the bright tropical colours. Even the paler impression looks garish against the subtle tones of the source photo.

Snape screen print 2

It was fun to try something new, but not everything suits everyone and this definitely isn’t for me. I had more fun with the second masking method we tried in the afternoon. For this we cut or tore paper to make masks which we laid between the calico and the screen. Then I used a mix of Manutex and procion dyes to create a print with the paper mask.

I’d been doing some art at school based on Japanese ukiyo-e prints, particularly those showing water in various forms and a picture of waves by Hokusai was my inspiration for this:

 

Hokusai inspired screen print 1

I was so delighted with the result of the first pull I went for a second but one of the spiral pieces (top right) moved.

Hokusai inspired screen print 2

Then I just went delving in my bag and printed on other bits of cotton I had! This one I washed out when I got home to take out the stiffness from the Manutex. The dye has faded to a wonderful indigo.

Hokusai inspired screen print 3

And finally the very last of the ink on the piece of cheesecloth I was using to mop up with. I cut part of the design out to do some experimental stitching and you can see the difference in the washed and unwashed fabric.

Hokusai inspired screen print 4

With the whole Japanese inspiration and the indigo colour of the ink, I couldn’t resist some sashiko inspired stitching on a section of the print in a cream silk thread.

Hokusai inspired screen print 5

And french knots for the foam.

Hokusai inspired screen print 6

Closer to the comfort zone. A good day, all in all, and Dionne was an excellent tutor. Looking forward to our next day to play.

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