Friday, 5 January 2018

5 in 5 - January 2018 - Woodblock Printing in India

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

Hello!  And a Happy New Year to you! 
I hope you had a good Christmas, doing the things you love most, and that the new year brings health and happiness. I had all good intentions and patted myself on the back for making over 100 handmade Christmas cards. However, while the lights sparked on my Christmas tree it did lack baubles and tinsel. Sometimes you have to compromise when there are other things more important, or if like me, you go to India in the run up to Christmas! 

This was a creative holiday where I learnt woodblock printing and dyeing of fabrics. It was everything I expected and more, and as often is the case, I met like minded ladies and made some lovely new friends. I also saw how these wooden blocks are hand carved in the traditional way, and of course, I bought home a good supply! I plan to post about the holiday itself so for now I will share some of the prints that I made. Timer set... here goes!  

We started simple, printing with one colour. This was called 'Khadi' which means 'homespun cotton cloth'. The technique was easy but in order to make the pattern line up vertically and horizontally you had to pay attention and line the block carefully.

From one colour we progressed to two, then three; each done as a different stage. The design below is an example of this and we did not have a choice of colour for this technique. It is too bold for me but I adopted the attitude that it was about process and learning, and because of this I enjoyed printing it. This piece is a large square and friends suggested I could use it as a small table cloth.  I've yet to decide, I may like it more cut into smaller pieces.

We also learnt how to mitre corners. There was lots of mutterings around the room as we all attempted to line up or remember to block off our woodblock in the right place. I won't show you the corner where I forgot to do this and ended up with right angles!  

I chose to do vertical pattern on this piece, and it could make a scarf or narrow wrap. Time will tell....

And these are possibly my favourite prints and technique. Called Wabu, we used a relief of mud to first print the pattern. Sawdust was sprinkled on to assist the drying process and then the fabric was dyed in Indigo.

Are you intrigued?

I know I was fascinated by the process, so I'll add a couple of extra photos to show you how the dyeing was done. No health and safety here! This is an 11ft deep well of Indigo!
The fabric is then laid out to dry in the sun. It was a beautiful sight.

The visit and learning was an amazing experience and I have booked some workshops as I would like to do more dyeing of fabric. The year looks promising. I hope yours does too.

Thank you for visiting. It is always fun to have company in this photo challenge so a big thank you to Mary-Lou, Maggie, Melanie, Green Tomato and Borqna for taking part last month. And to all those who visited and left comments.

And YOU would be very welcome to join in too, so I hope you are inspired to get out your camera. Here is the plan:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.

You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A meeting of Paperlove - Part 2

Gosh - where has this year gone?! While thinking about my next post I suddenly realised I did not return to my trip to Bute as planned. And as this is still in mind and one of my happy memories of 2017, I will put that right. If you missed (or want to be reminded!) of how we came together in August this year you can read about it here.  

I mentioned in that post some of the things that we shared in Ruth's studio. And here is some more:

On our walk to the beach and in the garden we collected flowers and plants for eco-printing. My friends had been generous in their gifts, bringing old books and papers for us to share. These made beautiful backgrounds for our prints. 

We also learnt a new binding stitch.  The instructions were translated from Swedish so there was some confusion over translation, but we all got there in the end, amid much laughter! 

I was also introduced to Litho Printing, using Coca-Cola. This was an interesting idea and my own prints were somewhat dubious. However, some of the other examples were more promising so I need to experiment more with this. 

We also did some stitching. Ideas were shared, fabric and threads exchanged, and more beautiful work was produced. This is such a talented group of people! 

We also got to explore more of the island. One of our members is a poet and university lecturer, who came up with some wonderful ideas during our time together. She was inspired by a poetry form that was easy even for non-writers, and many of us gave it a try. 

We also took photos, sketched, took notes and just sat quietly, appreciating this special place.

One of our other visits was to Mount Stuart House. I had never heard of this house before going, but was amazed by the history, and stunning beauty. Paul McCartney's daughter was married there, and it it was sumptuous without feeling imposing. We were given a tour of the house and enjoyed afternoon tea in one of the private rooms. 

My neck ached from looking up at the ceilings! There was so many with paintings and ornate carvings. Breath taking is the only word to describe.

And the grounds are impressive too, with landscaped formal gardens, woodland and coastal walks, a huge glass house and vegetable garden. If ever you get the chance to go, don't hesitate!! We enjoyed our visit so much that we returned on our own, to explore some more. 

Ruth, our host, booked a different place for us to eat each evening so we were lucky enough to experience more of the island and time together.  Husbands joined us to eat, and then we returned to the studio to work into the evening. Lifts were shared and arranged, and it truly was a magical time. I feel blessed to be part of such a diverse and interesting group, and while we live too far a part to meet regularly we do maintain contact online and there has been some wonderful happy mail exchanged this Christmas. We are also arranging monthly projects and I look forward to seeing what 2018 brings. 

This reminder of sunshine and holidays has brightened my day and if you have read to the end, a big thank you! I hope it triggers your own happy memories of holidays and friendships. 

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