I have become more and more interested in trying out plant dyes, particularly as I have so many possibilities growing in the garden. There were a couple of old red cabbages that had bolted, so having researched the web and found references to making bundles (thanks especially to Wendy Feldberg), this is how I decided to proceed. All bundles were first soaked in a 20-25 % vinegar solution, then steamed for a couple of hours. turning the bundle over half way through. I unwrapped them the following day. I know some people leave them for much longer – I should experiment, but am impatient by nature!
I had heard so much about West Dean and seized the chance to go there. The course, with Dale Devereux Barker, was brilliant. We started by using resists and stencils on the lino, which was first inked up, and then printed using a press. My favourite effect was obtained by removing the resist or stencil and then printing a second time, so as to get a much more ethereal effect.
This week I spent a couple of days making some new plates and then printing from them. The first one I think works well and I really like it. I used thin cardboard for the wall stones with some sand for texture in some of the spaces. The rest is bits of linen and jute scrim, with acrylic gloss medium.
Earlier this month I went to France to do a week’s course on collagraphy with Val Holmes. Collagraphy is a form of printing whereby, instead of etching into the plate, you build up the surface, so as to produce both intaglio and relief forms. Val has just published her book on the subject ‘Collage, Stitch, Print’.