Having identified that printing stitch onto fine papers and combining techniques is the next step in development, some additional samples were prepared for printing, using hand and machine stitch on paper and fabric.
The earlier print samples were produced by inking the plate, placing the stitching face down on the ink, putting it through the press, removing the inked samples, printing from the imprint on the plate and then placing the inked samples onto a clean plate and running that through the press. (making three prints in total) This time, the emphasis was on trying something different to produce variety in the marks and values.
Whilst playing, a fine paper was laid over the silk and the inked brayer rolled over the top, similar to a rubbing, but with the brayer – excitement mounted, the results were really striking. Varying the pressure of the brayer and the quantity of ink produced much more variety in values, increasing the visual texture and making some prints more dynamic and others softer with a clarity of detail down to the weave of the cloth.
Adding this new technique to the mix and encouraged by earlier results with silk, a small french knot sample on a scrap of found dress silk was explored.
I was immediately rewarded by some interesting ‘holes’ appearing having inked the silk direct from the brayer.
Using the silk as a mask added interest and increased options, the striking contrast of the white void against the printed texture of the brayer print on the paper, the uneven edge of the frayed silk and the potential to fill or leave the hole blank.
This has been a successful exercise as the intention was to produce a greater variety of marks and values and those produced from the scrap of silk were remarkable. The top two samples below where the stitches appear white are printed from impressions on the brayer, taken off the sample, whereas the bottom is the result of the inked brayer rolling across the tissue, laid on top of the silk. Close examination will reveal the faint wiggly lines of the previous impression on the brayer. Each print exhibits different qualities of line, value and texture.
The top right of the three prints above reproduced the intricate weave of the cloth, also evident in the moodier print at the bottom, whilst the tissue, top left, had a ghost of another stitch on it and more uneven values, adding an energy less obvious in the others.
The expressive machine stitched lines of the following sample on paper produced a clear imprint of thread and needle holes on the dark background contrasting with the more muted hazy white dotty lines of the brayer print bottom right.
At this stage, I had a growing collection of interesting prints on various papers, ideas about holes/uneven circles and combining prints by collage or layering. A vague thought about an artists’ book, concertina? with cut holes?
Giving time to let some of the ideas settle and germinate, I decided to explore colour next.