I belong to Harbour Quilters in Mevagissey, and we have just held our biennial quilting exhibition. It was a great success and we met many old friends, and made some new ones. It was delightful to see some potential new members at our following meeting. There was a wide range of items on display, from miniature to very large! Below is one of my entries!
I called it “A quilters day at the seaside”. Needless to say, it was one of the smaller ones! I enjoyed making these ladies last year, and they looked interesting set with the deckchairs which have been great fun to make. They are all pieced, appliqued and very much embellished with stitch.
I am really excited as one of my sons has given me an old renovated book press for my birthday. I have hankered after one of these for many years, wanting to be able to use it for printing. He bought it from E bay, from a gentleman called Neil, who lives in Dudley. It has been in my possession for over a month, but I had so many tasks underway that needed completing that I did restrain myself from trying it out until after the exhibition. “Restrain” meant practically sitting on my hands!
The first photograph shows it’s condition when the restorer first starting working on it. I am sure you will agree that he has done a fantastic job. I have several photographs of the progression of his work, which is a fascinating record and accompaniment to go with the press. The way it works is that you screw the top plate down, using the huge T-bar handle. In the second photo it is almost wound down to the bottom plate. There is excellent clearance when it is wound up to its maximum height. I have cut a piece of mountboard, exactly the size of the bottom plate, and drawn a grid on it so that I can position the prepared printing block centrally under the screw (not shown).
I sit the lino block on another piece of paper, then ink it up with a roller. Then, I can carefully slide it from the paper, onto the grid and carefully position it in the centre. The material which will receive the print, is placed right side down, over the block, next a protective piece of paper, in case any printing ink comes through to the back of the fabric, then a thick layer of felt or old blanket to provide a cushion underneath the rigid top.
The press is wound down, as firmly as possible, until the top plate makes a firm contact with the “sandwich”, underneath it. Then the handle is rotated in the opposite direction, lifting the top plate clear. The mountboard, with its “sandwich” is removed, and the layers under the printed material carefully peeled back to reveal the result. Magic. I have printed with my own lino blocks in the past, without any form of press, and it is quite a time consuming process. This is pure joy, in comparison!
I have created a new lino printing block, specifically to use as a stitched panel on the front of a denim bag. I did some drawings of the design and when I was happy with one of them, I transferred the design to the lino block, by turning the drawing over, with a piece of carbon paper underneath it, and drawing with a sharp pencil. The tools that you see in the photograph below, alongside the lino block, are very sharp and need to be used with great care and respect. I have a wooden block frame that was purchased from a specialist supplier. The piece of lino fits inside this, and can nudge up against two adjacent sides at a time which helps to protect my fingers, and the surface that I am carving on. A small amount of royal blue, and black oil based inks were mixed on a glass plate, then having been “worked up” with a rubber roller, the ink was applied to the surface of the lino block.
I made 7 prints in total using four different hand dyed backgrounds, some plain, and some had some patterning on them from the dyeing process. I far prefer the latter, and I have now started quilting the first one, (shown below) and am really enjoying the slowstich process, and the wonderful therapeutic action of the stitching.
I could not resist making a couple of small house printing blocks at the same time, seen below. These are 1″ wide and are for a different project. I shall be making more!
Earlier in the month I did another batch of Eco prints again. I am delighted with the prints I am getting from the leaves. These are direct prints onto paper, which has been soaked in white vinegar overnight. The vinegar is a mordant, and helps to create a colour fast result.
Finally, I was lucky enough to go on a day mono-printing workshop at Roseland Mews studio, last week. This was taught by Sophie Fordham. It is a really delightful venue, in a beautiful setting, close to Liskeard. Jane, who manages and owns the studio, is also a great cook, and a light lunch is on the menu for those who would like to partake! It is a real treat to attend a workshop there. http://www.lynhervalley.co.uk/roselandmewsstudio/
I, personally, wanted to create some abstract prints, with the intention of doing further work on them in the future, and I was very happy with my results. I kept on building up layers of colour and shape with repeated paper templates. My intention is to edit them, and put iron-on Vilene to the back of the papers, which will help to strengthen them and support stitch. Watch this space!
Finally I have been asked to mention a few exhibitions coming up in the next couple of months:
October 6th and 7th: Lighthouse Quilters exhibition. Venue: Falmouth Cricket Club, TR11 4JB
October 7th and 8th (Saturday and Sunday 10am -4pm): Ledbury Quilters 25th Anniversary Exhibition. Venue: Lady Emily Hall, Tarrington, Herefordshire, HR1 4EX
November 18th(10-5) and 19th(10-4), Montpeller Quilters Exhibition, The Reddings Community Centre, Cheltenham Glos, GL51 6RF. Entrance £2. Refreshments, Sales table, Raffle. They are very kindly donating some of their takings to the Albanian Sewing charity which we support.
November 16th to 19th: “All Things Christmas” (including all aspects of needlecraft, paintings and knitting.) The Christmas journey in various themes based on Carols. Venue: St Nicholas Church, Ashchurch, Tewkesbury. 10 am-4pm. Entry is free, but donations welcome.
Until next time…..