Screen printing (or: aboreal royalty)

Screen printing

In March I went to a 2 day screen-printing workshop run by Milli & Fink. Due to ‘recent weather events’ the workshop had relocated from a storm-damaged hall to a lovely little old Queenslander house in Ipswich, with a view of corrugated roofs and Moreton Bay Figs marching down the hill through veils of rain. Not including the rain, our class spent most of the two days wet and inky, with quiet passages where those of us not coating screens or hosing emulsion down the stairs sat around the dining table with piles of reference books, pens and paper drawing designs and eating cupcakes.

Screen printing

I recommend the workshop. We went from learning how to expose a screen to trying out gold-leaf and screen-printing on wood, and were able to print plenty of pieces to bring home, so even if you didn’t decide that screen-printing (or part of it) was For You, you had some lovely, useable work – paper, teatowels, calico bags…

Wolf

In my case,  while the class showed me just what could be accomplished at home and without even a studio, and while I have so many ideas, the room and mess and time it needs are something for which I do not currently have space (physical, temporal or mental). One day maybe…

You may recognise the wolf above from a cut-paper picture I made a few weeks ago. The picture below, of tree-dwelling royalty, was drawn in marker on paper on the day of the workshop, due to a recent Twitter conversation with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, which transitioned into quoting A. A. Milne’s poem “The King’s Breakfast”, a conversation it is to be hoped we can continue in England in November (Sandy interfered with plans to meet in Toronto last year, although I was able to catch up with Delia for a too-short coffee in New York)!

A Little Bit of Butter

So of course I had to send them a tea-towel print of it, in thanks. Here is the card which I drew to accompany it – indulging in more high-set highnesses, and some watercolour shading for once.

Card: Aboreal royalty

Illustration Friday: Confined

While cleaning the annex/studio this afternoon in order to have room to work on a project, I found a dead (and, admittedly, not very excited-looking beetle). It at once put me in mind of that other, more famous beetle, Alexander, and so here he is, safely returned to his matchbox:

Illustration Friday: Confined

I gave this one the full blue-pencil sketch with brush and ink over it. It is part of my ongoing education and although I enjoyed it and like the possibilities, it is unfortunately too time consuming for the project I’m working on at the moment. Colour added in Photoshop.

The full text of Milne’s poem “Forgiven” is available at many places, including here: http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/58210-A-A–Milne-Forgiven.

April short book reviews

iWoz – Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith: I really enjoyed this. I think it was mostly the voice – it was written based on taped interviews, and that shows in many little verbal tics and idiosyncracies that made the memoir endearing as well as interesting. I’d quite like to hear Steve Wozniak speak one day.

Teen Idol – Meg Cabot: I didn’t mean to sound like I was Cabot-bashing last month. I don’t mind her, and this book hit all the things that I really like about her books – the voice that was catchy without being annoying, the highschool-is-hell set-up, the nice person learning to be better (if not as “nice”), a few subverted expectations. Over-the-top and sweet and fun with one of my favourite forcible-makeover scenes (she does do these well).

Size 14 is not Fat Either – Meg Cabot: Light, fluffy, the voice got a bit irritating at times. I wanted the protagonist to take control a bit more, like in Teen Idol.

Underfoot in Show Business – Helene Hanff: So much fun – the story of how Helene Hanff didn’t become the next Noel Coward. New York and Broadway and playwriting and creative retreats and hand-to-mouth artistic existences and the beginning of television and a bad experience with Lord of the Rings.

Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens: The BBC miniseries of this is my favourite BBC miniseries, so I did know the outlines of the story going in (sometimes this helps). This book is now my favourite Dickens to date. So rich and complex and interwoven, so funny and sad and beautiful, it is difficult to pick a plot to call the main one. The mysterious character of the kindly but shadowy Rokesmith? The rise of the dustman and his wife, come to an unexpected fortune? The predicament of beautiful, poor, grasping Bella, willed to a man who died before she met him. The moral quandaries of the lovelorn taxidermist drawn into a web of deceit by a scheming ballad seller whose amputated leg he bought? Strong, capable Lizzie, who saves her brother and cannot save her father and must keep saving herself? The myriad of smaller backstories? Is it the loves – dangerous, sweet, murderous, unfaltering? The friendships – of the pawnbroker with the dolls-dressmaker and the factory worker, of Bella with her father, of the Boffins for all those less fortunate than them? The hatred and the paths paved by the love of money, or the paths shaped by the river? I love the book for all of these, for the mistakes and misteps and hard decisions, for the repeated references to Little Red Riding Hood, for the unexpected physicality of relationships, for the dear humanity of clerks in dingy offices, for the heroines who cannot wait by their lover’s sickbed because they have to go to work at the factory, for the descriptions of shops and of rusting chains, for the girl who rescues a victim of violence and carries him to safety, for the sharp tongue of the dressmaker and the many buttons of the false foreman, for the comeuppances and the happy endings, and the bittersweet ones.

Once on a time – A. A. Milne: A short fairy-tale novel. Oh, read this if only for that wonderful, terrible woman, the Countess Belvane. And the army of Amazon(s) marching round and round a tree. And the recommendation that poets wear green when the muse is upon them (as inspiration or warning). And the conclusion that the Gladstone bag has killed romance. But mostly for Belvane, that enchanting, scheming villainess, who keeps a diary and in it writes sadly that today, she became bad.