Thursday, 11 July 2013

Illustrations for TABS & PND Wellington

In 2004 I created this image for the organisation TABS - Trauma and Birth Stress, to illustrate some of the feelings of a new mother having survived a traumatic birth experience. A black and white line drawn version was used for their handbooks.

This is a series of illustrations I did for the Post & Ante-Natal Distress Support Guide booklet in 2005.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Gelatin Printing

Gelatin printing is a technique of creating monoprints using a slab of gelatin as the printing plate. 

You never know quite what you will get so you have to be spontaneous in your approach and ready to make the most of the happy accidents. This is a very different way of working for me so I enjoy how freeing it is.

I use water soluble paints which I roll onto the surface of the plate. I then lay items onto the gelatin surface to create impressions in the paint surface. The gelatin is delicate and you don't want anything that will pierce the surface so fresh leaves are better than dried, crunchy leaves. Items that I have found to work the best for my style of working are organic materials such as leaves, flowers, feathers and seaweed. Fabrics such as lace and hessian create interesting results. Stencils can be made with paper cut-outs or torn paper. 

I always begin with a plan of the effect I am trying to achieve and so choose a palate of colours that will work well together. The colours print transparently so you need to think about how one colour will affect the next. I like to layer images and textures and to use masking techniques to retain some areas, while layering up other areas.

With this series of prints I was inspired by the ebb and flow of the tides and how detritus is left behind as the tide recedes, sometimes layering up on what has gone before. To give a greater sense of layering to the initial monoprints,  I added some collage elements and detailing with an Ink-Tense colour pencil. I have also added a relief print to the surface of some.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Crocheted Nudibranch

The idea for creating these began when I wanted to send a birthday present to a good friend of mine in the UK. She is a keen diver and a Nudibranch lover. If you check out the link, you'll see why - they are gorgeous, magical wee creatures and there are so many variations. 

Chromodoris elizabethina
So, I began by making one for my friend. I thought it would be more fun if it was able to be worn or be interactive in some way so I made it as a finger puppet. There are many patterns on the internet for nudibranch, believe it or not, but I prefer the challenge of making it up as I go along. Of course, when I finished the first one, I couldn't stop there. I had to make one for myself.  Then I couldn't resist making another design and then another.... There are so many colour, shape and pattern variations in nature that it's like trying to choose between lollies in a sweet shop. 

Hypselodoris apolegma

I started with relatively simple designs and I initially kept them all a similar size, as one-finger puppets. Gradually, however, I wanted to be able to add more detail so I needed to increase the size of them.

Chromodoris kuniei
Hermissenda crassicornis

Nembrotha kubaryana

This one is slightly larger and is a two-finger puppet. Additional detailing is added with embroidery.

I try to be accurate with colour combinations and main features so that they are recognisable against their real-life models.

Hypselodoris kaname

Hypselodoris Bennetti
Of course I got more ambitious and wanted to be more accurate and so the next one was even bigger still. This one is a hand puppet and so it took a lot longer to complete but it is very interactive and fun to play with. It has also given the anemone, that I created "accidentally" while experimenting with knitting techniques a couple of years ago, something to hang out with.