Tag Archives: EI-P2-Other

Playing with printing

Although I’ve finished the screen printing assignment I’ve still been doing a bit for my own enjoyment. String resist. String resist back (which I particularly like). Gold printed base with yellow & orange overlay using shredded paper resist. Patterned base … Continue reading

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Jeffrey Smart – Dead at 91

It is with sadness that I learned of the death on Thursday of this great Australian artist in hospital close to his home in Italy. The Australian Financial Review (22-23 June 2013) has the above on the front page with … Continue reading

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Assignment 2: Reading Material & Reference

I’ve read extensively throughout this section as my screen printing knowledge was scant at best.  Even now I realise that I’ve only scratched the surface.  The notes provided in the course were excellent and provided a good start point.  An … Continue reading

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OCA Sydney Group – Exhibition Visit

There are four Sydney based OCA Textiles students (that we know about) and we have decided to get together from time to time to create a stronger network.  Each of us come from a very different background and are at … Continue reading

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Vivid Sydney …….. if you missed out.

If you are local and couldn’t get there, if you couldn’t face the crowds or if you are one of those unfortunate people who just live too far away click here for a perfect view of a little of what you missed (way better than my post). Turn your sound system on, nice and loud, and sit back and enjoy.

Thanks for sharing, Michael.

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Vivid Sydney

A night on the town

For 3 weeks Sydney buildings have been transformed into canvases of light. From 6pm each evening the city has lit up with spectacular colour and movement projected onto some of our most iconic landmarks. The highlights include immersive light installations and projections, performances from local and international musicians at the Opera House and public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers. Sydney is really the happening place, having had the Sydney Writers Festival last month and the annual Sydney Film Festival to also tempt us – and let’s not forget the normal eclectic range of galleries and exhibitions that are running.

So Saturday night we ventured into the City to experience the light shows. First impressions: I have never seen so many people in one place at the same time. Looking down from the railway station parapet I gasped at the sheer volume of bodies. It was a bit scary. Holding tight to my husband we joined the throng and were swept along toward the Opera House. Here are a few of the wonderful images I managed to photograph whilst being jostled by hundreds of others wanting to do the same thing.

VS1VS2VS3VS4VS5Decided to change the camera setting to night mode and see what I got. Now I know why many people had tripods.

VS6Oops! I held the camera as still as possible. Let’s have another go.

VS7OK, not sharp because I really did need a tripod, but great movement effects. We moved on and climbed as high as possible above the crowds onto the Cahill Walkway which I think is the highest point to look down onto Circular Quay unless you are in or on the top of one of the buildings. From the Walkway we could see the top of Customs House across the Expressway.

VS8VS9Shame we couldn’t see the whole thing. Looking back across the water I got a reasonable shot of the Museum of Contemporary Art with the bridge in the background.

VS10Note the crowds and this was a less busy section. As we moved towards any of the main attractions it became more and more dense.

This is just a small sampling of a weird and wonderful experience, if a bit overwhelming at times.



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Prints Charming – Screen Printing Workshop

All week I’ve been making chemical water, thickened paste, mixing dye colours and trialling my dye screen-printing. Today I took a time out from that while my prints are batching and attended another screen printing workshop.

Prints Charming 1This one day event, run by Cath Derksema of Prints Charming, was a delight after my not-so-great experience a month ago elsewhere. Prints Charming 2Cath is an experienced printer and designer with a long history in the textiles industry. In the early ’90s she developed “Art Park” a multifaceted design studio designing prints for manufacturers including Seafolly, Billabong, Carla Zampatti, Table 8, Target and Woolworths (the Australian one, not UK). Prints Charming 3In 2002 she created “Prints Charming” selling into America and now locally through Spotlight.

Prints Charming 4A few of her currently available designs are featured here. Most of the samples she showed us were large crisp uncluttered images printed onto predyed fabric bases. I was particularly interested in looking at the same design printed in different colourways as per the two pictures above on the left.

The day was aimed at paper stencil cutting and overprinting. We were given white cotton, medium weight, around 1 x 1.5 metre to work on with several small sample pieces for us to use for initial trials.PC 7

Cath uses Aquatex fabric colours which come in concentrate form and are mixed with a clear bonder, or you could call it an extender, before use. This picture shows a few of the colours we could use because we had already made our initial choices and taken them to our workstations. There was certainly no shortage and we mixed other variations as we went.

PC 6Cath cut a simple stencil and showed us how to apply it to fabric, how to correctly hold the squeegee, how much paint to use, how to get a good clear print and finally how to clean up. Her sample is to the left. I’ve not cropped it so you can see the wonderful array of prints she has happening on her drop cloth. Frankly there were enough ideas on that just to get us going!!

I had taken along some of the images I have been developing in my sketchbook for my assignment. They are fairly straight forward and easy to cut, not too involved for paper stencils and easily repeatable when they are saturated. However, if I were to do this again I would use my plastic paper instead of photocopy paper then I could wash my stencils for reuse because I quite liked them but they are now in the bin of course. Here is the piece I came home with:

PC 8I’m extremely happy with what I learned today and the result I got. The print registration was done by eye alone, there was no measuring and I’ve done a set of 6 full repeats plus some partials. The only random part are the pink motifs which have been placed haphazardly where I felt so inclined to put them. This now needs to be heat set before using and I’m thinking of tea dyeing the whole thing afterwards as it seems a bit stark, but we’ll see.

Positives from the day:

  • The chance to use yet another type of fabric paint and I’ve found I much prefer this brand to my Derivan ones. They are less ‘plastic’ looking and alter the hand of the fabric to a much lesser degree. I’m told that once they are heat set that reduces even further.
  • Still on paint – it was terrific to see how easy it is to mix and ‘dilute’ colours to achieve very different effects.
  • An opportunity to see how a professional prints, explore her method and see how that fits with the way I work.
  • I learned that this process can be quite quick and fun and less laborious than I have currently been doing. So a change in my own practice will now be made.
  • I was delighted to see the different stencil designs from each participant and how they built their surfaces. This has given me food for thought regarding my future work.

Negatives from the day:

  • It’s over.

http://www.dynamiccoatings.com.au – Aquatex fabric paints and mediums
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Screen Printing Workshop

I’ve been reading up on screen printing and collecting materials for my current assignment. I did a two day course about 4 years ago but have forgotten pretty much most of what we did so thought I would do a one day refresher. It was certainly an eye-opener. Some aspects were very interesting and informative whilst other parts were pretty abysmal, but they clearly demonstrated some of the dos and don’ts of the process.


  • A bound folder of comprehensive notes detailing 17 different resist and pattern making techniques.
  • The opportunity to see and try some of the above techniques with a tutor advising.
  • Each participant wanted to print for different reasons and on different surfaces so a wide variety of questions were asked and answered, a lot of which would not have occurred to me working alone at home.
  • An explanation of the slightly padded printing board/surface – even though we weren’t allowed to use the one there and worked on folded towels.


  • Disorganised, unprepared and products not readily to hand.
  • Old and unprepared wooden frames. These had not been either varnished or protected by any tape so the main one we were using had slightly warped. Insufficient frames for one per person (there were 7 of us) so we all used the same one in rotation for each technique.
  • Tutor admitted frames were not routinely cleaned in a timely manner so the meshes were stained making it difficult to see through for accurate placement. There were also a couple of small holes/tears in one of the meshes.
  • Fabric paints were old, end of tubs, and tutor commented that she wished to use up old stock. Paints had separated and were ‘moussy’ indicating they were coming to the end of their usable life (tutor’s words). Colour palette limited to green, red, blue and a smidge of old globular yellow.
  • No layering process covered.
  • No information re blended colour or using multiple colours together.
  • Fabrics were not pinned or secured in place during printing so multiple people had to help out for each print.

Whilst this sounds pretty poor it did provide a lot of knowledge concerning what can be done better and I’ve prepared my equipment and set my work space up accordingly. Here are my results from the day:

Printing 1Powder resist – Left: on paper with the only bit of yellow we had. Right: on thick textural cotton fabric. Due to the speckled appearance I think this technique has a lot of scope for layering on top of other prints.

Printing 2Foliage & masking tape resist – Left: plant foliage used over calico fabric. Right: masking tape adhered to screen with overlay of plant resist print. I tried the green print twice as it simply wouldn’t work. There was speculation that the paint had dried on the screen.

Printing 3Multiple resists – Left: paper, foliage & lace motif resists. Right: various wax resists.

And that’s it for a 3 hour car journey in each direction and 6 hours tuition!!!!!

What I’ve learned:

  • Preparing frames correctly will increase their usable life-span and paint cleans off duct tape much easier than off porous wood.
  • Clean frames immediately after use.
  • Stir/mix paints well before use and ensure they are still usable.
  • Prepare a large print work surface where either multiple small pieces of fabric can be pinned out or a larger piece can be worked on.
  • Have a water source nearby and a hose if possible.
  • Have a hanging or drying area nearby as each piece needs space to dry out, preferably flat initially.

Other points:

  • This workshop used block printing ink. My local art shop tells me that this is designed for paper and dries out too quickly for screen printing. They suggest using screen printing inks (sounds logical to me) as they have a slight retardant in them to avoid this problem. The workshop tutor didn’t know the difference between these two products. I wonder if this is the reason my prints are so poor or was the folded towel base too soft?

I’m starting my own experimentation with Derivan screen printing inks before moving to thickened Drimarine K dyes.

I have another one day screen printing workshop at the end of May and I’m looking forward to seeing how it differs from this experience.

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Isobel Hall Workshop

Textile Adventures BookThe 5 day workshop I’ve just attended with Isobel Hall at ContextArt in the Blue Mountains, run by TAFTA, was enlightening and I gained a lot of new skills – all of which need further practice, of course.

The course, entitled Working with Scrim, was based on her 2011 book, pictured here. The focus was mainly on constructing dimensional vessels but also concentrated on introducing the participants to a wide range of products (molding pastes, mediums, waxes, encaustic, paints, inks and more) which may not have been incorporated into their work before.

I have long had an interest in layering and incorporating mixed media into my textile work and have made many samples over recent years. However, I continue to find it difficult to unify pieces when plastics, paper and pastes are used, as concealing hard edges whilst building an art piece can be quite challenging. This course addressed many of those issues.

Fragmented WordThe Fragmented Word

Scrim, old thin Japanese book sheets, nettle yarn, various pastes & R&F oil stick.


Scrim, colouring agents, plant & coconut fibre, beads.


Builders scrim, fibrous paper, molding paste, paint & acrylic wax.

Class workClass work 1These pictures show a range of items made by the class during the week.

I have another vessel and a book cover yet to finish. A very worthwhile week, with an extremely enthusiastic and generous tutor who, although quite unwell, approached each day with a new range of demonstrations and technical information to stimulate and encourage us in our work. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone thinking of doing a course with her.

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Art Pop-up.

LB pop-upYesterday my husband and I braved the cold, the rain and the shockingly bad parking in Woollahra to visit an art Pop-up. The shop had become vacant when long-term tenants left before the end of their lease. Having been a clothing retail outlet the railings and cubbys were left behind, along with fitting rooms, desk and table top.

The council, eager not to leave shopfronts empty for any length of time are renting the space for short periods until the building is redeveloped, in several months time. Linda Baranov has taken the opportunity to showcase and sell some of her original art works throughout the month of April.

LB podsLinda and I are both members of ATASDA (Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association) so I know her a little. However both of us are also volunteers for the group and don’t get much time to natter or even to get to know the type of creative work we each prefer. So this was a good opportunity to spend some time learning about her and her art practice.

She is very influenced by trees, grasses, terrain and nature. These pods are an excellent example of her work. She has produced a set of four, all somewhat different but unified through their subject matter. She generously shared her creative process with me and I found that added to my interest in these particular works.

LB Rusting metalWe discussed photography and I quickly realised that she takes hundreds of photos wherever she goes and this has given her a large resource to draw on and adapt for her own purposes. She has travelled throughout Australia (and probably abroad, but we only discussed Australia) and is passionate about the colours, differing landscapes and man-made objects she finds in remote places. The camera continues to click away. She has compiled a wonderful book of some of her photographs and that has given me something to aspire to. She has a keen eye for a good picture and the quality is top-notch.

Her current interest is in sheds and outdoor buildings, especially rusting metals, corrugated iron and other corroded surfaces. The two works pictured above show some of this fascination. A lot more yet to come I’m sure.

All in all, an educational and enjoyable outing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Linda.

Photographs by Claire Brach, reproduced with permission from the artist.

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Town Hall clock renovation

Wouldn’t it be nice if all building sites and renovations could be so aesthetically pleasing?  

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