I promised a while back that I’d try out and report back on the techniques presented in the books I’m listing on my Recommended Books For Mixed Media Artists page. I planned on doing one a week. Of course, I haven’t been able to keep to this, but just before I fell off a cliff and broke my shoulder, I did have a go at a couple from Lynn Krawczyk’s Intentional Printing, subtitled Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art.
Why Intentional Printing? In the Introduction Lynn describes a personal dilemma, one which most artists – including me – find themselves in at some point, which is about developing a style and being original. She couldn’t solve her dilemma and decided just to experiment. She ended up with a lot of work she describes as, “… misshapen, unattractive projects.”
She took one of her works to a friend and complained about her lack of direction. Her wise friend looked at the work for a bit, then asked the wonderful and terrible question, “What do you want it to be?” Lynn couldn’t answer the question knowing only that she didn’t want her work to be ugly (in her estimation).
She couldn’t answer the question because really, the question was, “What is your life philosophy?” It’s too big a question for a one-sentence answer. It’s overwhelming and it’s what the artist faces every day in his or her studio. At that point Lynn began her journey to style and originality. She didn’t have an answer, but at least she understood the question. I think she’d fallen on a right question.
The images here have arisen from the section in Lynn’s book called Decay Printing. It means printing from found objects not normally used for printing. She describes, for instance, the technique, in word and image, of printing using pool noodles – foam tubes used in swimming pools – aids for keeping afloat.
Over at the boatyard (my husband and I are doing up a boat) and having read this section of the book, I spotted a thrown-away bit of pipe lagging and I’ve used this to make some overlapping circles (a word in my vocabularly for my Below the Line project) on some pieces of cotton curtain lining. The first two images here are actually taken from what has seeped through the fabric onto to my work table. I like these best!
Serendipitously, a neighbour mentioned he’d been reading a book on overlapping circles – about coincidence. I was intrigued and researched it and came up with some interesting information that will adds another layer to my work. These are the ways in which we achieve style and originality, by putting pencil to paper or lagging pipe to paint and seeing what happens. It will always go in the direction of our passion, also known as our life philosophy. The ability to reflect on one’s work and to be alert to coincidences develops over years. There are no shortcuts and it’s painful.
Lynn recommends using acrylic paints on the ends of the foam noodles using a foam paint pad and it worked well on my pipe lagging.The triangular ribbony stampings were made using a piece of styrofoam packing that came with a security light we recently installed on our garden shed.
I’ll write more reviews of this book, which is unusual among art technique books, in that it deals with artistic intention and meaning, too.
Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art by Lynn Krawczyk is published by Interweave.
You can find Lynn at Smudged Textiles Studio.
What found objects do you use as stamps?