Project 5 went on forever! I started it in June and completed in September whilst at Preniac! I had lots of drawings that I thought would work well in print and my initial selection worked well in lino cut. I did not, however, feel inspired to continue working with them into a final piece and decided to concentrate on my samples developed at Studio Preniac.
Whilst staying at Studio Preniac, I felt creatively inspired by the buildings I saw during the trip to Cahors and took many photos and made some sketches. I was able to develop some of these ideas and interpret my experiences and enjoyed producing small printed and painted samples to represent various elements of the buildings.
Although all the other members of the group chose to work on tiny pieces and with stitch indoors, I had the urge to further develop my samples and to work outside on a large piece of fabric. I wanted a fairly heavy fabric as I was planning on sticking pieces of my samples onto it as well as painting and printing directly. I tried out some smaller samples on thin pieces of sheeting cotton but they couldn’t take the emulsion paint well. In the end I selected a large piece of calico to work on. This worked very well and had the texture I needed but still allowed me to print clearly with the polystyrene blocks.
I enjoyed creating the background cloth with acrylic paint and diluted ink and think this worked well. I then added the larger pieces of bondawebbed paper to represent the fading signs and samples of discharged ink to represent the railings. The printing with polystyrene blocks then enabled me to add detail.
Looking back at my completed large sample – although I am happy with the scale of the marks in relation to the fabric as the printing and collage is textured and therefore needed the heavier fabric, I do not think the scale of the marks work well in relation to the piece as a whole. The brick block print would have worked better on a larger scale.
When printing with the brick printing block, I was aware of the negative shapes and tried to make the pattern irregular rather than even. The brickwork I saw in Cahors was not evenly spaced and I wanted to capture the feel of this. Having said this , it is the brick work which has a harmonising effect and pulls the other elements together. The random placement of the collaged papers, as well as the splattered paint produces contrast and as a result introduces tension in the piece.
In the other unfinished piece, which I intend to stitch together, I intentionally worked with the harmonising effect of the similarities in colour or texture between the samples. I then introduced a single red piece which I felt the piece needed as a focal point and for contrast. I do feel that this produces a balance that produces an interesting tension.
Regarding the composition of the larger piece, I like the way the background came out but am unhappy with some of the collaged papers. The piece does not really hang together as it is a collection of samples rather than a final piece. I have however, always regarded this piece as a sample rather than end-product – something to be developed further.
In summary, the larger sample gave me the opportunity to follow my creative impulses and was the culmination of a successful sequence of experiments. It enabled me to free up the creative process, without worrying about the end-result. I like the combination of techniques used in the piece and I think it represents well my memory of Cahors with the brickwork revealed from long-ago, ageing graffiti and fading signs. I was not wholely satisfied with the end-result and would like to develop this piece further. Although I was able to recreate my ideas from my experiments with printing and painting on fabric, I feel I should have developed more printed images based on the signage, rather than using photos – possibly using stencils.