Thursday, 25 February 2016

Irresistible Dye Techniques - Flour Paste Resist

It was the last of the six week Irresistible Dying Class at NSCCD on Tuesday and we saw a number of ideas and experiments through to completion. 

We had fun experimenting with cochineal dye (natural red dye that comes from a beetle) and the different colours it will create depending on the different mordants used to fix the dye. Alum created a scarlet pink/red, where as vinegar created a plum purple. 

Shiori resist using cochineal dye and discharge techniques

We dyed using different shibori resist techniques, and then combined these with the application of discharge dying (which is the removal of colour) using bleach.

silk resist dyed using cochineal and indigo natural dyes

Sophie explored stencilling a flour paste resist onto cotton. After it had dried she then brushed screen printing ink over the resist.

And making the flour resist was very easy, and much quicker than the Japanese rice paste method.

Flour Paste Resist

150g plain cooking flour
200ml (¾ cup) cold water
150ml (2/3 cup) liquid gum arabic

Mix the cold water and flour in a mixing pot, stirring well. Heat the mixture on the stovetop, stirring continuously until a thick paste is formed.
Allow to cool slightly, then sire in the liquid gum arabic.

Strain any lumps through a sieve (very important if you want to pipe the design onto the fabric. not so important if you are painting or stencilling the design)

Sophie with her flour resist design

A detail of the flour resist
Using a similar resist method, this time gel glue on cotton, the class created an interesting resist which when dried was dipped into shibori. 

gel glue resist with indigo

We also had fun experimenting dying with rust, which is so beautiful in colour, and so easy to do. 

Dying with rust.

I have put together a pinterest board of ideas and techniques here if you would like further inspiration and ideas.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

71 Eunoma

71 Eunoma
30 x 30 x 30
Wood, wire, fire

Things are gearing up as the countdown for my Thesis show begins in earnest ... I have 40 days to go before my exhibition opening and 13 days til my draft Thesis statement is due to be handed in.

Today one of my pieces was photographed for the NSCAD Graduate Exhibition Catalogue, which is designed by NSCAD students Grace Laemmer and photographed by Erica Flake.  A big thank you to them both for their magic x

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Glaze tests with wire

I have been experimenting incorporating wire into and onto glazes. 

Loosely wrapping the wire around the already glazed object I was curious to see what would happen to the wire. Would it melt into the glaze? Or would it sit on top of the glaze? Would it colour the glaze?

Majolica with copper and steel wire test.
Cone 04

The test results were exciting and unexpected. The copper wire bleached into the glaze, creating a green tinge with a smooth surface, and the steel wire became rough and textured like sand paper. 

Shino reduction glaze with copper wire
Cone 6
and gold lustre

The results were completely different when fired in a hotter kiln (Cone 6) with a reduction atmosphere. The copper completely melted and turned black. 

I was also interested to see what would happen if I then applied a gold lustre glaze on top of this effect. Gold lustre fires at a very low temperature (Cone 022) which meant that it didn't affect the previous results from the reduction firing. 

I can't wait to try these effects on bigger pieces of ceramics!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Prints Charming: 2 Colour Prints

My Prints Charming Class is creating some wonderful 2 colour prints, using the registration methods I have taught them.

Willa printed a fox design using the same paper stencil and printing with 3 different ink colours in the first layer: orange, brown and grey.

Willa's first print using the same stencil and three different colours.

She then printed over the top of the three prints using a second stencil with black which provided detail to the foxes.

Grey Fox
Orange Fox

Brown Fox
Whilst the registration for the brown fox was misaligned, it still created an interesting image and depth of field. Even mistakes in screen printing can create exciting outcomes! 

Clive by Lyse

Lyse printed a two colour print incorporating the same registration principles. 

Its wonderful to see so many wonderful designs being created in the course.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

222 Grips for a Stone - the trauma of an object

For many the familiar presence of things is a comfort. Things are valued not only because of their rarity of cost or their historical aura, but because they seem to partake in our lives; they are domesticated, part of our routine and so of us. Their long association with us seems to make them custodians of our memories. Yet this does not mean that things reveal themselves, only our investments in them.   
Peter Schwenger.

Not only does our human existence articulate that of an object through the language of our perceptions, but the object calls out that language from us, and with it our own sense of embodied experience.

This would imply that we as humans project upon objects the experiences of human emotions and qualities, yet at the same time things reveal to us to ourselves in profound and unexpected ways.

My explorations rely on the historical, social and political associations we place upon objects when I create my assemblages. I challenge our associations by placing objects under extreme duress, often subjecting them to immense forces which transforms the nature of the object and consequently our understanding of it.

I am not interested simply in the destruction of materials, but more about their resurrection and transformation.

These everyday objects comfort us through their familiarity, yet there is a tension between the two versions of the object: that of its known past as a familiar functional object (by association) to its current state which bears the scars of the trauma it has been subjected.

The progression of images shows the working process I am currently employing in the studio. Ceramic 'stones' are found, and then 'gripped' or contained by the steel wire woven into basket forms. 
Combining broken glass, and a shino glaze, the object is then fired to Cone 6 in a reduction atmosphere kiln. The results culminate in a glaze that has surface cracks, the wire becomes brittle and sinks into the glaze in places. The broken glass pieces mix with the glaze and run off the object before solidifying again. 

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Prints Charming - printing with paper doilies

The fun continues in the Prints Charming class as we explore different methods of creating a stencil for silk screening. This week we used paper doilies - and by cutting them up the class created some exciting designs. 

Anne's developing her circular doily design

Melissa's spider web design 

Jennifer's space design

It is always interesting to see how three different people will interpret an idea in three different ways to create stunning imagery. 

It is one of the reasons why I love screen printing so much. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Passionfruit Melting Moments

My family generally make gifts to give to each other on Christmas day and almost as much time goes into the thought and consideration of the gifts as it does to the making. 

This year I tried a new recipe for Melting Moments - one of my most favourite biscuits ever. They do melt in your mouth, and the best bit was they were held together with a passionfruit cream. Yum! 

The recipe was so delicious that I want to share it with you...

I found this delicious recipe at  

  • Ingredients

Passionfruit filling

  • Method
  • Notes
  1. Step 1
    Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Step 2
    Using an electric mixer, cream butter, vanilla and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flours over butter mixture. Beat on low speed until a soft dough forms.
  3. Step 3
    Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture into small balls. Place on trays. Using a fork dipped in flour, lightly flatten each biscuit until 1cm thick. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Step 4
    Make passionfruit filling: Using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Stir in passionfruit pulp and icing sugar.
  5. Step 5
    Spread flat side of 1 biscuit with 1 teaspoon filling. Top with another biscuit. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling. Dust with icing sugar. Serve.


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