Since I just shared some images of my block print process, I thought I'd post a few photos of my screen printing process this week. Much of my work is inspired by natural elements that I find on walks. The inspiration for this pattern was a beautiful fern I found in the swamps that border the lake. It measured about 24 inches in length and the finished printed pattern is the same scale. The photos above show my watercolor painting and the in-progress painting of the pattern on the screen with a liquid called drawing fluid. Drawing fluid masks the area of the screen that you'd like to print with so that when you cover the screen with screen filler, the drawing fluid can be washed away and the ink can pass through that area. These new cotton Fern towels will be available in my shop this week, along with another pattern that combines both processes of screen and block printing.
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The Buddha Altar print has been in my collection now for a few years. I originally painted it in the summer of 2013. I usually retire prints after this much time, but it’s been a favorite of mine, as well as customers. I do, however, come across people who immediately eliminate it as a choice when they’re making their selection of prints to purchase. The image of Buddha, or perhaps something spiritually related, is not for everyone. This struck me as an interesting phenomenon, after seeing it unfold at several shows, and while filling wholesale orders. It would go something like, “Yes, I love the green color, just no Buddha please.” This led me to contemplate what we worship, pray to, or reflect on, that brings us inner peace. What sits on our altars? A couple of posts back I spoke about nature and how being in nature was a religious experience for me. When I think about the times in my life that I’ve felt most lifted up and light-filled – the moments when I’ve found a deep knowing and comfort about life, even amidst chaos – they’ve been circumstances when I’m connected to nature and wildlife, connected to my own feminine power, or been in the company of those I love. These are my altars – my places of devotion and meditation. With this in mind, I sat down a few weeks ago and started painting tiny altars for these images to sit upon.
Wild Altar is a celebration of the untamed. The gray wolf, being my favorite animal, was my natural choice to symbolize all wildlife. A mother and pup surrounded by feathers, great evergreens, and the shining moon.
Divine Feminine Altar honors the inner power all women possess. An energy and intuition that, once recognized, can profoundly shift our relationship with ourselves, others, and life.
Mother Earth Altar celebrates our awe-inspiring planet, the source of all life. The week I was painting these, I found, amongst the weeds, a single tall bearded Iris. It had been trampled by a storm the night before and the stem was snapped in half. I brought it home and in that moment, I had never seen anything so perfect.
Love Altar symbolizes a reverence for the greatest force on earth – love. A love of family, friends, oneself, our fur babies, neighbors, strangers…the world as a whole. We are nothing without it, and everything within it.
Buddha Altar is where this collection all began. For me, the Buddha Altar represents inner peace, and it encompasses the collective feeling that all of the above images evoke.
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I've printed new patterns on new towels, just in time for summer entertaining. My usual supplier was clean out of towels, which at first, created a bit of a panic. This predicament turned out to be a blessing in disguise though. It forced me to look for an alternative source, and resulted in discovering these beautiful oversized, super soft cloths that can double as small tablecloths for a sweet table setting. I couldn't resist photographing them with my birthday flowers.
The new towels will be listed in my shop next week – after they debut at Clover Market in Bryn Mawr, PA this Sunday.
Full and half aprons are restocked in my SHOP.
I recycle and reuse my printing screens when I've grown tired of a pattern. It requires some serious elbow grease to clean them but it's a good way to keep my supply inventory manageable. There are, however, many patterns that I've used consistently over the years and just can't give up. I've found that sometimes all it takes to give new life to an old pattern is a different color. I printed my 'Mai' pattern in deep moss green on a batch of aprons and it's definitely a keeper.
Three different colors/patterns of poncho tees coming with me to Clover Market this weekend. The peachy-mauve color is from avocado skins & pits. The grey ponchos are dyed with Cutch and then bundle printed with wet leaves that had fallen during a big rain storm. And lastly, the sage green is pomegranate and iron salts - a favorite combination of mine.
I designed these with the idea that the block printed pattern on the Mauve & Sage ponchos would run down the back, but they look just as great with the pattern on the front. Perfect layered with long sleeve tees in the Fall and worn slightly off the shoulder in summer.
One of the things I love about working with natural dyes is that everything is truly one-of-a-kind. It's almost impossible to get the same result twice. These will be in my online shops in a couple of weeks.