Ernst HaeckelFor the major part of the project I decided to pursue the theme of natural forms and I came across the works of Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century biologist and immediately felt inspired by his wonderful collections of sea creatures, in particular the contrast between the structured look of the micro-organisms called radiolarians and the more free-flowing ones. I am interested in the structural variations of natural forms and combining them in my next prints. I am also still very much working on the technical aspects of the printing.
I think stripes will be good for wallpaper, as only the top and bottom of the design have to join up and I wanted to do a detailed carving that I could choose where to position on the wallpaper, rather than having an all over design like the repeating insects. There are several different ways I could use these blocks, such as rotating them, overlapping, having the stripes in different directions; I also want to try printing through net to see what effect that has.
I now want to decide on the colours I will be using, as the imagery so far is all quite different apart from having a theme of natural forms, I am hoping that a colour palette of around 5 colours will bring my designs together. I need to start thinking about the backgrounds of my wallpaper, that means either buying some already coloured wallpaper, painting my wallpaper with roller and paint or screen printing flat colour onto the background.
I have varnished my blocks with shellac to protect them and tried oil based inks for the first time, I am pleased with the results and think they have a stronger finish compared to the water based inks I have been using, it also seems to be effective on fabric and is colour-fast. I have started printing on ‘Paste the wall’ lining paper by Graham and Brown, it is not like any other paper I have seen before, it feels like half fabric and half paper and I am pleased that it is not as fragile as the thin lining paper I have been sampling with.
Visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum Print and Drawing Study Collection
The older prints I saw there often had built up layers of stencil combined with block print, I need to experiment with this as it could give a whole new dimension to the block print. I thought block printing might be very limited, but this is definitely not the case. In some papers, many different blocks were layered to create different shades in a single image. I was inspired by the chalky texture of the paint and I would like to achieve this effect.