Wandering Off – 12th July 2021

Although I have continued to consider and explore ideas around the Vulnerable to Alteration theme I became diverted  following a session folding paper into book formats. this usually happens in the afternoon between tea and the need to prepare supper, when my set tasks have been completed.

I had been handling one of the C17th pieces of woven silk, see here in a previous blog. However I needed a 24cm print for the book design and so off I diverted, using that piece of silk as a design source. I have printed three in a grey colour from silver mixed with black and I hope that they will dry a little quicker than the last time I used silver ink.

Half cut out printing plate

Despite all the disruption of the last year and a bit, I’m pleased to say that Art in the Pen in Skipton Auction Mart is going ahead this year on Saturday August 14th and Sunday August 15th, both days from 10.00 to 4.00. Being an animal auction venue the ceilings are very high and there is plenty of ventilation and space. Visitors will need to book and further details can be obtained from www.artinthepen.org.uk I shall be there with my friend and fellow book artist, Joan Newell as PagePaperStitch.

I did complete the book that I had started in my last post

So far untitled!

An C18th sack dress would take between 20 and 22 yards to make. There would be a very small amount of fabric used for the bodice and most of the yardage was used in the skirt, which was sewn into panels of waist to heel length, along the selvages. This was then pleated to fit the waist, or as in a sack dress pleated from the back neckline. There are very few unaltered dresses in collections, the fabric was too expensive to waste. 

Over the years I have altered clothing for various reasons and I know that to make the whole process worthwhile and successful a lot of planning has to go into it, the first dress having been developed from a pattern, my alterations are evolving from my head!

So this image shows the beginning of a redesign of the plates used in the book shown here, from a blog from last November. I cut each plate up a little more so that the exposed designs were on both sides of the plate. The numbers on the reverse depict what size of print I can obtain from each plate. That is as far as I have managed to get. There may well be a delay as my husband is sanding and then painting the studio windows and this isn’t conducive to printing!

And my reading list, soon I shall be on the top shelf where the short books are!

Book Making, Printing

Inching Forward – 21st June 2021

After giving much thought to ‘Vulnerable to Alteration’ over the last few weeks, my mind wandered around those words to ‘Alter and Adapt’ or perhaps ‘Adapt and Alter’ – the latter seeming to be appropriate during these times.

I have over the years made my own clothes, from dresses to coats and suits. I remember Aran sweaters knitted for myself and my husband, which, when the sleeves wore out, I turned them into cushions, not quite altering or adapting, but yet making use for a different situation and place. 

There are records of a lady at the English Court in the C18th who altered her  Court dress eight times for different Seasons as it was just too expensive to buy new. This seemed to be a planned campaign on her behalf.

So many aspects to Adapting and Altering. I always save the linen fabric from clothes, as I love the texture, and now I make our face masks from them!

I’m sure that we can all come up with examples of alterations, which cover necessity and practical through to the creative and decorative.

So from these vague thoughts I looked again at my work over the last year. There were some printing plates which had had very few runs through the press, so I looked at them again, how could they be altered, and coupled with a different book format that I had devised whilst playing around with paper, I came up with a book.

Three different sizes were made before I could decide

It was a challenge as I had to print on both sides of the paper. I used Indian cotton rag paper which has lovely frilly edges and an indigo ink, so that the effect wasn’t too hard.

One side
The other side

Here are the pages folded together, they have yet to be bound and covered, which I shall do when they are completely dry.

All folded together

And my reading pile, not too many books, as the weather has been dry so offering many opportunities to dig and weed the garden.


What’s Next? – May 31st 2021

Although I’m quite sure that there will be more on the subject of Alteration I wanted to turn my mind to an opportunity to apply for selection in an exhibition next year.

On first considering the title I was stumped, it didn’t seem one for me, but that is the challenge. I didn’t feel that I wanted to depart from my style and subject too far and I mulled over the possibilities, let it lie dormant for a while and then it came to me, thankfully!

Worked my samples and from these I was able to work up a mock book with the correct sizings, I printed over 100 2cm blind prints, in black and red, allowed them to dry and sewed them in sets of 10, as my trial in my notebook.

Now I need a wet day to pull all the components together, the garden seems to have taken me over at the minute!

Slim pickings for the books this time