Monthly Archives: May 2020

Stamping, stamping and more stamping

The stamping experiments continue! Ironically, there has been something very liberating about restricting myself to exploration in one area.  Using the outie form* of my stamps and pastels I returned to a colour palette that was me several years ago and created what I call my relics.  Friends and family would talk about Wendy colours and knew this meant emerald, magenta, turquoise and ultramarine (give or take).  In these pieces, I sometimes augmented the impression of the stamp with additional texture makers and then added more texture by pressing the completed piece with a texture sponge.  This also helped to embed the pastel chalks into the clay.

Many of my homemade stamps were leaf forms and certainly there has been a leafy theme to my latest experiments.  I combined my stamps, pastels and, for the earring components, silk screens by Helen Breil and made a bangle and a couple of forms that I will make into BIG BEADS!!  There was something about these that reminded me of my childhood and some research yielded barkcloth.  This led into a bit of an online rabbit hole but I got lots more ideas about designs and saw that everything old gets new again!! So many of the new fabric designs we are currently seeing borrow heavily from mid century barkcloth patterns!

For lots of inspiration and ideas, you might like to subscribe to Heidi Helyard’s Studio Scraps which is a fabulous read each week.  I get easily overwhelmed by words (I know, ironic!) and Heidi has the perfect sized newsletter of tips, techniques, prompts and links.  And who knows what you might read about in coming months or weeks!?  I also feel a class coming on so watch this space.

*technical terms! The outies are the stamps that have fine raised lines so leave large flat areas when used. The innies have the lines carved into them so leave lines when pressed.  I had a photo of the outies in my last post and here are the innies!

The evolution of a purist…

Hello my darling ladies,

(Going out on a limb a bit there re gender! Correct me if I am wrong)

I dropped the ball a bit with my daily posts (we could all see that coming) but it was mindful ball dropping. I began enthusiastically at the start of the lockdown but the internet got so bloody noisy so I kept wearing my daily earrings and posted them on @sociallydistantearrings on Instagram but stopped rambling on. The internet version of whispering I hope.

I have been walking. A lot. I am very lucky to have a great place to walk within ten paces of my back door. I sometimes spend several hours walking, stopping to meditate or make mandala type thingies. (I only use seeds and pods and leaves as I am mindful of not moving rocks etc.) Then I come home and head to my studio where I have been exploring some new techniques (for me).

True confessions time….when I began with polymer in the dim dark depths of time over 30 years ago, I was bit of a purist. I was…a caner.  And only a caner. I prided myself in saying, often in bold capital letters, no paint has been used. You could almost imagine me crossing my fingers in front of my face.  I loved caning with a passion (if you are wondering WTF I am talking about read this). I still do love caning and I make some really really complex canes.

But over the last few years I have come to understand (call me a slow learner) that caning is just a tool…a process. It is just one way for me to say what I want to say or to express the idea I want to express. Other fabulously exciting and effective ways include surface treatments like painting, texturing, carving and printing.  I have done all these things for ages but realised the purist still lurked a bit telling me that this was somehow less…pure. Well, I have told the purist to be buggered and am having a heap of fun. The best fun is actually combining the techniques.

It was a bit like saying I only cook Nepalese food.  Or I would cook other cuisines but that when I did that, I wasn’t really cooking. Now I am exploring a heap of cuisines now and, guess what, it is all cooking!

Recently, I’ve been looking at the work of a number of ceramic artists and I love how they used stamps. I decided to try carving myself some stamps from scrap clay and then set myself the challenge of using these in ten different ways. This been such a good exercise!! I will post more photos in a few days and hope you enjoy seeing how one thing can trigger such fun!