Friday, November 18, 2011


I’ve just finished up my 7 session “Exploring Surface Design” course. I had a really nice, hardworking group this semester…a real pleasure. The session before this last one, I brought in gelatin plates so the students could do some monoprints. I usually do this for the final class and it has been very successful. Students have really taken a “playful” approach and made some wonderful prints.

This time was amazing to me. It was as if the work flowed out of people. Print after incredible print. And each series so different, you could “hear” the voice of each particular student. To me the prints were like Haiku…beautiful, complete poems. One student began to place two prints next to one another..I read them as pages from a book. This was so very close to a spiritual experience. It was as if each student had found her “voice”.

We talked about the experience in the final class this week. I was not the only one who felt this way. It was if the whole class had been in synch. It was the kind of session every teacher dreams about!

My students have encouraged me to teach gelatin monoprinting as a separate workshop. This is something I want to pursue. I believe it could be a way to open up others to listening to their own voices, to connecting to some wonderful, natural, creative “flow”.

The photos below are a sampling of monoprints from that very special class.

Betty Ford
Janice Knausenberger
Janice Knausenberger
Mary Ellen Campbell
Mary Ellen Campbell

Mary Ellen Campbell

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Carve It Up!" Challenge

I spent some time today getting an entry together for the Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine, “Carve It Up!” challenge. In this challenge participants were asked to design a hand-carved stamp and then send in the printed image with information about the material carved and the tools used. I decided to send in a print of my shell design block. I also uploaded the design on to the “Carve It Up!” gallery. This is the first time that I’ve entered a challenge or uploaded something to one of their galleries. I noticed a “Swatch” gallery of fabric swatches. So that might be a future gallery on which to upload some photos. I know that I haven’t taken full advantage of getting involved with online “communities”. I guess I’ll have to think about that more while I’m getting together a book proposal about the resists. I contacted Lesley Riley and we will be working together again next year. I told her that I wanted to focus on a book proposal. I gave her my blog address and she is already making suggestions about how to improve it! I’m really looking forward to working with her again.

 Below is the black and white print I’m sending off to the magazine along with two pieces of fabric I printed using the block. The block design was based on sketches of a broken moon snail shell which I simplified to make it more “graphic”. I added the small snail shell design to the center for additional interest. I designed this block to be printed in quarter turns on fabric…which is something I enjoy doing with my symmetrical blocks.

Print on paper with printing ink of shell block design
Shell block printed on fabric overprinting an embossed moldable foam block design
Another piece of fabric in which I first painted color washes then printed with an embossed moldable foam block and finally overprinted with the shell block design