Process and Practice

From Sketchbook to Squeegee
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Almost everything an artist looks at has the potential to become a new piece of art or a print. The possibilities are endless!
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Life’s happenings are my main inspiration. I’m primarily attracted to colour, pattern and composition and have a more practical approach to my work. Rather than spending hours with a paintbrush, I’m drawing, stencilling, cutting, taping up screens and printing. Its laborious, but I relish each stage of the process. From the first dot on paper to the last screen, hand finishing each print with a paintbrush to sharpening the pencil between each signature when signing the edition.
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I use a variety of resources to develop my initial ideas and find inspiration in books, magazines and online. Designs just happen! They manifest as a vision, then I sketch them out on paper. I sometimes use photoshop, but I like how involved the process is without technology. I don’t have any technical equipment and I being eco-conscious, I am thrifty with my materials and reuse and recycle wherever possible. Ninety-five percent of the used vinyl stencils end up in a sketchbook that accompanies the series.
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Once I have the final design, it’s time to break down the layers into the different colours. Gerry, the keel-billed toucan, is an eight-layer screen print, so I had eight stencils to cut resulting in the eight colour screen print.
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Each layer is transferred by hand onto vinyl and hand cut with a scalpel to create the stencil. One colour is printed at a time, so after attaching the vinyl stencil to the bottom side of the screen all other open areas are blocked up with tape so no ink is transferred through the mesh.
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Mixing colours is such an integral part to the execution of the final piece. Sometimes I am insistent on reflecting the true and magnificent colours of nature - a toucan’s beak for example. I have also been drawn to quality hue by the likes of Farrow and Ball, Designers Guild and Little Greene. It’s hard to resist a dusty pink 'Nancy’s Blushes’, or a smooth chalky 'Cook’s Blue’.
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The ink is loaded into the well of the frame before being pulled across the screen with a squeegee which pushes ink through the negative apertures of the stencil and prints the design onto the paper below.
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In an edition of 20, I will do this 20 times per colour. So an eight colour print edition will see eight screens, 160 times!
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I have videos demonstrating the process coming soon to my YouTube channel.