A very good friend of mine is seriously and chronically ill, and was recently facing a long hospital admission. I had the idea to create a comforting blanket for her to take into hospital with her, covered in patches from friends. I wanted it to be bright and an antidote to the bland hospital surroundings and a reminder that her friends were thinking and caring about her, especially on days where she was unable to be in contact directly. I asked a few friends if they would join in with the project and people were very enthusiastic and willing to spend time making their patches really special. Some people needed help by others in the group to complete their patches and I also got help assembling the piece! It was a great thing to be part of, and I hope she will love it.

Here is the blanket:

Blanket Here are the patches individually:

Ash

this one is mine – signed with a little “Ash” leaf

Alex

Made by Alex

Amy E

Made by Amy

Andie

Made by Andie

Cathy

Made by Cathy

Cuspie

Made by Cusp

D heart

Made by D

D Jackson

Made by D

Jo

Made by Jo

Rachel blackwork

Made by Rachel

Rachel Disc

Made by Rachel

Working on it:

sewing machine

And here it is ready to be set off to her:

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(The Brief for CJT8 is here and what Rachael did is here)

Here is what I sent to Rach.

First a little about my process…

I studied some Barnacles from photos I had taken at the beach. I also have some stuck to a mussel shell that my Mum found on the beach and gave to me. I drew some and then carved the shapes out of a lovely soft printing block. I was given this block by a good friend and have fallen in love with it. Unfortunately it is no longer made! It was very easy to carve (once I had doubled my original drawing size, as the way I started was just impossible to carve. It was far too small and detailed. I am a complete print-making amateur so it has all been trial and error). I tested the print with green ink and this helped me to see where the ink was catching and where I needed to carve a bit more.

work in progress

I also created a pattern based on a photo I took of gentle waves coming into shore. I printed this with silver ink.

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Once it was dry I added the barnacle shapes.

This was my initial intention for the finished project. I wanted to do something to mark (celebrate!) the fact that I now live on the coast, and just found the two patterns (waves and barnacles) and combined them. However, I recently attended a book-making workshop and thought that I could present this print in the form of a book. I flipped through my new book-making book (Making Handmade Books by Alisa Golden) and really liked the concertina design with pockets. I realised I could put two prints together and make four pockets. So then I needed to think of something to put IN the pockets. I know that Rachael likes poetry so I googled for “barnacle poem” not thinking that anyone would have written about barnacles. How wrong I was!

I found this beautiful poem by Sydney Lanier:

Barnacles

My soul is sailing through the sea,

But the Past is heavy and hindereth me.

The Past hath crusted cumbrous shells

That hold the flesh of cold sea-mells

About my soul.

The huge waves wash, the high waves roll,

Each barnacle clingeth and worketh dole

And hindereth me from sailing!

Old Past let go, and drop i’ the sea

Till fathomless waters cover thee!

For I am living but thou art dead;

Thou drawest back, I strive ahead

The Day to find.

Thy shells unbind! Night comes behind,

I needs must hurry with the wind

And trim me best for sailing.

Sidney Lanier – Macon, Georgia, 1867.

Here is how it looks ready to be folded into the book pocket:
Barnacles poem page

I also found a Haiku:

Single barnacle.
What have you ever achieved?
But never lonely.

(http://hikoo.net/haiku/21992Cluemark)

and a quote from Marina Tsvetaeva from her essay: Poets with History and Poets without History:

The wave always returns,

and always returns as a different wave

haiku page

And lastly I found a reference to barnacles in a book I have called “Longshore Drift” by Katrina Porteous (with fantatic images by James Dodds, a print-maker and painter):

Dog Whelk,

anemone,

barnacle

and shipworm,

Sea cabbage,

spotty dog,

brittle star

and keelworm,

Peelers,

Razors,

weevers,

stingers,

Featherweed,

coralweed,

deadmen’s fingers.

Katrina Porteous  – Longshore Drift

Deadmen’s Finger – a type of sea anemone

Spotty Dog – dog fish

Stingers – sting ray

Peelers – soft green crabs

Weever – a stinging fish

Longshore drift page

So along with the CJT8 brief, I had all four pockets filled.

I made a cover, and called the book “Littoral” which is a word I learned in French, it means “coastal” generally, but can also mean the area between the high and low tide marks that is undefined as land or sea. I like that there is a word for this space.

cover

I cut this cover in half to make the front and back. It is made of a textured white card. The cut intentionally goes through one of the barnacle prints, so that even though the back spine is open, the design joins up when the two halves sit side-by-side.

The print-making process was very long and involved a lot of experimentation. As I made four books, and each included two of the silver prints, as well as a cover and each of the poems, there were a lot of prints to be made. I also had to plan how they would be made into the book pages and position the printing in preparation for that. There were some mistakes and some splodges but I had a limited amount of time, energy, paper and space! Some of the mistakes were carried over into the finished books. I had help from my partner with the print-making. She was absolutley invaluable as she fetched and carried the paper before and after printing so that I did not have to keep getting up, as well as cleaning and tidying up for me. It still took us hours!

Here is a picture of some of the prints drying (this took at least three days, as the ink is oil-based)

all prints on table

Here is what the finished product looks like. These pictures are of two books, showing what each side looks like.

both sides open

This is the front cover and the book when open, showing the front and back covers, and the two silver prints inside.

Ifront and open

Here is the front cover with the reverse side open, showing the pockets with the poems in them.

front and reverse open

(The brief for CJT8 is here, and what I sent to Rachael is here)

Here is what Rachael sent to me: First a little book about the process. I re-lived her thoughts and experiences with every flip of the page.

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step 4

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appx 2

Then the actual prints! She labelled them for me…

First attempt:

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Second (more careful) attempt:

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Happy accident:

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Variation on a theme:

 

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My fave (disco remix):

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They are cards. Inside each one was a message about our project and what it means to her. I love the messages and the prints too. Getting each printed card out of it’s envelope was like following the print-making journey. Fabulous presentation!

 

Creative Joyful Thing No.8

 

*Make a pattern inspired by nature*

It could be repetitive and orderly or a random cluster of forms. If very abstract, please state/show your inspiration!

  • You could use printing of some kind to make the repeat images, or not.

Enjoy!

See The Results here and here!

*Draw/design the lettering and appearance of the two words sent to you by Amy: “Word-Mistress”. They are in the envelope.

I will be given two different words which will each pair up with one of yours to mean something*

The words must be the right size so that they can be paired up. Please make each one 10cm x 5cm.

Please send your finished words to me and I will then ask Amy how they should go together with mine and also share them with her.

Enjoy!

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So, the word mistress as revealed the phrases and they are “Summer Gloaming” and “Unbroken Spirit”

Here they are!

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Creative Joyful Thing No.4

*Find a photo, and send it to the other person*

When you receive your photograph, stick it onto a bigger piece of paper and extend the boundaries of the image using your imagination, until it fills the page.

Enjoy!

~~~~~

SO here is what we did:

I sent Rach three photos and she chose one I took of some mud under the bottom of a gate. This is what she did with it!

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This is me, my partner and our dog – brilliant!

Here is what I did with her photo:

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I loved this one – it was fun 🙂

I posted the brief for CJT2 here. Here is what we did.

We both created a starting image then swapped. Here is mine:

The background pattern I took from The Yellow Book of Creative Colouring, by John Adams Toys (aged 8 and upwards!). I have had this colouring book for decades – it is so cool! Just geometric lines. I hope publishing my work here is not a copyright issue, after all, I just did some creative colouring! I also traced most of the seagulls from somewhere but as they don’t look much like the originals now, I don’t think it is a big problem. I am so confused when I use/change other people’s work where the lines fall about right and wrong. I am not making money but I am publishing here… Ideally I would like to just draw my own pattern and birds totally from scratch but it would have taken me much longer and used more energy than I had. But that doesn’t make it right. Hmm. A bit disappointed in myself. Didn’t think I would feel so bad about it. From now on you will be seeing my own (probably terrible) drawing skills exhibited, or at least ones done from tracing photos that I have taken myself!

Anyway, here is what she sent to me:

And here is what she did to mine:

I love what she has done with my original image. She copied it so that she could paint on it, as my copier left the lines water soluble (I tested it before sending). The red was lost but so much gained! Look carefully for the fish – they are sparkling silver on the original. She has put so much work into this and I think it is so exciting to be working together and making things we wouldn’t have otherwise.

Here is what I did with hers:

(Transcript of the text below)

I struggled to come up with a way to make her image into something different, apart from interesting colouring in I was a bit stumped and I didn’t want to erase the original meaning of the self-portrait about the missing filling. I am happy in the end with what I produced, but think she did a much better job on this one!

~~~

Text reads: You want to put your filling under your pillow? Yes I see the hole.

Well, scrap metal prices are high and teeth have dropped in value. What? You thought I did this from the goodness of my heart?

Tell you what – Get a quote for replacing your filling and I will pay for it.

BUT! You must buy an electric toothbrush ‘coz I want my assets kept super-healthy from now on.

Yes! The only money I make these days is from the “final collection” as I call it.

So do we have a deal?

Put your filling and the quote under your pillow tonight.

Sleep well!