Saturday, February 9, 2013

Round Robin Project

The other thing that I've been working on has been "round robin" projects.  With a group of nine women (who all want to be doing more art than they have been), we each started a project, and then each week the project goes to someone else.  This is the first one I've taken a picture of, though many of them are pretty exciting.

This isn't the best picture in the world, and without getting a closer look, it's probably impossible to tell which part I did.

But here's how the process went for me.

When I got it, I was envisioning drawing, in white, a flock of birds flying across the top, to go with the cranes on the bottom.

The white pencils didn't work on the fabric.  I bought some white pens, but that didn't work either.  It'd have to be something else....

But then I noticed that she had already made flying birds in the middle, and the ones I was picturing would be bigger than those, and that somehow didn't seem right.

How about a bigger white bird on the bottom right?  But there was already a bird there, fainter, sitting on the twig.

Dancers then,  in the space in the middle left.  Good--and I had just the image.  It needed to be smaller though, so I reduced the image on my computer.

Now, how to get it onto the fabric, and in white?  I made a stencil with my image.  I rummaged around in the basement but couldn't find the white spray paint.  I experimented with painting acrylic through the stencil.  It worked great on paper, but when I did it on the fabric, it bled into a huge blotch.

I had to let that blotch dry.

I traced around the inside edge with red pencil, and then started hatching around it with a thin sharpie.

I had also bought feathers when I bought the white pens, to use in a soft ground on my intaglio plates.  They'd probably print, and that would go with the birds in the other two parts.  But the only water-soluable block-printing ink I had was red (the other colors were all oil-based inks, and I didn't have any solvents for cleaning off the glass or the rollers).  But red would look good on this fabric, so that'd be okay.  So I rolled out the red on a piece of glass, pressed the feather onto the ink, lifted it, placed it on the fabric, and then rolled over it with a clean brayer.  Nice!

I hatched some more behind the dancers and feathers.  And then some more.  And then some more.

And stuck the feather with the dried red ink on it in the twig.

And then the dog found the whole thing and decided that the stick that it was attached to was a stick, and started chewing it up, so I need to go outside and find a new stick before 10:00 this morning when I have to go meet with folks and pass this on to the next person.


  1. Thanks for the extended notes on process in these last two posts; as I am not an artist myself, I like reading the explanation of how you solved different problems and made decisions about what to do next. The Round Robin idea sounds like a lot of fun! I think I may try it in my music classes. Have you ever done it with creative writing?

  2. We do it several times a year for creative writing. It's really really cool with kids who are really into writing (like in Writer's Club), but it tends to devolve pretty fast when there's a bunch of boys who really aren't into writing all that much anyway.

    1. I hear ya, sister! :) Same for music I'm sure...but still worth a shot.