After relishing my experimentation with print, of using an investigative approach with heat transfer printing and dyed polycotton on reflection such printmaking did not have the same relational qualities as my much-preferred screen-printing processes using upholstery linen. Through taking time out to utilise a comparative analysis concerning process and outcome I recognised that I wished to replicate that depth of relating that I had achieved with linen albeit initially on a smaller scale due to lock down and a lack of studio space at home. Not deterred I revisited my library of textile handbooks and available materials that I felt linked to my context, I had some affinity with, and which would enable me some form of reciprocal action in print. Through reading Inkjet Printing on Fabric-Direct Techniques by Wendy Cotterill a range of ideas were generated concerning layering with my artwork especially using collage work and drawings with line and shape alongside photographic and documentary imagery linked to my identity and family history.
As a result, I rediscovered my reclaimed cotton muslin which was triggered by this reflective process and through Lizzy Levy. As my tutors’ feedback for assignment two for the personal specialism course heightened my need to rethink my core focus for print and weave to refine and bring together both in a more unified whole… I started to rethink what I wanted to achieve given how I wanted to be in relationship with the materials I use and the meaning they have. In suggesting the work of Eszter Bornemisza I was reacquainted with her use of more delicate materials in print which could be used in weave. That said I started to experiment with white muslin and layering through inkjet printing which produced a range of effects. This allowed me to establish and develop a more critical dialogue, and meaningful narrative from being in relationship with muslin which enabled continuing development within the follow up phases of inkjet printing.
The feel of the muslin through my fingertips gave me a sense of history and family identity as many of my female ancestors were mill workers involved with the weaving of linen and cotton. Understandably then I have been drawn to the use of muslin, of its touch with its fragility, brittleness and its sheer quality alongside its history and widespread use. A range of weights and weave constructions were tried out so the materials texture could be seen and felt despite the printing processes. The layers of print were made up of artwork including freeform cut out shapes and more constructed collage work from within and out of sketchbooks. The inspirations were drawn from marine and coastal environments, from nature, natural forms and surface qualities abstracted to suit the context in which I work with colour, texture, line, shape, and specific scales. Adapted black and white photographic imagery from relevant sites, areas, formats, and arenas from years ago were used as an additional layer to intertwine my personal history and identity to my making and context. The use of a domestic inkjet printer at home meant care was taken to support the muslin to a backing sheet to enable a smooth printing process for four-five-layer prints.
Examples of old postcards of Alloa Harbour, town and the River Forth as a busy port with a thriving fishing industry and extensive textile mills. A range of old black and white photographic imagery was integrated within the layering of the inkjet printing to incorporate old with new, to link with core themes of identity, environment and context.
Examples of old maps of Alloa harbour, Alloa town centre including the Mar estate, the original streets and the River Forth as well as some of the old mills. The maps or elements of the maps were included within some of the layering of print.
Extensive collage sampling was undertaken experimenting with brush marks, brush strokes, and marks made with acrylic paints to create increased textural effects to help exemplify the sense of delicacy and fragility within the environment using natural forms. The line drawings and marks stemmed from the shapes of natural surfaces qualities as did many of the textural elements. I enjoyed the use of colour and the blending of shape with line and texture within specific scales to enable such ideas to be further increased and manipulated.
From reflecting upon this initial process of ink jet printing, from layering and merging of artwork including line work and collage, old black and white photographic imagery of relevant personal history to context I have learned a lot. I have developed my relationship with muslin in print, of getting to know the material I am more aware of its properties and how it handles the print, how it responds to specific print processes and techniques. In understanding the material more I am better prepared and able to see enhanced options on how I can continue to progress inkjet printing further with muslin.