OCA Textiles 3 Sustaining My Practice- Part 3- Informed Creative Development

Assignment 3-Exercise 1 Defining and Revealing My Making

Screenprinting Sampling Processes from Experimental Artwork

Gillian Morris Student No. 511388

Morris (2021) In Crisis-“Help me as I am struggling to want to be here” Screenprinted Dyed Vintage Linen using Intuitive Relating with the Materials
Sampling processes-Preparation of the vintage linen bedsheets for screen printing to explore and research creatively visual representations of mental health distress and crisis with recovery and repair. Vintage Linen dyed various shades of grey to help represent grey matter as the foundation base.

The initial artwork inspirations for the screen-printing processes stemmed from researching visual imagery of neural mapping whereby many creative processes evolved using different techniques and materials. The visual basis of neural connectivity and disturbance, of human identity and connection acted as the starting point for my own creative need to emotionally express what I wanted to communicate concerning the scale of mental distress and the need for recovery.   Mixed media work using several processes including pen, ink, acrylics, charcoal, and watercolours elicited the preferred outcomes, of the increased capacity for spontaneity and immersion, of the realisation of a creative flow. My own personal and professional experiencing was utilised using the felt sense, to use what I had felt and experienced from others mental distress and crisis through a psychotherapeutic process to recovery and repair, towards enhanced resilience and robustness, the emotional toll was extreme and not without its own vicarious effects.  

As is customary with screen printing extensive preparatory work was undertaken given the requirements of such creative processes. The original artwork was scanned at the highest resolution which was 1200 within the Wasps studio complex so every nuance and mark made could be transferred onto the screens. To have the capacity to access such additional equipment and tools like the Brother A3 Print Copy Scanner aided what could be achieved in creative practice. Once uploaded I was able to use the Apple iMac with the latest software installed at Wasps to access Photoshop to prepare my artwork imagery for the screens for the sampling processes. As prepared second-hand screens were available to me many more screens than initially anticipated were used to increase my creative options with the range of mark making realised from the artwork. 

Several different creative artwork arrangements were exposed onto the 49 threads per inch screens and experimented with including single and multiple motifs which originated from my own interpretation of neurons and neural pathways, activity, and connectivity.

There was a mix of screen sizes including 72 x 104.6cm, 27 x 68cm, 49 x 68cm,  82 X 99cm and 91.5 x 132cm to allow for altered scales between the layers of print. Half tones were used  to aid the layering and separation processes as random placements and layouts were preferred. Many creative processes were experimented with to achieve preferred muliple versions. Elements of the imagery were selected to best encapsulate the themes as edge to edge printing was not sought, rather the layering effects were investigated. The randomness of neural connectivity was sought, of the effects of emotional distress based upon actual and/or percived threat, danger, risk and harm as compared with recovery and the calming of the autonomic nervous system.

The linen bedsheets were sourced from a number of sites using Ebay and Etsy as no such vintage linen could be located and sourced locally. Much time was afforded to visit second hand suppliers of linen within Scotland especially throughout Fife and Dundee but options were restricted which was further complicated by COVID-19, the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. I would have preferred a more personal provenance to the linen given my families direct connection with the production of linen but neverthe less I related with the cloth on sight given its age, wear and value. The beautiful quality vintage linen  which was acquired was so obviously used, loved and cherished for many years as most bedlinen sheets had been hand embroidered with initials and miticulously repaired by hand on numerous occasions. The linen bedsheets were dyed varying shades of grey and were cut  to approximately A1-A2 sizes to maximise what could be achieved from each sheet as no waste was sought. The sampling pieces varied as the vintage linen bedsheets were not regular sizes. Of the dyed bedsheets used their sizes included 285x 203cm, 200 x 224cm and 256 x205cm and varied in weight averaging between 1.5-2 kgs.

Preferred Colours Fern Green (including olive, brown and yellow) and Ruby Red (including scarlet and red)
Preferred Colours Fern Green (including olive, brown and yellow) and Ruby Red (including scarlet and red)

There was much deliberation over the colour choices given my narrative, of the need to accurately interpret and convey the emotional meaning of my creative process and work, of the visceral intent. That said the colours used for the sampling processes including colour mixing continued to change as different shades and tones were experimented with to alter the darkness and coolness with the lightness and brightness which was particularly pertinent to this project of work.

Preferred Colours Deep Pink-Sugarplum (including brown, different reds, black) and Faded Saffron (including yellow, black, brown, and olive)
Preferred Colours Deep Pink-Sugarplum (including brown, different reds, black) and Faded Saffron (including yellow, black, brown, and olive)
Preferred Colours Pomegranate (including scarlet, brown and red) and Mid-Grey (including black and grey). Also, light-dark greys were used throughout the sampling processes.
Preferred Colours Pomegranate (including scarlet, brown and red) and Mid-Grey (including black and grey). Also, light-dark greys were used throughout the sampling processes.
One of my favourite colours was taupe which was made from brown and black mixes.

Through extensive colour sampling the preferred colour range evolved. I was led by the initial research processes of neural mapping and related artwork alongside further investigations concerning neural anatomy and physiology, of relatable colours to human tissue. Human brains are generally grey with black, white and red. As living matter, the brain is comprised of nerves, veins, blood vessels, cells, nerve fibres and neurons and neuro-connectors. The white matter of the brain is made up primarily of axon tracts, within some brain cells. These tracts transmit the electrical signals that the brain cells or neurons, use to communicate and are wrapped in a fatty layer called myelin, which insulates the axons and allows them to conduct signals quickly. The type of fat in myelin makes it look white, so myelin-dense white matter takes on a white hue as well. In contrast, grey matter is mostly neuron cell bodies and non-neuron brain cells called glial cells. These glial cells provide nutrients and energy to neurons. They help transport glucose into the brain, clean the brain of excess chemicals and are thought to affect the intensity of the neurons’ communications in the human brain. These cells are not surrounded by white myelin, they take on the natural greyish colour of the neurons and glial cells which looks pinkish-brown, due to the many tiny blood vessels or capillaries. That considered this understanding helped to inform the colour choices especially the selection of reds through to pinks, greys and black along with taupe and faded sienna’s and ochres.

Morris (2021) Sampling processes including the exploration of crisis visually on dyed vintage linen, of the grey matter as the communicational foundation with the layering of frenetic activity including the infusion of red mark making as inspired from the original artwork.
Morris (2021) Many different configurations using more screens and exposed imagery were experimented with through the screen-printing processes using layering to investigate colour ranges, marks made, texture, and their inter-relationships.

Considerable information was gleaned from undertaking such a scale of sampling to ensure there was increased clarity of what felt right before moving onto the full sized dyed vintage linen bedsheets for the final exhibition of my creative work. Since I wanted to clearly communicate the effects of mental distress, to not dilute and distil but to evoke and challenge the reality of such experiencing relating to deep inward feelings I was led by how I felt in response to the screen printing. While this undertaking is theoretically driven it is not purely an intellectual and academic pursuit and endeavour rather the creative process has also been led by an innate, instinctive, and deep-rooted emotional drive to convey something of the neural overstimulation with distress coupled with the neural quietening through recovery and repair, of the imperative nature of support to reduce mental and physical arousal and damage. That visceral feeling was sought and responded to as I progressed through the sampling processes, of that intuitive gut response in-process as I related with the imagery selected, the screen placement and pressure applied through the squeegee use and the application of the inks within areas or throughout the screen. Given its relevance to human biology a range of reds were contrasted with greys to exemplify neural hyperactivity with the sparking connectivity of electrical impulses through autonomic hyperarousal as experienced within mental distress and crisis. When I felt emotion akin to what I felt in therapy with clients at particularly difficult moments of experiencing it felt real, authentic, and congruent to what I was communicating, it then resonated fully with the narrative through this creative process and work.

Morris (2021) Ongoing sampling processes including intuitive relating with grey dyed vintage linen with mid-grey and pomegranate printing inks to investigate crisis at an instinctive and visceral level.
Morris (2021) Ongoing sampling processes including more in-depth and intuitive relating with grey dyed vintage linen with mid-grey and pomegranate printing inks to investigate crisis at an instinctive and visceral level. The layering of imagery including the overlapping mark making was focused upon.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using grey dyed vintage linen with exploration of varying tonal variations and the emotional impact. Pomegranate and ruby red printing inks proved to be impactful for the visualisation of mental distress using a range of marks with fern green.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using ruby red, mid-dark greys with the grey dyed vintage linen resonated well with the overall theme, of communicating crisis.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using black with a deeper pink called sugar plum on the grey dyed vintage linen elicited a different emotional response despite the scale of contrast and imagery used.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using a lighter grey with sugar plum pink on the grey dyed vintage linen created another effect through less pulls and pressure applied on previously used screens.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and aspects of pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored emotional arousal as compared to emotional soothing.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and aspects of pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored emotional arousal as compared to emotional soothing with added complexity.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and increased use of ruby red and pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored greater emotional arousal with the added complexity of white for white matter.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and increased use of ruby red and pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored greater emotional arousal with the added complexity of white for white matter.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and increased use of ruby red and pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored greater emotional arousal with the added complexity of white for white matter.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and increased use of ruby red and pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored greater emotional arousal with the added complexity of white for white matter.
Morris (2021) Examples of ongoing experimental sampling processes through multiple layering effects including taupe, various greys, black, sugarplum pink and increased use of ruby red and pomegranate on vintage dyed grey linen which explored greater emotional arousal with the added complexity of white for white matter.

Through such sampling processes I was able to re-evaluate what was needed for larger scale work. Many of the screens with multiple mark making including use of multiple motifs will be changed as a consequence of such sampling processes. New artwork will be exposed onto these screens using one-off mark-making artwork imagery for the full sized vintage bedlinen sheets. This process of sampling enabled me to experiment with scale, layering, colour, and texture to understand the imagery in use and my relationship to and with it. I recognised the need to scale up and change some of the imagery for the crisis pieces to achieve something more akin to neural overstimulation and mental distress within such increased scale. The textural qualities exuded strength, resilence, robustness and wear in process which suited and matched the narrative, the story telling of personal journeys from mental despair and desolution to recovery and renewed coping, to highlight the need for acceptance of mental ill-health and the need for formal and informal support to aid mental health. Through this visual retelling an increased focus was then on  communicating this process of recovery, of truimph over adversity, of managing to quieten the fear, emotional pain and hyperarousal towards the enhanced capacity to self-soothe and self-calm, to be with self without negative rumination and anxious anticipation, to experience more acceptance, acknowledgement and letting go free from judgement and criticism.

Morris (2021) Ongoing sampling processes including intuitive relating with grey dyed vintage linen with mid-grey and light-grey printing inks to investigate recovery and repair at an instinctive and visceral level. The initial screen-printing processes focused upon the building up of grey matter as the firmer foundation using more freed up mark making from various prior artwork processes including the experimental use of inks and watercolours for more relational and nuanced outcomes.
Morris (2021) Ongoing sampling processes including intuitive relating with grey dyed vintage linen with mid-grey and light-grey printing inks to investigate recovery and repair at an instinctive and visceral level. Different print effects were sought over the hand embroidery including French and bullion knots as part of the vintage linen bedsheets using taupe and sugarplum pink printing inks.
Morris (2021) Ongoing sampling processes including intuitive relating with grey dyed vintage linen with mid-grey and light-grey printing inks to investigate recovery and repair at an instinctive and visceral level. Different print effects were sought over the hand embroidery including French and bullion knots as part of the vintage linen bedsheets using taupe and sugarplum pink printing inks.
Several different creative arrangements were exposed onto the 49 threads per inch screens and experimented with including use of various artwork imagery which originated from my own interpretation of neurons and neural pathways, activity, and connectivity. The imprints which were left on the screen from previous prints was fully capitalised upon in process to further explore mark making, layering, colour, and texture.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using grey dyed vintage linen with a range of artwork including diverse mark making alongside the exploration of tonal variations of grey to investigate the effects for subdued emotional impact to exemplify recovery. Given the scale of artwork undertaken including mixed media mark making many more imagies were exposed onto the screens which enabled greater exploration and investigation of visual context.
Several different creative arrangements were exposed onto the 49 threads per inch screens and experimented with including use of various artwork imagery which originated from my own interpretation of neural pathways, activity, and connectivity. The imprints which were left on the screen from previous prints was fully capitalised upon in process to further explore mark making, layering, colour, and texture.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using various greys with faded saffron and taupe on the grey dyed vintage linen elicited calmer emotional responses despite the scale of contrast and imagery used.
Several different creative arrangements were exposed onto the 49 threads per inch screens and experimented with including use of various artwork imagery which originated from my own interpretation of neural pathways, activity, and connectivity. The use of inks and watercolours produced numerous marks, tonal variations and layering effects which produced multi-layers of textural elements which translated well onto the screens and vintage linen through screenprinting.
Morris (2021) Ongoing experimental sampling processes using grey dyed vintage linen with a range of artwork including diverse mark making alongside the exploration of tonal variations of grey to investigate the effects for subdued emotional impact to exemplify recovery. Given the scale of artwork undertaken including mixed media mark making many more imagies were exposed onto the screens which enabled greater exploration and investigation of visual context.

Through such sampling processes I couldn’t help but reflect upon so many individual therapy processes which I have been directly involved in which has informed my creative relationship with the vintage linen. I have been privileged to be part of such journeys, to witness others at their most vulnerable, at their rawest, of their willingness to share and let me see their hurt, pain and fear, to allow me to help them to help themselves. Such psychotherapeutic relating helped to lead the way concerning the visual representation of mental recovery and repair, of representing such therapy processes through screenprinting and stitching. Through reflecting in process I felt better placed to be emotionally responsive to conveying and communicating what I wanted to say creatively, to visually transfer such emotion into what I was doing in print and stitch. 

Several different creative arrangements were printed out onto clear transparency acetate film and then exposed onto the 49 threads per inch screens. Experimentation included use of various artwork imagery which originated from my own interpretation of neural pathways, activity, and connectivity. The use of inks and watercolours produced numerous marks, tonal variations and layering effects which produced multi-layers of textural elements which translated well onto the screens and vintage linen through screenprinting.
The use of inks and watercolours produced numerous marks, tonal variations and layering effects which produced multi-layers of textural elements which translated well onto the screens and vintage linen through screen printing.
Morris (2021) Selection of sampling on dyed vintage linen with base layers of light-mid-dark grey or/and black printing inks with/without an accent colour to evaluate emotional relating and responding to/with the materials, narrative and context.
Morris (2021) I’m doing better! More resolved sample piece of dyed vintage linen with dark grey and ruby red printing inks. Increased connections with less emotional distress and fear.
Morris (2021) I’m getting there, thanks! More resolved sample piece of dyed vintage linen with dark grey and ruby red printing inks. Increased connections with less emotional distress and fear.
Morris (2021) I’m feeling less scared! More resolved sample piece of dyed vintage linen with dark grey, faded saffron and ruby red printing inks. Increased connections with less emotional distress and fear.
Morris (2021) I’m no longer so afraid! Ongoing sampling of pieces of dyed vintage linen with different screens, artwork imagery and configurations of colours including mid-dark greys, black and sugar plum pink printing inks. Increased connections with less emotional distress and fear.

I continued to be materials led in the first instance as previously reflected upon, to be led by the vintage linen, of its strength and capacity to hold the print and to accurately represent what was printed, of the materials capacity to capture and express every nuance and detail of the mark making which informed the creative process. The plan for the creative process continues to be embedded within the materials response, of a toing and froing between myself and the material, of a reciprocal process of relating founded upon a flexible open mindedness to being fully committed to each present moment and how I am led by my response to the materials response after each individual print. In doing so I leave myself open to what presents itself and do not close myself off to a range of options and possibilities. That said the sampling processes were extended beyond what was initially considered to fully envelope and embrace the emotional resonance of therapeutic change, of a range of stages, phases and shifts to encompass visually.  

Morris (2021) I’m no longer so afraid! Ongoing sampling of pieces of dyed vintage linen with different screens, artwork imagery and configurations of colours including mid-dark greys, black and sugar plum pink printing inks. Increased connections with less emotional distress and fear.

The screen-printing processes required the use of a range of equipment and tools but given the variable sizes of the screens more than one pair of hands was required when the larger screens were used. Several squeegees were used alongside different techniques to apply pressure and to spread the printing inks to realise varying effects on the printed surface of the vintage linen. Ultimately a felt sense was communicated through such use of emotionally charged reflections of growth and repair within the therapy process. Such a creative process brought back such strong emotion of prior experiencing as I felt driven by such feelings to make and communicate the capacity for change, to create something that’s a reflection of me and the therapy process visually. Through expressing feelings, I felt more connected to the creative process and freed up to respond with the material.

Morris (2021) Continuing experimental sampling processes with dyed vintage linen for the exploration of varying tonal variations to visually research the emotional impact. Sugar plum pink and taupe printing inks proved to be impactful for the visualisation of mental recovery using a range of mark making with hand embroidery.
Morris (2021) Continuing experimental sampling processes using grey dyed vintage linen for the exploration of varying tonal variations and the emotional impact. Taupe and mid-dark grey printing inks proved to be impactful for the visualisation of mental recovery using a range of mark making.
Morris (2021) Continuing experimental sampling processes using grey dyed vintage linen for the exploration of varying tonal variations to visually research the emotional impact. Mid-dark grey and faded saffron printing inks proved to be impactful yet more subdued for the visualisation of mental recovery using a range of mark making.

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