I used a photo of a lichen from a walk to inspire my first open screen print. The dyes available were darker than the picture, so I decided to paint the lichen in a more earthy colour scheme. Building up the layers I wanted took a lot of patience, but I think it was worth it as I think the final print looks effective. I did another print with the leftover dye on the screen, turning the screen around to get a layered effect, and the outcome looks more snake-like than lichen! To further these pieces, I could hand or machine sew into them to add the texture.
I used a photo a friend took of some fungi to inspire my second piece, as I loved the cupped shape of some of the mushrooms. When painting this print, I didn’t wait long enough for the ink to dry, so some of the colours bled into each other, making the fungi a lot less defined than I had planned for them to be. I wanted the fungi to be growing from a tree trunk, so I added in a brown background that I will machine sew into later to add a more bark-like texture. I did a second print similar to the one I did for the lichen, but as the colours were muddied and there wasn’t as much dye, it doesn’t look very effective.
I sewed into the second print of my mushroom sample using a free machine foot to get a drawn effect. As this sample is muted and the pattern is unclear, I sewed into it using corresponding colours to where I was stitching to give a clear outline of the shapes in this print. The stitch is really effective and creates a more abstract, linear pattern over a watercolour-like base. I included a picture of the back, as just black thread as an outline also looks effective, and as it’s the reverse, it looks like the sample is two separate pieces from a collection.
I also worked into my first lichen print with embroidery to add detail and interest. I stitched in different patterns for different colours in the lichen, and made the patterns very graphic and unrealistic to contrast with the delicate and soft lines of the screen print underneath.
Norma Starszakowna is a Scottish textiles artist who’s pieces explore memory, time and place through physical traces left by people in a landscape. She creates amazing 3D textural pieces using techniques such as screen printing, digital printing, hand painting and rust transfer. I think the rusty colour palette she uses throughout her work is really effective, and this influenced me to use a muted, earthy colour palette for my open silkscreen pieces. I also think the way she creates texture is very interesting and clever, and I want to add texture to my work in a more conventional way, using stitch.