Posts Tagged ‘printing’

So, I’ve been thinking about book art and printing. One of the things I have been doing for a while now if trying to make sets of 5 images/works/whatnot, my taxonomy project works.

Working in multiples has been a great option for me. When I do have make time to sit down and work on something, I know it’s not a one and done. This makes the individual item less precious, and therefore I don’t feel like I have to get it just the way I want the first time. I can, and have to, try out a number of different strategies and combinations. Super helpful. Not only do I create more, I also have an easy way to keep at a project without having to come up with an entirely new idea. Also helpful.

Since I am not really an artist, I tend to do a lot of putting things together, altering, mashup type stuff. Less pressure on the technical art skills. My latest set of images combines art and tech.

I started with an old book that had great paper, font, and feel to it. Do other people buy old books just for the paper and type, or is it just me? I’ve done a lot of different blackout poetry type things, so I wanted to do something different. I also happened to be cooking beets. The color is just too wonderful. I took the top where I sliced off the greens and stamped it on some pages of the book, like beet polka dots. Those images sat around my kitchen for a while. They were clearly not finished.

Next, as I wrote the other day, I have been experimenting with Adobe Capture. I am really intrigued by the pattern option where you can turn an image into a black and white block print looking image and slide the scale on the dark/light balance. I made a few patterns of chairs with the app. I cut the images with the school lasercutter and printed them (not only is my office pretty much in our beautiful new library, but I have a key to the makerspace, and it’s summer so no one else is in there).

I first printed the images on plain paper. But I got to thinking–several of the chairs were in the library at school. Library, books, book images, we sit in chairs and read, words are all around, AHA! I decided to print my chairs on my beet polka dot book pages.

I like the images in general. The beet color has faded quickly and now looks more like rings from a wine glass in some places. I’m ok with things I enjoy being used and showing signs of being well-loved. I use my grandmother’s tablecloth; it’s got some spots from her parties and some from mine. So, the red rings kind of remind me of that sort of familiar use (tablecloth, book, chair) that is part of the living of life and permanently marks objects in the process.

I have a few other sets in mind: one with chairs that mixes it up with the upholstered part of the chair, one with cabinets or containers and what they hold.

Any other ideas for sets and combinations?


So, I’ve been thinking about art and technology. In my fantasy life, I am an artist. In my real life, I an educator with access to a lot of technology and art supplies.

Recently I have been using Adobe Capture (the free app version) to create black and white images that I then cut into wood on the lasercutter and print. First, use the ‘shapes’ feature in Adobe Capture. I can use the sliding scale to determine how much black I want in the image. Below you can see the image I was using and how Adobe Capture transformed it.

Next I put the image into Adobe Illustrator, did the image trace, expanded it and deleted a few stray bits. Then I raster engraved that image onto wood using the lasercutter. I reversed the black and white so that the lasercutter cut away all the areas of white, leaving the raised portions the equivalent of the dark areas in the image. From there, I could ink the wood and print it on paper.


The question I have is, although the print is quite nice, I am wondering if it is art. I mean how much did I really do here? I found the chair sitting as is in my house. I did move some junk and maybe a cat off of it. I used the app to take a picture, cropped out what I didn’t want, used the slider to decide the black/white balance, which the app implemented. This is the hard part, in my opinion. I made minimal changes to the image. The lasercutter cut the wood. I inked the block and put the paper on.

I don’t know. I didn’t draw or cut the print image. I made minimal decisions about color and paper. I chose the amount of black and white, altered lighting a bit to get the pattern I wanted.

This makes me think of the picture book Seen Art by Joe Scieszka and Lane Smith. (Our main character ends up in the MoMA in New York and keeps asking if anyone has “seen Art?” Various people talk to him about the works in the museum including the helicopter that hangs from the ceiling, which the other museum patron recognizes for its engineering but admits some wonder if it is Art. Finally, our hero finds what he has been looking for–his friend Art.) As I think about this, I wonder if I can come to terms with this idea be taking into account the lower case or capital a in art. Maybe these prints (I have many more) are not capital A Art (said with deep, serious voice), but maybe they are small a art, which is probably about right for me.

So, I’ve been thinking about another set of works for my taxonomy project. I thought about works that combine sewing or embroidery with prints or photographs. I have pinned more than a few images that I have seen around the interwebs. This work is fascinating to me. I thought I would give it a try.

I had some old linoleum prints from many years ago that were sitting around looking for a purpose. Plus, I may have stumbled upon a few good deals at a local yarn shop before it moved. So, I had the raw materials. However, I found it hard to come up with an embroidery plan; I didn’t really want all of the stitching to be very literal; I wanted some of the stitching to be abstract patterns or designs. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. My first two attempts worked pretty well. To me, these images lent themselves to the addition of some amount abstract pattern in terms of the stitching. In my thinking, they are both reasonably successful for early attempts.

Photo on 2-7-16 at 1.04 PM

Linoleum cut printed on vellum, embroidery thread

Photo on 2-7-16 at 1.05 PM #3

linoleum print on vellum with wool embroidery

The next two images with the stitching that sort of continues the image are just not that compelling to me. I don’t think it’s impossible to create something that relates more to the image and is successful, but I haven’t done it here.

Photo on 2-7-16 at 1.05 PM

linoleum print on paper with embroidery thread


Photo on 2-7-16 at 1.05 PM #2

linoleum print on paper with mohair stitching (socks)


I got ready to post about this and realized that I had set my taxonomy set size at 5 and I only had 4 images. However, I did not really have another unique linoleum print handy. I did have a few other not-so-great prints of the first image so I tried it again; I came up with a new version.

final embroidery print

After even further reflection, I think I might try to incorporate the image a little with the embroidery. I might try it again with the string maybe going behind the one leg so that she figure is in the webbing and interacting with it as opposed to just behind it and totally separate.

This is definitely a format that appeals to me and that I want to pursue. It was really helpful to remember that I hadn’t met my goal number of objects; it made me go back to something I had put down.