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Kitty Scribbles

22 Jun

Sparta sketches

Had one of those bitty days today. I carried on carving small lino blocks and as a bit of light relief I had a quick scribble with willow charcoal as Sparta Puss was lazing around.

sparta tools

She has a houseful of beds, comfy chairs, cushions as well as a sunny garden bench with a blanket just for her, but no, she’d rather doze on my sharp lino cutting tools.

 

Baps, Blocks And Book

20 Jun

grow group

Had a bit of a spurt with block cutting today, I carved until my shoulder started hurting. As I age I am more and more aware of the physicality of making art and the need to keep healthy and exercise, especially my arms, hands, shoulders, neck and back. Well that’s most of me I guess 😀

baps

I did some more baking, bread dough, and made half a dozen baps and a pizza, which was a damn fine pizza even if I say so myself. It’s not really practical to go to the shop every day for bread and I’m getting right into making my own from scratch – whoever invented instant yeast deserves a medal.

Colour

And I read and made notes from one of my favourite books by Victoria Finlay, “Colour, Travels Through The Paintbox”. Husb and I are going to start a podcast, an arty one, but also one that’s not highbrow and this is what I’m hoping to base the first few on. We’re planning to go live with it sometime in the next week …. I’ll let you know 😀

 

 

Carving Blocks And Charcoal At The Castle

15 Jun

Lockcook 1

Today was pretty productive. I inked, traced and transferred seven texts onto little lino blocks and cut two of them. These are part of my series of words and phrases I’ve written down through the course of the Covid19 pandemic, from the first day of lockdown. Eventually, I’ll be printing them onto home-made cotton masks.

Lockcook 2

It was really hot and dry so Husb and I waited until early evening before we went down to our allotment. I did a quick sketch before we left the site, of Oystermouth Castle and it’s grounds using Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook.

4 oystermouth

I like working across two pages, especially with square sketchbooks. I take a can of fixative with me when I draw with charcoal, it’s manky and the drawing would smudge badly without being fixed.

 

 

Carving And A Wriggly Cat

14 Jun

zoom home

More of the same today, designing text for my little lino blocks then transferring and cutting. These are numbers 19 and 20 so I think I might stop cutting for a while and get on with printing them onto fabric and making masks.

charcoal cat 2

And I did another quick charcoal sketch of Sparta Puss. She was lying down in the sun, but not asleep so she kept wriggling. I’m giving myself a maximum of 2 minutes to do these sketches of her. She’s a bit on the tubby side….

 

Carving Blocks And The Charcoal Cat.

13 Jun

social kind

More of the same today, transferring words to little lino blocks, in reverse, and carving them. I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases as we’ve travelled through the pandemic lockdown. Eventually I’ll have a whole load of these printed up and made into masks.

eighteen

I’ve cut 18 so far, there’ll be at least another 60 to go, depending how long lockdown lasts.

charcoal cat

For a bit of light relief, I sketched the cat in charcoal.

Compromise, Cat And Cheese

12 Jun

Wash Bday 1

The text on the little lino blocks I’m cutting goes through changes at each stage of the process, partly because of the materials I’m using, from pencil, to ink and brush, to tracing transfer, to carving with cutting tools. But along the way I make adjustments, a curvier bit here, a shorter bit there.

The brush gives me very flowing, curvy marks while the cutting tools give me something more jagged. So the final cut that will be printed is a process of development and compromise.

cheesy cat

And a parcel arrived from The Welsh Cheese Company today. It’s not easy going out shopping at the moment and many smaller food producers are struggling – the supermarkets can weather the storm. So Husb and I have been shopping for some of our food online, which we had never done before, not from the big conglomerates though but from the independent sector. This is our third lockdown parcel from The Welsh Cheese Company, it’s insanely delicious stuff. Sparta Puss was very interested, not in the cheese, it’s the box she fancies.

And an added bonus is that they use wool to protect the goods – and I just happen to need some blankets for my printing press. How cool is that?

blanket

Here’s my press, now I have a blanket, I can try it out.

press 1

Cat Watching

11 Jun

cat watching

I carried on cutting little blocks of lockdown text today, with Sparta Puss overseeing the work. She’s tough on me.

 

From Paper To Block

10 Jun

make do 1

Yesterday I showed the a page of text designs I did for small lino blocks (here) so today I selected the first two that I’m going to carve. I started the process by painting the text onto paper with an Isabey watercolour brush and walnut ink, then I traced the text using 90gsm tracing paper and a 2B pencil.  Then I turned the tracing I wanted to use onto a lino block and drew over the back of the lines with a 4H pencil. This is important – the original in 2B is soft and when I press on the back of the line with the 4H, the hardness of the 4H pencil presses the dust from the 2B onto the block. Once that’s done I draw over the lines on the block with a ballpoint pen because the pencil lines will rub off once I get started on the carving.

make do 2

 

The text goes through several stages, from ink and brush, to pencil tracing, to ballpoint pen and eventually to carving. At each stage I refine the text. Once the lettering is in reverse, I sort of lose sight of the words and start to see the letters as individual pieces of design, which alters them yet again. The first one is cut, tomorrow I’ll do the second. I must work faster because there are an awful lot of these to be done. Eventually I hope to have one block for each day of UK lockdown, which is about 79 days so far.

 

Writing The Changes

9 Jun

phase 2

Now that I have a fresh supply of new grey lino – smells gorgeous – I can carry on with cutting little blocks of text. I have been writing down a list of words and phrases since the pandemic started, well since lockdown I suppose, and it’s been interesting how the spirit and feeling of these words has changed over the weeks, very enthusiastic at the beginning, but things started to fray a bit after quite a few weeks, and then there’s been an explosion of anger over the weekend. To start with, I’ll be working my way through them, transferring the text to lino, cutting and printing onto fabric. It’s going to take a while, there are over 70 so far ….

A Tough Decision

7 Jun

I did something yesterday that’s made a lot of people angry. I knew it would and I knew the risks but I decided to go ahead and do it and also do my best to minimise the risks to others. I went to the #BlackLivesMatter protest in Swansea.

Demo

It wasn’t a hasty decision and I was masked, gloved, sanitised and as I’m an anti-social git anyway, kept well away from others and didn’t speak to anyone else.

It was quite large, but in a very big space and most of the people I saw had masks on – the organisers were handing out masks to the very few who arrived without. Because it’s on the flat, I couldn’t see the whole crowd, but social distancing seemed to be happening around me and not many people were moving around.

My actions upset a lot of people, and I respect their point of view, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. The event was organised with the approval of the police and local authority, the police were there and there was no trouble. I felt it was safer than any shop I’ve been in since lockdown and safer than walking through the city centre, where few people wear masks or move out of their way to keep their distance. Will it cause a spike in Covid19 cases? Time will tell.

I also finished cutting two small lino blocks, printed them onto cotton fabric and they will be made up into masks as part of a large scale ongoing pandemic art project. I’ve been waiting for a supply of lino to arrive and now it has, I hope to move quickly on this. It’s going to be big.

I’ve upset some people by allying myself with #BlackLivesMatter.  Lots of arguments about this online, but I’m not going to rehash them here. The Black Lives Matter movement exists to to build local power and to intervene when violence is inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Please click on the link if you want to make a donation. Thank you.

Some of the angry people I’ve encountered have been very vocal about the late Lee Rigby. The  Lee Rigby Foundation and Lyn Rigby, Lee’s mother, have acted with dignity and grace and requested that people stop doing this and that Lee’s memory is respected. Their thoughts and support go out to George Floyd’s family. The Foundation supports military families, veterans and personnel whatever their ethnic background, creed, sexuality, gender. Please click on the link to make a donation. Thank you.

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