Tag Archives: Wassail

The Right Combo

17 Jan
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Mari Lwyd (with chine colle)

Spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop making more monotypes based on the drawings I did while I followed around two local Mari Lwyd in December and January. I’m experimenting to find the right combination of ink, paper and glue (for the chine collé). I originally used Bockingford, Somerset then switched to a vintage paper by J Green & Sons (supplied by the Vintage Paper Co in Orkney). Today I just used the J Green paper which doesn’t need soaking, just a little spritz of clean water

Last time I tried out Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief oil-based ink with varying amounts of Extender but found it too tacky, it was quite hard to work the drawing onto the plate and it didn’t want to release the chine collé when it went through the press, so today I gave Caligo Easy Wash Relief ink a go. It worked much better although it was too loose to hold fine detail through the printing press.

Previously, I tried Pritt for the chine collé but today I used ‘YES’ paste which was much easier to apply and stuck the light tissues to the main print perfectly. Very impressed with it. I’ve changed everything from my starting point, it can take some time and experimentation to get the right combo.

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The ‘ghost’ print

After taking the first print with chine collé, I put another sheet of the dampened J Green paper onto the plate and took a ‘ghost’ print which I will work into with artist-quality oil pastels or maybe collage.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Printing The Plate

16 Jan

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After preparing the plate with my image of a Mari Lwyd, I printed it on one of the smaller etching presses at Swansea Print Workshop. For this one I used a vintage paper, by J Green & Sons that was manufactured between 1969 and 1974, sourced from the Vintage Paper Co. I didn’t have to soak it, just a spritz with clean water from a squirty bottle. That saved some time and hassle. It gave a good dense black and plenty of definition.

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I put another piece of spritzed paper through to take a ghost print which didn’t, of course, have any chine collé. I’m thinking of working into this with top quality oil pastels.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Prepping The Plate

15 Jan

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Working from my recent drawings of the Mari Lwyd, I developed some of them into monotypes. I used a piece of perspex (acrylic sheet) and litho / relief ink mixed with Extender (by Intaglio Printmaker). This was rollered very thinly onto the perspex and I drew into it with cotton buds, wooden skewers, scrim and rags.

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I wanted to include some colour to represent the ribbons and flowers that decorate the Mari skull so I ripped pieces of handmade papers made from recycled saris and placed them face down onto the prepared plate. Before putting them down I covered the upper side with glue – I used Pritt – as this is will stick it to the paper I will print the plate on.

More to come ……

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Getting Ready

14 Jan

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I’ve been popping down to Swansea Print Workshop since Xmas, experimenting with reductive monotypes based on my recent sketchbook drawings of the Mari Lwyd. As with most things, preparation is everything and here are some of my photos of getting ready. I’m trying out different papers to print on – Somerset, Bockingford, BFK Rives and a lovely vintage paper from the Vintage Paper Co by J Green & Sons that was manufactured between 1969 and 1974. All these papers are top quality and 100% cotton.

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As I want to include some colour in the monotypes, to reflect the colourful decorations on the horse’s skull, I have a collection of hand made papers to be used for chine collé, some Khadi handmade papers and some lightweight fibrous papers made from recycled saris.

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I’m using two pieces of perspex (acrylic sheet), one for inking and one for the actual monotype and I’ve set these out onto a newspaper-covered table with my palette knife, roller (brayer), oil-based litho / relief ink (by Intaglio Printmakers) and a selection of materials to use to make marks onto the plate – cotton buds (Q tips), scrim (tarlatan), rags and wooden kebab skewers.

Ready to go!

 

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Echo From The Past

10 Jan

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This is the last drawing I did of The Mari Lwyd, Y Fari Lwyd, at Gellionen Chapel last Sunday. Sitting in the pew during the visit from Mari Ystrad (the Mari Lwyd from Ystradgynlais) gave me the time and space to do more detailed drawings than I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when I followed Mari Trecopwr (Coppertown Mari) around pubs in North Gower, which was raucous and hectic but loads of fun.

The tradition of Mari Lwyd was very common until the 1960’s when it had almost died out but it’s now having a revival and it’s terrific to see and draw this echo from the past.

I drew with white, black and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. I’m enjoying this sketchbook, it gives me a good mid tone to work into. I really like this drawing, I might eventually develop it into a screenprint.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

A Thin Veil

9 Jan

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Drawing the Mari Ystrad at Gellionen Chapel yesterday was a much more peaceful experience than drawing the Mari Trecopwr around the pubs of North Gower a couple of weeks ago and I had the chance to take my time, observe and record at leisure. I finally drew the full figure – the Mari’s skull atop a two legged creature in a decorated white shroud, baggy white trousers and white socks. The huge horse’s skull dwarfs the homo sapien below.

The white – or grey – colouring of the Mari Lwyd dates to pre-Christian times and is the colour of animals that could cross the divide between this world and the underworld. White is also associated with Rhiannon, a Welsh horse goddess and queen of the underworld. At this darkest time of the year, tradition has it that the veil between this and other worlds is at its thinnest and some beings could pass through.

Husb noticed that the spiral pattern on part of the shroud is the same as carvings on ancient stone monuments and temples across Malta. Coincidence? hhhmmmmm

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Singing In The Chapel!!!!

8 Jan

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Anyone who knows Husb and me knows that we’re a pair of unrepentant godless heathen. And would be very surprised that we went to chapel today! A gorgeous Unitarian chapel up on Gellionen Mountain, completely deserted and shrouded in this morning’s thick fog. The lovely wood-lined interior was decorated with holly and ivy and there was a chalice and large candle lit in front of the simple pulpit. I did a very quick sketch before the service started with the rousing Welsh hymn, Calon Lân, one that Husb and I hadn’t sung since childhood. Surprisingly I really enjoyed singing it. But that’s not the reason we were there. The chapel had organised a visit from Mari Ystrad, the Ystradgynlais Mari Lwyd and I’m getting a bit obsessed with the tradition of The Mari and jumped at the chance of drawing another one, after following Mari Trecopwr, the Coppertown Mari around North Gower last week.

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The Mari Ystrad was incorporated into the simple and moving service with great hilarity and afterwards we munched on delicious home-made Welsh cakes. Mari Ystrad seems less sinister and more skittish than the Mari Trecopwr and now I’m just going to have to go and draw some more to see how they differ……

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Experimenting With The Mari

7 Jan

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I carried on experimenting with my Mari Lwyd sketch in monotype, getting used to working the ink and how much to leave on the plate to get the best result in the print. This is the one I like best, the density of the black is good, there is plenty of definition on the face of the Mari and the chine collé stuck successfully using Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief ink onto Somerset paper. However, the ink was very difficult to work on the plate so I decided to add some Extender for the next one and see what difference it makes. I also want to try out a different paper. So on to the next experiment…..

 

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Pasted Tissue

5 Jan

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Chine Collé is a technique that applies a fine paper, such as tissue, between the ink and the paper on a print so that when the whole lot is put through a printing press, the chine collé sticks to the main sheet of paper, adding colour to the overall piece. The pieces of chine collé are placed onto the inked plate with the upper side covered in glue or paste – I use Pritt stick.

It takes a while to get used to a process after a break – I hadn’t done monotypes for a year or so – and after printing I realised that I had taken too much ink off the plate during the drawing process, I would have liked the head to have had more definition. I used a Somerset paper, well soaked, but I think I need to try a lighter paper with a smoother texture to get more ink off the plate. The Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief ink might also be a bit too stiff and tarry for this technique. More experimenting needed!

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Menace And Monotype

4 Jan

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I’ve been working away at Swansea Print Workshop since I finished two evenings of sketching with the Coppertown Mari Lwyd last week. I decided to develop my drawings into print and chose a fairly simple reduction monotype technique, with chine collé, as my starting point. This is the first. There is usually a period of experimentation when you start a new series of prints, matching the ink and paper, getting the ink mix just right, getting the paper dampened to the correct degree – not too dry or too sloppy. I’m reasonably happy with it. I’m a bit obsessed with getting very solid blacks and this is much more grey than I would have planned, but I quite like it. The technique lends an air of menace to the image which I also like.

From left to right: Starting to draw from my original sketch onto an inked perspex plate: using various implements for mark-making – wood skewers, cotton buds, rags: adding chine collé – hand made recycled sari papers. I used a Somerset paper and Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief ink mixed about 60:40 with Extender.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

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