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Carving along or how to print souvenirs...

In the last post, I told you the highlights of our trip to Hawaii and I ended by a picture of a whale printed on fabric. So blown away by the wildlife and the landscapes! As always, the nature is the main source of inspiration in my artwork and fabric design. Printing is like a way to extend (creatively) the trip. Actually, I didn't tell you anything about my short stop in Los Angeles on our way to the Pacific islands which was certainly the starter to create this collection of prints.

The date of our flight was just perfect to attend a surface printing workshop with Lotta Jansdotter organized by Poketo at the Line hotel one day before. I wished to attend this type of workshop for a while and I was thrilled when I realized such an amazing coincidence of dates!

In the last 3 years, I discovered the art for block printing and I learned all by myself throughout books and practice. Here is one of my block printed creation, a plaid in gauze fabric that I sewed and block-printed with cactus 2 years ago. I carved this cactus in rubber and I still use it a lot, on fabric and paper alike.

This class of 4 hours was a great opportunity to complete my knowledge and of course, meet the famous designer. I love the fabrics she designed and my wardrobe is full of the models of her book. Ideally, I would like to spend the whole week with Lotta at the print workshop and nature retreat in Aland islands or even more in the awesome one in India but let’s keep talking about real life...

Our supplies were waiting for us on the table and we got a complete printmaking kit including carving tools, a rubber block, stencil brushes and an instruction booklet. And we had lots of things ready to print such as a cute drawstring bag, a tote bag, swatches of fabric, postcards, labels and a note book.

We began by carving and printing with potatoes and then, with the rubber block. At the end of the class we finished by making our own stencil to print our tote bag. Frankly, it wasn’t easy to carve upon request just because you are facing a piece of rubber and you are in class to try how to carve it. It's hard to feel inspired on demand. In fact, I went there without any specific idea despite I signed for this surface printing workshop... For sure I didn’t realize a memorable work but I like this simple check I carved though. I was supposed to be an exercice anyway, right?

Lotta is a very nice person and very good teacher. She shared all her tips and tricks for carving and printing. She successfully and joyfully drives her workshop. Always open to chat, she often has a little joke or a funny comment. She's used to stay away from social media, she doesn't teach so much and spend half of her time in Scandinavia or Brooklyn. She has been able to develop a successful business with her art and I love the way she's able to share it.

And beside the class itself, it’s very pleasant to feel surrounded by people sharing the same passion and curiosity. It's also so inspirational to see what the other students make and create.

Look at this wall covered by our work!

I think we all spent a fabulous afternoon. It's always hard to obviously measure how much you learn with a class. I right away felt it was a positive experience even if technically and in all modesty, I didn’t learn lots of new technics (I already practiced a lot by myself and I’m equipped with good books). But this class aesthetically opened my mind and - it is priceless - I gained a lot of confidence. Then, I went back to the hotel where my family was waiting for me and just turned the page to enjoy my family vacation.

But I don’t know why, 2 weeks later, once back to San Diego, I spontaneously felt an incredible need to print again…

I started by a humpback whale since they were still breaching in my mind. And because I took photos of plants to design fabrics, I picked one of a monstera leaf to make another design to print.

Both, monstera and whale looked great together but I thought that a triptych would be better.

A sea turtle accompanies the 2 first frames now. This print of turtle comes from a real photo too, taken by hubby while we snorkeled. Fin in fin, here below you can appreciate the similarity between the original and the print.

I love this set of 3 prints on unbleached cotton inspired by Hawaii. Now, I sell them on my e-shop (separately or all together for a better price).

I'm also working on postcards. I had this idea thanks to the workshop where we got a few postcards to print on. The same prints really turned beautiful on whote paper. Not yet on sale but it will arrive very soon!

Finally, I think it's more challenging to print fabric than paper. Fabrics absorb more paint and the result is more likely unpredictable. It's more difficult to measure the quantity of paint required by each type of fabric to optimize the details of the design. But the versatility of the process is the key! The pretty is in the texture and appearance of every single unique print.

It asks lots of tries to get satisfaction but how it's really worth doing it!

Every frame is given with a hand printed and coordinated large label! Aren't they cute?

And you, which one do you prefer? Would you appreciate them rather separetely or all together?

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