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…reducio…

If there is one thing I love about the creative life, it is the sheer playfulness of making something for no other reason than to get my hands dirty and make something, regardless of the outcome. It doesn’t need to be perfect, whatever I end up making. It just needs to BE.

I recognised my creative restlessness when I was setting up my list for 20 Before 2020, and included “4 new crafts tried”. I’m not sure, after 3 decades of creative exploration, that I have many stones left unturned, but I will certainly give it a red hot go.

I didn’t start with any preconceived ideas of crafts I might like to try, and instead chose to let the ideas come to me, while allowing myself to be open to inspiration as I cruised around the interwebs (by which I mean, mindlessly scrolling instagram and pinterest…). One such idea I came across a few weeks was reduction printing, on a post by @rarepress, and it looked like such a fun printing method I immediately bookmarked it on instagram and also added it to my list for the challenge that I store on my phone.

The idea is to start with an overall design on a single block, and remove sections on each pass to build up layers of colour and detail to create an overall picture. Being my first attempt, I wanted something small and not overly detailed, that would allow me to play with the concept, without the pressure of getting it exactly right. I pondered for a few days, and surfed pinterest, and in the end decided to create a basic mountain scene as my starting point.

Being on school break this week, means my mornings that would otherwise be dedicated to schooling, are now free. There is also minimal housework to do, as we are selling our house and thus are keeping it at inspection-ready-standard as much as possible, without going completely batty. It has been sliding a bit this week with a lego factory throwing up in the toyroom, but at some point we have to accept we still need to live and relax in this space. So I’m ignoring THAT mess, and instead hitting up the craftroom to make my own messes. First on the list – getting that idea from my head onto paper.

It was so much fun!! I spent a bit of time sketching out the design ad then wrote out a list of the steps to carve in order. Being my first attempt, I did make a bit of a mistake in thinking my ink was more opaque than it actually was, and I carved away each layer in order from most coverage to least, as that seemed the most logical, and would result in the least number of carving errors. This way I could also use the same base inks and just mix in the next stage to adjust.

My initial print was:
*everything but road (to allow the kraft background to be the road colour)
*remove the sky
*remove the mountains to leave the trees
*remove tree trunks and add detailed carvings to the tree canopies.

This then required ink laid down as:
*sky blue
* mix in navy and grass green to create dark teal for mountains
*mix in white for paler tree colour
*mix in more white for paler again in the detailing.

The end result though, is the ink wasn’t as opaque as I thought, and the tree trunks blend into the mountains more than I expected. I plan to rerun this same design, in a different order this time: everything but road, remove sky, remove canopy detailing, remove the balance of the trees. By doing the same design again, it will give me a good comparison to my first attempt, and I should be able to see clearly how the different order affects the outcomes.

It’s been a very lazy kind of week around here. I’ve pottered about designing a diary for Mr12 – which was supposed to be yesterday’s blog post but led to the discovery that etsy has deleted my shop, which led to updating some plugins for my self-hosted shop here on the blog, which led to me breaking my shop and doing more updates, which led to another hour and a half stuffing around with it again this morning. Technology. So fun. Now I have it fixed, look for that post this afternoon/this evening. I’ve knocked out a couple of rows of my ripple. I discovered a book on iBooks that I’d completely forgotten I’d bought (and truth be told, nearly bought a hard copy of, having forgotten I had the iBook), and I’m now half way through that. There’s been lego built and chess games played. Mr5 lost his second tooth, and his toothfairy money burning a hole in his pocket is as good an excuse as any for a walk down town. A tidy craft room that is just begging to be messed up. Plan making and house googling and pinteresting and farm visits. A delightfully chilled kind of holidays. Miss8 has just finished her next Harry Potter book, and is begging for the movie, so I’m seeing a peaceful afternoon in front of the idiot box which should buy me some creative time. I might even be able to get my paints out. Ah holidays, so much laziness, so much perfect.

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