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15 @ 40 // day four

15 @ 40 // day four

My creating is very cyclical. If I’m not bouncing from one project to another with the energy of a three year old high on red cordial straight from the bottle, I’m hyper fixated on just one hobby. I will sew 15 garments in a month, or read 17 books. I will make a quilt in 24 hours. I’ll do very little but knit for three months straight, before bouncing off to something else and eventually coming back to y long neglected yarn. Some hobbies are high frequency (sewing of all varieties, and yarn crafts, are two that come to mind), while some are low frequency – I might only pick them up once a year, or even less.

I think part of it comes down to the arts vs crafts divide. It is the practical, outcome driven craft hobbies that I return to more regularly, while the low-frequency options tend to fall very much on the art side of things, making for the sake of making. In part, that comes from what I was exposed to, creativity wise, as a child – handmade clothes and crocheted clothes hangers and knitted baby booties to fill my glory box. Partly too, I think for me it’s easier to justify spending my precious free time doing something “useful”. That’s totally a me problem, I will confess, not something my family are imposing on me. Just me getting in my own way. And of course, I have long internalised “I can’t art“, so I unconsciously gravitate to projects I know the outcome of.

Printmaking has long been part of my low frequency craft rotation. Gelli prints, letterpress, Lino cuts, screen printing. I love printmaking it all its forms – it has the blessed mix of boundless creativity blended with distinct methodical steps that tickles my brain in just the right way. I knew early on, I wanted print making of some variety to feature in this project. When I pulled out my printmaking box, right there on top was a piece of Lino just begging to be used. In the section of my brain that should be used to keep track of dental appointments and car services but is instead occupied with all the cool things I want to make, was the idea of carving some blocks I could use in flexible ways, to create custom fabric or use as part of my gel printing process or add detail to mixed media projects.

I ended up making three different motifs I can tesselate and layer individually and combined. The process was so relaxing, and I can’t wait to use them more extensively in future projects – I already know where one of them will end up. Look for that one later in this series!

Each block was test printed on a piece of calico, and a piece of heavy paper. I used speedball ink** for the printing, and the blocks were carved from easy cut Lino I picked up at my local(ish) art shop, using a speedball cutter**.

Almost as much fun as the carving and printing, was working out how to style and photograph the end result – something I am wanting to push outside my usual comfort zone for during this project. Not only did I love the simple framing of the test pieces, but found myself messaging none other than the minister herself, commenting “isn’t it strange how adding a frame makes something look like art because a piece of Lino and a scrap of paper has no right looking this good”.

It was so hard to narrow down which photos to share, which to me is the sign of a good project. Is it the test pieces that mark this project complete? Is it celebrating the constituent parts? Is it getting messy and going to town with ink on my face and sparking conversation about creativity, stolen time, long projects and motivation. If I can’t decide if it’s process or the product I want to share, then I’ll share the lot and call the whole thing a success.

Today’s post is part of my “FIFTEEN AT FORTY” project, a fifteen day, fifteen project, celebration of creative exploration, to mark my fortieth year and my blog fifteenth. The journey so far has been amazing. The creation of the pieces I plan to share with you over the next fifteen days has been a revelation. I am brimming with inspiration and motivation for what is still to come.

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