Friday, 21 December 2018

20:20 Print Exchange - Botanical Screen Print

For the past three years I have taken part in the 20:20 Print Exchange as part of Handprinted's Studio Group. Each artist creates an edition of 25 prints that are sent in to Hot Bed Press. Once of each print is taken for an exhibition. The rest are divided up and sent back to the artists. Each artist receives a box of 25 prints back: one of your own plus 24 random prints!

This year I intended to produce a single layer screen print - a simple design that would be easily repeatable without too much pesky registration to contend with. Is that what I did? Of course not. Whoever sticks to their intentions? Obviously I got carried away and ended up with this four layer botanical screen print.

The layers are all hand drawn individually onto screen film and exposed onto a coated screen. 

I printed the first layer in pale green. I used a small hinged press to hold the screen and acetate to register the layers.

A soft pink layer was next - the registration was not too crucial for this layer as it just adds a bit of colour to the petals. 

The third layer I printed in a dark green. In retrospect I would have lightened this green a little so the contrast wasn't as harsh. 

I thought I would be finished at this point but something was missing. A very pale drop shadow was the final layer, printed with lots of printing medium and just a tint of acrylic black. 

Are there any other print exchanges I should know about? What do you think?



Thursday, 20 December 2018

Vegan Anniversary!

This time last year I was gearing up to attempt Veganuary 2018. 

My Mum had become vegan in the Summer of 2017 so we had already had lots of fun experimenting with recipes for vegan cheese sauce, snacks and desserts. I had been a life-long vegetarian and knew that a vegan lifestyle was possible but I had always been one of those 'but cheese and chocolate' people. My Mum really inspired me to give veganism a try (along with some lovely friends - I'm looking at you Jasmine and Matt!)

I began already been cutting down on dairy and eggs and I had always been a little uncomfortable with the egg and dairy industry but I was very proud of my vegetarianism - I still am! I think being a vegetarian is a fantastic thing to be. It's one of my favourite things about myself. But last Christmas I finished off my chocolate orange in time for New Year's Eve and said goodbye to my beloved cheddar cheese and dairy milk for one whole month.

That one whole month is about to turn into one whole year. I'm as surprised as anyone! Usually I'm a bit of a quitter (tap dancing, violin, architecture, exercise of any kind...) but the thing about veganism is this: you have to choose to eat SOMETHING three times a day. That's three small decisions to make every day. It's not about getting up early to go for a run or changing your life in any huge way. It's just about making three small choices a day until gradually they don't feel like choices any more: it's just what you eat. It's been that simple for me.

Now, full disclosure: this year was not without a couple of meltdowns. The major meltdown being when I really wanted a Wagamama Yasai Katsu Curry and realised it wasn't vegan. Cut to me in tears tweeting Wagamama in pure rage to complain. I very quickly received a reply to let me know that it was something they were working on and guess what? Yasai Katsu Curry is now vegan and I have eaten it at least 5 times this year alone. Obviously this wasn't all my doing (but you're welcome). 

This won't be my first vegan Christmas dinner - last year our whole family meal was vegan (we realised that it only wasn't vegan before because of parmesan on the parsnips and butter in the chestnut roast). It will, however be my first Christmas without Quality Street so wish me luck... 

Has this been anyone else's first year of veganism? Did you try Veganuary? Are you a vegetarian? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments! 


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