Tessellation Printing continues

You may remember how we had made patterns from sketches of kitchen implement, then photocopied them, and arranged the tiles.

square tesselation

This week our task was to use a range of materials – lino, soft cut plastic, polystyrene blocks, stick backed foam, string, rice, cardboard, PVA glue – to create blocks inspired by these initial designs. On the left of the picture you can see my three blocks. The first is cut away in polystyrene so that the background prints as white. The cut out is stuck on a piece of acrylic which helps you see through when you are printing. The design stands proud from the block and you get the effect show on paper on the right. The second one down is drawn into the polystyrene with a ball point or pencil. This is a very simple approach and it works great with the polystyrene you get with a pizza, so very easy to do at home. The effect, shown on paper, is the one where only the outline comes out in white and everything in green. And the third one underneath is my attempt to make the pattern using string. You cover a piece of card with PVA, stick the string on it, then cover the string with glue to preserve and waterproof it. Then dry it off with a hair dryer. Each block is about 10cm square.

three hand made printing blocks
My printing blocks

Using the polystyrene blocks I made a pattern with the reversed out and in pattern (while my string block dried).

Reversed in and out pattern
Reversed in and out pattern

Eventually I printed the planned design using a combination of the string and polystyrene cut away blocks that reversed each other. It’s a bit messy but I liked the effect of the string.

Tessellated print
Finished print

My friend Hester (who also works for a housing association) is doing the Art Foundation Course and this is one of her modules. She made a beautiful hexagon print from carefully carved sticky backed foam. You can produce very fine work this way.

Tesselated Hexagon print
Hester’s Hexagons

And Zahra (who is an architect) chose to make circles. Here is her work.

Block printing is very “primitive”  – even compared to screen printing. But that is one reason why I like it so much. Examples exist from 3000 BC – it is so fundamental and basic. Just making marks in wood or another material and then printing from it again and again. I always find the process somewhat miraculous – always unexpected (the print in always a mirror image) – and as the pattern forms, somehow overwhelming. I find printing addictive – and making my own unique fabric which I can use for sewing projects is an additional motivation.

5 Responses

  1. Maggie

    I took a class about printing on fabrics for quilting, and one method that worked surprisingly well was to put the printing blocks behind the fabric and paint over them with a mini paint roller. We used watered down paints and acid dyes mixed with print medium.

    Your printing is wonderful, thanks so much for sharing!

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