The very large conté crayon sketch I made, influenced by the detritus photograph below.

How many of us dream about having a  studio? I would love a dedicated space where I would have everything to hand and could leave behind all the domestic trivia that I use to procrastinate!

Last week I had an idea to turn my home into a studio for a day which took about an hour to set up. I removed anything from the dining room that could be damaged by painterly muck and covered my whole table in PVC table cloths that I use when I work out in the community.  I then created a simple printing area by the kitchen sink by folding an old towel between a PVC cloth to create a wipe clean springy printing area, with the inking trays on the draining board.

My paints, inks, drawing equipment etc are stored in boxes in various secret locations around the house, so the best bit of the preparation was to find all these boxes and set them out in an orderly fashion across the kitchen floor.  I then set myself some rules.  This was now my studio, not my home.  If it was a real studio, I would not be able to nip home for forgotten bits and pieces, so I could only use what I had set out, and would have to make do and come up with a creative solution.

I had the most effective and creative day I have had for ages! I was so engrossed I even forgot to make myself a brew.

I wanted to use the day to start to push my ideas for using the tides, ripples and erosion as a metaphor for fragmented memory and time passing.  This is beginning to feel  a little safe and I want to start looking at the detritus that collects in these eroded pockets and tidal pools.

Crosby Beach Detritus: image used for sketching

I am interested in the objects we accumulate as we travel through time and the meanings we attach to them.  With this in mind I collect photos of beach detritus: a mix of the natural, seaweed and shells and the man made flotsam and jetsam, bits of rope, plastic bags and a variety of items that people “flush” away!  I have wanted to work with these for a while, so I chose the one on the left with its mix of natural and man made detritus to inspire me…

This is the lower aspect of my drawing that I used to inspire my printing.  It has an oriental feel.

I rolled a large piece of lining paper right across the table and wondered where to start.  From my kitchen floor equipment selection I chose a pack of conté crayons and started to draw quite large. Very large in fact!  My drawing filled the full table sized piece of paper.  I had drawn horizontally from right to left, but when I looked at it vertically from the end of the table I realised I had created something special to work with.  I stuck it to a door and then took and printed out photos.  I chose the bottom area to continue working on. I translated this into print and, using fabric paint and a foam print from a pizza base, printed a variety of fabrics.  It was then time to wash up, pack up and put away, but what a successful day.  I will try to timetable a “studio day” every week from now on; it was such an effective use of time.

July 3, 2012


Oh for a studio of one’s own! This week I have met two people with their own “sheds” in which they have a quiet space to retreat from the world and create. I was very envious. In the meantime the kitchen is the next best place. Happy printing 🙂

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