Friday, May 13, 2005

November 1910 surface design?

There is nothing new under the sun. I was leafing through one of my magazines from almost 100 years ago looking for images, when I found an article entitled BLOCK PRINTING AND STENCILING. Of course, these poor ladies were printing with oil paint mixed with a mordant of one ouce of acetic acid, one ounce of oil of wintergreen, and one pint of turpentine to make it colorfast. OUCH! I hate to think about the deadly toxicity of this mixture. Herewith, dear readers, a few other quotes... 1910

The materials used in block printing are...silk, linen, crepe or cheese-cloth, etc...not so rough that the finer details of the pattern will be lost....these materials make splendid hangings and coverings.

...the motifs may be taken from flowers, fruit, trees...in fact, anything which is at hand......do not copy nature literally, but instead make the pattern an individual expression of your own idea. Make it symbolic, so that to you every shape means tomething, and do not be too easily satisfied.

stencils are cut from a heavy oiled paper. ...too much emphasis cannot be lid upon the fact that a large quantity of paint applied to a stencil will run on the background and blur the edges of the figure.

It is an excellent plan to try your stencil on a small piece of the material you wish to use. This will show how the colors contrast with the background and how much paint to apply. sometimes when a stencil is worked out, it looks quite different from what one imagined it would.

The (block) printing should be done on a pad made of several thicknesses of paper with a cloth smoothly stretched over it. Hit it several times with a hammer, as it gives a better result than the more or less uneven pressure of the hands.

A good thing to remember is that the most intense colors should be used in the smallest sopts. On linen-colored stuff, Prussian blue used for the large masses, the smaller spots red, orange and blue-green is a good combination; another is yellow-green for the darkest value, with intense spots of red and yellow; also red-violet for the dark, with notes of brilliant blue and red-orange...

If stencils or wood blocks are to be printed on a material that is positive in color, the paint should be dark and more neutral. In such a case, colored silks can be embroidered into the design with a finished border of the same.

Neatness of execution is desirable, as things carelessly done lose the artistic quality they might have were they more carefully done.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would have dropped that last sentence!!!

Helene

Jenni said...

That is really fascinating! And I love the "and do not be too easily satisfied." part.