This has been a very large section, and once again, it opens my eyes to all sorts of possibilities. There is always a ‘what if’ dimension to each experiment, and the difficulty is in stopping.  My way of tackling this section has been just to try out and see what happens. I have not tried to create end pieces, or have preconceptions on what may happen, but purely tried out techniques to see what works and does not.  Having said that, I found myself developing themes and styles from this free play that was unexpected.

I started with creating blocks from erasers, and thought of the bead necklace. I loved the movement of the print and the way colours could layer. I tried paper and fabrics, paints, inks, stamp pads, bleach, organic stamps from seeds and leaves etc.

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I did not find the natural printing very easy for me, and feel it either was not worth the effort (making blocks of coriander seeds which disintegrated after a couple of prints because the glue was not the right one. I have since bought a glue gun…) or, the result,like the brown leaf prints are ok but probably better done with alternative means, bearing in mind that in Bahrain there are not the large, beautiful deciduous leaves around!

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I spent a couple of days trying to get a monoprint to be successful based on a sketch I had done of an arches intersection in a local building. I could not get it to show the actual sketch, but I got different depths and blurring which intrigue me for depth and suggestion/hints of layering.

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I found myself less comfortable with acrylic paint for the solid nature of the colour, but inks on paper were beautiful for the fluidity and fragility.

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I am reluctant to include the above sample, but it is something I did not like. But that is useful to know. I did not like the solidity, nor the tweeness of the shapes. Also the acrylic paint on the paper napkin diffused too much.

I tried islamic geometric designs for blocks and stamps and found they could be manipulated to remind me of Art Nouveau designs, which is intriguing.

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I became obsessed with linoprinting. There is a fort in Bahrain, which is on the site of one of the earliest civilisations, the Dilmun. In the fort there is a series of arches which are purely wonderful, for shape, light, colour, depth, imagination, textures.. and I tried to depict this in a linoprint. I just became obsessed. I tried with paints and ints, metalics and acrylics, different ways of applying the paints, one colour or several to give depth. Then stencils to give colour to the arch, rather than the relief. Printing on paper, cotton, organza. And then on silk.  And the silk print, when mounted onto netting calls for stitch and embellishment. But I stopped myself.

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I used arch pattern to investigate ink and fabric paint washes, investigating bleach on both of these.

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I have never tried silk painting before but decided this was the time. Once again I did not want to jump in to a ‘pretty picture”, so decided to use the colour wheel concept to try out different aspect, eg wet or dry silk, stamping or brushes, salting, diffusing tones, gutta outlining. I love the vibrancy of the colours and the movement of colour.  I also went back to my work on peonies, and thought to try the leaf patterns on silk, using a puffer gutta. I really like this sample and it would be fun to work with different colours and to build up a design which is strong and vivid, and textural. A work for the future!

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However, I googled dos and don’ts for silk painting and decided to copy an idea of painting on wet silk without gutta, and without sketching. This is the circular flower picture. Oh I do not like the content pattern…. I am not comfortable anymore to copy designs and particularly to produce a conventional prettiness.  Ok, having said that, the process was useful to see how to allow and how to inhibit diffusion, how to layer colours.

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I made myself stop trying more what ifs…….