Thinking through a stencil design

There are generally four ways to approach the design of katazome stencil – negative (dyed background), positive (dyed foreground), outline (resist lines on a dyed background) and string (dyed lines on a resisted background).  Here’s a simple design illustrating these four approaches. I’ve added bridges where necessary so the structure of the stencil holds together.

simplestencildsgn

 

Oftentimes a single stencil will contain more than one of these approaches.

stencilwcartoon

I am working on a stencil I call  “Spring” – some trees with branches and buds. I want to shift the shapes from negative on the bottom to positive on the top. The problem is how to navigate this transition gradually – I don’t want an abrupt break. I added a area of grass-like lines in the middle area of the composition. After attaching my cartoon to the surface of the shibugami (stencil paper), I sketched in some lines to clarify where I want to make my cuts. I made black marker lines to represent the positive leaves of grass – these I cut between –  and red marker lines to represent the negative leaves of grass. These I cut away.

Here’s the middle section after cutting.

partcut

It’s now ready to reinforce. (See the two “V” bridges at the top edge – these will be cut away.)

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Ice, sky, water

The ice started to go out of the little lake about a week ago.

Have you ever noticed how the wind etches a large scale water-like pattern on the icy surface of a pond? You can see this when the winter is short on snow, as this one has been.
wind_on_ice

I’m seeing water everywhere.

clouds_as_water

For several years now I’ve wanted to make a naturalistic repeating water pattern. I finally got down to it. This will repeat horizontally. It was very tricky to register. I had so much trouble so rather than drive myself crazy I decided to allow the pattern to drift about 1/4″ upwards to the right with each “print,” which will make it look more naturalistic anyway. To accommodate my imprecision, I made sure the shapes at top and bottom of stencil have no straight edges.

Grackles and the Moon

The annual spring exhibit at at the Grand Marais Art Colony is called Rhythms of Darkness and Light, and will be on display March 23-April 1st. Each artist responds to the theme with a new work.

Grackles_and_the_Moon_©_Kit_Eastman

From a distance, the winter landscape can seem drab and monochrome. But up close, the variety of color in the bare branches is astonishing. When I look deeply I can see that each moment contains evidence, as well as memory, of summer and autumn, and the anticipation of spring. The idea for this image came from a photograph I took at midsummer. Walking on a path near the shore of Como Lake in St. Paul, I glanced up and saw grackles ascending a tree limb with the moon directly above them.