(written by Gail)
Following on from Mary’s lecture on 5th July about her
travels to Uzbekistan, India and Vienna and how they inspired her work,
we spent a day learning how to apply her transfer painting techniques.
After an introduction to the techniques, we spent the morning preparing
our painted and printed papers. Some sheets were covered with a single
colour whilst others were decorated with mixed colours, printed designs
or washes. We used carved wooden printing blocks, bubble wrap, sponges
and even our fingers to decorate the paper.
Another suggestion from Mary was to photocopy a design and paint it with
a brush. There was deep concentration from everyone while we tried to
keep within the lines. Some of us were more successful at this than
Once our sheets were decorated, we laid them out to dry during our lunch break.
Mary then showed us lots of examples of her work and explained how we
could use various materials and objects to mask areas of the fabric when
transferring the paint.
Cheap nylon lace makes a delicate mask. It also picks up the colour from
the paint and can be used for a second row of printing. Finally you can
attach the lace itself.
Acetate stencils make wonderful masks as shown here. A similar effect
can be achieved with paper doilies. The paper also absorbs some of the
colour and can then be used to make a further print.
Mary’s trips to India enabled her to bring back many examples of local
textile work and design ideas. Elephants feature frequently in her work.
These elephants were printed with a wooden block onto paper first. This
is very useful because you can cut away unwanted splodges of paint and
choose to use your best prints.
Mary also layers up designs with lots of block printing, as shown here,
and then embellishes the design with beads and simple hand stitching.
In this example of Mary’s work, you can see how she created the
background by weaving strips of painted paper then transferring the
paint to the fabric. She then cut out further painted shapes and ironed
them onto the background. Decorative machine stitching gives the effect
We used a hot iron to transfer the paint onto our fabric, making sure
that we used a sheet of baking parchment beneath and on top of our work.
Jean looks very happy to be doing the ironing for once!
Finally, here are just a few examples of our work. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your ideas, inspiration and experience with us.