I had agreed to be part of an exhibition with the Maleny Printmakers in January at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden at Tanawha. The exhibition is to be held in the Arts & Ecology Centre. I rather liked the sound of this as my first degree had a strong ecology bias and my second one was in art. I was flattered to be asked to be involved, then found the group to be good company as well as good printmakers, so have now joined the Maleny Printmakers.
I planned to do a work around transpiration and decided on a layered work to reference the interconnection between topography, biology and the plants themselves. My process was a cyanotype background, linocut, and then handstitching on top.
I was very pleased with the resulting cyanotype image as I’ve done enough to know that there is always a lot of luck involved in the process and often the luck just isn’t there! It was so simple – gradually drop the leaves onto the coated surface, and move them around now an again. This, however, definitely required a windless day. Exposure time was around 6 minutes in bright sunlight.
There was, of course, a long way to go after my background was finished. Various plant biological components were carved into soft cut lino (mainly for ease of cutting out the shapes themselves) and printed with Gamblin inks. There were stem cross sections, chloroplasts, mitochondria and vascular bundles. The next layer used both the drainage pattern and topographical contours of the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden, and was handsewn on top of the other images. Here is a picture of the finished work.
Transpiration, cyanotype, linocut and handstitching on Fabriano Rosaspina paper. 36 cms x 50 cms.