A Banner Day

The problem with big prints, for me, is how to hang them in a show. Custom frames cost an arm and a leg, and I need to keep mine, thank you just the same. So for my upcoming solo show at the Napa County Library, I decided to print La Penitente on cloth and hang her like a banner.

Sarah-Hope had purchased a large hunk of white muslin for curtains, but we decided against them, so that’s what I used for my prints. Here’s something rarely seen: me ironing.
Ironing the fabric

While the studio is mostly set up and ready for me to work, it still has miscellaneous boxes and debris sitting around, so for large-scale inking I set up work tables in the driveway.
Inking up in the driveway

I’ve been thinking about doing some prints on fabric for a while now, along the lines of prayer flags, and had done some test prints back in the old house. I am surprised how easy it is to print on fabric; the ink comes out nice and clear, and you don’t have to worry about too much embossing. Here is the first print done and pulled back from the block.
La Penitente on the press

The block just barely fits on the press – that is the rollers just reach head to toe on her. To make sure the top and bottom came out clearly, I did some hand-rubbing with my apothecary’s pestle. If you look closely you can see the block below the fabric.
Fabric with pestle and embossing

A close-up of the embossment around the face.
The face embossed

I like how the texture of the fabric comes through, and, as seen here, how it complements the texture of La Penitente’s wrap.
Fabric texture detail

One small problem: I haven’t set up my drying system yet. I ended up draping the prints around the house.
Drying the prints in the bathroom

After a few days letting the prints dry, I will try to persuade Sarah-Hope to sew hems and loops for hanging with dowels. And then off to the library we go!
La Penitente drying on the press

My work will be on display at the main branch of the Napa County Library from May 31 through June 28. The library is located at 580 Coombs Street in downtown Napa. There will be a reception and artist’s talk on Friday, June 13, 6 – 7:30 pm.

Author: Melissa

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