Sea Urchin Prints

I live in a town called Ruwais in one of the far corners of Abu Dhabi, it takes about 2 and half hours to get close to any good art supplies so I have learnt to make do with what I can find on occasions when inspiration hits and I'm running out of materials.

I’m currently working on the fashion part of my course and part of it is to come up with a non-repeating print.  The whole project is based on the beach, so I wanted to make a simple print of a sea urchin I found.  With a lack of supplies I had to use the styrofoam method for printing, I have used this technique before its inexpensive but you can get some fab results.  The prints you get are never going to be as crisp as using lino but you do get some really interesting textures.  

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This was the first print pulled, it's always exciting the moment when you reveal the image, I don’t think I will ever tire of the anticipation.

I have been looking at the work of Alexander McQueen and really liked the use of prints in his work.  He uses a digital process and then manages to tailor the garment in a way that the pattern looks symmetrical, reflected and very precise.  It gives the finished garment a very mechanical, other worldly feel.  I used this as a starting point for the background of that print, i simply recreated the types of prints you make as a child where you fold a piece of paper in half.  I think it works quite nicely, I also like that the urchin printed on top isn’t central.

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I was enjoying the printing so I went ahead and made a couple more smaller printing plates, it is such a quick process.  The downside is that eventually the styrofoam starts to flatten and you lose your nice crisp lines, but the worn out print below has its charm.

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I scanned some of the prints and had a play with using my new electronic drawing board, I have a lot to learn but I did somehow manage to lose a few hours just tinkering around. I wanted to completely change the look and get a more geometric print so I used one of the less successful prints and went at it with a pair of scissors.  If I were to have another try at this I would use a different backing paper and possibly combined another print in a different set of colours to contrast the first set.  There is also the possibility of using different shapes combined together.  This has the potential to be a project in its own right, not only just for printed fabric but possibly baking papers, gift wrap and wallpaper designs.

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