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Lino printing Lampshades

One aim that I had for this coming year was to expand on the different products that I sell. While I want to offer a selection of pieces I also want to have as much ownership over the making process as I can. Essentially the more I make the happier I will be. For me being a crafts person, is about the making process and being able to make as much as I can within my own limitations.

Earlier in the year I went on a lampshade making course making a foxy shade with a pre bought fabric. That was a bit tricky but I knew with practise I could easily make more-everyone should have a go! (check out Marna Lunt and BBC4 Craft Britain for inspiration) The printing of a repeat, was a bit more difficult. On my degree I did a lot of screen printing but not repeats. I knew how to draw them out, and design them for interior fabrics and wall paper but smaller runs and smaller designs was a new concept for me.

I started with a trick I use in schools to make a paper repeat. You have a square of paper, you draw keeping slightly in from the sides. You then cut in half straight down the middle, flip them over and attach back together. Then cut horizontally flip and reattach again. Now you can start to fill in the spaces. If you then photocopied this image you could form a repeat from left to right and up and down. I am no technical genius! But I persisted and it worked….on paper anyway, I just needed to cut the square and try to print.

The cutting was fairly straight forward, I just didn’t want to add in too much detail, knowing that ideally id want it in a block colour of black and then printed onto a plain fabric. Too much detail would confuse and make it look over complicated, I wanted clean and contemporary.

Printing the block, I made some classic mistakes! Using a template of paper to mark out the block left a line, a tiny slip of paper made a line that ruined the whole look! It was so frustrating and I will be honest, I had to walk away one day as everything I touched went wrong! Once I got back to it, I seemed to have a eureka moment! I cut more off the sides and made marks with sharpies on the back to help with the lining up and using a fabric removable pen, made rough guide marks directly onto the fabric. I started off using a poly cotton in grey and orange. These both resulted in some really lovely prints, I especially love the orange!

I also tried with some calico but the texture of this just wouldn’t work. The ink looks really patchy and I didn’t think it would appeal; But what to do with the calico? Well basically I love to draw and I just thought if I do a drawing, maybe mark a rough guide of the dimensions of the lampshade then what’s stopping me from just drawing onto the fabric? Answering being nothing!

As a relief from lino cutting-it can hurt my hands/wrists if I do it continuously for a few days, I draw. I mapped out a skyline of London from my original lino print. It came together beautifully.

So I have my floral repeat, my hand drawn London lampshade, my next task is to combine these two ideas in a repeat of Manchester architecture to print on paper and onto fabric……..

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