Les Fleurs de Givre

Les Fleurs de Givre by Heather Page. Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel, 10.5 inches x 19.75 inches x 2 inches

Title: Les Fleurs de Givre
Media: Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel
Size: 10.5”h x 19.75”w x 2”d
Edition: 1/1
 
detail | process | edition | story | related works

detail views

Les Fleurs de Givre by Heather Page, detail image 1. Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel, 10.5 inches x 19.75 inches x 2 inches
Les Fleurs de Givre by Heather Page, detail image 2. Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel, 10.5 inches x 19.75 inches x 2 inches
Les Fleurs de Givre by Heather Page, detail image 3. Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel, 10.5 inches x 19.75 inches x 2 inches
Les Fleurs de Givre by Heather Page, edge view. Silk screen, relief print, and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded paper on panel, 10.5 inches x 19.75 inches x 2 inches

process

Les Fleurs de Givre is a one-of-a-kind silk screen, relief print and wax grattage on aluminum-gilded mulberry paper on panel.
Gilding is the application of very thin sheets of metal (called leaf) to a surface.
 
For this piece, I glued aluminum leaf to mulberry paper using a special adhesive and then burnished it flat.
 
More information on gilding
We usually make relief prints by rolling ink over the surface of an object, placing a piece of paper on top, and transferring the ink to the paper with pressure.
 
Instead of inking my wood block, I dampened my gilded paper, placed it face-up on a freshly laser-engraved block, and ran it through an etching press. The press transferred the charred wood to the paper, leaving a physical texture as well as the color and smell of the burn on the back of the paper.
 
More information on relief printing
Grattage (from the French verb gratter, meaning to scratch) is a technique that involves scratching away layers to reveal what’s underneath.
 
After having printed the back of paper, I coated its gilded side with a wax mixture, placed it on a relief plate, and then scratched away the wax with razors.
 
Any raised areas on the plate (including wood grain) scraped away, leaving the parts of the plate that I carved out. The result was an inverse image of the relief block in a textured black wax.
 
I then glued the print face-down on a panel. Bits of the black grattage peak through the paper and the edges of the print, as does the glow of the aluminum gilding.
 
More information on wax grattage
We make silk screen prints by pushing ink through a stretched piece of mesh.
 
Images are made by blocking out parts of the mesh. We call this a stencil. For this print, I used photographic stencils.
 
To make a photographic stencil:

  1. I coated a screen with a photosensitive emulsion and let it dry in the dark.
  2. I then placed a transparency—an opaque image on a transparent background—on the screen and exposed the two to light.
  3. Next, I washed out the screen with water. Any part of the screen that was covered by the opaque image washed away, leaving a thin stencil that was the inverse of the image. So, the transparent background in the transparency became a green coating on the screen and the image became open–or uncovered–mesh.
  4. When I squeegeed ink through the screen, it could only pass through the washed-out image area, creating a print that looked just like the image.

 
More information on silk screen printing

edition

Les Fleurs de Givre is a monoprint, which means that it is a unique artwork made with printing plates and screens.

 
More information on editions

story

The Parlour Games Series is about testing the limits of what is acceptable in art we bring into our homes with color, with the degree of chaos in design, and with the subject matter—lichens and fungi spores.

 
Les Fleurs de Givre means flowers of frost in French.
 
The silvery background in this piece, the lacy patterns of the overlapping lichens and spores, and the icy palette of greens and blues mixed with warm oranges make me think of ice flowers on a window catching the sun’s rays at sunrise.
 
I associate ice flowers with the near-silence and calm of a winter morning. Yet I also connect them to growth, as they stretch across my windows. For me, they are a phenomenon of morning, as they tend to melt as the day passes.
 
It is a reminder that Nature can create beauty and wonder, even in the most desolate time of the year.