La Giboulée is a one-of-a-kind woodburned silk screen and relief print with collage on copper-gilded mulberry paper on panel.
This piece is built of strata of different media:
The first layer is the background, which is a fragment of copper-gilded relief print glued face-down to the panel
The print I used to create the background in this piece came from my Reverb Series.
Like the other prints in the series, I first gilded a sheet of mulberry paper with copper leaf.
I then printed a relief print on the back of the copper paper, using newly laser-engraved woodblocks. By dampening the paper and printing the plates under the pressure of an etching press, the burnt design transferred to the paper, leaving a physical texture as well as the color and smell of the burn.
More information on gilding
More information on relief printing
Images are made by blocking out parts of the mesh. We call this a stencil. For this print, I used photographic stencils, which you can see on the image to the left.
To make a photographic stencil:
- I coat a screen with a photosensitive emulsion and let it dry in the dark.
- I then place a transparency—an opaque image on a transparent background like the one on the left—on the screen and expose the two to light.
- Next, I wash out the screen with water. Any part of the screen that was covered by the opaque image washes away, leaving a thin stencil that is the inverse of the image. So, the transparent background in the transparency is now a green coating on the screen and the black image is now open–or uncovered–mesh.
- When I squeegee ink through the screen, it can only pass through the washed-out image area, creating a print that looks just like the image.
More information on silk screen printing
Unlike my later pieces, these lichens came from book illustrations and the internet.
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.
A giboulée is the French term for a sudden downpour, sometimes accompanied by hail or snow.
The combination of drips and puffy, lace-like lichens falling down the surface of this piece make me think of snowflakes during a rainstorm.
I associate storms mixing snow, hail, and rain with the change of seasons and breaks from warm to cool weather.
Because I come from the Midwest, this type of storm also presaged tornadoes in the area.
On one hand, I’m completely terrified of tornadoes, so this kind of storm is linked to apprehension and the realization that Nature can obliterate all in a moment of violence.
On the other hand, this kind of storm is a balancing between warm and cool weather, a much needed break when the weather is going the wrong way.