La Tempête is a one-of-a-kind woodburned silk screen and relief print with collage and painting on copper-gilded mulberry paper on panel.
La Tempête 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
The images come from photographs of lichens that I’ve taken on my hikes in the Rocky Mountains.
I printed most of the lichens onto a thin sheet of drawing paper. The blue ones, however, I printed on mulberry paper and then gilded its backside with aluminum leaf before collaging the lichens.
The result is a shimmer through the blue printing as well as glints of silver wherever I’ve burned through the mulberry paper.
The tip of the tool is interchangeable and comes in a variety of shapes, which make a range of different marks.
More information on woodburning
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.
I named La Tempête (tempest in French) after a storm as chaotic as the image.
For me, storms are about sound, the feel of the air, and the color of the light. I hear clashing in La Tempête’s discordant color and a rumble in the scoring and searing of its surface. And I feel electricity in the shimmer of the gilded surfaces.
I associate La Tempête with violent fall storms. While scary and sudden, they also restore balance when the days are too hot for that time of year or the temperature is swinging back and forth.
It is a reminder to respect Nature, her ability to destroy as well as engender life, and to allow her wildness its freedom.