Module ADZ4771 Subject ‘Material Matters’

Monday 23rd October

Taught Drawing lesson 5 ‘Monoprinting’

Please prepare in advance for this session.

Bring in a selection of paper (re-cycled) and the photocopied sheets from your previous workshops which you will be printing on to.

You may also like to photocopy some others from last week’s lesson either in black/white or colour.

Collect and bring in a group of natural form or man-made items and photos which are inspiring to you.

You will need drawing pens and pencils, masking tape, scalpel, scissors, ink roller (I will have some if your unable to get one), Pritt stick, brushes, needles and thread.

You will be printing using various colours by creating marks onto your chosen papers and then collaging and manipulating them afterwards.

Please bring in your sketchbook and the work you’ve completed so far for your formative feedback/group critiques.

Sasha had not uploaded the brief for today’s session, therefore we were not prepared for which tools, media or materials to bring in with us. Luckily, Sasha had brought everything with her, bar the kitchen sink.

Media used:

  1. Kitchen floor tile (used as base to apply ink/paint to.
  2. Masking tape (mask off edges)
  3. Ink Roller (spread ink/paint)
  4. Acrylic Gel Medium (stop the acrylic paint drying too fast)
  5. Range of drawing implements (create marks)
  6. Range of papers (utilising many different surface qualities)
  7. Wools and Threads

A demonstration was given, and I set about getting to grips using Acrylic paint in place of a proper printing ink. The ink I use is Calico Safe Wash Relief Inks by Cranfield. These inks are oil based and also washable with water and soap!!


As you can see, the results are extremely uneven and rather flat. I have used mono print many times before, results have always been good, however on this occasion I am disappointed, to say the least. The acrylic paint was far too ‘aqueous’ and dried way too quickly. If acrylic medium gel was not used in conjunction with the paint then the paint would dry too fast, resulting in the paper sticking to the base, ruining the design. Will try again at home with correct equipment. Could I incorporate fabrics, other media, collage, rip and tear, weave, invert colours, reverse image? Time to explore.


Believe it or not, some of the last investigations turned out to be the most successful. These designs were bordering on Collograph territory, another technique I am to explore further. Perspex sheets ordered, will explore engraving and print. Looking forward to it. There is something so therapeutic about the unexpected result.


Fantastic lectures from my Programme Leader, Keireine Canavan. She has gained a BA in Weaving, an MA in Knit, an MDes in Computer Applied Sciences within Knit/Weave and a PhD in translating Dayak hand weaving processes into digital.

Her PhD involved research into the traditional processes utilised by the indigenous people of Borneo known as the Dayak. Through spending a considerable amount of time with the Dayak, Keireine began the extremely difficult, but rewarding journey, in trying to convert these beautiful traditional processes into digital format.

The Dayak people are considered Animistic, meaning that they believe objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Objects/things such as animals, plants, weather and words are considered alive/animated. This belief is considered a religion of sorts, and in 1944 this ‘religion’ was given the name Kaharingan by Tlilik Riwut, a Dutch colonial resident in Sampit, Dutch East Indies.

(Above) Handwoven Textile Organic Pigment and Fibre. Pua Kumba, a ceremonial cloth. Used in numerous ritual contexts including birth, marriage, funeral, and farming ceremonies.

Being an Agnostic myself, the animistic religion resonates highly with my own belief system; aren’t we all part of the same ecosystem. Earth is home to all life, to understand that we are part of a larger picture, rather than looking inward at our own supremacy, is one of my strongest core beliefs.

There is something incredibly beautiful when looking at the textile of the Dayak people. I can’t help but feel that if I were there I would find it incredibly difficult not to touch, feel and absorb all the wondrous qualities contained within the cloth/fabrics; patterns are mesmeric.

Patterns found within Al Sadu embroidery are just as exquisite as that found in the Dayak textiles, but these patterns are also a language created by the women of the Bedouin people. Although the women cannot read or write, they are fluent in their own creative language, which adorns the most incredible textiles. I was informed of the meaning of some of the patterns/designs found within the textiles:


Keireine In Kuwait, Al Sadu weaving. Look at how many symbols there are within  each length of fabric. There are too many symbols to interpret for me, however I do know a few:

When a camel is displayed (left) with it’s legs as such, it simply means the camel is sedentary . The (middle) image looks like a woman wearing pigtails, with scorpions at her feet. In fact, the image is that of a man with 2 scorpions at his feet and 2 next to his head. How do I know that this is a man? The waist and hands will always be thicker compared to that of a woman. This diamond geometric shape (right) has nothing to do with precious gems, but rather the shape/pattern of water evaporating on sand.

alsaduweaving.wordpress.com………….a fascinating read.


What do colours stand for? What can we tell from them? If we combine colour together can this be interpreted as a uniform, a team or just a happy coincidence? Do colours exude their own strength/power, and how can we harness this energy. Traditional costumes can denote where they come from geographically; a history of colour? Shape, colour and pattern all communicate a silent language, it’s time to learn and master my own.

This silent language has been employed since prehistoric times. Madura Cave, Bulgaria (Left) shows some of the earliest known ‘paintings’, dating from the Epipaleolithic (8000/10000 years ago). Social events are recorded such as religious ceremonies, hunting events and even fertility dances.  The Cuevade las Manor, Santa Cruz province, Argentina (right). Images of hands are negative painted, or stencilled. (9000-13000 years ago). Words are completely unnecessary in this context, images speak a thousand words. Wow.



Intriguing look at the production of Alpaca Wool. I did not know that top grade quality (Suri) Alpaca wool is as prized as Cashmere.


Peru has the fastest growing wool production economy in the world, although it is worrying that countries like China are trying their hand at manipulating the market. China is well known for it’s cheap and fast-fashion approach to production, if it monopolises the market there will be huge repercussions for the Peruvian farmers and manufacturers. As Westerners we tend not to think of such a practice as a livelihood, but in reality these people depend on the trade of their wool in order to survive.

I have huge respect for these individuals who choose this nomadic way of life. The culture and tradition is astounding, although not educated in a western context, these individuals are intelligent and extremely skilled at what they do; if anything I admire their sheer dedication to the craft.

When the Alpaca wool is sheered and sent to the production plants it undergoes radical transformation. Processes separate the waste by carding the wool and washing it, then pulling it apart over tease heads, without wasting any of the product. Waste wool is used in clothing, rugs and mattresses!! What a fantastic idea, maybe we could learn a thing or two about cutting down waste within the UK. This is something I would like to explore within my practice………..SUSTAINABILITY.


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