Lino experiments: ‘First Flowering’

'First Flowering'
‘First Flowering’

Having done Ian Phillips ‘ fantastic  Reduction Linoprint course at the end of last year in Machynlleth, (resulting in  the prodution of several versions of the ‘lino rhino’…see below)

I decided to attempt another piece of work to explore the technique further and get to grips with how I can use it with my own work….thinking about the relationships between painting, linoprint and glass.Lino Day 1 (12)



I’ve been looking at crewel embroidery for a while now with its stylised, simplified forms,  and used one of these as a start point for a reduction linoprint.

Somewhat ambitiously, I now realise,  I planned out a  300mm x 300mm, 7 layer print using the bare paper as a white layer, adding yellow, orange, pale blue, green, mid-blue, red and dark blue. It has resulted in a rich and layered result that I enjoy and will explore further in future prints. The image galleries below show the work in progression over several days, starting with a very enjoyable 2-day studio session with fellow glass artist, Sonia Hawking.

The prints are now drying and will be for sale: mounted (£125),  and/or mounted and framed in solid oak (£165). When the prints are ready, I will post an image of each print individually so you can choose the exact one that you want….as well as some images of the frame option.

Layer 1 – Yellow Base

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Layers 2-5 :Orange/Light Blue/Green/Mid-Blue

Reduction linoprinting involves the cutting back of the lino with each successive layer of printing, leading to the eventual removal of nearly  all the original surface. This enables multi-layered prints with (exact) registration, but also means you can’t go back and do it again….so in this edition of 11 prints I experimented with colours and how one underneath affected the one overlaid. I have ended up with 11 similar but distinctly individual prints from the same block…….which appeals to me as a maker of predominantly one-off pieces the rest of the time….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Layers 6+(Unexpectedly) 7 : Red and ….Red

So, by the time I got here I was struggling to keep adding layers as I liked each successive image as it appeared!! However the plan in place was to add red which I did. I ended up adding two distinct tones of red on each print to make some lighter and some darker before the final defining layer of dark blue

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Layer 8: Dark Blue

The darkest and defining layer, addding the deepest tones. Some of the prints have pure blue on them whilst others graduate towards a deep purple. One of the many useful tips from Ian’s course was to avoid black in prints and to go for dark tones of colours instead. Wise words!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dylan Thomas Glass and Poetry Competition

I’m very happy to have been selected for an upcoming exhibition soon to be opened in Swansea and then further afield as part of an International Poetry and Glass Award. A rigorous selection process whittled 66 entries down to 21 and I am delighted to be one of them, not least because I loved making this panel…..

Dylan Thomas’ richly textured poetry is deeply immersive and often provokes, in me, a response both melancholic and joyous in equal measure.

This panel references themes and imagery found in Thomas’ work and seeks to express this sense of being simultaneously compelled and unsettled via the suggestion of unresolved storytelling.

Details of the exhibition, courtesy of the University of Wales, Trinity St David’s website can be found below with more information about the premise of the award and exhibition.

Rachel Phillips
‘Of Joy and Melancholy’ Dylan Thomas Panel 2014

The Dylan Thomas International Glass Award

Swansea has a long history in the field of glass. The course founder, Howard Martin was invited in 1935 to run an evening class at what was then Swansea Art College, two years after he and his cousin Hubert Thomas had successfully set up the firm of Martin & Thomas. After the war the course developed into the Architectural Stained Glass Department and has prospered ever since. The University’s Swansea School of Glass has an international reputation and practitioners from around the world are invited to participate in this competition.

HARMONY : A creative brief

Glass artists worldwide are invited to submit designs for a 40cm x 40cm decorative or stained glass panel in response to the word “Harmony”. During May 2014, a judging panel will shortlist works to be exhibited at Swansea Waterfront Museum in July 2014. At the opening a prize award of £1000 will be presented to the winner with the panel being exhibited for the next year at the Dylan Thomas Centre and then becoming part of the Swansea School of Glass Collection.

All of the work exhibited will form part of a centenary catalogue with a view to a subsequent publication celebrating both of these international awards. It is anticipated that the winning artist and poet will be invited to be commissioned by the University for a combined piece of work as an on-going tribute to Dylan Thomas.

Wythall – First Leading!

As much as I would love to do it, most of the leading  for this project is being done elsewhere so that  I can concentrate on the glass painting for this window. So it was exciting to see the first panels being leaded expertly this week by Owen and Stacey of the Architectural Glass Centre, Swansea.



Wythall Progress…

Thanks to a ‘mislaid’ , (code for ‘buried under other stuff’) camera cable, I’ve been a bit delayed putting these images up showing the next step of sandblasting the glass (this is one of 13 panels and the blasting goes on!!)  in readiness for the meaty stuff  –  painting!

Having painted on the glue resists, these images show the glass before, during and after sandblasting.  

Sandblasting is an industrial process which  involves the glass being etched by a high pressure air jet carrying abrasive powder. I’m doing it in a ventilated sandblasting cabinet and everything gets nicely dusty and dull as  you will see. This process eats away the surface of the glass to leave a frosted appearance and also can create varied colour/texture when used with flashed glass (glass with a thin layer of one colour laid over another whilst molten). This can be seen in the leaves and some of the other colours where the colour has been removed to show the clear glass beneath.

This stage for me is about preparing  the canvas of the glass for painting .Some of the images show the glass pieces held onto a clear backing sheet to see all the colours together (the black dots are plasticine, used to hold them on temporarily!) The thing to remember with all these ‘in progress’ images is that I am working towards a finished idea and this is one stage of many so what you see here is still a world away from the final thing although it does start to give an idea.. .

ps., I’ve not illustrated the glamorous part of the process washing off all the glue resists in the sink – you’ll just have to imagine that bit!