Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mistakes As Tools Of Growth

Almost every time I've made what I've felt like has been a breakthrough with my Stacked Journaling technique,  it's been the direct result of making a mistake. This week's fun discovery is no different.

As I've been making collage supplies for Festival, I've been doing a lot of SJ monoprinting. A few days ago, I had the plastic sheeting I use as a print plate laid out in front of me and I had just finished writing a Stacked Journaling text block on it with black paint. I was about to lay a sheet of deli paper on top of the plate to take the print when I realized I had managed to drop a big splat of water right into the middle of my design. The water was causing a puddle, making the text in that area blur and smear. Not wanting to scrap the entire plate (that's not a small amount of paint!), I dabbed at the little puddle of water with a paper towel, trying to blot it up. I figured if I succeeded, I would then just journal on top of the clean place and take my print.

Predictably, though, I made a mess of it and smeared even more paint, enlarging the area of distortion. The plate was ruined and I would need to wipe it clean and start again.

In frustration, I wadded up the paper towel and began to mop up a bit of the Stacked Journaling. But before I could wipe the towel across the ruined plate, I realized that it had picked up a fragment of the SJ. It was dead lovely.

I wadded up the towel again, dabbed at a bit more of the paint, wadded the towel, dabbed, and on and on until all the paint on the plate had been used up. Then I opened out the paper towel to see what I had.

I immediately loved the way snagging only a small portion of the monoprint broke the Stacked Journaling down into mere hints of line work. The fragmented design almost seems random, but still (to me) has unmistakable intention, as well.

I had to experiment even further, maybe on fabric, and try to clean up the design somewhat. I moved my idea to a small piece of white cotton. I used paint to SJ onto my printing plate, wadded the fabric up to cause wrinkles and crannies, and dabbed. I repeated this process through three different paint colors and I've decided I really love the effect.

On to more cotton, and more fragments of monoprinted Stacked Journaling.

And on deli paper, just because it was handy.

Maybe I'm going crazy, I really can't tell anymore, but it doesn't just look like random squiggles, does it? Well, whether it does or not, you can be sure that I will be experimenting with this later in the year with thickened fabric dyes on cotton.

So bring on the mistakes, pay attention to them until they teach you something new, and happy creating!


Eva said...

Love the easy way and dynamic motion in it. In German, I would call it "locker", that's easy-going, relaxed, casual -- all of it in one word. Gives me a good feeling to follow the traces.

elle said...

Judi, I luv everything about this 'mistake'! The colours, the whimsy, the intent. Keep dabbing up the mistakes, I see them as purposeful.

Robbie said...

You make the best mistakes that turn into works of art! And inspiration to all of us!!

Cate Rose said...

More beautiful work, Judi!

Kathy said...

My motto: there are no mistakes, only alternate design choices! Way to go with the choices you have made...SJ is beautiful any way you do it!

Bev Redmond said...

These are amazing!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

You have just danced with the "present" moment...and I love them all. You can have infinite possibilities here for future play! Peace, Mary Helen

Deb H said...

Judi - you make the best looking' goofs I know of!

Carrie said...

I saw a quote once, I can't remember who by but it seems particularly apt in this instance - "there are no mistakes, only research". I like the apparent randomness of the marks, like layers of graffiti.

Anonymous said...

it's fun working this way, isn't it?