Natalie Stopka

April 10, 2015

natural dye workshop

Filed under: natural dyes,workshops — Tags: , , , — Natalie @ 9.46 am

Join me on May 2-3 at the Center for Book Arts for an Introduction to Natural Dyes, a weekend-long workshop for book artists and crafters to learn the fundamentals of botanical dyeing. Bring the beautiful and subtle colors of the natural world into your work with techniques for mark- and pattern-making on both paper and fabric. The questions of materials choice, mordants, and permanence will the addressed. This workshop runs just once a year, so register now!

introduction to natural dyes

April 2, 2015

suminagashi prints

Filed under: goings-on,marbling,paper — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.17 am

Continuing my exploratory suminagashi series, I have some new prints on paper. Like the recent fabric pieces (and don’t worry, there are more of those to come – I know some of you have been waiting), these are an experimental melding of traditional technique with some heterodox contemporary additives. The process is very unpredictable, but also freeing. It’s just what I need after a 4-month stint of intense freelancing. I am so happy to get back in my studio, with renewed focus and an ambitious list of projects.

suminagashi print: floe

suminagashi print: floe

Some of these suminagashi prints will be on view at the upcoming CBA exhibition Then & Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book Arts, opening April 17. The show includes an impressive roster of past residents exhibiting contemporary work alongside pieces from the CBA archive created during their time in residence. It’s going to be a jam-packed show and quite the reunion!

Then & Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book Arts

Center for Book Arts, 28 West 27th Street, 3rd floor

Opening Reception Friday, April 17th, 6-8pm

Roundtable discussions with the artists will follow on May 1, June 5, and June 19

suminagashi print: ablate

suminagashi print: vesiculate

March 21, 2015

spring workshops

Filed under: goings-on,workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 11.28 am

The long list of spring workshops is now posted and open for registration! In addition, the Sewing Seeds program at TAC is now accepting applications to its summer residency. The residency is a fantastic 6-week opportunity to access local natural dyes, use the studio, and engage the community by creating site-specific work in the natural dye garden in Bushwick. What could be better?

sewing seeds: bundle dyeingimage courtesy of Sewing Seeds

March 16, 2015

marbling patterns: feather

Filed under: how-to,marbling — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.52 am

Now we come to some exciting compound patterns in our series of marbling pattern tutorials. These rely on a series of basic patterns repeated one after another. For the most uniform results, use a set of marbling combs and keep your hand steady, with your eyes focused on the movement of just one tine through the pattern in the vat. Of course, you can achieve similar but more organic results by drawing with a stylus. Remember, the diameter of the stylus will impact the line quality, and the spacing of the pattern at each step will influence the outcome, so feel free to play with the scale along the way. And, lastly, remember to take your paper grain into account when planning out the pattern.

The feather pattern begins with a getgel, continues with the nonpareil, and is completed with a widely-spaced getgel.

nonpareil diagramThe getgel at left is followed by the nonpareil.

feather diagramThen follows a widely-spaced getgel (about 3″), perpendicular to the nonpareil pattern.

marble pattern: feather

Having completed the getgel, the nonpareil is now drawn with a stylus or a nonpareil comb.

marble pattern: feather

Perpendicular to the nonpareil stripes, this is followed by widely spaced parallel lines.

marble pattern: feather

In the spaces between these lines, another series of parallel lines are drawn running in the opposite direction.

marble pattern: feather

And the feather pattern is complete!

March 6, 2015

marbling patterns: nonpareil

Filed under: how-to,marbling — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 8.17 am

Today our series of marbling pattern tutorials brings us to the nonpareil pattern, from the French “without equal”. Though truly the nonpareil is not one of my favorites, it is a step towards some further compound patterns whose elegant line quality depend on it. This pattern requires a nonpareil comb, whose tines have 1/8″ or 1/4″ spacing – but if, like me, you don’t have such a comb you may carefully use a stylus. This gives a looser, less static quality to the pattern.

nonpareil diagramComplete a getgel pattern (at left above), then draw a series of tightly spaced parallel lines perpendicular to it.

marbling patterns: nonpareil

The nonpareil pattern begins with a getgel, which may be repeated once or twice for finer lines. Remember before beginning to make a note of your paper grain direction, and do some strategizing so that the completed pattern will be oriented as you wish.

marbling patterns: nonpareil

Working perpendicular to the existing pattern, pass your nonpareil comb through the pattern once or draw a series of closely spaced lines with a stylus.

I did not pull a print of this pattern, but continued working on it. However, below are some lovely vintage examples of the nonpareil from the digital collection of the libraries of the University of Washington, which also illustrate the effect of pattern orientation.

19th c Nonpareil patterns

 

 

February 27, 2015

marbling patterns: waved getgel

Filed under: how-to,marbling — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 10.51 am

marble pattern: waved getgel

Continuing the marbling pattern tutorials, we next come to the waved getgel. This pattern is very similar to and begins with the getgel, only replacing the straight parallel lines with waved ones in the final step.

getgel diagramComplete the getgel pattern

waved getgel diagramRepeat the getgel, ending with a waved line

 

marble pattern: waved getgel

In the studio, begin by throwing down your chosen colors in a stone pattern.

marble pattern: waved getgel

Complete the getgel pattern once, as above (or twice for very fine lines).

marble pattern: waved getgel

Then, working perpendicular to the existing pattern, draw another series of parallel lines.

marble pattern: waved getgel

Moving the opposite direction, bisect those lines with a series of parallel waved lines.

marble pattern: waved getgel

And the waved getgel is complete!

 

February 23, 2015

marbling patterns: getgel

Filed under: how-to,marbling — Tags: , , , , , — Natalie @ 1.29 pm

There are a wide variety of formal, often combed, marbled patterns, each with its own history. I thought I’d embark on a series of posts illustrating the process of creating a few of these patterns, which are much simpler to produce than they appear. These are by no means historically accurate examples, nor an exhaustive survey  – for that I can recommend Anne Chamber’s The Practical Guide to Marbling Paper,  Iris Nevins’ Traditional Marbling, or Patty & Mimi Schleicher’s Marbled Designs: A Complete Guide to Fifty-Five Elegant Patterns.

marbling supplies

marbling supplies

A few notes on my materials and process: Many types of pigments, sizes, and surfactants are used by marblers, each according to his or her preference. I work with acrylic paints on caragheenan, using Dawn or Photo-flow as needed. I find that an ice cube tray makes a perfectly-sized palette, and like glass pipettes rather than disposable ones.

Uniformly repeating patterns rely on a variety of rakes or combs with evenly spaced tines, ranging from 1/8″ to 1 1/2″ apart. I often prefer to hand draw the pattern with a stylus, which gives a less static appearance (and is freeing!). The diameter of the stylus does impact the line quality, while the distance between the lines drawn will have a marked impact on the scale of the finished pattern. If you are marbling paper destined for bookbinding, make a note of the grain direction before beginning so you can plan the direction of the pattern accordingly.

getgel pattern

One of the primary marbled patterns is the getgel, from the Turkish ‘go and come’. Pictured above in an example created with a stylus. While fetching in its own right, the getgel is also the foundation for many other combed patterns. It is simply a series of parallel lines, bisected by a series of parallel lines running in the opposite direction. The getgel pattern can then be repeated at right angles to the first pass, which will create finer, more delicate lines of color.

getgel diagramTwo sets of  parallel lines completes the getgel pattern

getgel diagramThe getgel can be repeated perpendicular to the existing pattern

In the studio the getgel pattern begins by throwing down a few colors, each addition driving the prior color into dense veins.

marbling patterns: getgel

marbling patterns: getgel

marbling patterns: getgel

Followed by the combing process – a little shaky this morning.

marbling patterns: getgel

marbling patterns: getgel

The getgel is now complete, but I’d like to repeat it for finer lines and more uniform color dispersal.

marbling patterns: getgel

marbling patterns: getgel

marbling patterns: getgel

And there you have it, the getgel pattern!

Untitled-1

February 5, 2015

haptic considerations

Filed under: binding — Tags: — Natalie @ 3.13 pm

From “Reading by Hand: The Haptic Evaluation of Artists’ Books” by Gary Frost:

Are there any additional approaches that will assist evaluation of artistic works in a book format? I suggest that there is an additional topic that could propagate additional tools.

This topic is the aesthetic consequence of a work of book art in the hands of the reader where tactile qualities and features of mobility are appreciated. This is a haptic [pertaining to the technology of touch] domain where the study of touch as a mode of communication is at work. Such evaluations call up deeply embedded perceptions and sensory skills where the hands prompt the mind and where the reader’s understanding can be far removed from the intentions of the artist.
….
But how can we provide effective description for a more critical experience of the corporeal book? We can lift it, open it and turn a page. Is it docile or springy on opening, solid or tentative on closing? Is there a live transmission of forces through the structure or is it crippled? What instigates the reader’s ergonomic of comprehension and how are haptic features consequential to the evaluation of book art?
….
[A]ll books are art in a world of subtle and critical manual evaluation. If we could delineate it, a manual evaluation or haptic criticism would lay out a physics for book art criticism, using words.

Frost, Gary. “Reading by Hand: The Haptic Evaluation of Artists’ Books.” The Bonefolder 2.1 (2005): 3-6. Book Arts Web. Philobiblon. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. <http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder/>.

January 15, 2015

workshops

Filed under: goings-on,workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 12.02 pm

large scale fabric marbling

The new year’s new workshops are now listed and open for enrollment! Bookbinding 101, Coptic Binding, Natural Dyeing, and a new one-day intensive I am excited to teach: Large Scale Fabric Marbling. This class will cover all the basics with a small marbling vat for each student to experiment in, but we will also pull prints from the large vat. I mean 2 square yards of continuous marbled fabric, using traditional or experimental techniques as you like. Big! We will also discuss the practical considerations of building and printing from a large vat – trust me, I’m frequently up to my elbows in mine. Saturday, February 14th at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn.

If you’d like to try fabric marbling without diving into the large vat, I’ll also be teaching a short 3-hour After Workshop next Tuesday, January 20 in Manhattan. 6:30-9:30, BYOB!

November 28, 2014

booklets

Filed under: marbling,paper — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 10.02 am

marbled softcover booklets

Lots of little softcover booklets for the holidays. These are bound simply with the odds and ends of my marbled papers, all made in-house, and gathered into trios of pleasing patterns. A perfect little something for a holiday or hostess gift!

marbled softcover booklets

marbled softcover booklets

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