Part 5; Developing Bamboo Letter Fold

The Bamboo Letter Fold sample stood out as having much potential for development. I was attracted to it’s minimal appearance and the rhythmic division. I felt the rectangular version had the most scope for repetition as a printed unit. I like how the folds layer the paper, which incrementally increases the thickness of the sample, producing a surface that is not flat but has a subtle relief.

It was interesting how paint responded to printing this relief surface, a pattern is created along the folds (below left). I found this irregularity much more interesting than when I printed the paper and then folded it (right) even though the manipulation of stripes was my intention.

This observation took me right back to the beginning of Part 5 when I struggled to decide whether to print and manipulate or manipulate and print. Was the product the 3D block or the plate? This question remains unresolved.

I think what I learned from these early experiments was that I could harness the neat and organised part of myself to develop a regimented scaffold (be it substrate or print block) and then use printing with a looser aesthetic. Order to balance chaos.


Before I had a chance to test these repetitive blocks I became distracted by the distortion of the text on the book pages I was using.

I was reminded of my spoon wraps from Part2 and the way threads could be layered to create a similar effect. I was concerned that I had been quite limited in my use of materials so far and began to explore the possibility of reinterpreting the Bamboo Fold as a Yarn Wrap.

DSCF5945I worried that I had been a bit too controlled about this yarn wrap, compared to the spoons it looked a bit too carefully constructed. However, my earlier theory that the ‘Sloppiness’ of my printing would be supported by a regular structure was proved right in the prints that followed.

I used the single unit over and over to create a repeated pattern. At first I did this neatly, aligning the edges, the best bit about these prints is that occasionally a particular strong print occurred. I think I prefer the individual compositions rather than the pattern, there is enough going on in each to allow for this editing. I am really happy with the variety of colour combinations produced from such a limited palette. Maybe these four ‘snap shots’ could be presented together as a series?

I really wanted to express what I have learned throughout MMT about the importance of imperfection and celebrate the move away from figuration. I did this by printing the same block haphazardly across the paper. I am pleased with the abstractions, the manipulation of stripes by folding is much less obvious but still clearly apparent. The folded unit has become a mark-making tool on a flat surface. I am not worried that prints are now flat because there has been interchange between 2D and 3D which was the objective of my brief.

Despite the move toward abstraction, I accidentally created a landscape. Although I was only concentrating on a loose pattern repeat the following print suggests mountains without being too literal. The success of the print lies in the passages of open space which allow the viewer to decide what is going on. I recently watched the movies Murder on the Orient Express and Everest, I think I have been subconsciously influenced by the icy settings.


I tried printing on a variety of surfaces including brown parcel paper, tissue and Abaca. Not all were as well defined as the images included above. The Abaca print below was particularly faint, I am using it to experiment with layering: adhering it to linen and adding stitch to emphasise the marks left by the printing process. This is proving a restful interlude between sampling but probably not a viable outcome as it is possibily to contrived?

After printing with the single unit I returned to the multiple version. I was exchanging the detail provided by the strands of yarn for a more overall effect. These prints have a more calculated arrangement because the main composition was decided before printing. There is a lot going on in the prints, I find the diagonal zigzags encourage the eye to explore the whole image; more and more imperfection is discovered as the broad lines intersect the finer verticals.

Above left, I used watercolour pencils on top of a dark print, the introduction of bright colour adds a greater sense of movement. I did not follow the most obvious path of the zigzag, opting for an asymmetric design instead, this helps provide energy and perhaps a sense of quirkiness?

Considering my previous reluctance to layer prints this set shows how much I learned from Part 4. Rather than printing with solid colour I continued to use subtractive mark making on the plate to prepare the next layer. The introduction of space provides areas for the next layer to fill. The print on the right successfully balances solid colour and pattern. Over printing was slightly offset to prevent the print becoming static.

Finally, I have preserved the ‘print blocks’. I have to decide whether to display them alongside my prints as an explanation of the relationship between the exchange of 2D and 3D or a works of art in their own right.



3 thoughts on “Part 5; Developing Bamboo Letter Fold”

    1. It felt like several of the previous exercises came together at once. Thanks for reading, Ive been a bit hopeless keeping up with everyone else’s work lately. School holidays are soon then I will have time to catch up. Hope you are ok x


      1. I am fine.. plodding along. Don’t worry about keeping up… it is not a game. It’s lovely to procrastinate by looking at peer blogs. It is so positive and really cheers me up.


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