TEXTtile Project Chapter 6: Mono Printing The Perfect Day

Perfect companions for the prefect day.
Perfect companions for the prefect day.

What makes the Perfect Day?

What would your perfect day look like? As the iconic song states, for Lou Reed it was drinking sangria in the park and feeding animals in the zoo. Of course everyone is going to have their own personal slant on this, but would it involve being with other people? I know mine would.

Loneliness is a huge problem for the elderly and having one or more sensory impairments makes going out and joining in,  just that little more daunting, but if this phases our TEXTtile makers they do not let it show!

This week we focused on portraying our Perfect Day using mono printing and mixed media… that’s anything else we could get our hands on out of the big art bag! We shared stories from our childhoods, memories from our children’s childhoods and we talked about the seaside..a lot! Hardly surprising, us all being islanders.  From Mauritius to Margate we had an eclectic mix of what makes for the prefect day, but we all agreed that who you spend the perfect day with is pretty important. As the weeks roll on, the weekly meets become a real focal point in the maker’s week. When someone is unable to make it they are conspicuous by their absence.  Here are some photos of how we got on this week…

"Inking up" a stencil with acrylic paint.
“Inking up” a stencil with acrylic paint.

“I must be mad doing this, I don’t even know what it looks like but I’ll have a go. I like the feel of the paint and I like the atmosphere when I’m here. I can hear that everyone’s having a good go!” J. -TEXTtile Maker

J continues to go from strength to strength, her creative confidence growing each week almost matching her boundless enthusiasm, positive attitude and commitment to the project.

“Some people say to me, you can’t do that, you can’t see,  but i don’t listen to them. I have a jolly good go anyway! If you don’t try new things then you’ll never know, will you? J. – TEXTtile Maker.


Roselyn shows off her 'Perfect Day" mono print.
Roselyn shows off her ‘Perfect Day” mono print.

You don’t need high tech and expensive materials to try new techniques. We used the polystyrene bases from pizza packaging for our mono printing. The base is thin and light and easy to mark with a simple Biro pen. You can feel the lines you have made with the pen nib and also push, even blunt, objects into the soft polystyrene to make repeat patterns. Cheap poster paint sponged on with a bath sponge will be enough to get an even coverage. The only thing you need to remember, which George demonstrated beautifully, is, if you write anything you have to write it backwards as everything in the print will be the mirror image. If you haven’t done this before it can take a bit of getting used to but George fluidly slipped form writing his football memories out the normal way to printing words back wards for this mono print tribute to his favourite team.

Here are some shots of everyone being busy and getting covered in paint in the process and trying to remember not to dip your paint brush in your tea…erm, yes that would have been me!

A busy afternoon but still willingness to try something new. Nicole walked Margaret through finger knitting with t-shirt yarn something which, she has used in community workshops before with much success. I admit that when I first tried this it took me several goes to get the hang of it and  had to have my fingers cut free on the second attempt I had gotten in much a tangle, but Margaret took to it like a duck to water creating a chunky bracelet in less than 10 minutes.  We were all mightily impressed.

Margaret gets to grips with finger knitting with the help of Nicole.
Margaret gets to grips with finger knitting with the help of Nicole.

” Margaret is going to share her experiences of the TEXTtile project to other friends, This will help to spread the word of the project, communicating it’s success. As a community artist it’s important to share ideas and concepts to one another and leave a legacy”. – Nicole, TEXTtile, Project Assistant.

It may not have involved a trip to the coast but the atmosphere and the attitude of all involved was prefect and, “I’m glad i spent it with you..”

Here’s the link if that song is now lodged in your head, like it is mine! The mixed media version, of course.


Watch out The British Library we’re o our way!

Author: Alex McEwan

Alex is an artist who specialises in inclusive and accessible community arts projects, such as Sense's TEXTtile and Quilt Tales.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.