Back of the envelope:- a phrase meaning to calculate and work things out. It is inferred that our light bulb moments come from rough doodles on a throw away scrap of paper, when doodling on a piece of paper of no value your mind is free to do your best work.
Drawing on envelopes to repurpose paper that has touched our lives but has then been discarded and forgotten, but not always entirely some stored beneath floorboards, in disorderly piles on shelves and crammed into the back of cabinets, by strange people like me who can’t throw things away.
Attaching importance to inanimate objects is something that all human beings do, the question is what are the important ‘things’ it is inevitable that things become throwaway eventually. With a thrifty temperament and collector’s disposition it’s natural to amass great piles of envelopes and begin a journey to scribble, squiggle and sketch onto an old envelope.
Patterns and plush velour sofa, chair, settee or a three piece suite… sofa so good or a blustery bus stop. Pictures observing pause a moment to reflect, a temporary stop, reset your batteries.
Dropped off new pieces of work yesterday at Sunnybank Mills Art Gallery in Leeds, it’s a great gallery and full of lovely gifts in the shop. There’s also a fantastic exhibition called the Potential of Pattern with some stunning contemporary art, textiles and sculpture.
My work will be in the gallery shop I have woodcut prints and some of my Back of the envelope pieces, which are fine art original hand drawn artworks on preloved paper…it’s a Preloved Paper Project People!
These drawings are hand drawn in my Manchester and Salford Based studios, my main working space upstairs at Hotbed Press in Salford and my home studio …at home in Manchester. Hotbed Press is a traditional printmaking studio and my art studio is a space above that, freezing cold in a victorian draughty space. Hotbed press the printmakers below is currently closed due to Covid19 restrictions and only open for educational purposes, hence me mostly working from my home studio it’s a messy business.
Over the past few months I have been drawing all manner of things, things that seem poignant at the time, a buttercup, a patch of grass, a chair and memories. Connected to whatever I’m mulling over sometimes just trying to create a feeling through drawing.
Isolation as a huge effect on the brain and nervous system, I’m not saying anything new here I’m not that cut off, I still have to go out to do the school drop off, shopping, mainly working from home but I think lack of interaction is not having an enormously positive affect on me, but we have to do it.
As part of my work it’s important to connect through social media and post things about my work but I feel such a sense of anxiety about it that it’s very difficult at times to do it. So this week I’m trying to ignore my own uncertainty and make a few posts …I wonder if I would’ve been better at actually writing letters and putting them in the post I doubt it, they probably would’ve just ended up discarded in a bag somewhere.
The small works below are created for my Covid19 commission for Salford University Art Collection they’re not finished in these photographs they’re more complete now I’ve added colours using transfer techniques
Sometimes larger pieces of work are made from multiple envelopes and bits of this and that, large collages with hand drawing maybe some print and use of thread. I have been meaning to photograph some of these works for sometime to share on my blog
The piece above is called Moths and depicts moths flying towards a lightbulb and ricocheting away, it’s made from old banking envelopes folded and some of them have print or drawing on, I’ve also used stitch in a rather chaotic way, I thought this suits the furtive scribbly nature of moths.
Some of the images above are from my Covid19 commission for Salford University Collections I’ve done so many drawings for this, finding inspiration as I go along and consequently sometimes changing my path at times I feel inspired but at other times I feel I just don’t when to stop!
Below is a drawing of a Murmuration on three envelopes as one piece of work, a Triptych. This is an ink drawing repetitively drawing birds over and over again
Below is a large collage called Joy this shows magpies in a nest made from ephemera with hand drawing and stitching
Looking for a starting point, thinking how I could convey quiet absence through drawing and also while having limited resources myself, in isolation, I started to draw empty chairs. Office chair, school chair, park bench and bar stools were replaced by settee, three piece suite and arm chair.
An empty chair can also be a poignant reminder of person no longer with us.
At the beginning of the pandemic there were some difficult times and great uncertainty, there still are, but now there is some normality coming back into the everyday goings on, for society as a whole, shops opening, some children going back to school, some work resuming and non emergency medical appointments and some people have lost people they love.
Working on a series of editions at Hotbed Press. One off mono screen- prints, the results are experimental and inspired by my drawings.
Printing a few small marks over and over again to see what happens, each screen-print will (eventually) have an unruly shape on it, achieved by repeat printing, turning the screen slightly each time I print so the marks are misaligned.
The marks are taken from the envelope drawings below created for Salford Museum Art collection Covid19 Commisions the drawing shows stats flying above an empty street.
The commission for Salford Museum Art collection continues I’m experimenting with a number of techniques and particularly wondering about how to display works with multiple envelopes.
The pictures show the brambles I was drawing earlier, leaves added using screen-printing techniques, the shapes are painted, transferred to the screen and then applied to the drawings, this can be tricky business, everything could go terribly wrong destroying hours and hours of drawing or it might work out.
Following a few lines of enquiry, the shapes and unruly nature of brambles interest me, so I’m doing a few drawings with chaotic seemingly never- ending scribbles that brambles make. I’m also looking at people human faces and bodies, doing stuff like smoking, drinking coffee being bored etc. unfinished ideas and drawings. @uos_artcollection
Capturing images of nature and leaving space around drawing using negative space to create a feeling of quiet and to show off the mis-shaped used ripped paper, float mounted so the envelopes are hovering beneath the glass, like objects or artefacts in a museum something collected from the past.