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'Science 'immortalised' in lino'

I think it is fair to say that if someone had told me that at the start of 2018 I would have created a calendar for a company that sells pollen bags then I would have thought that it would have been an uninspiring opportunity!! But the experience of working with pollen and 'immortalising' them in lino has made me look at the tiniest detail in everything.

I would say that my style of lino has lent itself to creating images that do look like the image but has transformed them into images that work well as surface pattern designs as well.

It started early Spring in 2017 when I was approached by Hannah Senior from PBS International with an idea for working together on a project. She was really open about that she wasn't quite sure where it would end up but that it would end up where art or rather lino met science! So it started by thinking about how images of pollen and pollen bags could be 'immortalised' in lino. I went away and did an initial test print in black and it looked ok but it was the colour that was missing. At every meeting we discussed the images and and the colours, slowly the collection was refined. It was early days when Hannah suggested that I create the images for the company calendar 2018 and once I got started there really was no stopping me.

'Wheat Anther' was the first image that I illustrated & carved and it is my favourite. I used a hessian based lino rather than the vinyl as I wanted to make it appear that it was moving and that you could see the pollen dispersing from the anther.

I loved the dark image of the wheat anther on its own however I needed to have a flash of colour to tie it in with the company colours. It was the pink that really resonated with me and it remains on the list of prints to transfer to surface pattern design with the help of Surface Pattern Print. I am planning to have wallpaper printed for my sitting room as we are due a refurb this Summer due to new windows needed!!

Both of the prints 1 of 5 originals are available to buy in my shop £120 each.

I looked at a series of images which ranged from seed pods to electromicrographs of pollen bag structures. I think that the challenge was to create a cohesive set of prints from such disparate images and it was colour that tied them all together.

I love the lino and the actual blocks are things of beauty. It is the tactile quality of the blocks that make it such a rewarding process. Whenever I start a piece of work I am always thinking about what an image would look like on a cushion, in wallpaper form or on everyday textiles.

As you can see lino is a great medium to highlight all the features in pollen, seeds and the material that is used to create the pollination bags.

The images here are 4 of the final ones but printed in dark grey on white. There are 'olive seeds', 'bristlegrass seeds', 'sorghum seeds' and 'parana pine pollen cones'. Their final forms are the same but the colours are printed to highlight the details of the pollen and seeds.

The process has been a wonderful experience and has created a final piece that is practical and art at the same time. We are currently investigating exhibition space to showcase the project as 'immortalising' nature in lino has created something far beyond anything that myself or Hannah ever thought would happen.

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