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It’s hard to believe it today with all the rain being dumped from the sky but we have enjoyed some lovely sunny weather lately here in the UK and I have made the most of it with a spot of mud printing in our back garden.

Printing with a mud paste can get a little messy so it’s great to be able to do it outdoors. In addition it’s very helpful when it then rains and washes all that mess away – easy clean-up 🙂

However the sunshine means that the paste can get dried out fairly quickly so you can go on with the next step in the process.

You may have seen block printing done with mud (Dabu) in India and of course not only do they have the heritage and skills but also the climate. Dabu printing is a traditional mud-resist hand-block printing art usually done with a wooden block (the metal blocks are more often used for batik printing as the wax can be melted off)

My receipe for the mud paste was little hit and miss – water, clay and lime powder which I tried to avoid using because it can burn your skin badly, but hb helped me out and we mixed it carefully with masks on – another good reason to be outside if you try this.

Make Mud Prints while the sun shines is my new saying!

It’s possible to print with anything pretty much. I own quite a few wooden blocks some of which were excellent and some too fine to cope with the build up of mud after multiple layers had been applied. I also used foam shapes and cardboard rolls with good effect. And one of my favourites was simply a big brush applied in broad strokes.

The mud acts as a resist to the dye and sometimes cracks during the drying process which can cause veining, which in my opinion adds to the final effect.

Once the paste has dried, you can apply colour.

I used a Dylon hand dye so that it would be fixable and washable but I didn’t chance the dip-dye technique preferring to apply the dye with a brush and layer up the colour to make a good dark ‘indigo’ blue. It’s worth mentioning that a pre-wash really helps prime the fabric to receiving the dye.

Finally it’s dried again and then you can hand wash out the mud and admire the beautiful fabric. Where the mud was will have repelled the dye leaving a white (or in some of my cases a much paler blue) print. It will probably be years before I dare to cut into these 😉High on my wish list is a holiday in India with some authentic Dabu printing but until then the back yard will have to do.

claire_leggett_monprint collageI’ve spent some time this week playing round with mono-printing.

claire_leggett_monprint 3

It wasn’t spectacularly successful until I simply painted onto acetate using acrylic paint and took a print that way.


But it was fun and it made me dig out the old overalls I wore to college back in 1990 😉

© Claire Leggett

For the past three weeks I have been sitting at the computer pattern designing (can’t show you as I want to keep it for my portfolio.) Lots of fun until my ideas about layering and rotating and duplicating images meant that my old Mac’s processor couldn’t keep up with me. One day I sat for 15 mins waiting for my design to move half a centimetre down the design page. Not fun anymore.

© Claire Leggett

So having felt like Rapunzel stuck in the technology tower, I decided to cut free yesterday and not even switch the thing on at all, all day. Instead I emptied the drawer of ‘nice things that never get used’ and used them.

© Claire Leggett

It’s always good to reconnect creatively with yourself and get messy with glue and paint. That and a new audiobook; IQ84, and I feel a little more soulful today.

© Claire Leggett

A trip to the Apple store has been booked and the mama of all machines is coming my way (knuckle biting excitement.) Then no doubt I’ll go full circle all over again.

The hand-made paper used for the background in this still life was crying out to be represented by a little old school sponge painting. So I cut a petal shape and got happy printing.

There were a lot of flowers to paint in this set up and I got a little tense trying to record them in their prime before they died.

Some lasted longer than others so I flitted about doing those who didn’t look like they’d last until day two.

“Garden Treasure’s” © Claire Leggett

The title came about really easily because to me this painting is a record of just that.

Looking at these you would be forgiven for thinking that my garden could be mistaken for one where flowers grow in profusion everywhere.

Actually it amazes me what a nice bunch of delights can be found from the few things that are growing (previous occupants to be thanked here.)

Plus a bit of rootling through the nettles ( I do pull them up – they just grow again!)

I will take credit for the anemones though, which are my pride and joy this year.

All in all it’s made for a very English still life don’t you think.

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