Off-white linen with black block print patterns; film accompanying depicts making of textile using blocks on feet to walk across linen.
Materials and techniques
Textile: Block printed using Soil Association approved inks on Irish Linen. Made using an adapted block printing method in which the print block is replaced with a wooden sandal. Designs are walked across the fabric using choreographed movement and body weight to transfer ink to cloth. Through this way of working, the prints become intimate records of the physical making experience. In this design one print block stays the same while a second block is altered as the print progresses.
Film: Filmed on colour 16mm. Filmed and edited by Kimberley O’Neill
'...and the plants and webs and the splashing', Kate Owens and Kimberley O’Neill, 2020, Crafts Council Collection: 2021.8:3. Filmed and edited by Kimberley O’Neill.
...and the plants and webs and the splashing' captures movement and details of a particular printing technique I’ve been developing over the past fours years. The film is also a record of the bleed between my practice and domestic family life, amplified by the 2020 lockdown. This was my first time collaborating on a film with Kimberley O’Neill.
The accompanying textile work is important as an output from the film but also in its own right as the first ‘progressive’ print I have created. The print was produced by altering one of the motifs with a chop saw as the piece was printed left to right. The chop saw creates an interruption within the rhythms of the process whilst echoing the abrupt cut transitions in the film.
My work wobbles, slips and strides between craft, design, visual art and performance. Movement is the most important element, both the physical action of making and the implication of motion within a work. I use movement in opposition to being static, fixed and restricted.
Formal aspects of the work are inspired by historical research across visual arts, textile design and dance arts. A particular area of interest is early 20th century British block printing workshops such as ‘Footprints’ (named after the use of foot pressure in their printing process). I’m also influenced by 20th century modern dance and choreography. The footage of my printing process captured from above references a 1973 film/choreography work ‘Calico Mingling’ by Babette Mangolte and Lucinda Childs. ‘Calico Mingling’ features aerial shots of four dancers walking in a repeating routine across a paved plaza.