August 30, 2013

an album of prints; collagraphs

the images below catalogue some of my work over the last few years, although they don't show all the series i have worked on. when making collagraphs, i like to work with plenty of texture. i have experimented with cloth, palm bark and various papers, embossed paint and threads embedded in modelling paste, and filler used for dents in cars, among other things. 
although a press is required to get the full benefit of texture from a collagraph plate, i have made some collagraphs using the hand rubbed method by rubbing the paper with the back of a spoon (which i prefer to a baren), or by using a burnisher or even a stylus: i have enjoyed using the latter, and made several prints using this method. for hand rubbed collagraphs i usually use mountboard covered with cotton or silk. i then cut into the board and also add details with embossed paint; usually pearl paint.

this is a collagraph made for a juried show
 in tucson in 2007. two of the prints, including this
one, were selected and sold at the exhibition.
 unlike many collagraphs, which are pulled on the
press, this one is hand rubbed. i added colour
with water colour pencils, and printed the flower
 on japanese paper before attaching it to the cactus
arm. the name is desert rose and the plant is the
saguaro, the national flower of arizona.

this is the first of a series of prints
 inspired by arizona rocks. it's called
 rock: memory of sand, wind, sun.
this is a set of very small collagraphs
which were later used in a book project
 called arizona sunset, photographs
of which you will find under the
 book making label. these collagraphs
were pulled on the press.

arizona suite again. this print later
became the cover print for the arizona sunset book.

this print looks out of place among the 
others here, but i put it in because it
 combines  photopolymer etching,
 copper leaf and collagraph.
it was for a group show 'recession,' 
at unicorn gallery  in karachi in 2009.  

from the memory series, exhibited  at artchowk in 
2012.  this  was a two person show with amena 
bandukwalla, who uses text and drawing
 techniques in her work.  this print combines
 collagraph with graphite, smoke painting 
and hand made papers and a fragment of a moth's 

from the memory series exhibited at
artchowk in karachi. for this print
 i layered papers of various textures, 
some with burnt edges, stuck to 
mountboard. the central motif is thread.

arizona sunset; i haven't exhibited this print yet as i am  still experimenting with inking it. i made one in shades of pink-red as it's on the arizona theme  again, a sunset i saw on the tohono o'dham reservation. this is the bottom-most part, the print is divided into 
three as my press pulls a maximum size of 11 x 14 inches,
 which is the size of this particular sheet.

detail from arizona sunset. i put it in to
show the kind of detail you can get with
 modelling paste, various bark, cloth
(particularly silk) and silk thread, and
 pearl paints which give a raised outline. 

August 26, 2013

night blooming cereus

we had this plant for years underneath the rubber tree in our f-7 house. then it suffered while we were in arizona. finally it came back to us in 2009, a shadow of its former self. we made two pots of the plant and they grew well over the last four years but produced no flowers. then, in june two buds appeared, but it was during those days of intense dry heat when the temperature was over 45 degrees. the flowers shrivelled before they could bloom.

and now these. it's august 26th and i have been photographing the buds since yesterday. they was still unopen this afternoon at 5, but i was sure they would bloom tonight. and just after 10 pm i began taking photographs. i put on the two porch lights, and added on with a flashlight, as i don't like using the camera flash. 

the flowers are faintly fragrant now, but i expect they will be fully fragrant by midnight. or maybe that's just my imagination.

august 25th

august 26th, 5 pm

august 26th, 5 pm: buds

this, and the following, were all taken at
ten o'clock onwards

podcasts from the poetry foundation

over the last six weeks, specially during ramazan, when work pressure decreased and things are generally quieter than usual, i listened to several podcasts from the poetry foundation website. here are some links. 
in june, poetry foundation published a feature on landays, couplets composed and recited by women in afghanistan. i include the link to this too. i am sure you will find it fascinating. 
poetry foundation has many more podcasts, readings as well as commentaries and discussions. browse through the lists yourself!

adam zagajewski and claire cavanagh: this is interesting because it talks about wislawa szymborska, one of my favourite poets:

i also include the link to her cavanagh's article written after szymborska's death:

poets of the muslim world, including raza ali hasan, brought up in pakistan

afghan landays:

August 25, 2013

an album of prints: photoplymer etchings

the prints below catalogue some of my work using photopolymer etching plates.
i use the single exposure technique. when i first learned photopolymer etching i decided that what was more important to continue working and using this technique as well as collagraphs, was a press, rather than the aquatint screen which was necessary to capture fine detail and perhaps depth. both of which were expensive. i asked my teacher if we could use the single exposure method. she replied by saying that the single exposure was what she had first learned, but therafter she had used the screen, particularly for photographs and photo collages. we could try it out and take a chance on the results, as she wasnt sure what we might get. i was ready to do that because i thought that it would be easier to waste a couple of 5 x 7 inch plates and be sure of what i could do. and it worked. the two images below show the first photo collage etchings that i made, a series on the lahore fort. they show details from the naulakha pavilion on the right, and on the left a bastion and stairway from the main entrance area of the fort.
the first image was made using the aquatint screen, i.e. double exposure; the second, using the same transparencies, was used to make a single exposure plate. the third image shows another plate made using a collage of six images: the bridge at the bottom; graffiti on an old wall, a detail from the famous mosaic wall and a filigree stucco window in the centre; and at the top a view of the outer battlements surrounding the main fort. i found this plate hard to ink, and had to experiment with it several times until i was satisfied. i was about to throw it away initially, but luckily i was working out of joan thompson's studio at the time, and she encouraged me to ink it in different ways. 

the single exposure technique gives one areas of great detail while it bites away others, so that in one plate you will find areas of intaglio and relief. this is particularly noticeable in the third image. 
although i now have an aquatint screen, gifted to me by john lingenfelter, who runs bare naked press and jilink studios with his wife irene, i have not used it so far, mainly because i enjoy the uncertainty of the results and the open quality of the resulting plate. except for the top image, all of the prints shown here are single exposures. i like the exposed quality which highlights the erosion in old buildings.

mausoleum at makli necropolis.
this tomb is of red sandstone.

looking out from the mausoleum
of Isa Khan Tarkhan(he was said to
have had the right hands of his best artisans
cut off when they left work on the monument).

looking out of the doorway
 of the room housing the tombs
 of isa khan tarkhan and his family.

inscriptions from unidentified tombs at makli.

in the centre is the tomb of jam nizamuddin,
 which has muslim and hindu architectural motifs.
right: tomb inscriptions from a broken pillar
 propped up against a half broken chhatri
the following three prints are new ones from the continuing arizona series. all of them are single exposure etchings, which shows you that by playing with exposure timings and washout times you can preserve plenty of detail. 
although i prefer to ink my plates in black and white, i sometimes use colour with water colour pencils, or ink the plate a la poupee.
because i often cut my etching plates into small pieces to fit the images i am using, you will find that many of my prints have an irregular edge, unavoidable if you want to play with sizes that differ from the standard plate size.

night blooming cereus


prickly pear, or nopal