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A Silver Thread

Had a thoroughly exhausting day at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen (Thursday 23rd June). It’s fascinating being part of the selection committee and I always learn an awful lot from the other craft specialists. It is exhausting because it tends to be a very long day and we all feel very responsible about how we select the pieces that are going to go in the exhibition and what isn’t. There’s strict criteria and we have to justify every decision. Today we were selecting for the summer show which is has it’s launch on Friday 1st July 6-8pm. The title for the show is A Silver Thread and it is to celebrate the Devon Guild having been at the Riverside Mill in Bovey Tracey for 25 years.

It seemed even more of the member’s pulled the stops out for this summers’ exhibition this year. There were some very strong pieces and it was interesting to see how different people interpreted the theme of A Silver Thread.

As a committee member, I had to leave the room when my pieces were being discussed, and I was very grateful not to be left waiting outside too long before being called in to hear the good news. I had submitted a set of five framed pieces designed to work together as a group or singly. The all got accepted, but I have said that if the people hanging the show find it difficult to fit them all in I’m not going to be upset.

For my interpretation of A Silver Thread, I have gathered and used some Silverweed. I have printed from the whole weed including the roots and runner – as is my wont. My first modafinil challenge was to locate some Silverweed and then to find some at the right stage of development for my purposes.


(Click on the image to see the whole print).

Silverweed : Argentina anserine

Silverweed propagates with long threads called stolons, creating colonies of very closely related plants. It reminds me of family members who hold on to each other, not letting go until the young more vulnerable member has established itself.

Silverweed – Cousins
Silverweed – Cousins

I’ve tried to be more restrained with this set of work – to allow the weeds to speak for themselves. I have produced (deceptively) simple monotypes from the actual plants (inked up in silvery-green and russet-red of the stolons).  These were printed on the etching press using lightly textured plates and a simple piece of knotted thread to tie the pieces together. The leaves, stolons and thread reach out beyond the confines of the plate towards their ‘sister’ weed in the next frame. The idea is that the larger print goes in the centre with the smaller prints decreasing in size either side.

what one of the small ones looks like framed

As usual, they are printed on Summerset cotton paper, float mounted on a screenprinted backing paper and framed in ash wood frames.

Silverweed – offspring

If you have any questions or comments you would like to make either do so on may Lynn Bailey – Printmaker Facebook page – or contact me.

Studio visits can also be arranged……..

Lynn Bailey

Through my artwork I look to say something about the environment - explore how we interact, use, abuse and collaborate with the natural world around us. This has taken me to increasingly focus on the small ubiquitous and often reviled weeds and bugs that form the foundation and engine-room of ecosystems. I use a wide range of printmaking techniques – both traditional and innovative, often creating complex one off prints. ****** Co-founder and director of Double Elephant Print Workshop since 1997. Originally trained in Conservation of Prints and Drawings 1980 -1982. Studied Fine art at University of Plymouth 1993 -1996.