Louise Nichol – Workshop

Louise Nichol - Lino Printing on Fabric

Louise first introduced herself as a textile artist and she doesn’t class herself as a printmaker.

She talked us through the process which we would be going through on this one day workshop. Today is all about getting the fabric printed with a design that then can be embellished, appliqued, or embroidered to our own unique style to produce an item that can either be used for fashion, accessories or fine art.

She uses a singular lino  block with one colourway print or on a rare occasion a multiblock print of more than one colour combination .

When choosing a design Louise advised that not too much detail is the key to being able to add future applique, embellishments etc,  so that we are not constricted by fine detail on the fabric or which would be lost if we were to cover up inadvertently  e.g.  less area for further enhancements with thread, appliqued fabrics etc. 

We measured out a design roughly 6 inch square or similar area in a rectangle as this would be a suitable amount to carve and print in the time available. 

 

We then proceeded to carve out the design which was fairly successful on the softcut lino Louise provided – (softer and easier to carve than traditional lino) before making sure that any lines were not too finely carved together as when you print onto fabric sometimes the ink can be transferred to the carved out lines if not thick enough and therefore losing the detail of the print.  

Once carving was complete after lunch Louise advised about suitable fabrics to print upon. 

Closely woven fabrics would take the print well but you need to remember that it is sometimes harder to put a needle through a tightly woven fabric and the addition of printed ink on top of the fabric can make sewing harder still. So a smooth finished fabric such as linen with a looser weave would be ideal or similar cotton fabrics. 

 

With regards to which ink to use for printing our fabric it really depended upon whether we would be intending to wash the item after completed. Louise brought 2 different fabric block printing inks with her, a watercolour one which is light fast and suitable for fine art pieces which do not require washing (in fact if you were to wash would be ruined as the ink would be removed) or a Speedball fabric ink which was oil based, which takes longer to dry and needs fixing with an iron (and a piece of parchment paper to protect the iron) but once fixed can be safely washed so is suitable for fashion items. 

 

We spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with the different inks in a variety of colour ways on a selection of fabrics. 

Louise then advised that to finish off the item , you would back the item with either a lightweight fusible interfacing or a bondaweb sheet and depending upon your use, a lightweight wadding etc before embroidering or appliqueing the item. 

 

Report and photos by Claire T.

Thank you Claire, Ros

Louise Nichols – March 2020

Louise Nichols’ talk this month was entitled, “From Graduation to a career as a Textile Artist”.  As a child she always enjoyed drawing and sketching so when the time came, Louise went to De Montfort University in Leicester to follow a Fashion and Textile degree specialising in surface design.  After graduating Louise went to work for an Upholstery designer, Jennifer Sanderson creating fabric and wallpaper designs.  Following that she worked for William Love who was an agent for stationery and Simon Elvin (Greetings Cards) was a client.  Louise showed us a wonderful selection of Christmas cards, wrapping papers and gift bags she had made for sale in Superdrug, Oxfam and Clinton Cards.  

 

Louise started making her own cards and a range of handmade wedding stationery but when she returned after a break when her children were little she found that technology had moved on giving her too much competition and so she made basic pictures and stitched gifts.  When she moved to Cornwall Louise started going to Craft Fairs and creating projects for SEW magazine.  Initially the editor would give a sewing brief and source the material but as time went on a regular production line of items was needed so it was time for a change.  Louise enrolled on a printing course run by Sophie Morden and started to use hessian backed lino to print simple basic images on fabric.  As she kept the copyright for the projects she was able to start her own workshops and now has kits and items for sale in 17 galleries around the UK.  

Thank you Louise for a most enjoyable talk and if you would like to purchase one of her kits or to find out more about her workshops visit her website at : https://louisenichol.com/

Report by Ros