Tuesday, 22 July 2014

creative flashback: potato printing

Who didn't love potato printing as a kid?! 

It was, for sure, my first introduction to the whole concept of printing and, given the chance, I would have happily done it everyday. There was pure joy in duplicating an image over and over again with as little effort as putting paint on a potato and stamping it onto a surface.

What is it about repetitive pattern that the mind finds so satisfying? 
I thought up a ton of complicated patterns and ideas for this Creative Flashback project, but it's simplicity that makes potato printing so fulfilling and the main reason I loved it as a child.

In the end, I whipped up a tablecloth from a couple of meters of calico and picked out a blue fabric paint from a set I had stashed in the art cupboard. I opted for the simplest of shapes and carved a triangle from a new potato.

I thought about carefully stamping the triangles in perfectly stamped lines, I thought about making an effort to load the potato, each time, with exactly the same amount of paint and producing near perfect replicas. I thought I wanted it to be perfect until I started printing.

I allowed myself the freedom of imperfect. Throwing caution to the wind, I simply stamped away. My lines were wonky, my prints varying tones of blue and yet the end product didn't feel flawed, it felt beautifully home-made.

So I finished my tablecloth and I hung it to dry. I looked at it often and found I rather liked the finished piece. William saw it and told me it was beautiful, he's so generous with his praise it makes my heart melt. His comment made my little Creative Flashback series that little more meaningful and, as you can see, from the above picture, it's getting some use...

... just not as a tablecloth ;)

For more potato printing inspiration take a look at this leafy project and I love this image of carved potatoes with all their geometric patterns. For something different why not try other kinds of fruit and vegetables like the citrus fruit used here. 

To see all the #creativeflashback projects in the series, so far, please click here.

12 comments:

  1. Oh this is just gorgeous! Such a brilliant idea! #letkidsbekids

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  2. Used to love potato printing as a kid! Can't wait to get started with my son when he's a little older! He'd probably just put the potato in his mouth if we started now haha. #Letkidsbekids

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    1. haha, yep my son has been known to eat the odd potato meant for printing before :)

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  3. We did potato printing as a child and i have done it once with my kids, but hadn't thought of using it to print on fabric, great idea. I love the look of yours and the den looks good fun too.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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  4. I like so much your tablecloth that I would like make the same one rigth now! And it looks so fun to make it! Good job ;)

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  5. There IS something satisfying about repetitive patterns.. I'm going to get my kids to do this! Bet it doesn't look like yours at the end though.. Still.. Might be a future masterpiece ;) Great idea!

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  6. Interesting design and I just remember that I bought a reduced cheese cloth from a store so I can do this project. Moreso I also found linseed which can make any fabric an oil cloth! Exciting! #letkidsbekids

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    1. Oh that sounds interesting, will have to have a look into it.

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  7. I loved doing this as a kid and i ve done lots of vegetable printing with my kids it s great fun! #letkidsbekids

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  8. It looks lovely and perfect for den making :). What paint did you use? Will it hold fast when you wash it?

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    1. I used fabric paint, the one I have needs to be dried for 24 hours and then heat set with an iron.

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  9. I love how this turned out! I actually don't remember doing much potato printing, so I can't wait to try this! How fun.

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