To create her illustrations, Margaret uses printmaking techniques, transferring color from one surface to another, building the images up gradually from flat layers of color.
For her linoleum block prints, (linocuts), she cuts the image into sheets of battleship linoleum (yes, battleship linoleum really is used on the decks of battleships), rolls ink onto the surface, and prints the image onto paper using an etching press. Images with multiple colors use multiple blocks, each printed with a separate run through the press.
Her mixed media relief prints evolved from a desire to maximize color, texture and shape. These methods include a nontraditional combination of printmaking techniques. A wide variety of materials are used to create layers of color and pattern and, similar to linocut, each block is printed by rolling ink onto its surface, then the ink is transferred onto paper using a press. Anything she can ink up and run through her press becomes a likely candidate for an element in one of her prints. Some of her mixed media prints also involve other printmaking techniques, such as chine colle, collography, and monotyping. She is always looking for new things to experiment with in her printing.
Here is an example from To Be Like The Sun of how Margaret gradually builds of layers of color and pattern. Each image is a scan of a print after each successive run through her press. The final details were added with stencils.
Here are some of the things she has used to print with to date:
- textured decorative papers
- textured vinyl fabrics including Naugahyde
- textured vinyl from make-up and tote bags and belts
- textured and tooled leather
- floor vinyl
- the reverse side of padded flannel fabric
- jiffy-grip no skid fabric
- quilted vinyl including a diaper changing table cover
- textured wallpaper
- paper doilies
- plastic lace yardage, tablecloths, placemats and doilies
- various plastic placemats
- various shelf liner fabrics
- corrugated cardboard
- corrugated cardboard decorative borders
- grosgrain ribbon
- mesh produce bags
- wood veneer
- saran wrap
- Elmer’s glue (dried)
- pencil erasers
- rubber erasers
- plastic tubing (ends)
- faux graining tools
- popsicle sticks
- rubber brushes
- rubber bands
- metal screening
- various hole punches
- various scissors including pinking shears
- ear plugs
- fingerprints (her own)
The printmaking process is a long and complicated one, but Margaret enjoys the process and prefers the results to other, more immediate image-making techniques. Printmaking has become a vehicle for expression that speaks to her love of craft, mastery of technique, creative nature, and unique vision.