Margaret designs, cuts, sews, or knits all the piece herself, yet strives to make these garments appear store-bought. She wants viewers to look twice before they realize that this clothing could not have been factory-made. Familiar garments such as denim jeans and men’s shirts require a high degree of labor and skill that most people take for granted, yet these items are essential parts of our physical, and psychological, wardrobe. She alters these forms, not to change the style or fit, but to change what they say to us about ourselves.
To create her illustrations, Margaret has most often used printmaking techniques – transferring color from one surface to another, building the images up gradually from flat layers of color. Most recently, she has also begun painting with gouache using stencils and brushes.
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.
Mixed Media Printing:
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.
Stencils and Gouache:
This technique grew out of Margaret’s mixed media printing process. She still cuts shapes, but this time she cuts them out of acetate sheets and paints through the stencils with soft, flat brushes and gouache paint (opaque watercolors). This process does not require a printmaking press to execute, so things move faster and there is more room for painterly expression!
Here is an example from To Be Like The Sun of how Margaret gradually built of layers of color and pattern with relief printing. 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 Margaret 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)
Final Note on Margaret’s Illustration Techniques:
Sometimes she uses Photoshop to assemble her images. It’s easier than cutting and pasting things together like they used to do in the “olden days.”