Sometimes, like last weekend, when it’s wet and windy and everybody else is sitting in front of the television watching the rugby, I sneak away to play with paper or fabric and dabble with paints and ink.
I recently rediscovered an old book called Fun with Art that my parents gave me for Christmas when I was twelve, which brought back memories of trying lots of the projects in it, including one that involved making patterns from wax crayon shavings ironed between paper and another of painting with bleach. In those pre Health & Safety obsessed days there was no warning about hot irons or the dangers of bleach, other than “Do be careful when using bleach; it could ruin the carpet or any chair you dropped it on. Keep it out of the reach of little children.”
By-passing the bleach painting and polystyrene cutting projects, I thought I’d try a little potato printing.
Potato printing is a wonderfully simple process that can be undertaken by any age but which we seem to do with great enthusiasm in primary school and never try again. I had visions of creating some fantastic pattern that I could use for printing on fabric but ended up playing around with patterns and making a few cards. Here’s a few things I learnt:
If you want a square then it’s best to measure it instead of trying to do it by eye.
To make a circle, use a biscuit cutter.
Apply the paint to the potato with a brush or sponge. Acrylic paint works well. Use fabric printing ink if you want to print on fabric and for it to remain colour fast.
Before you print, place the paper or fabric onto something with a little give, like a towel or yoga mat, rather than on a hard surface, especially if the cut surface of your potato isn’t completely flat.
Other vegetables are available.
Perhaps next time I’ll come up with something fantastic to print onto fabric. Enough for a set of curtains perhaps. Or maybe just a cushion. Or an egg cosy. Does anyone use egg cosies these days?