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April 13, 2021

The Joy of Repetition

 

I spent the month of March learning some new printing techniques, I wanted to make fresh products for my online shop and to have some work ready to share in the Maker’s House whenever we open again!  I took a one day class in screen printing with Liz Nilsson of www.lizinspires.com to get me started. It was fabulous. Living in rural Ireland, I have often lamented the fact that you always have to drive to get to a class or I’ve felt a little envious of all the amazing workshops and classes on offer in Dublin. So one of the positives of the pandemic is the amazing classes and workshops that are now available online. This was a one-day zoom class and we had participants from all over Ireland.  I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend the course. Liz sent out the screen and inks in the post and my package arrived a few days before the class.

I’ve always thought “pattern” wasn’t for me. I find it difficult and constraining and often quite frustrating. I feel like the kid who wants to colour outside the lines or maybe the kid who wishes there were no lines at all!  So I wasn’t quite sure how a printing technique that invites pattern-making would go for me. But then Liz said something when talking about printing that resonated. She described the printing process as the “joy of repetition.” Not the joy of pattern but the joy of repetition.

I thought about this a little.  I liked it. It opened things up for me. I think I had gotten stuck on the idea that creating patterns meant doing things in an organised, consistent way. That’s what a pattern is, isn’t it? Being organised and consistent? Well, maybe not quite…I began to think of my pattern-making experiments as experiments in repetition instead. A motif repeated over and over…not necessarily in a predictable way. It’s the repetition that creates the pattern and once you have your motif, there are endless ways to repeat it. So, with this freeing approach in mind, I explored over-printing: placing the same motif on the surface in random ways and enjoying the patterns and tones that emerge. So far, I have loved the results and I’m pretty sure too that I have discovered the “joy of repetition.” Thank you Liz.