While house sitting for a kind woman named Mrs. Donavan in 1981 and 1982 I
was given permission to use the loft above her garage to do my silk
screening. Winter came and Mrs. Donovan would travel to Arizona with her deaf
daughter Mary. Without any hesitation, Charlotte would allow me to then move
in to the main house to use her very large basement to silkscreen. The
agreement then was that I would house sit for the four months she and Mary
would be away. The beauty of this was that I not only had the clean basement
in which to work on art, but that I had the entire mansion to myself. Mrs.
Donavan was very wealthy, yet none of her wealth took away from her amazing
kindness in light of the difficulty of raising Mary. Additionally, Charlotte
allowed me to live here in this 12 bedroom house rent free.
It was here where I worked on another Christmas card idea -- this time an
American Holly. See "Silent Starlit Communion" for another Christmas card
print created here in Weston, CT.
On completing this and other silk screens, I began to build a very large
silkscreen whose frame required pulleys and cables for better ease in
lifting. I was very interested in an idea which never to this day happened.
What I wanted to do was to magnify technical illustration of DIATOMS and then
silicon them on 4 foot square sheets of illustration board. DIATOMS are
microscopic (beautifully geometric) sea organisms. The idea fascinated me
mainly because they were so small and NONE were quite the same. Much like
snowflakes -- only smaller.
My American Holly Christmas card "worked," but all attempts at printing
incredibly huge diatoms failed. The main reason for this was that I used the
incorrect "mesh" for the screen's "silk" fabric. Ink clogged in the areas
where I had too fine a detail in my stencils. For years, I lugged the
equipment around with me -- thinking I would one day make another try at
diatom prints. It would require a return to silk screening and most certainly
to water-based inks.