Chocal: Womens Chocolate Coop in the DR

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by Shaireproductions.com .

Chocal photo by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

It was a great pleasure to be able to volunteer and learn about one of my favorite things–Chocolate!!! While in the Dominican Republic, I hooked up with Chocal, a local womens cooperative of about 30 individuals, who create, manufacture and package their own chocolates straight from the cocao plant. The D.R has one of the best cocao beans in the world, but they mostly ship out the beans to Europe for manufacturing, leaving the local economy much to be desired.

With Chocal, there is economic empowerment and growth potential. They needed a bit of help with the production, so I volunteered for a few hours (through Fathom). It was fascinating to learn of their process, sorting the good beans from the bad, and wading through the camouflage of nibs vs. shells. The volunteers were very sweet, and I learned of their lives while sorting through the edible materials. With volunteering, the people that you meet are just as important as the service. I wish I could go back–the experience, though short, was very rewarding, as was the intoxicating aroma of roasted chocolate nibs. Yummy times! 🙂

Printing with Plants: Eco Printing Experiments

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by Shaireproductions.com .

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

At the core, leaves and flowers are organic pieces of art, filled with wonderful tannins, natural colors that can dye papers when coaxed with the right conditions. I took a 2-day course at the SF Center for the Book with Dorothy Yuki, exploring different techniques to expose the beauty of the plants on paper.

Eco-printing process by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions
The setup and process

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

I learned that Eco-printing is all about experimentation. I happily discovered that I could produce simple concoctions without much use of chemicals, where I could then reproduce the process in my tiny home kitchen. Initially, you can dampen the paper with a Water-Vinegar solution and apply that same solution to your plants. Different plants have differing level of tannins; Roses give a nice splash of color, and a reddish Japanese Maple leaves transfer a remarkable green tone when placed in a bath solution. Ultimately, if you go simple with just a water/vinegar solution throughout the process, you can get a subtle watercolor effect, perfect for layering artwork–illustrations, calligraphy or photography.

Eco-printing process by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

There are tons of variables, like incorporating mordants, like alum or iron, to enhance the colors of the plants, but the main transfer mechanisms of plant to paper are physical contact and simmering the plants in a bath solution (like water/vinegar for a simple treatment, or using red onion for a deep orange hue). Here, the plants have been rolled into the paper along a cylinder and bound with a string. It then soaks up the water solution for about an hour, where all the magic happens.

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

Revealing the artwork from a copper pipe (with rose petals still attached)

Eco-printing artwork by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

When the artwork is finally unrolled, it’s like Christmas! The transfer result is widely variable, so it’s a treat to see what the end result is. In this indigo blue piece, a logwood rag (of beet red), was placed on top of the plants, rolled up, and simmered in an iron water solution. The prints were laid to dry for hours, then flattened with an iron, then is ready to be used and appreciated.

Part of creating art is about learning different techniques and experimenting. I’m super happy to have been able to take this course and work with the wonders of the garden; I hope to incorporate these with my illustrations more. Stay tuned!

Artwork: Tribal Alien

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by Shaireproductions.com .

Tribal Alien by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions.com

The Aliens franchise has a new movie coming out on Friday and I wanted to take advantage of the fervor and inspiration to create a new piece. This tribal piece has a “throwback” nod to the classic 1980s movie posters with the incorporation of the vintage green glow, space pattern and digital rays. Below is the initial pen and ink drawing:

Tribal Alien Pen Drawing Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions.com

RedBubble: Shaire Prod Shop

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by Shaireproductions.com .

Shaire Prod Redbubble Shop Banner, Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions

Launched a new venture with RED BUBBLE, where I get to experiment with placing my art on fun skirts, dresses, and pillows in Fantasy and Macabre themes. My shop name on RedBubble is “Shaire Prod”, an abbreviate name (my full “ShaireProductions” name was unfortunately too long for RedBubble–doh!) Regardless, I’m sooooo excited–take a peek HERE! 🙂

Artwork: Evil & Good Mermaids

. Posted by Sherrie Thai by Shaireproductions.com .

evil & good mermaids art by Sherrie Thai of shaireproductions.com

“Evil & Good Mermaids” celebrates the magical realm of the supernatural and the dangerous lure of temptation. The original illustration was created from pen/ink and I combined the background with Photoshop and added digital coloring.

Here’s the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates the exquisite Sirens of the Sea: ART PRINTS

evil & good mermaids skirt art by Sherrie Thai of shaireproductions.com

A hot mini-skirt product is available on my REDBUBBLE Shop.

evil & good mermaids art by Sherrie Thai of shaireproductions.com

A Tshirt Design is AVAILABLE HERE at my Zazzle Shop.

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