I decided I wanted to make a number of quite realistic ‘portraits’ of the irons, picking the ones I liked best from my photos, from a couple of different angles. I wanted to paint or draw them. The drawings would be slightly larger than life.
But the first question was, what sort of background to show them on? My feelings for the old houses I remembered made me think of old distempered walls, faded, peeling, overpainted and so on.
So I took some quite coarsely woven white cotton duck, cut it into roughly A4 sizes and painted these pieces in various creams and greys, overpainting until I got a faded, peeling look. I liked these pieces a lot.
After I painted about 20 pieces of background fabric, I started sketching the irons I liked. I made simple outline drawings from my photographs, large enough to fit nicely on to A4 sized pieces of cloth. The first picture shows 2 of my drawings.
This took me quite a time, and I finally made 8 drawings that I thought were good enough.
By then transferring these on to tracing paper, I could use them the right way round, or in reverse - which gave me lots more images. You can see my black-pencilled, reversible tracing in the second picture.
Having made the tracings of my chosen irons, I then transferred these on to the background painted pieces of cloth. The first picture shows a whole tracing, and the second shows a detail in close-up.
The tracings could then be used to make real, ink line drawings. I used artist’s felt pens for this, and with slightly varying colours I sketched in the lines of my tracings . The third picture shows one of these line drawings completed.