• Chrissie Calvert


At the moment I am exploring what I can do with hessian to make it an interesting paining surface, and what I can use as paint.

Below are some pictures of experimental works which are made of hessian, glue, ply, paint and stain.

So, I was thinking, why hessian? Why do I like painting on it so much? I think it's because it's such an imperfect surface. Each piece has its own flaws, which make the fabric feel personal some how. I guess this is because it is such a cheap versatile material which is made to a lower standard than canvas. I think it is that low standard which allows for the quirky imperfections, which I find so intriguing.

There's a few hessian prepping techniques i've been trying out.

  1. Simply gluing the hessian so it dries rigid (this makes the hessian translucent when not held up against a wall)

  2. Gluing two layers of hessian with newsprint in-between (this makes the hessian opaque and allows for a hang not against the wall)

  3. Gluing the hessian onto ply (opaque, easy to hang but heavy)

I have also been experimenting with painting with furniture stain on the hessian instead of paint. I tried this out on a whim and then found it suited the fabric really well. Since hessian is so thirsty, the watery stain sort of cancels that out and makes the painting. feel more like watercolour. At the moment I have only one colour of stain "Deep Oak", but I want to try a "Whitewash" colour on-top and see if that makes the images on the hessian feel more like charcoal and pastel on paper, drawn on a loosely woven surface.

In terms of the images I have been painting, trees, rocks, clouds and basic figures have been coming up a lot. I'm hoping that over time, the importance of the images and their connections to each other will evolve and unravel. Early days still, though I can feel a blurry idea if what it all might mean coming on, but for now its a vague shape of humanities relationship, (or lack of) with natural things as opposed to synthetic things.


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