Saturday, 27 January 2018

Kitchen Table Intaglio

A few months ago I said I’d give a workshop to the Art Society on intaglio printmaking. It happens on February 8th so I thought I’d better start thinking about it.

I’ve managed to do the process from plate making through to printing using easily accessible materials. The only specialist thing it needs is printing ink (I’m using Caligo, I have some that’s been in the cupboard for ages, I don’t especially like using it but it will be easy to clean up at the end of the session). 

The plates are made from old photos. Different tones are added using masking tape, sellotape and sticky labels. These are all relatively non porous so the plates don’t need sealing. Lines can be carefully incised with a knife or scratched with a darning needle.

The plates are printed using a pasta maker (does this count as easily accessible?)

These are the examples I worked up, plates and prints. 

They are a bit red but I have a lot of this colour and I want to keep as large a range as possible available for the workshop. 

Now I have to see if this is possible to do with a group in the time I’ve got.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Photo litho workshop

I went on a course at Hot Bed Press this weekend, exploring photo litho with Kate Desforges.

We needed some art work printed onto acetate for the first day’s work and some ideas for direct drawing for the second. I resized and revamped a couple of things from the artwork I had made for ‘Was she the one who?’ so that I had a photographic image to work with. I also made a drawing in charcoal and ink which I scanned so I could see how drawn marks would translate. 

This is what I produced on the first day when we used the images on acetate to learn how to expose, develop and print the plates.

The second day we explored mark making on translucent drafting film. You can use this instead of printed transparencies to expose the plate. I tried to make a 3 colour separation image, using different materials for the drawings for the three plates so that I could see how the various types of marks  would work. Given the image I was trying to make, this was too ambitious in the time frame(and I’m not going to share) but I learned a lot about materials, registration and inking. This is a process that suits my way of working so I’m going to take the time to work out the design and mark making and try again.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Learning from the past

Last year I set myself the challenge to produce a book and a print each month. And I managed it – just.

At the beginning of this January I started to think about a new challenge and decided on ‘From the book shelf’ responding to a piece of literature each month. I even went as far as setting up a website to document it. Then I had second thoughts. The idea of the last challenge was to make me create on a regular basis and it worked, but I was so focused on producing different pieces that it didn’t give me much time for exploring and developing ideas. This year I’ve decided that I’m going to try making fewer but more developed pieces. 

At the same time I started exploring Frankenstein in response to the call for entry from Liverpool Book Fair (this is what prompted the idea of ‘From the bookshelf'). The deadline was 9th January for the proposal, with delivery sometime in March if it was accepted. I even finished the proposal. But then I decided that, for a little while at least, I don’t want to give myself strict deadlines that have to be met. I am going to make the book, but I want to be able to let things develop in their own time.

So this year, to keep things moving along, I’ll aim to record small steps of new progress on this blog each week, but I’m going to see where the work takes me.

On the subject of which I’ve been exploring texture and backgrounds for the text of ‘Dangerous books’.

I tried making monoprints on the relief press and on the etching press but neither one gave me the feel I wanted. After a period of trial and error I found using stencils, taking an impression on the Albion press to take off some ink, then printing the ghost on the etching press gave me the weight that I wanted. They aren’t stunning images in their own right but they are heading in the right direction to accompany the text. The next step is to try making it less monochrome and with a more subtle colour palette than bright yellow.

I’m starting to enjoy exploring without having to race to a conclusion.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Baker’s Dozen Completed

Just before Christmas I spotted a call for entry for the Liverpool Book Fair. They are running an exhibition at the Liverpool library alongside the book fair. The theme of the exhibition is Frankenstein (the book is 200 years old in 2018). I started playing with ideas, one of which meant constructing interlocking spirals. Though I’d never used it before I thought about using a wire edged binding to make up sections of the spirals.

I was short of a book for my ‘baker’s dozen’ challenge and thought exploring this construction might kill two birds with one stone. I made gelli prints using circles, rectangles and triangles as a starting point for the motifs and using the three process colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) plus white to keep the colour scheme simple.

This week I cut 24 ‘pages’, attached the wire edging and started to assemble them
 I started using embroidery thread which looked ok but half way through, when I was seeing how many different ways I could fold the books, I realised the knots were coming undone.
So I had a go with thin copper wire. This was more secure and I like the look of it better.
 I made four sets of 6 pages...

 then combined these into two sets of 12 (though I may separate one of these back into two again).
These books don’t have a front and back cover so I decided that they needed a box to protect them.
Then later in the week I went to HBP and printed up the type I’d set before the holidays.
Each one looks unbalanced as single prints but they are designed to be cut down and made into a small book. It seems an appropriate way of presenting the text (which is a quote from Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge).
So now last year’s challenges are completed (more or less),  the Christmas decorations are packed away and it’s time to move on into the New Year and see what that brings.