Friday, 30 March 2018

Etching and “?”

I’m enjoying this hopping around.

On the etching front I spent yesterday biting the plate but didn’t have time to print it. The gelli plate printed textures seem to have bitten but until it’s inked next week I won’t know if I left them in the copper sulphate long enough to get a good print from them.
 Moving on to the books. 

Both sides of the ‘pages’ in the book structure will be visible so I’ve been experimenting with colouring both sides of the paper.  I can get two books out of an A2 sheet. 

I’ve made plain using a palette knife
 And patterned using the gelli plate
 I thought the plain was too plain and decided to try out the structure with the patterned sheet. When I cut the page shapes out I came to the conclusion that I didn’t like the stripes with the circles. One of them had to go. 

The circle print was nice but it took several layers of cutting up stencils and peeling the stencils off the block because they kept sticking. OK for a one off but not for the 5 sheets I’ll need for an edition. So I overprinted the circles with a plainer texture to give a contrast of plain and patterned on the two sides of the paper.

And cut and folded. Trying to decide whether to have plain or patterned in the inside of the forms.
At this stage I was thinking that I’d stitch the two pieces together but then I wondered what would happen if I cut and slotted it together like I did with the mock ups. So I tried with some of the plain paper.
 I like the way the colour moves from the inside to the outside of the form (though I’m not sure about the holes). I need paper with some contrast between the two sides to accentuate this. I’ve cut strips from textured wallpaper to get some coherence between the pages of the edition and and I’ve started printing using different palettes.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

More playing

I often worry that I’m a bit of a dabbler, starting something, moving on, a new technique here, a different project there, not much staying power. 

But after many years of trying to focus, be organised and follow one thing at a time I’ve decided that it’s time to stop trying to force it.  Dabbling is the way I work best, starting several things at once and dipping in and out, exploring and playing, until at last something is finished.  So from now on I’m going to go with the flow and enjoy the process.

At the moment I’m flitting from the medieval book to a book swop book, from a collagraph to an etching and, to add to the mix, props, scenery and other assorted stuff for Peter Pan which our group will put on in June. 

So in the spirit of dabbling this week I’ve played with etching and looked at more book structures.

I wanted the puppets to have different patterned dresses. I decided that I’d like to take these from real fabrics or lace. I want three different patterns on this plate but I find it difficult to get a consistent result with soft ground etching. Pondering different solutions I wondered if it was possible to print the texture onto the aluminium plate using a gelli plate. It is.

These are a bit grey but have real possibilities 

I think I’ve come up with a possible solution for “?”. It will be a book, in that it will have a binding and open like a book, but once open it won’t have a narrative and will be more of a structural object.  I spent a pleasant afternoon cutting and sticking paper (a good use for old play scripts) exploring different structures.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


I seem to be flitting about at the moment, lots of ideas going on but not a lot of finishing.

Getting the stuff together to work on the covers for the medieval book I realised that I haven’t done the images for the two end sections. These will be based on sundials. I also found a set of pages for the map section that I’d painted but hadn’t put the text on. They are now printed but the covers and end sections haven’t been started yet.
I’m also working on ideas for new book for a CollaborativeArtist Books swop. The title of this edition is “(?)” meaning anything. I’m struggling with this. I find it easier to work with a brief.
I started with ideas for a book that become a structure/sculpture rather than a linear book but it ended up as a carousel rather than a concertina format (size and structure are the only specifications for this project). I also prefer the scale of the smaller initial mock-up. I will finish this idea (eventually) but it won’t be for “(?)”.

I also need to make some new 2D work for the Art Society Spring exhibition; the venue is only suitable for framed images. So Rosamund is being refined ready to start....
.. .and I’ve a new rough for etching on Friday.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

More Photolitho

I’ve been working through photolitho this week making sure that I can replicate the process from the workshop and end up with a print.

I started with a drawing...
 Scanned it and played with it to make two different images to be put onto acetate.
I exposed these onto photolitho plate and printed.
I wondered what would happen if I overprinted the lighter image in a pale ink over the denser one.
I like the effect even if the registration isn’t great (somehow I managed to alter the aspect ratio of one of the two images as I was playing with them).

I want to use this technique now to make prints using several plates and colours and to incorporate text into the image.

I’ve also started the design of a new collagraph. I came across the legend of Rosamund the Fair. She was the mistress of Henry II. It was said that she lived in the centre of a maze where Henry could visit her in safety. Eleanor of Aquitaine (Henry’s wife) managed to penetrate the maze and gave her the option of choosing between a dagger and a bowl of poison; Rosamund chose the latter and died. This version of her death only surfaced two hundred years later and is historically inaccurate but I like the visual possibilities.