Archive | February, 2015

Mezzotint Progress!!

26 Feb

It took me a good while to prepare my latest mezzotint plate (approx. 30x30cm) but having started working into it I have realised that my ‘rocking’ skills have some what improved! The main thing is that I didn’t rush it so the surface is less rough than my previous works…although I have left the edges of the plate, partly because it takes further patience to do them neatly, but it also makes the rocker marks more visible so that when it’s printed you can see that it’s been rocked by hand and not by a machine!

I started rocking the plate last summer but at the time didn’t have a solid idea for the image I wanted to use.  In the end I have chosen this image I took of one of the letter press machines at the John Jarrold Printing Museum:

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So far I have transferred the image in reverse using carbon paper (amazing stuff) and started scraping back some of the mid-tones using a scraper and burnisher, thing is even when it looks like you’re getting somewhere it’s so hard to tell how it’s going to print!

The idea behind this print is not only to draw from my visit to the JJarrold Museum but highlight the lengths it can take to produce an original print.  All the machines and presses on show have a specific purpose and it’s fascinating to know that they were in use every day but nowadays many would be surprised to know how it took a team of people to make sure the morning headlines were physically printed and on the streets between 11.45 and 12.15 every day. (Even the fact that the machines are still functioning and being maintained is a real indication of quality engineering!)

Basically I felt that this image suited working with mezzotint as it involves manipulating the metal surface and being quite methodical. It’s going to be quite a challenge but i’m particularly inspired by Carol Wax’s sewing machines and want to continue developing a wider range of tones and even experiment with mixed media!

This what I have done so far, slow progress but watch this space!!

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Printmaking: Tools of the Trade

26 Feb

I’ve started working on a new series of work based around the idea of ‘Tools and of Trade’ and an artist’s ‘organised mess’… The main reason for this change in ‘theme’ is that I’ve been trying to pin point what it is about printmaking that I really enjoy and at the end of the day it’s mainly the processes involved. Some processes such as etching and particularly mezzotint are pretty long winded and understandably some people are put off by the lengths you have to go to come up with a final product.  In my opinion, although I do try to balance my practice with quicker methods such as monoprint and lino cut, I am keen to promote the skills and dare I say crafts that can be produced by hand using both traditional and contemporary methods.

Below are some quick monoprints that I played around with last week to get some ideas going… Some of these will be available to buy as they are and some of them will be mixed with either drypoint or etching…

This monoprint session also re-established my love for blue and gold ink…

This week I have carried on with my blue theme to do some more tree monoprints that will be overprinted with an etching.  I blogged previously when I first did this but decided to do a few more as they have had quite a good reception from the learners at Wensum Lodge!

Watch this space…will blog later on to show my new mezzotint under way!

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John Jarrold Printing Museum

26 Feb

Goodness knows why it took me so long to check out the old John Jarrold Printing Museum in Norwich but I went for the first time during half term and learnt so much about letter press and the different stages involved in printing books, posters and publications!

The museum is right by the river and is within the original Jarrold building (Whitefriars).  It’s run by volunteers who have a wonderful passion and desire to continue spreading the legacy of hand printed type and it’s so important that these old methods are appreciated, especially as we take for granted how computers changed everything.

The museum is open every Wednesday morning from 9.30am – 12.30pm, you’ll meet all sorts of characters and printmaking enthusiasts as well as learn a great deal, all they ask in return is that you give a small donation!

Time for a Mezzotint

16 Feb

WP_20150214_003 Just a quick up date to show the beginnings of a new project that will involve a series of intaglio prints including etching, drypoint and finally a new mezzotint! I will also continue to explore combining printmaking methods such as monoprint and etching.

I have taken a proof of my newly rocked plate and although you are not supposed to print a mezzotint too many times before the final result I want to be able to use the proofing process to demonstrate this long winded process and possibly exhibit it at its different stages later this year.

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My new work is currently based around ‘tools of the trade’ and an artist’s organised mess so I will be using images that I took while assisting the late Aidan Kirkpatrick in his workshop and also intend to visit various workshops and studios to draw further inspiration. Watch this space and thanks for reading! L