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The Difference

17 Apr

 

double drop 3

Preparing an etching plate or a wood block or a silk screen is just the first stage of creativity in making an original print. The second creative input comes with the actual printing – the inks, papers and special effects you use. I printed the one above using the ‘double drop’ technique, printing the plate first in Vermilion and secondly in Prussian Blue. Although it’s quite monochromatic, it has a richer, more intense colour than the print below, which was just printed once, in black ink.

single drop .jpg

Metal Marbling

15 Apr

 

marbling

I’ve done marbling onto paper before but this is marbling onto an etching plate. I spent the weekend at a masterclass in etching at Andrew Baldwin’s Trefeglwys Print Studio in Powys. We covered quite a few processes and I’ve wanted to see this one for a while. Andrew marbles a metal plate with his B.I.G. (Baldwin’s Ink Ground) and bakes it to harden it up and then etches it. The results are gorgeous. Here he’s just poured some of the B.I.G., thinned out with lavender oil, onto a solution of vinegar and water and is dragging a stick through it to enhance the marbled effect, just before dipping a prepared aluminium plate onto it.

14 Apr

double drop 3

I’ve spent the weekend at Trefeglwys Print Workshop exploring etching with Andrew Baldwin. One of the things I learnt was how to print a ‘double drop’ plate, where the plate is printed twice on the same piece of paper in different, complementary, colours. It’s not easy, you have to be very precise, but it’s worth it. Check out some of Andrew’s instructional videos on different forms of etching here

 

On the left, inking up the etching plate with Vermilion ink. On the right, overprinting the orange print with Prussian Blue.

An International Bunch

1 Apr

workstation

A Temporary Print Workstation. This is how I print small blocks at home. I use the top of my plans chest but you can use any surface – desk, table, kitchen work surface… Cover the area with old newspaper (or similar) stuck down with masking tape.

Left to right:

  1. Registration sheet (I blogged about this 2 days ago)
  2. Printing area – where you actually rub the paper onto the inked block – I use Japanese barens
  3. Gluing area – for preparing the chine collé (I use Pritt stick – always use really good glue). Click here to find out more about chine collé.
  4. The inking area – see yesterdays blog for more on this.
  5. At the back I’ve put the stack of pre-cut printmaking paper and the prepared chine collé papers.
  6. I use Cranfield Caligo Safewash relief ink (made in Wales); Hosho Japanese paper for the print; and for the chine collé I use Indian hand-made recycled sari paper. I’ve used vinyl for the block, inked with an excellent roller from Intaglio Printmaker in London. And chine collé is a French term translated as China collage. An international bunch.

 

Easy Peasy Quick Ink

31 Mar

prep 4

I often print small blocks at home as I can do them by hand and don’t need to use the fabulous Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop. This is how I set up a little inking station without fuss or mess.

Stick some newspaper onto your work surface with a bit of masking tape.

Stick a piece of ordinary white paper down onto it, with masking tape. I used a sheet of A4 size white computer printout paper.

Stick a sheet of thin but sturdy PVC / plastic / acetate over it with some masking tape. I used acetate document covers you get with comb binding machines.

There it is. Easy Peasy.

 

 

Registration

30 Mar

prep 2

Yeah I know, really boring but so vital for printmakers. I’ve been printing up a simple one-colour linocut with chine collé as a small edition  so the registration is fairly simple.

 

 

After you’ve cut your printmaking paper to size for your edition, use one of the sheets as a guide to draw it out onto a sheet of ordinary white paper.

Then place your block where you want it positioned on your final print and draw around that.

Finally, stick it onto your work surface with a bit of masking tape AND THEN…

Cover it with a sheet of thin but sturdy plastic / acetate – I used one of those clear PVC covers you get with comb binding machines but any thin sheet of smooth, clear plastic will do.  Stick it down with a couple of pieces of masking tape.

 

Ready to print…

 

 

Chine Collé

29 Mar

chine 4

I have just printed an edition of my little Mari Lwyd linocuts with chine collé to add flashes of colour. I use hand-made paper made from recycled silk saris, a lovely range of colours and lots of fibres.

 

 

From left to right: ripping up the paper for cine collé, putting it onto an inked block – it must be glue side UP; taking the print with a traditional Japanese baren.

 

I used Cranfield Caligo Safewash oil-based relief ink in black, Japanese Hosho paper and Pritt Stick glue. Don’t skimp on the glue – I always use either Pritt or UHU. The combination of Safewash ink and Hosho paper is excellent for taking relief prints by hand. This little edition is heading off across The Pond to Wingtip Press in Idaho USA for the Leftovers IX print exchange.

Little Lino Leftovers

28 Mar

Leftovers

I had a busy afternoon printing up my little “Mari Lwyd” lino block for the annual “Leftovers” print exchange organised by Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho, USA. Wingtip’s founder, Amy Nack, describes it’s beginnings,

After cleaning out the flat files and finding dozens of little scraps of printmaking papers jamming up the file drawers, the folks at Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho realized they probably weren’t alone with the dilemma of what to do with all those too-precious-to-toss leftover paper scraps.
An invitation went out to fellow printmakers to participate in a print exchange to use all those lovely little leftover scraps to create a small edition of prints. Artists submit an edition of 15 prints of any size up to and NO LARGER than 5″ x 7″ and receive a dozen prints in return. One print is held for exhibitions and one print is included in a silent auction to raise funds for the Hunger Relief Task Force.”

It’s now in it’s ninth year and attracts entries from printmakers all over the world and also exhibits the prints internationally, across the USA, New Zealand, China and Wales.

So Excited!

25 Mar

I’m getting excited now. The Sky Arts TV project I started working on what seems like aeons ago …. about 9 months …. is finally being aired tomorrow, Tuesday March 26th, along with the other visual arts projects from 9pm.

 

I was commissioned to create a new flag for Britain – that’s opening up a can of wurms as I’m Welsh and we Welsh have never been represented on the Union flag. The film shows my creative process, how I researched and developed what eventually turned out to be a massive woodcut print. It’s called “Here Be Dragons” which not only reflects the dragon on the Welsh flag, but it’s also an ancient phrase that used to be written onto maps to mark “dangerous and unknown territory” which is where I feel we are in the UK now.

 

Here Be Dragons small

 

“Here Be Dragons” also works as a spoken word piece, read aloud and the colour is a combination of chine collé and specific inking. If you subscribe to Sky TV or NOW TV, please drop by tomorrow at 9 and have a look at it.

 

A Bit More Cosi

24 Mar

cosi fan 2

Here are a couple more drawings I did at the opera the other evening, Cosi Fan Tutte at The Taliesin on Swansea University’s Singleton campus. It was very dark so I could hardly see the paper, an A4 brown paper spiral bound sketchbook. I used white and sanguine conté crayon, turning the white on its side to block in large areas and then scribbling with the sanguine.

cosi fan 1

My giant woodcut “Here Be Dragons” is going to be featured on Sky Arts TV channel on Tuesday 26th March at 9pm. If you’re a Sky TV subscriber or if you have NOW TV you’ll be able to see a short film of me going through the creative process, with lots about Swansea and footage of Swansea Print Workshop too. It’s part of a whole week of arts programming showing how artists across the UK have responded creatively to Brexit.

finished

 

 

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