Tag Archives: Columbian Press

It’s All About The Technical Details!

6 Mar

Dragon eye 2

March 16th and 17th at Swansea Print Workshop I’m running a course in woodcut printmaking using MDF.

“Q. Can you use MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) for woodcut prints?

A. Yes you can – as long as you get the technical details right.

Q. And how do I make sure that I get a nice quality print?

A. Again, it’s about getting the technical details right.

Q. And can I make these prints at home, without needing a specialist press?

A. Oh yes. But only if you get the technical details right.”

This short course covers:  safety, cutting, tools and tool maintenance, sealants, choosing the right papers and inks, printing with chine collé, printing by hand and press. At the end of two days you’ll have at least two original prints, one monochrome and one with colour, and enough know-how to get stuck into making your own original woodcut prints with MDF.

And you’ll get a chance to use this fabulous Victorian Columbian Press …

 

Please follow the link here if you’d like to book a place or find out about other courses coming up ….

Talk Turned Geeky

17 Apr

SONY DSC

Husb and I had a teatime visit from friends today and, as one of them is a fellow printmaker, the talk turned geeky. She noticed a number of my blockprinted portrait heads on the wall and we chatted about materials and techniques. Instead of the traditional lino or wood, or even modern vinyl, I used signwriters PVC foam sheet called Foamex. Lots of signwriters around here use it and chuck away the offcuts so it’s easy to get hold of them for free and recycle it.

flotex head

It’s not easy to cut with conventional tools, it works better if you incise the surface. I used screwdrivers, chisels, ballpoint pen and a four-inch screw which I used to incise lines against a steel rule. Then I cut around the edge with a junior hacksaw and printed it up with black litho/relief oil-based ink onto Zercoll 145gsm paper using the Colombian Press at Swansea Print Workshop.

If you want to see more of these portrait heads, which I based on drawings I made during my first visit to Pakistan, please click here.

Puss ‘n’ Boots

6 Dec

pussnboots

Spent a lot of today using the Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop and then went visiting family. When I got home, I didn’t have much time so I scribbled a quick sketch, just a few minutes, into my little A5 Peter Pauper Press sketchbook. I sketched my boot and my cat, Sparta Puss.

Get Over Yourself

3 Dec

her place 1

 

I recently had a rubber stamp made from a screen print I did a few months back (here) and tried it out today for the first time on some leftover pieces of lovely Shiohara paper. It came out like, well, a rubber stamp. Being a geeky and rather obsessive printmaker, I of course wanted it to be absolutely perfect, like a lino block through a fine Victorian Columbian press.

 

Then I got over myself! A rubber stamp is a completely different animal and the effect of stamping gives a very different finish to a press. And then I started enjoying myself, stamping away. I hung them to dry on my clothes airer, using plastic pegs and cotton wool pads. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them – maybe a 3D piece?

I did it at The SPace, a temporary artspace by Swansea Print Workshop at 217, High Street, Swansea. Open 11.30 – 5.00, Wednesdays to Saturdays until mid-February.

“People And Place” – The Video

19 Aug

Rose 2

Here’s a short video about the art collective I’m in. It shows the 3 of us, a painter, a collagist and a scribbler / printmaker, at work. We’re called “15 Hundred Lives” and we have our first major group exhibition, “People And Place” starting tomorrow (Friday 21st August, 6-8pm) at Oriel Ceri Richards in the Taliesin Arts Centre and running until September the 26th. The Taliesin cinema will be showing our video as a short before their feature films while the exhibition is on.

Here’s our video on YouTube, I’ll be uploading it to Vimeo soon……

It’s got some great footage of the antique Columbian Press I use down at Swansea Print Workshop.

The Block Block

11 Aug

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Here are the vinyl blocks I printed yesterday, inked up and ready to go. They’re about 7 x 9 inches each. They’ve been printed singly but I like the look of them grouped together in a block and might print a couple of sheets like this. But that’ll have to wait until after I’ve finished mounting and framing all the work for my upcoming exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards from August the 21st.

I drew, cut and printed these at Swansea Print Workshop on an antique Victorian Columbian printing press.

 

FINISHED!

10 Aug
big e

My vinyl block inked with black

Up and out early today to finish the second colour on the last four vinyl blocks. Done and dusted. I’ve made a series of 8 small and 4 not so small block prints for the exhibition I’m a part of in a couple of weeks. The imagery has been inspired by a visit I made to Berlin a couple of winters ago and in particular seeing the Berlin Holocaust Memorial under a deep white muffled blanket of snow. I’ve used softcut vinyl and Intaglio Printmaker’s relief / litho ink mixed 50:50 with extender onto Japanese Hosho paper. I printed them on the antique Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop, a beautiful example of Victorian machinery, still in use.

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The vinyl is very good, especially with the smaller pieces, but rather floppy which made placing the larger pieces a bit difficult. In future, I’ll glue larger blocks onto some thin plywood. I used the shiny side of the Hosho paper and found that mixing the rather stiff ink with extender gave the best results I’ve had so far with blockprints.

Next? Mounting and framing.

 

The Antique Columbian

7 Aug

I’ve been working on a new series of linocut (well, vinyl) prints for an exhibition coming up at Oriel Ceri Richards later this month, a group exhibition with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective. Each print will be in 2 colours on white, using Japanese Hosho paper and Intaglio Printmakers relief inks.

large 1

I printed the last of the 12 blocks today with the first colour, a mid grey, down at Swansea Print Workshop.

large 2

 

Next, I’ll cut away the grey areas and print the second colour, black. That’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

 

large 3

 

I am using the antique Victorian Colombian Press and I’ll be printing each in editions of 15. I love working with such old machinery. The Victorians didn’t stint on the decoration, it’s beautiful as well as functional. It’s also idiosyncratic and a bit fickle to use, but so would I be if I were that old 🙂

A Bit Of Columbian

3 Mar

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I was down at Swansea Print Workshop earlier and took some time to scribble the lovely old Columbian printing press. Dating from quite early in Queen Victoria’s reign (1855) this beauty is still in use, even though it’s a little bit wobbly and idiosyncratic. It’s quite complex and I’m right out of my comfort zone, I’m a people person, I draw people. Machinery is really alien so it’s good practice to spend some time trying to get it right. I used a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen size M into my A5 Tate Gallery sketchbook. I haven’t done any relief (block) printing for quite a while and I’ve been fancying using some of my stash of vinyl blocks – I have a few ideas, I just need to get cutting then I can use this lovely, lovely press again.

Just Seconds

20 Jan

columbian

One of those days – loads of admin and computer and filing and then off to the opening of a friend’s exhibition so I only had SECONDS to do any drawing. But I set myself the task of drawing every day so draw I did. I was doing some voluntary work at Swansea Print Workshop today and managed to grab a few moments to sketch the top of the vintage Columbian printing press, the bald eagle, using graphite into my A5 Tate Gallery sketchbook.

Husb and I were in Malta last month and visited the fantastic National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta which is hosting an exhibition of artefacts from 7000 years of Malta’s history, ” Malta – the Great Story of a Small Island-Nation through 100 Objects”. And there was this lovely Columbian press!

columbian

Made in London, it was imported after freedom of the Maltese press was won in 1839 and many newspapers were launched within just a few years. One of the main characteristics of the Columbian is that it was designed to allow a whole newspaper page to be pressed in one pull. And it’s considered important enough to be one of the 100 artefacts to be included in this historic exhibition. And we have one just like it in Swansea!

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