Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Looking for Connections

It's been a long time since I've blogged so it feels good to be back in the world wide web.  The last 6 months have seen big changes for me & my family - at the end of July we moved to the Pacific Northwest of America so my Shared Threads Studio has been packed, shipped & finally reinstated in a spare bedroom of our new home. 

I've spent the first 3 months of our adventure feeling rather disconnected, struggling to find any meaningful relationship with this huge country.  I'm determined to return home with new skills so I've been doing a printmaking course this last 8 weeks which has been great fun & has helped me connect with fellow artists.

I've done rudimentary printmaking before, but always as a method of applying surface pattern to cloth rather than as an art form in itself so it's been great to learn some new techniques such as intaglio & paper lithography.  We started off with monoprinting, using found objects on a plexi plate -

You can't see from the photos but after running the plate through the press the paper became really embossed which adds a third dimension to the print. 

We also did collographs which I loved, this is a detail of one of the plates, the rough texture in the corner is egg shell....

and a detail of the print....

Of course it's having the large etching press which allows you to pick up so much detail - I really want a press now! 

The course has been an interesting exercise for me, it's helped cement some  ideas for my textile work and has given me another mark making tool.  The most valuable part was actually trying techniques which just didn't work for me because they don't suit my way of viewing the world - reductive lino prints was one.  My brain just could not cope with working backwards & having to plan which bits of the lino to cut first!  So much as I would love to be the next Angie Lewin, 'it ain't gonna happen!'  That's probably why I'm so attracted to her work (and Mark Herald's for that matter) - I know I could never produce anything even close to it, it's just not how I 'see' things.  I'm much more spontaneous & free in my mark making so I need to use techniques which capture that.  I also found that using the lino tools aggravated an old tendon injury in my hand so I'll just have to buy one of these beautiful prints........Angie Lewin at her best,

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