Friday, 22 October 2010


I have wanted to spend some time working back into the acrylic transfers that have been building up in my sketch book. I also wanted to draw some moths and beetles.
I spent a happy afternoon working on top of these pre-prepared backgrounds, but started to feel that the drawings were becoming laboured.
So rather than abandon the exercise I took out my scalpel and set about cutting and lifting the wings and
carefully working around legs. This has made a complete difference to the way I feel about the pieces.
I know that the names are not accurate for the moth they are with, but I love the names moths have, there is something moralizing and serious about them, butterflies have such frivolous names, moths have sturdy, worthy labels.

Monday, 18 October 2010


I can only experiment with small luggage label sized enamels in my kiln at home, I have the opportunity to make larger work at the University of the West of England.
Using this drawing as a starting point to experiment on a slightly larger scale I set about making a post card sized piece on steel. My intention was to use the techniques I had been trying out over the summer.
The first thing that struck me was just by tripling the size of the piece how it threw up a variety of technical difficulties. Applying the grip coat evenly to the steel being a major factor. I wanted to leave areas of steel bare to rust, so using a stencil to achieve accurate drawing I scratched away the enamel at the edge and in the body of the composition.
I used the same technique to place the bird. The white numbers are stamped and sifted, this makes them pale and they will melt into the surface with subsequent firings.
A wash of watered down black enamel, scratched into gives me the grey. But in hind sight I wish I had made the mix stronger, there is too much contrast in the finished crow.
So I thought at this stage the piece was resolved, I like the composition, I like the light quality that bare metal contrasting with the smooth coverage of the enamel gives. But it needs more, this is why it is good to have a week between stages, it slows things down, gives me time to think and I avoid the rash over work that I am prone to.
In week 2 I add transfers to the crows body to try to knock back the white...I should have used a darker black wash. I add red stenciled and sifted numbers, the addition of red gives the piece punch. I reinforce some of the white numbers and finally add white transferred text, the addition of these white elements help to make sense of the lightness of the crow...which is still too light.
I can't wait to see how it changes when the steel rusts, this will add another colour dimension and give the piece a rough natural quality.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


I love October and this weekend has been glorious. I spent Sunday morning walking in the Autumn sunshine being inspired by all the natural colour.
I am drawn to the gorgeous reds and oranges in the hedgerows.
The berries are like jewels encrusting the branches and
dripping from surfaces.
The leaves are beginning to turn.
These ladybirds looked like walking berries. My Sunday was a relaxing time after a very energetic Saturday running a mono print workshop at Hampen Factory.
I had 6 talented people for a 1 day workshop where the creative possibilities of mono printing were thoroughly explored.
The first 4 images were made with a single pass through the press.

With the group becoming confident with this technique and lots of exciting images appearing

it was time to start working into them by inking up shapes and wall paper to over print the initial images.
With the backdrop of the Cotswold countryside around us at Hampen it was no surprise to see Autumn colour in the work. It was fantastic to work with such a talented group of people.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Press Gang
an exhibition of printmaking at Hampen Factory
9th & 10th October 2010
open 11am - 4pm both days
On Wednesday afternoons in term time I facilitate a group making large prints and this exhibition is a celebration of their exciting and experimental printmaking.
The exhibition is at Hampen Factory Arts Centre, Hampen, Andoversford, Cheltenham, GL54 5RH, where the group makes the work. The exhibition shows the various plate making and inking techniques used to make collagraphs.
Tile cement, wood glue, wall paper, grey board together with a number of inking techniques appear in the show.
This is just a small glimpse of the variety of work on show. You can meet the artists during the
weekend as they will be there demonstrating their working methods. I will be there Sunday afternoon, so if you are in Gloucestershire this weekend pop in and say hello.

Monday, 4 October 2010


I am having a studio sale on November 6th, so I have started clearing out experiments and edition ends to sell off at bargain prices. You can imagine as a printmaker and hoarder I have lots of works on paper building up all the time, so from time to time I have a clear out.

This tidy up is like a walk down memory lane, I find treasures in the backs of drawers and experiments that rekindle interest and long as I can remember how I did them.
This etching is 1 of the first, done on my degree course 30 years ago.

This little etching, nitric acid etched zinc, I made at a teachers etching workshop.

I then made this etching in my first studio in the cellar of our 3rd home, where we still live. It is the size of a real Walnut Whip.

1 of the first collagraphs I ever made.

My first experience of non toxic printmaking. Done in Dumfries on an ImagOn work shop run by Kieth Howard, the developer of this new process.

These are a couple of non toxic soft ground etchings done with ferric chloride and acrylic ground on copper after attending a workshop run by Friedhard Kirkeban.

I then experimented with combining etching and ImagOn

This is a much larger etching using separate plates to build up the colour.

I made this at a carborundum workshop at Leicester Print Workshop, I took wall paper just in case and caused a bit of a stir using it with the carborundum. I have to say that it was a long way to go to find out that wood glue was the best thing to stick carborundum on with.

This was one of the many experiments I made at a workshop run by Brenda Hartill. Brenda has a specialized inking technique.

Here is a transfer mono print that I had forgotten about, done as an example for a workshop I ran at Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth.
And an etching using gum arabic transfer as an etching resist on aluminum, bitten in copper sulphate, the chicken is a collagraphed element as I used carborundum for the body.

Here I wanted to see if I could print a collagraph plate onto some silk paper I had made, this then appeared in a 'handbag' exhibition. I had quite forgotten about it, as it has been stuck at the bottom of my plan chest.
This work represents 30 years of experimenting and absorbing new techniques. I feel that I still have so much to learn and so many ideas still to is good to look back. How many of you have archives to share?