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.

1 comment:

Patricia G said...

I find your metal and enamel work fascinating. Interesting to see and read about your process and how you think about the work at each stage. I would like to work on metal, often thought printing plates overlooked and beautiful in themselves.