21 August 2013

Linocut workshop at the Curwen Print Study Centre

The last of the workshops I did was linocut - on familiar ground at least! Although I use this technique at home, I wanted to try out the oil-based inks and, of course, the press...

I had an image from my sketchbook that I thought might be good for a linocut. We used linoleum floor tiles (great idea, not too expensive!). Tried a few colour combinations, as well as masking the bird and printing the colours separately.

Starling bird linocut

Starling bird linocut

Starling bird linocut
If you feel like having a go at printmaking, I would highly recommend a Curwen workshop - great fun, steep learning curve, lots to think about!

19 August 2013

Drypoint at the Curwen Print Study Centre

The Wednesday workshop at the Curwen Print Study Centre was drypoint, an intaglio technique (where the ink lies in the recesses you make) that needs a press. Traditionally metal plates were used for this, but more recent materials include Perspex as well as acetate, which is what we used. It’s a certain grade of acetate which will produce a ‘burr’ along the lines that you scratch in.

I particularly enjoyed this technique as it’s very close to drawing – both my plates were based on sketchbook images of the cat. Again, I went for a traditional figurative approach, but there were some stunning abstract prints too. The great advantage of acetate is that you can cut it up, rearrange elements and generally manipulate your image quite a lot. I’d like to have a go at this technique again and be a bit wilder!

So you scratch your image into the acetate – we used mounted needles. Sandpaper is good for texture. The marks can be quite shallow, as the pressure of the press means that everything will print. Intaglio ink is scumbled into the marks, and then you wipe the plate to take off the excess ink. Any ink left on the surface will print as ‘plate tone’, which you can control by wiping off more or less ink. You print onto slightly damp paper. And of course, you can go back in to your plate and scratch away more if you want to!

My first print:

My second effort was still figurative (cat again), but a little bit more adventurous. The little circles at the bottom were made by taking a ‘rubbing’ of a piece of Lego with sandpaper (there are lots of possibilities here!). The actual cat was based on one of my contour drawings, and the line was made using a drill (yes, they let me loose with a drill!). The first print is a straightforward print, and the next uses the chine collĂ© technique, where tissue or other very thin paper is stuck to the paper before the piece goes through the press.

 Another fabulous workshop - I was exhausted!

18 August 2013

Curwen workshops - collagraphs

I had a fab three days last week at the Curwen Print Study Centre, near Cambridge UK. Tuesday was collagraphs, Wednesday was drypoint, and Friday was linocut. I would have done the whole week (monopronts and woodcuts) if the two other days hadn’t been fully booked!

So, Tuesday – collagraphs. As you need a press for this technique, and I (sadly) don’t have one, this was completely new to me. Using a piece of mount board as a base, I stuck various items on (using PVA glue), and also cut into the surface of the mount board in some places. The things you can use are without limit – anything that has texture is fair game! The only thing to remember is that your overall plate (mount board plus stuck-on bits) shouldn’t end up being too thick (from thinnest point to thickest point), as you’ll have problems printing the ink evenly. When you’re happy with your plate, let the glue dry and then apply a couple of thin layers of varnish to seal it.

We then inked up intaglio – we scumbled the ink into the grooves and recesses of the surface, then wiped the plate using scrim (a kind of open mesh material). This leaves the relief parts free of ink and the recesses inked up. Then to the press – plate on press, damp paper on plate, packing paper on top of that, then ‘heave ho’ on the press! The paper needs to be slightly damp so the fibres get properly pressed into the recesses of your plate. Result:

Next step was to roll over the plate – using a roller you apply ink to the relief parts of the plate. The plate still has ink on it from the intaglio stage, so when it goes in the press both intaglio and relief area print:


As you can (hopefully) see, I did figurative subjects (cat, landscape), but some of the others produced some fabulous abstract prints. The scope is endless, so much you can do with textures and colour!

08 August 2013

Related Posts with Thumbnails