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Last week I …

March 2, 2015

Last week I had a one to one session with a ‘real’ printmaker. Although I have had a few lessons over the last couple of years I am pretty much self taught with a mish mash of methods, tools and ideas.

I have worked hard and accomplished much and my work does have a pleasing look.  

However, my worked lacked a good finish in fact my work remained consistently unfinished.

I felt that if I want to show my work and sell it then I must learn, develop and maintain good practices.

So after making my way to Margate and the Hello Printing Studio, Nick, well primed with the idea that I work better with tea the day began.  

Learning about paper, about how to prepare it ; cutting, tearing, and their values for the press whether by hand or not; also right or wrong side.

Which are valuable lessons already!

The fog began to lift!

The use of an etching press like the one I have, making the press work for me, be its master, rather than the other way around.

We also made some comparative observations and the value of using a mat, different ink rollers, wet or dry paper, etc; personal choices that only I can make.  

Then,  the use of a barren with Japanese mulberry paper remembering, for a fine finish this is a long methodical task … it cannot be rushed.

Registration; a simple technique that for me thwarted the need to rush the printing, thus making irretrievable mistakes.

The use of inks, mixing colours,  along with housekeeping tips that  bring order to an area that can become contaminated when not looked over carefully.

All good lessons for one who is inclined to rush or too arty to be careful.

I learned to clear away in a gentle but military fashion without the use of harsh chemicals and loud expletives.  

I learned how to sharpen my tools  a very technical but pleasant  job to be done more frequently than I thought.  

So my 5 hours were a mix of joy and painful home truths ; but I had plenty of tea to alleviate the hurt … I wish I had done it sooner, but at least now I know the right, wrong and (in)different methods and how to make calculated decisions in my printmaking with pleasing results.

I don’t want to loose my style or undermine my artistic spontaneity, rather use them with good habits and more reflective actions to work professionally.

Of course, this will not happen overnight and there is still a need for play and experimentation. So the next few months will be spent galvanising these new found skills and learning patience.

Yesterday, I began working again while is is easy to see the failings or horrible results of rushing,  poor or no registration, blunt tools, sloppy inking, working in a mess, no planning etc etc.,  there is a long road ahead. I will practice my new found skills regularly and find a printing community in Reading where I can maintain good practice in a conducive atmosphere.

So meanwhile on my cake stand the result of yesterdays printing not perfect but I know how I did it and what needs to be done!


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