I haven’t done much printing recently, despite building a new hydraulic jack press, but I have done some. First, this year’s Christmas card, a lino print of a festive tufted duck. The red was dabbed onto the print with a stencil.
Then I went to a Dry point engraving workshop, run by Beth Jenkins at Ardington School Of Crafts. The engraving itself, based on a photo I took last summer, didn’t look all that special, but when I rollered on coloured inks over the intaglio engraving, the whole thing suddenly came to life. More a monotype than an engraving.
I’ve just completed an excellent two day workshop at Ardington School Of Crafts run by Laura Boswell. An introduction to Japanese woodblock printing. An art form I love but I have never tackled before.
I started with an image of pine trees falling into the sea on the end of Furzey Island in Poole Harbour. I photographed it last week and even did a sketch of it in charcoal whilst sitting cross legged on the roof of my boat.
Laura took us through the stages of breaking the design down into blocks which would build up the image. These are carved on both sides of the wood block and coloured using horse hair brushes, watercolour paint and rice paste.
The blocks are printed onto damp paper, using a baren to burnish the back. I produced several multicoloured images and a final, fairly rushed one just in blue, which is very traditional.
It’s a fascinating technique. These results aren’t that great, but they are a starting point. Hokusai, here I come…
I spent the weekend on a two day linocut workshop at the Ardington School of Craft near Wantage. It was run by Laura Boswell, who is a wonderful artist and, as it proved, an equally wonderful tutor. She is a dedicated printer, specialising in linocut and Japanese woodblock printing.
I did a print of a bird of paradise first. This is a reduction process, so you cut away the block for each colour, ending up with a fixed number of prints and often a totally useless block. In this case, the final block was still quite a good outline of the bird (see the header image) which I might be able to reuse.
The second image was meant to be a Dorset seascape, but was rushed. I liked the colours, but the drawing was terrible.
I spent a fascinating day at the Ardington School of Craft experimenting with textual art, tutored by Simon Sonsino. Splashing inks about and then trying to incorporate lettering /words into the result. As one whose writing is illegible even to me, this was going to be a challenge, but great fun. At one stage it involved frisbeeing inked papers around the garden to get spin patterns.