It has been a busy week, with lots to do at home/work as well as some artist research, a fair amount of studio practice (which included the maiden print voyage of my very own ‘Gerstack Nova 400’ press named ‘Nellie’) and a business trip to my textile studio (currently in Llanbrynmair, Powys) to prepare, label and collect stock for the annual Aberystwyth Arts Centre Winter Fair, along with some up-cycling supplies so I can create more ‘Kaotic Kittus’ stock at home to save time and fuel.
Kaotic Kittus @ Aberystwyth Arts Centre Winter Fair 2018
In between the busy-ness of work and rain showers I have managed to get out and about with Guto the whippet to forage for leaves and imagery to use in print. Autumn definitely is a beautiful and inspirational season, brimming with colour, textures and patterns.
Back in the studio and further research into wet on wet cyanotypes led me to the website of Dennis Humphrey, who refers to his work as ‘cynoscapes’. He creates incredible images with the cyanotype method with a quirky and painterly use of the chemicals themselves, as well as found objects and photographs. I really like his sense of expression and freedom. There is one image in particular called ‘The Artist and the Leaf‘ where he has combined a self portrait photograph and a leaf through this process which can be found on his website – www.dennishumphrey.wixsite.com
Dennis Humphrey – ‘Collision Over Stalagmites’ (Cyanoscape)
I want to experiment with the cyanotype process during the next few weeks. I am especially keen to look at the various ways I could mix the intaglio and cyanotype processes together? Something that was discussed in my tutorial with AB was looking at ways of layering them, I just need to think about which process image will be the dominant one. Maybe a photo and/or a found object etched plate onto a cyanotype base or vice versa? The self portrait image by Dennis Humphrey on his website has certainly inspired me.
Also discussed during the tutorial was continuing with the found object in soft ground etching as well as experimenting with taking textural rubbings from items such as wood, rock, rusty metals and the like.
I love the textures and patterns in nature and our surroundings. I foraged this fine chunk of wood when out and about with Guto recently.
This wonderful piece of rusted metal was unearthed at a friend’s place, I just love the colours and patterns its decay is creating.
On Thursday I got together with MA student Judy Batt, who kindly showed me how to take rubbings from my rather large chunk of drift wood and some rusty metal fragments using the ancient art of ‘Chinese dab printing’ with handmade dabbers, rice paste and some oil-based relief printing inks.
Judy’s latest work, including large scale rubbings from tree trunk slices, is created by using the Chinese dab printing method to print along with additional linocut plates to create shapes and blocks of colour, resulting in some remarkable images. To see her work and some very interesting and informative blog posts check out her website- www.judybatt.com
Firstly the wood was coated with the homemade rice paste to create a base and adhesive before the Chinese Wenzhou paper was laid over it.
After gently pushing the paper into the textural grooves of the wood with our fingers and a paintbrush, we dabbed relief printing ink over the top using a handmade cloth dabber.
It was interesting how the edges bled a little despite using an oil-based ink. Judy normally uses watercolour inks which don’t bleed at all.
I wanted to try and capture the stunning colours created by the oxidation of these rusty chunks of metal.
So I started by soaking it with vinegar (to speed up the rusting), then coated it in rice paste before laying Chinese Wenzhou paper directly to it and pushing it into the ‘plate’.
Alas, it didn’t work this time. I think it needed a lot more time and consistent pressure on top. More experimentation needed to develop this idea further.
Going back to the Fern etchings from last week;
The plates were printed in Prussian blue in my home studio.
When back in the Uni studio I printed them in Opaque white of black Reeves paper.
I will continue experimenting with soft ground etching and using lithography crayons for rubbings to be etched. Quite interested in some of printmaker Norman Ackroyd’s work, so would like to research him and his etching methods. Ordering cyanotype chemistry and attempting to get creative with this process is on top of my list for next week too. I also think it would be useful to look at other artist blogs, see how they conceptualize and write about their work and process.
Oh and note to self, take a notebook and pen into next tutorial!