Friday, April 18, 2014

Printmaking again

After I moved studios last year, I spent most of 2013 working on a stop-motion animation that combines printmaking, sculpture, and narrative. This year I've been making 2-d work again, using images derived from the film, or remembered from it. So there are layered fragments of maps, buildings, machinery, boxers (my grandfather was a bare knuckle boxer, and that is one of the themes of the film). I'm also trying the same material in printmaking, like these drypoints:



Technical note: I'm using extremely thin pieces of copper that I got from a building supplies shop, which means that you have to print with extreme pressure on the press. This probably means that the plates will wear out even more quickly than using thicker plates. That's the trade off between price and quality, of course.

Memories of the mining town where I grew up form the basis of the film, and hence this work. The image of the winding wheel comes up a lot -- that's the mechanism that lowers and raises the cages in the mine shafts. I've tried the wheelhouse image in a linocut, too, or to be more precise, an etched linoleum print:


This is a technique where you paint an image on the surface of the lino with stop-out, then coat the block in caustic soda. The caustic soda burns the exposed area of the lino and leaves a relief surface that looks very loose and free, in contrast to the direct blocky image that results from cutting the block. The print above was helped along by advice from a printmaker in Scotland called Aine Scannell. You can check out this link to her blog for a short introduction to the technique.

I like trying the same images out in different techniques as a way of seeing whether a different mark produces a better realization of the idea of traces that emerge from memory.

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