At the weekend I spent a really inspiring two days with Emily Harvey, printmaker. My printmaking experience has been bitty (kind of on the back burner for a number of years) and, although I did have some access to the printmaking room at college, I never had enough time to give to it properly. But the desire to integrate it more into my work has remained and this was an opportunity to learn a bit more and test out some of my ideas. Collage is a tool I have often used as part of my design process; here it is key to the bringing together of texture and contrast that is used to make the print.
This intensive weekend was just what I needed to confirm to me that these processes suit my sensibilities. I am comfortable with the whole routine of printmaking (more so, I have to admit, than with screen printing); I love the experimental nature of both making collagraph plates and of printing from them; I love being able to concentrate on texture and line and that the 3D element is important, even though it is a low-relief kind of 3D. And, importantly, I can see how I can integrate my use of stitch into both the making of the plates and the resulting prints (something I started in my college work but that I want to push further).
We spent the first day making collagraph plates using a whole range of different techniques and resulting in a good bunch of different ones to then print from on the second day.
There were just two of us with Emily this weekend, and it was perfect - enough energy and ideas bouncing around between us to have kept going for a week I reckon! Here is the product of our labours (a bit more colourful than I would have naturally gone for, but using all that colour was a great way to understand the different effects you can achieve):
It was really interesting to see how different the resulting print can be using the same plate but with different inks and combinations of intaglio and relief printing.
I had a go once before at chine colle, so it was good to be reminded of this technique and to see how the layering up of a different paper can be really effective. Some of my experiments with this technique worked better than others, but I had lots of ideas about using this more.
When I got home I spent a good hour scribbling down lots of notes and ideas. It was a really inspiring weekend, I just have to let it all sink in and work out how to take things forward. At a time when I'm trying to focus my work in I am suddenly faced with more possibilities than I know what to do with!