T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review

In my review of assignment 3 (12-Oct-2015) I noted the different rhythm of work. Assignment 2 was a buzz of one sample leading quickly to another as ideas kept generating. Assignment 3 had technical constraints, took time to set up, time to see results – but from the beginning I had interesting materials producing more success than failure.

Printmaking in assignment 4 was different again. There were technical skills to learn, but early results were not exciting. The project exercises felt compartmentalised, the majority of prints were dull. At the end of the Sorting post (2-Jan-2015) I’ve written about dealing with those challenges because I want to take forward and develop the skills gained. By exercise 4 of project 1 the balance changed. There was setup time – masks, stencils, later collatype plates – but once done the flowing, immediate, one attempt leading to another buzz began. The early exercises had provided the basic skills to be able to respond to and develop what I saw happening.

The Introduction to this part of the course states “you’ll explore printmaking as one stage in the creation of an art piece.”

Sample p3-33

Sample p3-33

Print p4-61 layer 2

Print p4-61 layer 2

I used printmaking to examine and record previous samples, taking p3-33 out to the print area as a backdrawing subject. I combined and overlaid perspectives and while the final print is muddled the process offers value. (14-Nov-2015)

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Print p4-75 detail

Print p4-75 detail

A jug used in wrapping explorations in assignment 2 became the inspiration source for design development. The jug shape was used as a stencil, and a smudged poorly registered print was one of my more exciting results. (22-Nov-2015)

Print p4-82

Print p4-82

I intended to take that shape further and combine it with work using a fish motif developed from the jug decoration. My design ideas became too complex and I pulled them back, but I think the attempts show the value of printmaking for design development. Once masks and stencils were created they could be used in different combinations and with different printing methods, quickly building up a varied group of potential imagery.(7-Dec-2015)

Print p4-95b

Print p4-95b

Print p4-97 detail 2

Print p4-97 detail 2

I have an ongoing desire to integrate work from previous assignments as the prints above demonstrate. Other examples included use of torn paper as a mask (p4-76, 7-Dec-2015) and crumpled paper as the print and display surface (p4-32, 27-Oct-2015). I was also successful in using molding samples from assignment 3 to create texture on the gelatin plate and as the print matrix itself. Polymorph and composimold produced interesting and quite different results.(14-Dec-2015)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills
As described above my focus was on using printmaking as a tool rather than traditional, formal printmaking technical skills. There are smudges, there aren’t always borders, I used extremely bulky materials on a collage block (computer components and plaster chunks).

Print p4-162

Print p4-162

Print p4-163

Print p4-163

Over the final project I developed processes and technical skills that I believe will prove of great value to me in my ongoing creative work. Using combinations of a gelatin plate and collage blocks I could build complex textures and shapes that allowed me to explore my subject material in different ways, as shown in the banded ironstone formation collage block prints shown above.

Print p4-160 detail

Print p4-160 detail

The newspaper text visible in print p4-160 resulted from my observation and exploration of an unintended effect during work on the previous print. Legible print like this could have huge potential, which I hope to exploit in the future.(31-Dec-2015)

Print p4-145

Print p4-145

My compositional skills continue to develop. For example I find the curving wave and busyness of plant growth in p4-145 balances with the calm horizontals in a satisfying image. (27-Dec-2015)

Quality of outcome
This blog continues to be the core of my presentation of all my course work. A contents page provides an easy way to navigate to different sections of work (link, also reached via the menu bar). Images of all prints produced are on a pinterest board (link) and a second board holds research images (link).

I have been considering presentation of work for assessment. To date my tutor has accepted entirely digital submissions. Postage from and to Australia is expensive, slow and has limitations on dimensions as well as weight. Many samples are too fragile, too heavy or too large to post. Many samples were recorded then dismantled. Most items can’t be mounted for presentation in any sensible way. I don’t want to send an unbalanced selection based on what is easy to post rather than what is of interest, and I don’t want to send a box of jumbled bits and pieces. I need to discuss this with my tutor, but my current thought is either entirely digital, or a very small ruthlessly edited number of samples with associated documentation to supplement this blog.

Demonstration of creativity

Sample p3-48 detail

Sample p3-48 detail

sample p3-48 after printing

sample p3-48 after printing

Print p4-128 view 2

Print p4-128 view 2

One creative leap was to treat a plaster cast sample from assignment 3 as a printing block. The process involved transferring ink from a matrix to paper, so I argue that it fits the brief. I find the result quite effective standalone, but I think there is much more potential to create a collection of casts and what could be termed a printed cast.(25-Dec-2015)

Print p4-140 detail

Print p4-140 detail

The Sample-Record-Sort process was embedded within my printmaking exploration and I see this a demonstration of a strong creative practice. When developing my 80 mile beach design I considered using yarns to create foreground foliage texture. I created a sample plate of different yarns and printed it in different ways. Recording results, I identified a number of yarns with potential. Crucially, the process led me to trim and manipulate the chosen yarns to give better scale and shape in the next cycle of work.(27-Dec-2015)

Context
As discussed in my Research wrapup post (1-Jan-2016) I found it difficult to embed my research in my sampling work.

Print p4-150 detail

Print p4-150 detail

I took small details – the use of textiles in Sarah Ross-Thompson’s work encouraged me to push further with textile textures, creating sample collatype block 8 which produced a prints with a wonderful level of detail.(30-Dec-2015)

Print p4-36

Print p4-36

I attempted a direct copy of a section of a print by Degas, which was an absorbing process. I learnt a lot about monotype markmaking and saw some details to like in the result.(27-Oct-2015)

Sketch based on Monet's Poplars on the Epte Click for larger view

Sketch based on Monet’s Poplars on the Epte
Click for larger view

My sketchbook work also faltered during this assignment. My Pinnacles collatype collage block was based on sketches before and during my visit there, augmented by a few drawings developing the design for printing (23-Dec-2015). However I wasn’t able to make sketching part of my research or in recording my own prints. I found it too difficult to draw from a print as part of developing my own prints. On reflection this makes no sense. I made a sketch based on a painting by Monet when developing a design for a series of experiments (3-Nov-2015). Somehow there was an extra level of translation which gave me space to work. Perhaps a more honest answer is that the printmaking itself was two dimensional drawing and markmaking and I resisted doing still more.

Over the period of this course I have been exposed to a range of printmaking techniques. There was an Experimental Collagraphs workshop with Jet James, using pvc foam board as the print matrix (16-Jul-2015); Breakdown screen printing with Lin Wilson (17-Oct-2015); and a day of lino and foamex with Claire Brach (31-Dec-2015). In this assignment I have focused on some key materials, the akua intaglio inks and liquid pigment with cartridge paper. However I have ventured beyond this. A partial listing is given in an appendix below. I feel confident that printmaking will be an integral part of my creative process in the future.

Finally, I have returned to the feedback from my tutor for assignment 3. My initial response to that, heavily influenced by the work I was doing when I received it, was posted 8-Nov-2015. I consider I have continued to build on some of the areas identified by Rebecca – returning to and integrating previous parts of the course; although I touched on a range of materials and techniques I have also focused on a core set; I was challenged by the early failures but analysed the situation and found a mindset to support progress; I’ve continued to take sidetracks which I believe have been justified by results. My main causes for concern are varied, relevant research and development of my drawing skills. I will need to prioritise those areas in the weeks to come.

Following this process of review I feel refocused and excited by the challenges of assignment 5.

T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Review

Appendix
A partial list of materials and techniques

Print surfaces:
Paper (most dry, some damp): cartridge , newsprint, arches 88, stonehenge, copy paper, rice paper (plain and pattern-cut), sheet music.
Linen

Pigment:
Akua intaglio inks, Akua liquid pigment, water soluble crayons, oil pastels, combined with conte crayons

Print matrix:
Etching plastic, garage floor, cast plaster, glass surface, gelatin, pvc foam board, polymorph, composimold (stamped)
Collage on mountboard – pva, polyfilla, modelling paste

Print transfer:
Hand pressure, baren, brayer, small craft press (relief and intaglio), burnishing with wooden clay shaping tools, metal spoons, etc.

Mask and stencil materials:
Lace and fabric bits, newsprint, newspaper, bristol board, freezer paper, copy paper, wet media acetate, yupo paper, weeds

Markmaking and texturing:
Brushes, fabrics, plastic card (cut as required), tile adhesive spreaders, corrugated cardboard, chopsticks, skewers, sticks, wooden clay shapers, fingers, paper towel, cotton buds, homemade tools from found objects, insect screen, roller, release agent, water, polystyrene, craft foam, materials from previous parts of the course including computer components, plaster chunks, heat distorted plastic and felt, etc.

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