Earlier this week I spent a day with friend and fellow OCA student Claire (tactualtextiles.wordpress.com/). We started together on the textiles pathway, and Claire has since transferred to creative arts so she can combine textiles with her new-found passion for printmaking. Claire is currently working on the final project for Printmaking 1 and has participated in workshops and master classes here in Sydney. I asked to visit to see her in action – all those finer details of working, her setup and tool choice. She responded by giving me a full, personalised, one day workshop in her studio.
It came with homework. At our last get-together, visiting the S.H. Ervin gallery for the Destination Sydney exhibition of works by Cressida Campbell, Grace Cossington Smith and Margaret Preston, Claire gave me pieces of lino and pvc foam sheet, each 12 x 18.5 cm.The foamex was for the first print layers, to be printed in multiple colours. The design instructions:
I arrived for the day with designs drawn, paper pre-cut and plate surfaces scrubbed. While I was put to work transferring the designs and cutting the plate, Claire made a “simple jig” (her words) precision measured to my plates and paper, to aid registration.I was focused and kept forgetting to take photos. This one shows Claire demonstrating the rolling and application of thin layers of ink. Note:
When printing my sampler plate 8 yesterday (30-Dec-2015) I tidied up and made just a little more space for myself, and had the plate on a piece of newspaper for rolling. Such a small thing, such a big difference. Easier, better work and easier cleanup.
Claire’s printing shows the same care and precision. We did two test prints of the lino on newsprint.
The photograph shows the initial inking for layer 1 of print 1. The lino block was already inked and put safely to one side.Print 1 layer 1 printed.
Claire is holding the paper up and still in place in the registration jig. My job was to clean the foamex plate and then apply yellow ink over the full plate.
The paper is mingeshi – quite light and a buff colour. I notice we printed on the smooth side. I should be more conscious of this in my own printing.
Clearly my plate cleaning wasn’t entirely effective. The initial pink/red has all been covered to produce an orange.
Claire’s press screws down onto the plate (can’t believe I didn’t take a photo). You can see above how complete the ink transfer was. The completed print. The colours are subdued due to the colour and weight of the paper. I’d also chosen a yellow paint with less pigment than Claire’s other printing inks. For later prints we mixed this with a brighter, more heavily pigmented yellow. All the red has mixed to orange and there is very little clear blue as the first layers almost completely covered the image.
The areas where I’d scratched into the foamex work well. I like the interference patterns where the lino carving was a bit shallow, but there is a bit too much of it. We carved away some of the higher areas and cleaned those parts of the plate after inking in later prints.
There’s a lot happening in the design but I think it holds together well and creates a lively, engaging image.
For print 2 the basic sequence of printing was the same. The red regions are slightly different. The yellow was adjusted. We also cleaned part of the yellow plate so some red remained uncovered.
The detail photo shows the different colours achieved in our layering of the primaries. I particularly like the yellow on orange herringbone. I didn’t do a lot of extra scratching in the plate, but it really brings in some extra energy.
For our final print we changed things around a little. Blue and yellow were used on the foamex plate and red reserved for the top lino layer. We also did some fading and manipulation of colours on the foamex, not keeping strictly to the individual boundaries. We used cartridge paper.
I really like the print at this point and almost wanted to stop there. Strong colours and you can appreciate the strength of the lines and the little fussy details.
Still, there was more to see and learn.
I think overall it is less balanced and well-integrated than print 2. It’s certainly darker with more of the brown of the three colours mixing. I really like the area centre top, with a line of herringbone, the lozenge marks above and the red sweeping in.
Altogether a wonderful day full of fun and learning. As well as working hard on the printing we talked about our studies with a wider perspective. You can read Claire’s account of the day here.
Distance learning is difficult and I’m enormously lucky to be sharing the journey with Claire. I just wish we lived on the same side of the city. The drive can be 1.5 hours or more each way depending on traffic, and that’s a big chunk out of talking time.
T1-MMT-P4 Printing with Claire Brach
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Printing with Claire Brach