Tuesday, 22 September 2015

hunting and gathering .....

I have been busy in the studio trying to get everything ready for the exhibition .... time seems to be racing. Though much of the work I am presenting is not printmaking, I could not let this opportunity pass without some representation of my favourite medium.

As well as my 'tidings of magpies' which I am now editioning, there will be an edition of this book titled 'hunting and gathering'.  This book consists of four etchings (and embossings of course) bound together with perspex hinges in concertina form.  This is the first time I have used this method and was quite excited by the results.  Being one of those very difficult to photograph books, the photos below give an impression rather than the experience of reading the book.

These plates were rather complex - been bitten in acid four or five times to give different degrees of aquatint texture and also different layers of fine line etching.  Had I been more focussed I  could probably have reduced this 'biting' but I just didn't seem to be able to work everything out simultaneously!

The etchings are printed on Fabriano Tiepolo 290 gsm which is a favourite of mine.  The plates were inked using three colours and by warming the plates the colours were blended and a small amount of plate tone was left.  I had thought to add chine cole but felt it would detract from the line work and obscure some of the detail. My first proofs were made on rusted and inked papers and though the bolder lines were visible, the fine details were completely lost.

In this photograph you can see the reflection of the first etching through the cover.  Both front and back covers are perspex which I have sanded, leaving a couple of windows or peep holes through which to view the from image more clearly.  I used this technique in one of the collaborative books I made with Fiona, 'epitaph'.  I will use it more in the future I am sure.

Monday, 21 September 2015

silence and the love of printmaking .....

Sometimes when reading an artists' book there comes the delight of knowing that the experience is far greater than the sum of its parts.  I hope that makes sense - it does to me but then I have just had the experience.

What I mean is that this book essentially exists of five etchings done by me with gorgeous quotes which Fiona and I chose on 'silence', added to the etchings with Fiona's calligraphy.  I remember saying to Fiona when we started making this book, that I didn't want it to feel like 'bits of calligraphy'.  Works of calligraphy can be very beautiful in their own right, but I wanted this last of our collaborative books to look and feel 'booklike'.

Until this work was finally made I did not love it.  Partly this was due  to the fact that this was a more typical collaboration where I was responsible for the artwork (and how does one represent 'silence'!) and Fiona the calligraphy.  Previously we have explored 'collaboration' in a much more involved and intimate way and this last book left us feeling a little disconnected until finally bringing it together in this very soft and gentle, quiet book.

Each page is wrapped in tengujo paper and the act of revealing each work is slow and meditative.  The light plays a large part in the reading of this book and because of the manner of its presentation you cannot rush the reading.  Now that it is made and I can experience it as a whole, it reminds me why I love making artists' books and will keep making them.  The slow reveal, the feel of the gorgeous soft papers ..... definitely more than the sum of its parts.

 In these images you can see how the interleaving pages and the light play such an integral part of this book and to its feeling of 'silence'.

And here you can see some of the pages and details.  I used only sugar lift with this work as I wanted to keep everything very soft and fluid.  Lines are partially inked, delicately wiped. I had hoped that there would be enough definition in the uninked lines to be embossed but they were too faint so I had to make embossing plates for the etchings once they had dried.  The embossing added the lift that the marks needed.  It is hard to show that photographically.

I think it is hard to find anything more beautiful in combination that the softness of an etched mark and the crispness of an embossed line.   It is a perfect partnership.

With infinite possibilities, Fiona had to decide  how to write these beautiful quotes.  Couldn't have been more perfect really.

As a complete departure from the unique nature of all our other collaborative books, Fiona and I decided to edition these books, an edition of 10 and a further edition of 10 of each of the prints separately.  These will be for sale at the Noosa Regional Gallery or beforehand.