New Year – new start – new printing press!

etching-pressHappy New Year to everybody!  Well nearly…this year is definitely going to be better than the last – I love new beginnings, full of promise and before it all gets spoiled by the rubbish that real life throws in your path.

This December I have finally bought myself an etching press, something for which I have been yearning for quite a few years!  It is a Polymetaal and the bed is 40cm x 80cm.  The reason I chose this is because I can use it for either relief (ie linoprint) or intaglio (etching).  It is going to make such a difference to the work I can do at home – even monoprinting can be done differently with a press.  In honour of its arrival I have cleaned out my studio room (!!!) and actually thrown away some stuff.  I think it is in the nature of artists to be hoarders and also I find people often give me stuff – does that happen to the rest of you?  I suppose the sensible answer would be to refuse but that is never going to happen.  So my studio is spruced up and tidy, my etching press is in place and, first thing when Intaglio reopens in January  I am going up to buy a few essential supplies such as blotting paper, blankets and so forth.  In the meantime I just go in and turn the wheel now and then a little wistfully.  It is waiting…


Happy New Printmaking Techniques!

Photo Polymer Gravure etching

Helen Pakeman Looking Out
Photo Polymer Gravure etching 260 x 180

2013 is going to be a good year – I can feel it in my bones. I have come and gone from the studio space in Witney – an experiment that didn’t work. It was too far to travel and I simply didn’t spend enough time there. Worth a try. So I have retrenched back to my artroom upstairs. Signed up for a couple of courses which is quite exciting. And just agreed to a couple of joint exhibitions; more of that later. I always find it helpful to have some kind of deadline ahead of me to keep me focussed and panicking!
I have booked further time at Rabley Print Workshop where I am learning Photo Polymer Gravure, yet another printmaking process: a kind of photographic etching – it gives amazingly detailed tonal values. I made a very simple etching plate last term which worked really well (illustrated above). This will form the background as if looking out through a window, then I will add a foreground, as yet undecided…still thinking it through. So this term I have leapt in with a much more tonally complicated photo of a wave breaking and am trying to convert that; ummm…not going so well…but early days. I have decided to do a workshop with Martin Grymmer who is the master of this printmaking technique. In the meantime I will learn as much as I can and prepare my list of questions.
I have also booked in with Christine Russell for some tuition in pastels – I have played about with them a little and love the effects so could just do with a bit of help from an expert. Christine is a member of the Royal Pastel Society, general winner of prestigious prizes and all round good egg (so I am told). Really looking forward to meeting and working with her.
So lots to look forward to and lots to learn, as always.
Today the weather is snowy and it suddenly occurs to me that the world outside is beautifully converted to black and white: make some pictures and print in white on black paper for snowy scenes. Just off to catch some pics before the light goes…once a printmaker…