The New Year Learnings Continue – Week 2 of 2

 In About My Work, Artist Books

Wow-ee … this week I met the super energetic, fabulous and extreme sport enthusiast and printmaker extraordinaire Sharon Smith. Sharon shared with us her own explorations with printmaking processes. This, on top of week one at Studio West End … holy toledo batman my head is exploding with new ideas and possibilities and play.

Below are some of Sharon’s prints – she shared with us her process then stepped us through each. If you’re keen to know more about exactly how Sharon created these delicious prints, contact Adele Outteridge from West End Studio. There may be a workshop or two coming up in the near future.

One of the many reasons I attended Adele’s Summer Workshops was to push myself outside my comfort zone. Specifically with printmaking. The book making was a lot of new learning – which I had hoped for, anticipated and received in spades. The printmaking was exactly what I didn’t realise I was waiting for.

 

Week 2 – More Artist Books with a Peppering of Printmaking

We’ll start with the printmaking…

If you follow me online or on social media, you will know that my primary printmaking medium is linocut. Gelatin plate monoprinting follows a very close second. Then maybe cyanotype. I do some etching and collagraph. My thinking at the moment is leaning toward combining processes – mixed media printmaking. Or would that be mult-medi printmaking? This week connected a few wormholes in my brain, opening up new ideas and possibilities.

Sharon shared some very special insight into her own printmaking arts practice. She shared how she arrived at each process, and how they evolved. We pored over her prints and plates.

Below is my output. I wasn’t trying to create a resolved print – rather play with the process to get a feel for it. You can see below both the inked plates (after printing) and the prints themselves.

These four images are intaglio printed. Printing from cardboard plates. Sort of like collagraph, but not quite.

My brain is currently processing how I can translate my reduction linocut to a reduction version of this. I can’t wait to get back into the studio and play!

Photos: Adele Outteridge

And then there were the books…

Last weeks’ bookmaking, by comparison, was simple. This week we stepped it up a notch of 3 and I learned about Celtic Weave bookbinding and adding endbands.

I need a lot of practice – but I have the basic skill sets now.

This little Celtic Weave book is my second favourite from my time at Studio West End. The butterfly book I made last week I think is my most favourite.

I love the repetitive nature of this sort of bookbinding. Once you’re started, and with enough pages or sections in the book, you get in to such a flow. It is a lovely meditative process.

I made simple book sections out of printmaking paper. The covers a beautiful and fragrant camphor laurel timbers. The thread is a delicious blue waxed Irish linen. I feel like we were made for each other 😉

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The little book below took me to a new level of complexity with some frustration thrown in. I need A LOT of practice with this one. It is a little coptic bound book with sewn endbands.

It was so much fun to use some prints from my expanding stash. The covers for this book are cyanotype prints. I love to rust coloured waxed linen tread against the cyanotype blues.

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Fellow students were asking me what I planned to do with my new books? Write or draw into them?

No – I think I shall enjoy them as they are, in their pure state. I’ll pop them on my (artist book) bookshelves and admire them, pulling them about to caress and fondle them when I feel like it.

 

To finish off my second week Adele walked me through making a clamshell box. I had made one before, fumbling my way through it. It was great to work through the box, step-by-step, with Adele sharing her approach and tips. I’m pretty chuffed with my fist attempt (and there was a little happy dance to share the joy when the box was folded into itself for the first time).

The box was sized to hold my little coptic binding endband book – but that will no be its final home. I think I shall make it its own new box with papers to compliment the box. That will be good practise for me 🙂

And there was one last book … working from one of Adele’s samples, I created a 16-section double-concertina book. I used some old gel plate prints and printmaking paper left over at the end of the week. Working with 2x concertinas and that many sections was tricky, but I do like a challenge.

I’m now home safe’n’sound. It is lovely to come home. I was ready to come home at the end of my teo weeks, but I’m not sure that I was ready to leave Summer Workshops at West End Studio.

I had such a great time.

I came home with a box full of handmade treasures and prints. And ALSO a head full of ideas and possibilities ready to create some new work.

Adele … THANK YOU xx

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