Archives for category: printmaking

This month I have been drawing using a mashup of print technique:

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screen printed mother and child onto feint proof of Diana Bloomfield’s engravings

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continuing the mother and child motif

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mother, grandmother, child photopolymer and screenprint

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overly complex?

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simple but bonkers? lithograph and screenprint

At the end of this week I’m heading off to a Quaker Meeting House in Somerset for a two day residential retreat modelled on Matthew Burrows’ ABC Projects. Very hard to predict how this will span out but there are four of us and we will each be the focus of consideration for half a day. I’m prepping for it now.

The other three artists are Chitra Merchant, Tina Hill and Caroline Case. All women and near enough the same age. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Working towards a trip to Kölner Graphikwerkstatt. The purpose of this visit is to reconnect with Jutta Vollmer, whom I met at Liverpool’s John Moores Uni through EightDaysAWeek.

Jutta and I began working collaboratively when paired for the project PenPal in 2011 and 2012. Something integral to the partnership rang true.

Thanks to funding from a-n The Artists Information Company we have the opportunity to reconnect. At the time of applying for the funding I wasn’t sure why I felt the need but I’ve since given this a lot of thought.  Take a look at her instagram feed. I have a love hate relationship with the treatment of surfaces – decoration and pattern. I recognise this as an element of my practice needing serious examination. I think I will be able to look into it with Jutta. I’m going to suggest we create double sided drawings or prints and fold them, as a starting point. Also, using layout pads and carbon copy paper, draw sequentially and see what happens. She has a very solid drawing practice.

Here’s a recent record of play to provide visual (screen printed) content:

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I was up in Liverpool this week to introduce my work to LJMU Fine Art students. I felt envy. They were so young and beautiful. They have so much time to spend on themselves. Workshops are crowded with kit. Supportive and enthusiastic technicians and lecturers. Then they started to ask me questions. Two in particular:

what is your driver?

how does one stop one’s drawing practice from being too tight?*

I’m paraphrasing there but OMG it took me right back to being at the Central in the 80’s and these are still things I struggle with.

I don’t have the answers but I am compelled to make. Making things gives me a deep satisfaction. I do it for the flow. I do it for that moment of wonder: ‘wow, I didn’t know I could do that!’. BUT that doesn’t mean everything I make is good. Far from it. You could fill a house with the mistakes I’ve made and indeed I have.

And it doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing. Pretty constantly I feel confusion. I worry that I’m committing valuable resources (time, energy, money) on an activity that is pointless and will produce something without meaning. (I am fortunate to have people around me who resist saying ‘is it worth it Emma?’ although they can see how vulnerable it makes me and how much it costs in every sense.)

If you turn that around though, i.e. ‘I know what I’m going to make, I know why I’m going to make it…’ where is the challenge in that? Where is the opportunity to learn something about ‘how to’ and yourself? Where is the dialogue between yourself and your work and how is it ever going to surprise you?

Being confused is a painful way of being but I’m used to it now. The harder you work the less likely you are to question why you’re doing it. (Note: by work I mean play. This too I find very hard to achieve being as it’s so close to working without apparent purpose.)

When I became a mother I thought I would feel like a mother. I felt a fake for the first seven year’s of Rachel’s life. The longer you are in a role the more likely you are to feel like you are the role.

I still want to produce better work than I currently do. That must be part of the driver thing.

POSTSCRIPT: regards the drawing practice question above* start by reading

Henry Moore On Being a Sculptor pub Tate, 2010
Lines of Enquiry: Thinking Through Drawing pub by Kettle’s Yard, Barry Phipps 2006

As you know this body of work and the related exhibition received Arts Council funding. To apply for the funding you have to fill in a form online. The form asks you to describe what you want to explore in terms of your practice and developing your practice. Here is my list for this project:

— do the two lines of inquiry work together here to create fresh meaning?

— does the work progress beyond observation to express the emotional content of a thing?

— has the artist succeeded in freeing herself from focusing on meaning early on, in favour of allowing it to emerge through play and process?

— which of the ideas in the exhibition would benefit from reshaping in another form?

— is the onlooker given enough space to become involved in the creation of the work’s meaning?

— has the artist been adequately disciplined in her choice of technique?

This project has become an exhibition. For real. Opens on 16 October with a private view the night before. Semi-Permanent Collections is the title of the show. In a line down the middle of the small gallery space are three display cabinets, tall and narrow, made of glass. I’m currently working on the contents of the central cabinet – an homage to my grandmother Diana. What do you think? Any thoughts on labeling. Labeling will be the issue of the month for me.

Diana Bloomfield cabinet Diana Bloomfield cabinet also

The woodblocks are hers. There are 143 in total and my wonderful aunt Julia Bloomfield is looking after them at the moment but she has allowed me to print from them. The contents of the cabinet will relate closely to what’s on the walls.

In the week just gone I flew to Alkmaar NL. It didn’t take long but it was another world in terms of print and where print sits within the cultural landscape. I was invited to make work for a week with Grafisch Atelier Alkmaar.  The print workshop is celebrating its fortieth anniversary with an ambitious six week residency in the town’s deconsecrated Grand Church. See their project website. During the week I gave an informal presentation about glasswaxandpencil. It was the first time I’ve shared the prints and my plans for October’s exhibition and when I’d finished we talked about which aspects of the talk individuals had related to and what they thought I ought to do about the exhibition labelling / contextualisation. It was very useful with contrasting opinions aired straight away and some very good suggestions from the artists and scientists present. Thanking all of you who came and Rolluf for suggesting it. Panorama of church showing some of the printing kit GAA have installed for the residency.image1