Printmaking Journey

I was fortunate enough to secure funding from September 2021 – September 2022 from Creative Scotland so that I can develop my work further, learning printmaking techniques that I can incorporate into my practice.

Collagraph: abstract topography

So, the past six months have seen me attending Leith School of Art each week; meeting with a wonderful bunch of artists and learning and practising new forms of printmaking every few weeks. It’s been a really exciting process and soon we’ll move into the final stage of the course and begin our self-directed project, until the end of June, focusing on whatever area we feel the need to. I do have goals for this course and this learning: I want to explore how I can bring handprinted textiles on locally produced cloth into my practice, and I want to develop my own transfer prints to fire onto my ceramics.

Screenprint: inspired by Solomon Islands barava

What I didn’t account for was how much growth and inspiration would come simply from delving into the techniques themselves and using spontaneous ideas whilst trying out the different media. We’ve covered linocut, woodcut, intaglio, monotype, collagraph and screen print and I’ve got a surprising amount out of all of them, even if I’ve felt resistant to some of in the beginning. I love collecting images, and I love looking and researching, and it’s been so valuable to have a chance to process these visual ideas without having to think, yet, of end products or where I’m going with them. I haven’t had that creative freedom in a long time.

Monoprint using crocosmia leaves in the press

Something I’ve really resonated with is mixing different techniques together…allowing me to follow through with ideas from one medium to the next. And also allowing me to reproduce effects originally done as one-off prints, using natural objects.

Intaglio drawing of crocosmia leaves going through the press onto a monoprint background.

The most recent workshop was in photo-exposed screen print – I chose a photo of a tower block that fascinates, me opposite the art school, that I photograph quite often. I love the shapes here, and the three colour process gave me an inexhaustible range of iterations of the design… I could have printed so much more! It was great to experiment with to adding a bit of paper cut stencilling into the mix too:

The image at the start of this post is part of a series of works I made across three of the teaching blocks: intaglio, monoprint and collagraph. It began with inspiration from 1950s textile print and bark cloth designs, and took on its own life very quickly, like a mapping process of topographical ideas.

Further topographical exploration: monoprint
The intaglio starting point of this series
Collagraph ‘map’ laid over monprinted ‘landscape’