It seems like I’ve been permanently sat at my drawing board for the last month trying to get lots of drawings done for some new screen prints. These are to add to the highly detailed urban series I started in 2014 but this time I’ve created more of the large-scale drawings rather than just the small pieces. They’re approximately 500mm wide with variable heights.
I’m really pleased with them but being bigger means that they take MUCH longer to draw – and the pressure is on not to get anything too wrong! Ho hum – I’m working my way through the Desert Island Discs back catalogue and have listened to Grayson Perry’s Reith Lectures again (which are just brilliant – I wish I was that eloquent!).
Here are some of the drawings finished and ready to be exposed onto screens ready for printing. I use the Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05 and the Copic Multi Liner 0.03 for drawing. The Copic is the only one I have found in 0.03 and is brilliant as both nib and ink cartridge are easily replaceable (you get through a lot of nibs at this size). However, the Staedtler is my favourite – I haven’t found a better disposable pen in 0.05mm (I think I’ve tried them all!) and now buy boxes of 20 at a time.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester has just reopened after a £2.5 million refurbishment programme. Elizabeth Gaskell, famous for writing Cranford, Mary Barton, North & South, Ruth and Wives & Daughters amongst others lived in this house in Plymouth Grove from 1850 until her death in 1865.
As part of their half-term activities and for the 2014 Big Draw, the Elizabeth Gaskell House Team asked me to run a printmaking workshop based on the beautiful patterns and objects found around the restored rooms. In preparation I had great fun and felt very privileged to spend an afternoon photographing the House to create an exciting exploration game for the workshop.
I’ll post some pictures of the workshop when I get them – we had a professional photographer there and everything!
I’ve just handed in my completed screenprint for the Hot Bed Press 2014 ’20:20 Print Exchange’. The 20:20 Print Exchange is a yearly event whereby printmakers are invited to produce a print measuring 20 x 20 cm in an edition of 25. You then submit your prints to Hot Bed Press and an army of volunteers (including me today!) sort them into boxes. Every entrant gets a box of prints back randomly chosen from the thousands available. Last year 585 artists took part producing 14,625 prints between them.
My print this year uses some drawings taken from my Clarendon Square Shopping Centre workshops whereby young people drew their houses for a larger piece of artwork. I scanned these drawings into the computer, tweaked them (a little!) and created a five colour screenprint called ‘Houses of Hyde’.
I’m pleased with the result especially as I wanted to experiment with using overlays of colours to create further colours and it worked really well. I also continue to use ‘Frisk’ Film for the stencils rather than the more traditional paper / newsprint. Frisk Film doesn’t buckle and concertina on the screen so colour registration is much easier and more constant.
I’m going to give the school an artist’s proof of the final screenprint as a thankyou!
Over the last couple of weeks, myself and Richard Dawson (Arbarus) have been working on a series of creative workshops for our RSPB Ribble Rediscovered commission. Aimed at determining what wildlife and subjects should be included within the final pieces of sculpture, we worked with young people, the public and the brilliant RSPB volunteers making lots of brilliant artwork and chatting about the interesting wildlife that can be found on the Ribble Estuary, what the important and notable species are for the area and what lives in all that mud!
We did a special mud-dip workshop whereby we looked at the species that live in the mud and provide food for the thousands of birds that visit and live in the area. From this we created block prints of the hydrobia snails, crabs, rag worms and also the birds that eat them, making a brilliant frieze of artwork on brown paper.
We also rocked up to the 20 year anniversary event of the Ribble Discovery Centre and chatted to lots of knowledgeable people about the birds and wildlife found on the estuary. The three others artists involved in the commission were also there – Bryony Purvis, Rebecca Chesney and Sophy King.
Next job – design the final artwork ready for approval by the RSPB, the volunteers and steering group and Fylde Council…
I’ve been lucky enough to be selected for the Hot Bed Press 20 Year anniversary exhibition. Held at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, the exhibition features 20 artists selected from the printmaking studio’s members and runs from now until 16th September 2014.
Four of my screenprints were chosen to be part of the exhibition, including one that I’ve just completed. In the same style as my previous urban sketch screenprints but much larger, it shows the view from the top of Shudehill Car Park (see my earlier rant about views from car parks here). As I use paper stencils to get the background colours, printing this caused all sorts of problems due to the stencil warping and stretching over such a large area. However, I didn’t want to use photo screens for all parts of the artwork as it creates a final image that’s too perfect for me.
I was really pleased with the final piece especially once framed by the lovely and helpful ‘In the Picture Framing‘, who have just opened up in Woodend Mill in Mossley, where I have my studio.
My new series of screenprints are being exhibited at Bank Quay House in Warrington. Part of a group show, the Complete Printmakers from Hot Bed Press will be exhibiting alongside the Wrexham Regional Print Centre.
The exhibition runs from 4th April – 26th May 2014 at Bank Quay House, Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1NN. Go to their website for opening times and further details.