Following last year’s project for Bentley Library where I worked with local groups to create a community library chair, I’ve been itching to have a go at making/upholstering another one. So, for a recent exhibition at Hot Bed Press, I decided to create some screenprinted textiles for a new piece of work in the shape of a Parker Knoll armchair.
‘Infestation’ is upholstered in silk, hand screenprinted with hundreds of beetles which appear to be crawling out of the chair. Each piece of material features an individual design created from my drawings of beetles. There are about 100 different species of beetle in the surface design from the Javan Fiddle Beetle (Mormolyce phyllodes) to, my favourite, the Long-Necked Shining Fungus Beetle (Datelium wallacei) – you can’t beat that for a name. The chair also has it’s very own beetle legs, brilliantly made by Arbarus.
The work is part of an ongoing series in which I’ll be exploring chairs and similar products, questioning their form and usability (does a chair have to be functional to be a chair?) and reimagining the original design and finish to manipulate reaction and perception.
To create this installation piece I firstly used Photoshop to generate full-size artwork from scans of my beetle drawings, which I then turned into screenprints. I created individual screens for both the fill colour and the key layer (the final line). I’d pre-cut and labelled the individual pieces of silk for the upholstery so I could control which part of the pattern was on each part of the chair. Once the fabric was printed, I set about upholstering!
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.
The sorting for the 20:20 Print Exchange is happening this week. The 20:20 is a national print exchange organised by Hot Bed Press whereby printmakers from studios across the UK each submit an edition of 25 prints measuring 20cm x 20cm. The prints are then sorted and each participant gets a random selection of prints back. Last year over 300 people submitted prints – I won’t reveal how many people have entered this year but it’s a LOT more…
My 20:20 entry is a three colour screenprint entitled ‘Print Manufactury’, created from a drawing I did of the Hot Bed Press studio building. The base white colour and the blue door were both created using paper stencils cut from newsprint. The third and final layer of black was from a photo-emulsion screen.
Here’s the original drawing…
And here’s the final screenprint. I used Somerset Grey paper so I could apply a white background for the building. I wanted it to be a completely self-contained image on the paper so removed anything outside the building that might ground it – for example the pavements, streetlights and surrounding buildings.
I’ve been learning etching on my course at Hot Bed Press and I absolutely LOVE it. I’m quite surprised as I didn’t think it would be my thing but I think the quality of the line you get is beautiful and it’s very forgiving (especially to my drawings!).
Here’s the original photo I worked from – it’s a view of Manchester Town Hall from Charlotte Street.
Here’s a pencil drawing of the image. I’ll probably re-use this for some other prints – possibly drypoint and maybe a linocut. Note the miscalculation on the size of the Town Hall compared to the photo.
Here’s the first print from the etched plate. I was quite pleased with it apart from a few wonky bits where I’ve had to draw it back to front on the plate. Also, there is a lot of foul bite – the marks and scratches on the plate where there was damage to the hard ground – but I quite like this.
This is the same plate with aquatint. The only part of the print which should be white is the sky and a few details, so I was really disappointed that the buildings were so light. I obviously didn’t leave the plate in long enough on the first dip. But – first go – so not too bad!