The lovely Cath at Emerald is the Chairman of the Cotswold Branch and had told me about the trip when we were setting up Bucks Open Studios. When she said that our chum Ann (Picture This Art and Framing) was going too, I jumped at the chance to book a 'guest' place. One of my colleagues at work, Warren Ralls, is a master print maker and so it was only right that I invited him as well as it sounded right up his street.
Cath met another Chalfont based print maker through Bucks Open Studios, Jules Rumsey, who specialises in collographs and invited her to join our merry band. Jules very kindly offered to chauffeur us all on what had to have been one of the warmest days of this year so far!
In all there were seventeen of us, a mix of artists and framers (including Stuart Hibberdine who won the 'Best Mount Design' in the recent Guild competition), plus Louise Hay who is the CEO of the Fine Art and Trade Guild. We knew it was going to be special - but none of us realised just what a treat we were in for.
Six artists kindly gave their time to demonstrate a range of printing techniques to us:
Betty Ebanja (relief printing)
Patricia Drew (mono printing)
Jenny Lines (colour etching)
Keith Isaacson (preparing and printing stone lithographs)
Heather Power (screen printing on glass and paper and etching)
Morna Rhys (three plate colour etchings)
With the kind permission of the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative I was allowed to take lots of photos of the artists at work and will be popping a disc of these in the post to them as a 'Thank You'.
The rest of this post is split up into a series of slideshows, by artist, that demonstrate some of the stages of their chosen print 'technique' for that evening. The slideshow can be paused, if needed, as some of the commentary is quite long!
Unfortunately (unlike my boss), my brain is not the size of a planet and I apologise if I have got terms wrong or misunderstood what I have been told or heard - if I have made a mistake please do let me know and I will happily update this post.
The evening, as you will see, was fascinating and I learnt a great deal. I have had a go and doing (very) simple mono prints in the past, and may have done (very) simple lino cutting and printing at school, but had no experience of the other techniques being shown.
I learnt that I while I may not have the patience for producing a lithograph at this point in my life; I loved the immediacy of the screen printing. I also loved the 'physicality' of the machinery and the efforts that went onto turning the wheels or levering the presses to produce such amazing results. One thing that will stay with me forever is a new appreciation of print making which will help me, the next time I look at an etching or the like, to truely understand how it was made - and for that knowledge I am truly grateful.
As an endnote, it should be made known that I found it really hard to motivate myself to go to work the next day as all I really wanted to do was get in the car and drive to Oxford to learn more and have a play!
Note: In some cases I have taken photographs of finished works produced through the demonstration process. Images of the finished articles are of course, copyright of their respective creators.