Well, this invite soon extended to a couple of Jules’ arty chums from the village, Eliza (who I found I had met before at Emerald on my open studio day) and Lis. The remit for the evening also transformed into a wider ‘show and tell’ event. After a couple of glasses of Prosecco in the kitchen (what a treat on a school night!) we marched out down the garden followed by Dylan the Tibetan terrier and passed by two normal sheds before reaching THE Print Shed.
Jules has transformed her shed (more of a cabin I’m sure you will agree) in to a glorious light an airy working space and although she joked that it didn’t always look this tidy, (and whose work space ever does all of the time?) she had all of her materials stored and labelled in what looked to me a very organised manner – she had lots of lovely scrap papers too that I would love to repurpose in my work. . .
We indulged in some delicious canapés and then our host talked us through how she makes her collograph print plates which was fascinating. Jules’ skill with a scalpel is second to none and the details and textures that can be created through cutting down into mount board and layering papers was amazing. Jules also places PVA wood glue in dots, lines and patterns to add a resist over the paper which helps creates highlights and myriad of textures. Jules also uses textured papers, fabric and even dried plants to add layers to print from.
Another technique using a firmer board/wood base is to use grout and carborundum powder mixes to create layers that can be drawn into while wet and further distressed with a blow touch to create a super bubbly texture – Jules showed us a particularly fine looking crab that had been created in this way!
I have not seen collograph plates before and they truly were works of art in their own right and I would happily of had any number of them framed ‘as is’ on my wall. Because of the impermanency of the materials used, each print plate only has a life span of 15 to 20 prints at most, making them precious commodities.
In the slide show that follows I’ve tried to capture the stages of inking up, printing and the final reveal! I didn’t use a flash and so some of the ‘action’ shots have a natural softness of focus about them – rather than indicating the Jules’ works in a blur (or my intake of Prosecco!)
Lis showed us how she sews the pages together after splitting the book in half (that way she can get two paintings out of one book) to enable them to be cleanly mounted and framed. Lis shared a picture of a robin, some dapper gents in bowler hats and a lighthouse which was stunning. She also bought along some greetings cards that she produces that had an image of her cute dog and another of Windsor Castle.
Lis also told us about the Windsor Emporium that she and Jules take part in on the first Sunday in the month. In short you can book a table upstairs in the Guildhall and there are a variety of artist makers along with antique stalls. I’m putting the first Sunday in August in my diary now to go and see and find out more!
Eliza bought one of my Prom cat cards from Emerald and said that it inspired her to have a go at scanning and manipulating her detailed drawings in new ways – how fantastic to have sparked some new creativity! Eliza popped into Emerald when I was doing my Open Studio day as she was keen to learn what type of paper and ink I used to reproduce my cards as she wanted to try and get the same ‘chalky’ effect on hers. We had a great chat and I sent her off with a long list of things to look for. It was lovely to meet her again and find that she is getting on well with the Jessop’s papers too.
Jules had an example of an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ inspired card that Eliza had made featuring a beautifully drawn and hand embellished hare. The hare was layered in front of an ornately drawn frame and there was poetry/text behind the frame to highlight the hare – I really should have taken a picture as my explanation doesn’t do justice to the lovely imagery.
Last on the bill was me. I took along my ‘suitcase full of gorgeousness’ – a small old fashioned leather case that I paid £1.99 for in Oxfam, filled up with a very small (tip of the iceberg) selection of the kind of materials that I like to use to construct my work from. I had produced some step-by-step photo boards for the Open Studios day and so talked the girls through these – although Jules was ahead of herself and kept asking questions that would be answered later!
I didn’t take any photos of all my stuff in the Print Shed which was a shame and maybe I will take some soon and showcase my suitcase in a future blog entry? The girls were certainly intrigued as to where I got a lot of my stash from. I did offer to take them shopping some time – but entering the world of craft products is a dangerous path to take and not for the feint hearted.
The thing that made the evening so special for me was being able to talk, laugh, share and learn from other artist makers who are producing new and exciting contemporary work. We were all on the same page with our passion to create things and are all keen to explore new opportunities to share our work - and that brought an exciting energy to The Shed. I know I’ve said this before, but since meeting Ann and Cath my arty horizons have been widened so much and I continue to meet such fantastic people. I am so grateful that Cath acts as a catalyst to make introductions that lead to new friendships.
The ‘art of the possible’ is easier to achieve with arty chums than on your own – so fingers crossed that this was maybe the inaugural meeting of the Emerald 'Art Shed' Collective?