Developing printmaking samples for an exhibition

14 May 2017

The Print and Stitch Group Exhibition – developing my printed samples from Part 4

I belong to a group of printmakers and textile practitioners called The Print and Stitch Group, which was founded in July 2015. We have been working towards our first exhibition in September 2017, on the subject of “Identity”. I used my sampling with fabric stencils which I produced for Project 1 exercise 4, and developed the figure prints in conjunction with techniques of back drawing, mark-making (reductive process) and drawing onto the plate.

The prints for the exhibition are shown below:


The first print (above) is a rework of Project 1, exercise 4, sample 4a. First I made a print of the negative space with a burlap stencil, which also gave me the embossing in the white (masked) area. When dry, I used back drawing techniques (project 1, exercise 3, samples 3), to fill in the detail of the figure.

This second print (above) also uses the back drawing technique, this time applied over a ghost print of the stencil plate used in the first print.

The print above is taken from the one of the plates which I used for back drawing. I have used reductive technique (Project 1, exercise 1, mark-making), to remove additional ink from the background areas before printing. The results are similar to project 1, exercise 4, sample 4d, except I have managed to achieve a better transfer of the burlap fabric texture, and I have also been more consistent with my mark-making within the negative space.

This final print (above) was produced by first taking a ghost print from the inked fabric stencil (see project 1, exercise 4, sample 4c before back drawing was added). In a second stage, I then used a paper stencil to mask off and print the negative image. Finally, I used Akua liquid pigment and a needle nib to draw the figure’s outline and clothing onto an acetate sheet, which I printed from using the direct drawing method (project 1, exercise 2, sample 6).

I am really pleased with the way in which I have been able to combine the texture of the burlap into all of these prints in different ways. The common shape, colour and texture of the fabric provides unity to the set, whilst the different methods of printing and line generation provides variety and interest.

I have entitled this series “Covert figure”. In keeping with the theme of the exhibition, I wanted to portray these images in a way which left their identity open to interpretation by the viewer. The way in which the image is framed top and bottom, suggests that the figure is perhaps lurking in a recess, window or balcony. Who they are and why they are waiting is the question which is presented. Their identity is almost hidden; we know the figure is female and have an idea what clothing she is wearing, however there is little else to give us a clue as to her purpose. I hope that this adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to my prints. 


I have also produced a second series of mono prints, based on the techniques in project 1, exercise 3, samples 3 (back drawing), in which I used first prints and the ghost prints for background texture before adding detail by drawing into the prints with charcoal.

These three prints (above) were made by drawing into mono prints which were initially very similar to sample 3a from Project 1, exercise 3.

I also took ghost prints from the plates (similar to sample 3b of project 1, exercise 3), and once again draw into these with charcoal to add detail (see below):

I have entitled the series “Blue” (being the name of the model). Although I feel taht there are is some suggestion of domesticity and female vulnerability in the prints, I wanted to keep the title neutral so that the viewer could make their own interpretations of the possible identity and roles of the subject.

In contrast with the “Covert figure” series (A4), these prints are A3 size and are more dramatic and imposing. By incorporating the charcoal over drawing, they have become very distinctive of my artistic style, whilst still retaining some of the subtlety of line from the original printing stage. The printing helps to soften the images, add texture and a feeling of depth and shadow.

The Print and Stitch Group’s exhibition runs 14-20 September 2017 at Aldeburgh Gallery, Suffolk IP15 5AN.



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