Imprints
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Imprints

Imprints

I use different printmaking methods depending on which one best suits a project. From letterpress and lino, to lithography and silk screen. I like printing. There are steps to follow, from the making up of a screen, the cutting of the block, the transfer of the image to the inking up. Each process has its own distinct characteristics, from the idea to the final print. Some of my printworks are stand alone pieces, others are supplementary works, sketches almost, for ongoing works in other mediums. Such as my Bosch ceramics. What I like most is to play, experiment and investigate through making.

If I had to choose a favourite print technique it would be stone lithography. I like the physicality of working with big lumps of stone, and the way that the process seems to make no sense. Leicester Print Workshop, the print studio that I use, is one of the few places in the UK that still has lithography stones. Most workshops have moved over to more-manageable zinc plates. The magic of lithgraphy is that you can draw, paint, crayon, or transfer straight onto the stone as if it was a piece of paper. The process of stone lithography involves grinding a stone to a smooth, oil-free surface. Then after making your image on the stone it is finely etched with a mixture of nitric acid and gum arabic. For printing, the stone is dampened with water and rolled with oil-based ink. The ink sticks to where you have made the drawing and is repelled from the rest of the stone by the water film. You then dry the stone, place the paper on the stone and put it though a direct transfer press. The whole process must be repeated for each print, from dampening the stone, inking up, drying, paper placing and putting under the pressure of the press.

Stone lithography is the most gestural of all printing methods, and offers a very direct translation of drawn line. However all techniques are only a means to an end, the idea is paramount. Leicester Print Workshop has fantastic facilities and its staff and members make it a delight to work there.