Experimental Printing Techniques
I’ve mixed feelings about this one day class I attended yesterday. The finished works shown by the tutor, Vivien Haley, were spectacular, beautiful colour schemes, innovative patterning and quality outcomes.
Should I have felt a little put-out that the samples she brought along were actually digitally printed rather than hand printed, when she was teaching us a hand printing class? Probably not, but I did. To be fair, she did have 2 gorgeous scarves that she had hand printed but her focus is firmly in the realms of digital printing.
In her defense I should add that she isn’t just playing at designing and producing a few lovely pieces, teaching from time to time and considering her talents as a ‘serious hobby’. No, she is trying to eke out a modest living and endeavouring to promote her name and art style by selling on-line and through art shows/expos. Therefore she needs to produce a quantity of quality, hard-wearing, desirable items in a range of colourways and digital printing is the way to achieve that.
When designing, she primarily concentrates on mark making and shape making. Realism isn’t her thing.
She uses cut wood, cardboard, old x-ray film, plant material and whatever other fairly flat items she comes across. She works shapes and patterns with acrylic paint on cartridge paper and later scans them into a computer. Components are isolated, repeated, resized, re-coloured, reoriented and regrouped to form a unique unified whole.
Obviously the majority of her process was well outside the scope of the class, so we concentrated on making marks and patterns on paper which, frankly, I could have done equally as effectively at home or with friends. However, it was a day out and I spent some dedicated hours mucking around with paint and paper.
A few of my samples:
Left to right: 1) paint transfer from glass, with a netting resist. The piece was relaid a second time slightly moved to create the ‘broken line’ effect. 2) Cardboard shapes, painted and used as stamps. Gauging the amount of paint required to create brush marks. 3) Repeated lino stamp I previously made with a cardboard cutout.
Here I repeatedly used the same wood block to print, alternating between 2 brushes – one with lighter brighter colours and the other with black or blue. The brushes were never cleaned and the block was overlapped time after time, creating an integration of the various colours.
I think there is some scope to develop this type of printing/stenciling/stamping but I find it difficult to visualize unified outcomes (for me). The idea of just messing around and making all sorts of patterns then selecting small sections and using the computer to formulate something workable from individual components could be interesting, but without the means to print out cloths myself it’s not somewhere I want to go at this stage.
Overall, a nice day, average teaching and techniques. Something to keep at the back of my mind I guess. You never know what you might want to do in the future.
Works by others in the class: