We’re in to Week 10 of lockdown and with summer almost upon us we thought we could probably all do with a change of scene.
Prints, indeed all the pictures we choose to have around us offer a view into another world. This maybe an actual location complete with recognisable features; souvenirs of places visited; imagined places or perhaps an image that invokes a sense of place or the experience of being somewhere other. With so many weeks spent at home the pictures we have around us become our windows, a view to another time and place.
In much the same way that our sense of place can be bound up with a particular writer, there are many artists whose work influences how we see a place - their art becoming synonymous with a particular location. We invited studio users and staff to nominate a print for this newsletter and tells us about their connection to this print and sense of place.
Donald Wilkinson: 'Shiant Isles' by William Daniell. Aquatint, 1814
The print of a landscape I have chosen this small aquatint by William Daniell made from drawings he did on his “Voyage round Great Britain” in 1815. It is of the Shiant Islands off the coast of Harris. After all these weeks of lock down it is the sort of place one’s mind escapes to. The print is only 26cm x 18 cm but is full of atmosphere. I haven’t been there but have seen the islands from the ferry on the way to Harris and have drawn them from a distance. It is obviously romanticised but in one’s mind’s eye that is the way I think of these places. I think there are puffins and also guillemots in the image - the air must have been filled with the sound of bird calls and of wings. I can’t see any gannets. Half the image is taken up with a great basalt cliff and the sense of scale is helped by the small fishing boat. I have drawn in a similar location on the Isle of Eigg making a three-panel aquatint of bird cliffs in which I drew the birds on the print with pastel. I could just do with sitting in a landscape feeling the space, seeing the birds and hearing the sea.
You can see other images from the series here. If you’re in need of transporting your mind to the Western Isles, ‘The Sea Room’ by Adam Nicolson is a love story for the Shiant Isles.
Helen Donley : ‘Green’ by Richard Diebenkorn. Aquatint & drypoint, 1986
This is one of my favourite prints. It is linked to Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series, which mostly consists of 145 paintings, painted over 20 years, based on the Ocean Park area in Los Angeles, California. The print was made at Crown Point Press in San Francisco where he began making prints in 1962 and returned regularly to the press until his death in 1993. It reminds me of my first concentrated period of learning, absorbing and experimenting in printmaking and the now even more endless possibilities and techniques and that had opened up for my work.
There is a link to a video of the print being made at Crown Point Press here.
Cath Hodson: ‘Starlings over the West Pier’ by Sarah Young. Screenprint
This is one of my favourite prints because of the memories it evokes from my time in Brighton. The print shows the Peace monument, by the bandstand with West Pier in view (prior to the fire that burnt it to a skeleton), on The Brighton /Hove border. ‘The Meeting Place’, my favourite café on the beach was to the right. I would spend hours watching the murmurations of the starlings chop and change. This currently hangs in my hallway and gives me a warm feeling every time I walk by.
Cath has also chosen ‘Durham Overview’ by Anja Percival, Etching and Collagraph
In complete contrast I have no emotional connection to Durham the subject matter of this print. But from the first time I saw it felt an immediate connection and couldn’t get the image out of my head. I love how the light glows from the windows with that hazy darkness that dusk brings. I’m normally drawn to much brighter colours but love the subtly of this. If my house were to burn down this would definitely be the item I’d save (after Dot - my dog, naturally).
If you like Anja Percival's work then you can purchase a selection of her prints via our website now and we can send it to you rolled in a large tube or at the checkout screen you can select 'click and collect' and you can collect it from Northern Print (at a time that we arrange by email). Bruce Reid, our framer is back at work now so we can also arrange to have the work framed although this will be on a strictly on a click and collect basis. If you're interested in purchasing framed work by any of our artists just contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it.
Anna Wilkinson: ‘Pujols’ by Anthony Gross. Etching, 1932
I have always liked Gross’s etchings – there’s something so joyful about the mark-marking that makes me want to draw. I always think there are prints that I admire and value and then there are those that make me want to make prints – his work is definitely the later.
Gross spent a lot of time in south-west France and made many images of the French landscape. I especially like some of the images of vines in winter with their twisted sculptural forms planted in perfect rows. They remind of arriving in Provence in January to work as an au pair. I was 18 years old with no idea about how to look after small children and very little French. Almost all of my childhood holidays had been spent in Scotland so getting to know the French landscape and watching it reveal itself as the winter turned to spring and summer was a revelation. I had a bicycle so on my days off I could explore and often took a picnic of bread, cheese and olives. This print reminds of me of that time and more recent trips camping in Provence.
You can see more work by Anthony Gross (1905-1984) from the collection at The British Museum here. Have a look at the study of trees where he experiments with the different marks and textures. He combines etching and engraving giving different qualities and intensities of line.
Jill Chambers: 'The Valley Behind Me - Mr Grey's Journal' by Donald Wilkinson. Etching
Right from the very first time I visited Keswick as a teen on a coach daytrip, northern Lakeland felt like home to me. It brings me great joy to be part of a landscape almost ethereal in scale and beauty and one that beckons me to explore its secrets. I try and visit several times each year to walk the fells with Amaya my dog and potter about in my inflatable kayak in between shoreline picnics. Every time I visit I feel compelled to stop off at Castlerigg Stone Circle which is where my thoughts are currently residing as we approach June. In recent years I have enjoyed what I suppose can be described as a pilgrimage to the stones for the summer solstice. When I find science to be spiritually unsatisfying and I cannot muster the faith necessary for the more dogmatic religions, I find comfort in immersing myself in the natural environment. The solstice brings reassuring structure with which to navigate my year and I enjoy experiencing the connection with other people and my ancient ancestors at this special site. Every solstice is different, sometimes there is a type of ceremony to mark the occasion, sometimes not, sometimes Gore-Tex clad tourists queue for bacon butties served under a gazebo courtesy of a local hotel chain, sometimes skin-headed punks crank up the souped-up sound system in their converted ambulance. It is never dull but always friendly. Although I much prefer to have the stones all to myself so I can enjoy the ambiance thoughtfully provided by Mother Nature and by my Neolithic cousins, I do enjoy the serendipity of solstice. I've sung along with jamming musicians and rekindled my love for making music, discussed the merits of building a hot tub out of breeze blocks, twirled my glow-in-the-dark poi before sunrise and even joined in with a shamanic drumming circle coincidentally alongside people I'd previously encountered at the Rannerdale bluebells. It pleases me that we still have no conclusive proof of why stone circles were constructed and it is this domain between tangibility and mystery that for me contains the magic that enables my imagination to flourish
Donald Wilkinson won the Giles Bequest Prize at the 1974 Bradford International Print Biennale with this etching which was one of two from a series entitled Mr Gray's Journal selected for inclusion in that year's event. The print was also part of the Prized exhibition at Northern Print in 2018 celebrating 50 years since the beginning of the Bradford International Print Biennale. Just like poet and historian Thomas Gray reflected in his journal (published posthumously in 1775, exactly 200 years before I was born) I too am enchanted by the timeless glory of Castlerigg and love the evocative glimpses of its surrounding landscape depicted in Donald's print.
You can read Thomas Gray's full account of his Lakeland visit here.
Places with presses
There are print studios all over the world and there are artists residencies all over the world too – but finding both in the same places isn’t always so obvious. Open access studios like Northern Print may not advertise opportunities for international or visiting artists – but have always been open to approaches and hosted artists from UK, Canada and Italy as a result.
If there is a place you want to visit it’s always worth sending an enquiry to the local print studio to see what opportunities there may be for you access the facilities. Some studios have advertised opportunities offering access to the studio and living accommodation for a fee – you may still have to apply to do this but you may also be able to apply for funding from elsewhere to cover the costs. Other studios do offer funded residencies for varying lengths of time – most deadlines and timescales have of course been impacted by Covid-19 – but if you are interested it is worth doing some research and planning ahead.
Some of these residencies have rolling programmes, others you need to apply in advance. During the lockdown it might be time to do a bit of research, find out if there’s somewhere you’d like to go and what you’d need to do to make this happen. This might also involve applying for some funding. All these things take time, but what you would also need is an up to date CV, artists statement and quality images of your work.
Here’s a few examples of residencies with print studios below – there are many more online. We do know some artists who have visited these and can put you in contact (if all parties agree) for more information. We are also happy to help with references and advice with applications and funding.
Ballinglen Arts Foundation – County Mayo, Ireland - website
Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts Centre, North Uist, Scotland - website
Scuola Internazionale di Grafica , Venice, Italy - website
Frans Masereel Centre, Belgium - website
MI-LAB, Mokuhanga Residency Programme, Japan - website
Kala Fellowship Program, California, USA - website
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada - website
Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway - website
Kala, Berkley, California.
Left: Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway. Right: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada.
There’s lots of help and advice about how to prepare applications available online – there’s a comprehensive list which covers everything from writing applications to photographing your work on Artquest here.
If you are interested in reviewing your CV, artist statement and want to apply for opportunities or funding let us know – if there are a few interested studio users we may be able to put you in touch with each other for more support.
Next Steps for Northern Print
We are starting to turn our attention to the next steps for Northern Print and planning how we can manage a phased re-opening of the studio. Providing access for studio users is our priority but we are also very much aware that we need to plan for new ways of working for learning, gallery exhibitions and print sales in the future too. This will all take time and so we will be reducing our weekly newsletters which will become bi-weekly (contributions of images and text always welcome!) and will be alternating coffee breaks and wine times with one or other one event taking place each week. This will give the staff more time to focus on other tasks towards a phased return.
We don’t have a date for re-opening the studio yet and anticipate having to make a number of changes to the studio to ensure social distancing, reducing the need for shared equipment, creating designated work stations and clear circulation routes. We want to make sure that those returning to the studio feel confident to do so whilst also continuing some of the remote and online support for others. We also know that having dipped our toes in the water of digital interactions that there’s no going back so we are keen to explore ways of keeping this going too.
Earned income is vital to our survival so we are introducing more online sales for prints with the option to ‘click and collect’ – we hope to expand this in the coming months and know that selling prints is also important to artists too. We will keep you posted on developments and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as we can.
It’s interesting to look at how different artists have responded to the same location. For those of you missing Ouseburn here’s a couple of reminders of Northern Print’s home.
Left: Hilary Paynter, Ouseburn, Wood engraving £130 from Northern Print. Right: Sara Ogilivie, A-Z of Ouseburn, screenprint £400 from Northern Print. Both available to buy online and we can arrange click and collect with the option of framing from Reid Framing.
Remote Technical Support and Materials
Helen is available to provide support via email, telephone, zoom or facetime at the times below or can be contacted by email email@example.com to arrange a time. Helen will answer questions and work through any technical support to suit your needs and at your pace on a one-to-one basis. Please note these support sessions are FREE OF CHARGE. Other times by appointment with Helen.
|Tuesday 02/06/20||10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm|
10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm
We are now offering click and collect or mail-order printmaking materials. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any materials including paper etc. and we can arrange the best way of getting this to you. Helen can of course also advice on the best materials to use for your work if you need any help choosing.
Printmakers Coffee Break and Printmakers Wine Time
We are going to alternate coffee breaks and wine times with each happening once a fortnight.
The next Printmakers Coffee Break is Tuesday 2nd June at 11am
The next Printmakers Wine Time is Thursday 11 June at 6pm
Members, your meeting invitations/links will be in the body of your email.
If you have any thoughts or questions about printmaking or just want to chat (or just listen in) with other studio users and staff you can join via Zoom using the link included in the email.
Sharing your work online #printmakerspost
If you have images of work in progress, finished work or perhaps sketchbooks or ideas you would like to share we are doing this via social media (Instagram; Facebook and Twitter) using the hashtag #printmakerspost. For those of you who would prefer to email images and short text we will share as part of our weekly newsletter. Just email to email@example.com
Frances Arnold (Instagram @francesarnoldstudio) has been celebrating Saltaire Makers Fair which has moved online this year. This is a screenprint on Somerset paper. Frances says that she's looking forward to being part of next year's event.
Hannah Scully (Instagram @hannahscullyart) has been creating monotypes from steel plates which were offcuts from an industrial plasmacutter. Film fans Hannah assures us that the series title 'Blue Steel' is in no way connected to Zoolander.
Kate Miller (Instagram @katemillerprints) has developed this method of assessing her work in progress which -ahem- clearly we would not wish to endorse in the spirit of health and safety in the workplace(!) Kate suggests that distance is helpful in enabling you to see your work with a fresh eye as is looking at the work upside down and taking photographs throughout which can enable you to revert to a previous layout stage.
Thanks to everyone sharing work on the Facebook Northern Print Share and Chat group. There have been some great images and helpful videos this week including a video by Laura Boswell about sharpening cutting tools. To join you'll need a Facebook account and all you need to do is follow the link and click the 'join group' button just underneath the top banner.
The group allows you to chat with other printmakers directly and at present most of the group members are based in the region so you already have a few things in common.
We are trying to do a weekly roundup of opportunities we see but please send in any that you’d like to share with other studio users.
- Printmaking Today has a listings of opportunities available online here
- CuratorSpace have opportunities across all visual art forms here
- a-n has an updated page on guidance and support for artists – here
If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute to future editions of Studio News please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!