Louise Bourgeois, from ‘10am is When You Come to Me’ a series of 20 etchings with watercolour, gouache and drawing. The hands are those of the artist and her assistant Gorovoy. “The depiction of hands and arms reaching across the expanses of paper in this work parallels Bourgeois’s description of being pulled out of a well, suggesting that Gorovoy’s presence remedied the artist’s feeling of isolation. The title of the work, 10 am is When You Come to Me, is a reference to the time of the morning when Gorovoy would arrive at Bourgeois’s studio or home to begin their working day together and thus reflects the reliability and familiarity of their daily routine.” Tate
We’re already on to newsletter number six and may take a short break next week to mark the bank holiday and gather thoughts for future editions. We’ve really enjoyed writing and sharing these with you and have valued the positive feedback – thank you! We have alternated the content between processes and broader themes and this week thought it would be interesting to focus on ‘touch’.
Touch is such a basic human instinct and it is so hard to live without the everyday connections this gives us to friends and those we love - as well as the wider world. Touch also seems such an intrinsic quality in printmaking too – whether it is the sheer pleasure of the tactile nature of paper and ink - cutting wood; tearing paper or smoothing the warm felt blankets over a dampened paper and the cold touch of the metal press. Printmaking also is about the very action of ‘touching’ - it is the trace of something that was once there and has left behind its mark.
Northern Print’s logo, a fingerprint, alludes to this idea – it is at once a universal mark that is also utterly unique to each and every one of us. For those that don’t know, the fingerprint on our logo belongs to Anthony Gormley – he made a film for Northern Print when we moved to Ouseburn in 2006. We were motived to ask Gormley because of a series of soft ground etchings ‘ Body and Soul’ published by Paragon Press in 1990. He speaks very eloquently about this and managed to do so at short notice (long story) in between lunch with his staff, losing his keys and heading off to do a radio interview.
One of Thomas Bewick’s most intriguing wood engravings is a vignette depicting a cottage and horse obscured by a thumb print. The finger print is actually engraved into the wooden block rather than the artist’s inky mark. It was made in 1872 – a long time ago for such a contemporary idea.
“In an unprecedented gesture, the artist superimposes his engraved thumb-print, actual-scale, to counteract the effects of pictorial space. It constitutes a transgressive self-referentiality more associated with modernism, implying an assertion of authorship and process at the expense of a carefully wrought image.”
From Thomas Bewick: Tale-Pieces, by Jonathan Watkins, Director, IKON
William Herschel (whose father Sir John Herschel was mentioned in Studio Newsletter edition 4 in relation to anthotypes) studied fingerprints and forensics and wrote ‘The Origin of Finger-Printing’ in 1916. He recorded his own fingerprints throughout his life and is credited as being the first person to find a practical application of fingerprints. His short book is available as a free resource here and includes the fingerprints on Thomas Bewick.
Stroking a dog or cat is thought to reduce stress – so here’s Lucian Freud’s etching ‘Pluto Aged 12’.
Freud’s etchings were made and editioned at Studio Prints, London with Marc Balakijan. Marc was a great supporter of Northern Print over many years and some of you may remember Marc’s visits when he would share his skills and insights with great generosity. You can read more about Studio Prints here. Following Marc’s death his son Aram Balakijan photographed the house as it was emptied – his poignant photographs appeared in The Guardian Weekend Magazine and can be viewed on his website.
Ellen Heck (mentioned in our first Newsletter) was inspired by Mary Cassatt, an American painter and printmaker who lived in France and friends with Edgar Degas. Cassatt’s work depicting women in everyday life often caring for children and tenderly portraying the relationship between them insprired Ellen’s series ‘Plus a Century’.
Left: Mary Cassatt; Right: Ellen Heck from ‘Plus a Century’
Artists Books are the most intimate and tactile way of engaging with an artist’s work, with the ability to hold a book in your hands and feel the pages between your fingers. Below are images are by Louise Bourgeois. Below left is a lithograph printed onto fabric; ‘Ode a l’Oubil’ of textile collages with lithography. You can see all the images from the book here along with further information.
Moma has a really good section on their website dedicated to the Complete Prints and Books of Louise Bourgeois here.
One artist whose work uses heat sensitive ink is Yiota Demetroiu – it is only with the warmth of the reader hand’s that the text is revealed. If you want to know more about artists books here’s a few links to check out:
London Centre for Books Arts here
University of West England Book Arts here
Kaleid Editions here
Remote Technical Support
We hope you are finding ways of keeping busy during the shutdown and are still offering remote technical support to help you develop new skills or resolve any technical issues you might be having working from home. This can include any hand-printing methods, developing images for screens etc., photoshop or perhaps getting started with a social media account to promote your work and engage with others. Even if you are stuck for imagery the discipline of learning a new skill or process can help develop ideas.
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 – what’s not to like?
|10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm
Don’t forget – ‘Collagraph-along’ is Thursday 7 May at 11am You will receive a zoom link via email for this is you have let us know that you want to take part.
If you are running short of paper or other materials let us know. We do a weekly check on the building and maybe able to post these to you or arrange a ‘click and collect’ option. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see what is possible.
Printmakers Coffee Break
Next coffee break is Tuesday 5 May at 11am
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 the coffee break via zoom using a link which we can email to you on request (email@example.com)
Zoom is really easy to use and we can talk you through it if you are new to this. Don’t worry if you think you don’t know any of the other studio users – lots of our users come at different times and don’t know each other so it’s a nice way of putting names to faces.
A Japanese tea bowl from the Edo period originating from Seto – not far from the city of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture where many of the Japanese artists we have worked with come from including Fusako Yoshikawa and Eriko Maki.
This tea bowl shows the fingerprints of the maker within the glaze. The bowl comes from the collection at The National Museum of Asian Art – enjoy exploring their collection here.
Helen has been busy coordinating our collaborative collagraph of LS Lowry’s ‘Market Scene, Northern Town’. Anyone wanting to take part needed to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Instruction will be sent out at the start of next week and you can join Helen on a collagraph-along via Zoom on Thursday 7 May at 11am. If you have let us know you would like to take part you will receive an email with a link to this event.
Virtual Visits and Digital Demonstrations
Mexican artist Nunik Sauret (who exhibited at Northern Print late last year) has made a short film of her studio in Mexico City specially for Northern Print. You can view the film on our Vimeo site here.
Nunik speaks briefly in Spanish. We have decided not to translate this or add subtitles as the film is a complete and beautiful experience without this. We have arranged for Erika Servin to join our Printmaking Coffee Break where she can answer any questions you have about Nunik, her studio or more generally about printmaking in Mexico.
We’re asking for suggestions and invitations to host a virtual visit or digital demonstration – just email email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can post on social media at any time but we thought it might be good if we tried to post new work on Fridays to round off the week.
It looks like getting out and about in the good weather inspired our printmakers during April and they took advantage of all of the free UV light to develop their work. Clockwise: Louise Pallister made barn owl cyanotypes to mark Earth Day 2020. Billy Hall and Hannah Scully have also been in a cyanotype mood and both produced these tests. Ian Gale has been experimenting with lumen printing.
Meanwhile Theresa Easton has been in her own studio editioning these striking colour blend prints this week.
Studio user Barbara Kennard shares her work in progress, combining drypoint and collagraph.
Barbara writes –
Before we left the North in August 2017, we were treated to a surprise visit by one of the deer that roam around the western edge of Gateshead where had lived for 30 years. Our dog and cat were the first to see the deer through the window of the sitting room and their unusual silence together made me inquisitive. I just had time to take a few shots before the deer walked over to the fence, jumped over it and disappeared. I like to think it came to say "Goodbye"
This is the first time I've used plastic etching plates and also water-based printing inks. So far, the experience has been pretty good but I'm still learning. The plastic etching plate is very responsive to the slightest scratch put on its surface and it's easy to develop intense areas of colour by hatching. It's also very easy to burnish away errors.
I paint with watercolour on a proof to work out where the soft or intense colour will be for the collagraph card. The mirror image is then transferred onto the card ready for cutting. PVA glue is added for texture or pattern as it can be drawn into before it dries. When the glue has dried the card is dabbed with shellac or button polish. I usually apply three coats or more until I'm quite sure that the liquid has soaked into the card. The card is then left to dry overnight.
I'm still experimenting with different shades of yellow for the collagraph card.
Thank you to Jo Bourne and Barbara Kennard for contributing to the newsletter – please let us know if you have anything you would like to share?
We have set up a Facebook group where studio users (and others) can connect and share their experiences of printmaking. It’s called ‘Northern Print Chat and Share’ and so far has 38 members.
If you'd like to join in with sharing your work or even perhaps dropping some hints and tips to people who are asking questions then we'd love to see you on there.
Simply click this link (you'll need a Facebook account to use this function) www.facebook.com/groups/522321068687056/?source_id=1586581331571798 then click the button at the top of the page to request to join. We'll try to approve your friend request as soon as possible and you can get started. This week's posts have included Anja Percival's DIY aquatint box (!) and Chris Madge working in his darkroom now that it's less sunny.
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
- Art Rabbit lists opportunities online here
- Contemporary Visual Arts Network have opportunities listed online here
Please ask if you would like any advice with applications
PLEASE HELP NORTHERN PRINT
Northern Print receives regular funding from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation. Whist we are closed we have lost all our earned income and are considering an application for emergency funding from Arts Council. To help with this please can you complete this very short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DQX6DLS
If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute to future editions of Studio News please get in touch via email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!