First Day (well, night!) in the Studio

It was raining really hard when I woke up this morning. Bearing in mind that water and sketchbooks don’t go well together, I decided to ditch my plans for another day in the forest and made myself a nice workspace in my room where I spent the day drawing and monoprinting.

I’ve been itching to do some reduction monotypes and so I had a chat with Ana about what materials I could use and she told me where to find some old litho plates in the intaglio studio and said to help myself. I’m not used to working with anyone else around and felt a bit shy so I went in this evening when everyone had gone home. I like working at night, there is a lovely sense of peacefulness. It took a bit of searching around to locate everything that I needed but the studio is really well equipped and beautifully laid out with lots of space to work so it was a pleasure to get started. I soon realised that the artists here do things a bit differently from me but I improvised and managed to get set up ok. I used my own water soluble relief ink and rolled a fine layer onto the litho plate before working into it with cotton buds and rags. I spent about two hours creating the image by taking ink away to make the light areas and I think the birch forest was a particularly suitable subject for this method.

Then it was time to use the medium sized press (which is still a lot bigger than mine!).

I really wasn’t sure whether the print would come out or not because I didn’t dare adjust the pressure on the press as printmakers are very particular about these kind of things 🙂 However, it was set up perfectly for the thickness of the litho plate and the print came out with all the detail intact.

Now that I’ve managed to find my way round the studio and make my first print, I feel happier about being in there when the other artists are printing too. I’m feeling excited about the possibilities and am already wondering if I could make a huge collagraph to print on the big electric press 🙂

3 thoughts on “First Day (well, night!) in the Studio

    • Hi Paul, yes, I love that photo. I think it’s the one that you mentioned in your talk because it breaks all the ‘rules’. I’m a little obsessed by the birch forests now. There is something quite magical about the way the trunks always glow no matter what time of day or night. Robert McFarlane’s book is on my list to read as is his latest ‘The Old Ways’ which has a chapter on a friend of mine on Lewis. I wish I’d brought it with me now.

  1. That’s a great monotype Hester but I am really excited to see how a large collagraph might evolve. It looks as if you are surrounded by landscapes to inspire you so I’m intrigued to know what direction the collagraph will take! Good luck with it.

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