About my Printmaking

What inspires me and how I make prints

I first studied printmaking in the early 70s but only set up my studio in 2013 after further study at Leith School of Art (Edinburgh) and Edinburgh Printmakers.

I am inspired by the countryside and living environment. Fascinated by natural forms and a sense of place – the lie of the land, the flora and fauna all influence the design and abstraction seen in my prints.  Using the patterns, curves and rhythms of the land and sea I seek to capture the spirit and my feelings for places.

I grew up in Scotland, both in Edinburgh and on the west coast but have spent the last 30 years in North Yorkshire. I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel extensively, including Japan, Ghana and New Zealand.  The natural beauty, colour, tones and texture of these landscapes are a prime influence on my work.

I make multi-layered monoprints and collagraphs using techniques including collage, viscosity, stencils, natural pigments and materials to create textural prints.  I also enjoy making Mokuhanga, Japanese woodcuts which I print on Japanese papers.

While attending a Print Council New Zealand Aotearoa (PCNZA) summer school I learnt how to make paper from the Harakeke plant (New Zealand Flax). It is very special to print on paper that you have made yourself!

I like my prints to be individual and therefore only produce very small editions, variable editions or unique prints. Using original prints, I make unique cards that can be used for any occasion.

How I make my prints

Monoprints

rollersI enjoy monoprinting as it is a form of printmaking that allows me to create unique, freeform printed images every time. I can ink up a plate (perspex sheet) and draw into it with various tools, I can paint with inks on the plate, add collage materials, use masking techniques.  The exciting element is that you can just play, experiment and know that anything goes!

If there is enough ink left on my plate after taking a print I will put a fresh piece of paper on and run it through the press a second time.  This second print is called a ghost print as there is much less link but the image and tonal qualities can be much subtler than the original print.

Collagraphs

Collagraph Plates

To make a collagraph plate I start with a base often using the cut out from a card window mount. I find this card great as it is made of several layers which you can cut away as part of the design.  The rest of the design is built up by collaging different materials onto the plate.  Almost anything goes for collaging and it’s fun to use found and recyclable materials that provide different textures.  I often use sticky tapes that have different textures, eg masking tapes, gaffertape.

When it comes to inking up the plate I have to make choices!  A method I really enjoy is viscosity where I use inks of different thickness.  The first inking is intaglio (pushing the inks into the crevices) then I put on two more layers using very large rollers (one hard, one soft) and the inks are of differing viscosity.  The exciting part is when you take the print out of the press and see how the inks have interacted together.

Mokuhanga – Japanese woodcuts

Moku Hanga tools

Making mokuhanga is very different from my other printmaking and I am still a novice at this technique.  I make my prints from woodblocks that I have carved and I print with watercolours onto Japanese papers.  I love using all the traditional Japanese tools it makes me feel very connected to the whole process.

If you are interested in finding out more about these techniques do contact me or the following books are very useful:

Newell J. & Whittington D – Monoprinting – A & C Black 2010 – isbn:9780713667462

Hartill B. & Clarke R. – Collagraphs & mixed-media printmaking – Bloomsbury 2012 – isbn:9780713663969

Slater R. – Japanese Woodblock Printing – Bloomsbury 2016 – isbn:9780713652970

I am a member of

York Printmakers
York Art Worker Association
Chrissie Dell Print Maker York

Harakeke Paper & Printing