This has been a fairly good week. In order to make up for Saturday's snowday I got to go to the studio on Monday, which entailed a lot of mouldmaking. I made rubber casts of three bottle-like items, which I'm very excited to play around with today when I see them set and cured. On Tuesday I tided (or rather set up and organized) an area for myself to carry out my printing projects.
Wednesday I travelled up to Georgetown with my friend so that she could make works for sandblasting. Allow me to explain a little bit; my friend, Hannan Fayad, is a glass artist who graduated from my program while it was a diploma and continues her work in London. Since my graduating and returning home, we've connected and have gotten very close. She doesn't have a glassblowing studio so she rents time or 'slots' at a studio in Georgetown to make her stock. Since I also want to stay connected to the glass art scene, I offer to be her uber. At some point I want to use the facilities myself, but for the time being I come up to see old faces and secure some quiet time to think creatively. I sketched a lot this time around, brainstorming about the bottles, the claw ring, and the Lonely Hydra print (which I'll get to in later paragraphs). I took lots of pictures of her working so that's always fun!
I was a bit drained on Thursday but I took care of some errands. Yesterday was a bit more productive since I got some proofs done of the glass plates I showed last week. The laser-engraved plate proved too shallow, and no amount of underwiping is worth the time, but the linework has a very good read. For the next design, I'll ask to see if it can be engraved multiple times in place... it might just do the trick. I will however go back into it with a dremel because I feel there can be some really good values to be unearthed from it. The vinyl-blasted plates were great, the depth just right, but I preferred the bigger between them. The teeth weren't compromised as much. This print was originally as small as it was so it could be submitted to some mini-print exhibitions but it clearly doesn't want to be small.
Before I go into too much detail about the Hydra, I'll delve into today's topic. Between the two traditional mediums, people voted for Printmaking, and I will go into what that means in my practice.
A few blogposts ago I explained that I was first introduced to printmaking through a highschool field-trip workshop. I was really enamoured by the industrial yet manual process, and it wasn't a question when it came to choosing it as a specialization. During my time at UWO I learned relief, etching, silkscreen, stone- and plate lithography. I found every process therapeutic. When it came to my final year, I requested special permission to take 4th Year Print, since it wasn't a fleshed-out course yet; there were four of us that did the same. It was in this year that I created the Steambeast series.
There is just something incredible about printmaking. It's not the fact that I can make the same image over and over again, because I'm actually the worst at registration. The process appeals to me more than accuracy... I embrace the flaws. In recent years I've become incredibly interested in monoprints and monotypes, which relates to my explorations in vitreography.
But but but! I can't get too ahead of myself.
At Sheridan I tried to continue my practice. The printshop was literally next to our classroom, and none of the print students actually used the litho stones. The print technician was very kind and allowed me access to the studio after some protocol safety tests. I managed to get at least one stone completed in my four years there... clearly not enough to me. My program was a lot more demanding. In order to properly get my printing fix in, I took Surface Design in Textiles as a minor.
Printing on fabric was a suitable replacement, I reasoned, even though silkscreening was my least-favourite method at UWO. I was pleasantly surprised when I started getting the hang of it, and more. Pigment sprays, stamping, and stenciling in any and all combination, left to my whimsy. I wasn't the best at making seamless patterns, but that was never my strong suit to begin with. I made organic compositions and tapestries. When I didn't have to worry about registration I set myself loose. I remember during one of my critiques, a classmate noted how immersed I get with the process. I love to get messy, to be unorthodox. This was my way of freely exploring abstract landscapes, the most ethereal of my works.
I had also tried to connect glass and print during my studies. One of my instructors lent me a book in which glass and print were combined. There were two processes that I was really interested in: vitreography and integrated glass printing.
(Vitreography is more of a printing process so I'll go into it here, whereas I.G.P. is more of a casting process and will be covered in another post.)
I tried to print my first glass vitreograph plate but it cracked under the pressure of the press. One of my classmates collected data for me in her travels and helped me refine the process. Since then, I've been incredibly happy with the method because you can approach it in any way you like! You can treat it as a relief, etching, or monoprint (and apparently as a lithographic surface, but I have yet to venture that far!). Glass has always been an optional material when it comes to monotyping but with my attained knowledge with it, I felt empowered. The plates could be: blasted with vinyl-cut designs (linework), liquid latex painting (for blotchy stepblasting), or photo-resist (bitmapped images); etched with a dremel or diamond pen; or treated with acid etch or gluechip.
The Lonely Hydra, a project I've been battling for a few months, has also proved that laser engraving is worth pursuing. I pulled proofs from the plates I had prepared and I am so excited to proceed with the final ones. Just yesterday I experimented with alcohol inks, because who's to say I can't use them? I like the result. You typically use alcohol inks with a gel press but whatever! Glass works just fine for me.
I'm not sure how enlightening that was for anyone but that's how traditional print works into my practice. Next week I'll talk about glass casting.
Hope you have a wonderful day,