– with The Printing Girls –
As you may know, I am part of a group called “The Printing Girls” – a collection of South African fine art printmakers – all women. The object of the group is support, networking, co-exhibitions and generally to highlight the superb work produced across the spectrum of printmaking.
From mid April until 8 May, the Cape based members of the group (11 professional printmakers) held an exhibition titled “At The Table”, at the Spin Street gallery space in the city. As the exhibition was curated and managed by the group, we each had days of gallery sitting, which enabled us to engage directly with the public.
My etching press ‘Priscilla’ went on an adventure to town and was used for several demonstrations in the gallery. In the spirit of further demystifying printmaking, some of the group also held workshops, and then, to reinforce the theme of the exhibition “At The Table”, we decided on a collaborative woodcarving of a small dining table, and which we would physically carve, in situ.
Our exhibition opened on Saturday 17 April, and on Sunday we woke up to the devastating news of the fire. Most of the women exhibiting have links to UCT and all were moved by the loss of belongings and the trauma and of course, the destruction of the beautiful library and its precious contents. We had already planned to collaboratively carve the table, so we then decided to ramp up the woodblock to produce a professional edition of 21 prints.
This allowed for a print for each artist as well as for 10 prints to be sold, the proceeds of which will go to the UCT relief fund.
These prints are now all sold.
The image of Table Mountain as seen from Signal Hill, is made from a hand carved table top (pine), and each print is taken directly from the inked table, using a hand held baren (rubbing tool). We are using imported Japanese washi paper, which is very strong but also takes a great hand print. We will only make 21 prints.
Here is a link to a video showing the process, followed by the image of the proof print that we made at the exhibition closing, with technical details of the print. It’s quite compelling to watch!
– with The Printing Girls –
NEW AQUATINT ETCHING
Feb/Mar: Hard Ground
Apr/May: Soft Ground
Studio in Kommetjie.
NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Summer Salon is a Group Exhibition featuring artists:
André Serfontein, Floris van Zyl, Helena Hugo, Ingrid Winterbach, Le Mouton Riche, Marguerite Roux,
Noeleen Kleve, Ronel de Jager, Stephen Rosin
and Strijdom van der Merwe.
For more information please contact the Gallery Manager, Christa Swart:
TPG 2020 EXHIBITION
THE PRINTING GIRLS (TPG) 2020 EXHIBITION
4 – 31 October at
THE ART ROOM in Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
TPG is a collective of South African female printmakers. TPG2020 shows fresh work from this innovative group of over 30 artists, and includes many techniques from traditional etching and relief printing through to contemporary mixed media and digital print. This is The Art Room’s first Level One Lockdown exhibition in their physical space, and their second exhibition with The Printing Girls.
My etching ‘WAVE 1’ is currently available as LOT 63 on the Artvark Online Charity Auction.
Bidding has begun and the hammer will fall on Sunday 6 September at 6pm!
CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE THE ARTWORK
and to BID ONLINE on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/CEGu8y-JcHq/
BACK TO THE STUDIO!
With Lockdown Level 2 comes a sense of some normality again, and we are at last able to
resume printmaking classes and workshops.
Etching classes will begin again next week (31 August)
and I am planning a printmaking WORKSHOP for OCTOBER (details to follow soon).
Monotype, drypoint, soft ground etching, non-toxic processes and other workshops throughout the year
will all be advertised here, on social media and to my mailing list.
If you’d like to receive information upfront, do join my mailing list by clicking on the
CONTACT ME HERE button at the bottom of the page.
PRINTING THE PLATE
The printing process is where the magic really happens. After many hours of both mindfully and intuitively
excavating the plate, this ‘matrix’ is inked and wiped leaving pigment in only the image on the plate.
The etched plate is then positioned on the press bed, covered with dampened cotton paper, and rolled through the etching press under pressure. For the first time, the print is revealed (to the agony or ecstasy of the printmaker!)
This video shows etching plates that have been engraved and inked in the ‘intaglio’ way,
which means that the ink is in the grooves rather than on the surface of the plate.
The plate can endure several stages in the making, with a range of techniques and processes being used,
as the image evolves. Here, five aluminium plates are lined up to be printed as a single artwork,
available as a limited edition.
A PRINTMAKER’S PONDERINGS…
And finally, some reflective thoughts…
How come, if we’re still under Lockdown – with no printmaking classes or workshops happening, and exhibitions still waiting in the wings – am I so very busy? Bottom line is, an artist’s work is never done.
Better still, I’m really thankful for that, seeing as this type of work is mostly stimulating, creative and fun.
And, with printmaking, there are endless avenues to explore with all the many processes and techniques
to play around with. And to intersperse, layer, integrate and cross-pollinate…
Lockdown had me doing just that in my studio: a space for which I’ve recognized a renewed and amplified appreciation since it’s at my home. So, physically at least, I wasn’t prevented from artmaking.
Mentally, however, was a different story as I am so not used to having no deadlines or structure!
The threat to our health and economy became all consuming, but this was no time for apathy.
It was the perfect opportunity for action.
To embrace the blessing of time and space for both reflection and productivity.
Getting rid of excess came first, along with putting systems in place where there was need. Adjusting to family working from home came next. The world had changed, and as and artist, there was no denying the expression of this new crisis.
The hunger pandemic begged for action which we responded to through sandwich-making: this led to my attempts to make sense of what was happening through some collage, then linocut and a new conceptual trajectory.
Yearning for the freedom to wander in nature followed, opening the way for working with fynbos, expressed on
aluminium plates etched with copper sulphate, and drypoint images scratched into perspex.
My connection with the ocean had me ‘spit-biting’ aquatinted splashes, as another way of coping with the chaos.
The privilege of being in my studio drove me to exploring further into already familiar techniques,
trying untapped processes, delving into and fleshing out ideas.
I also realized as most of us have, that being online is the way forward, so I shifted my focus to the digital space.
Firstly posting some videos about how to do easy monotypes at home, and after a while,
looking at a complete redesign of my website, which I admit, has been a far bigger task than anticipated.
Working in the digital realm can be extraordinarily time-consuming and somewhat draining,
so escaping to the mindful hands-on business of printmaking allowed for a recalibration,
maintaining balance and to be honest, my sanity!
I look forward to life after lockdown, when the classes that I miss so much can resume, workshops can be set in motion; artworks can once again be exhibited in the physical gallery space and we can continue in what I hope
will be a less frenetic, more mindful and compassionate world.