I keep trying to figure out what it is about print that draws me. There’s something in the mechanical reproduction of the hand-drawn gesture. It’s drawing but not-drawing. And about the unique (hand-embroidered) object versus the (mechanically printed) edition or multiple. And that one can readily produce a series of images that are the ‘same but different’ – a longstanding interest of mine. Spontaneity within a structure?
The processes of etching and aquatint remind me of developing black and white photos in the darkroom on foundation. The depth of colour achieved by leaving the plate in the acid for longer or shorter time is akin to exposing the photo paper to the negative image on the enlarger. I enjoy the total headfuck of working with negatives and positives in mirror image.
There is a set procedure to follow, involving tools and chemicals, yet at each step of the way there is such potential for play and experimentation. Drawing on the plate, application of aquatint resin to the plate, applying a resist by brush, pen or stencil, immersing the plate in the acid bath, inking up the plate – each step can be played with to infinite degrees. There is always a surprise when the image is finally revealed. A revelation.
There is so much potential that I feel I could spend the rest of my life printing and never achieve mastery. That’s a strange feeling for someone who loves to learn and perfect. Quite exciting and a bit scary.
I’ve been interested in pelvic bones. The word comes from the Latin meaning ‘basin’. Nice. When I was pregnant I imagined the baby being cradled in that basin, a fullness to the body. The fruitful, bounteous body. Some of my past work was made in response to my difficulty in conceiving a child and the thought of the empty basin was also present in these prints. The infinite void. Which brings us back to the cosmos.
The prints I made at Prospect Studios formed part of my successful application to participate in the AA2A scheme at Liverpool Hope University. The project provides placements for visual artists and designer makers in Higher and Further Education institutions across England. I am currently working one day a week in the print studio at Hope and it’s an absolute delight.