Week eight of my print making course. So far we have covered introductions into additive and subtractive mono printing, intaglio using acetate as the plate and now it’s time for lino. I absolutely haven’t had the time to take off ten wednesday mornings to travel half way across the region, spend three hours in the church learning the basics of print making before traveling all the way home again. I am so very pleased that I took the plunge though. Physically and creatively it is doing me the world of good to get out of my workshop and to be somewhere else doing something different. Something that doesn’t have the same pressure on me in the same way as this job that I do, this way of life that I have built and made here, this thing that defines me, that makes up such a huge part of who I am and where I belong.
I do feel some pressure, I want to make great prints, of course I do, I want to learn as much as I can while I am there, absorb it, get a bit of a feel for it, I like it. I love things that are based around a process. I love slipware for it’s way of needing certain things to be done at certain times, you can push things to a degree but it works in a rhythm, in a routine and I enjoy that. I know (or thought I did until recently) where I fit in my processes and how it works (ish). Print making, or my initial understanding of it is that it too is a process led activity. The paper needs to be a certain state, as does the ink, the lino, the press.
It’s a build up of techniques, of layers, of understanding. I enjoy learning. I think I always have, this is learning for learning’s sake, for enjoyment. Unlike at work where I am having to learn more and more and desperately try to understand when I want dearly to be able to flick a switch and make it all work again, to have that light bulb moment, that “Eureka” that solves it all and makes it all better.
Anyhow back to the print making. The group is lovely, a great bunch of people, I am enjoying their company hugely. I do so little with other people that is for my own enjoyment, I go to Cubs but there I have a responsibility, I do Scottish Potters Association things but again the same. This is completley different.
Silvana McLean our tutor, who I am trying to persuade to blog, is a wonder. A lovely gentle lady who I briefly worked with a few years ago on a project. She explains everything so well in a straight forward way, adding details and explanations when needed by any of us. Encouraging, enthusiastic and passionate about her medium. All the things that Alex had about him when I was at uni that got me to making pots.
This subtractive lino is taking most of us a wee while to program our brains to. An initial cut of the plate has left me with these prints above, we took many prints from this first cut. Next we cut into this same plate again and print over the top of these. It’s a different sort of brain exercise that’s needed and while mine is exhausted from the maths and chemistry side that has been run ragged recently this is taxing those aching muscles. Silvana’s patience is strong though I am sure she must go home utterly exasperated with us some times.
My prints of this first cut are in a couple of different ink colours onto lots of different paper colours. You probably know enough about me to know that I am not a bright colours girl, I’m a ‘brown is a colour too’ sort of lass. It’s become a bit of a joke at the class already so printing onto this pink paper needed me to take a deep breath. I am surprised by how much I like it but shhh, lets keep that between ourselves. Next week we cut further into this lino so that this image can never be made again. I feel sad for that in a way but excited by what might come next.
It”s so good for me to be able to exercise this different creative stream. At work where the pressure is well and truly on and taking it’s toll I am trying to finish work for the last three exhibitions of the year. I am at the same time desperately trying to find a usable, strong, shiney, warm glaze to answer my glaze hell issues. It’s got me testing more than I have ever done since I was at uni though which in the long run has to be good for me though, I learn better by seeing directly the results of things than by reading them in books. I need to make sure of the new glazes before I go committing them to lots of hard fought over work. It will get there but it’s slow and it’s frustrating and it’s driving me even more batty.
I am making so few pots at the moment compared to how I have been working the rest of the year, as a result I feel rusty. My slip trailing arm is out of practice and my mark making brain cells are sluggish. I have forgotten how to trust my own judgment of what is good or not. It’s crazy, I was on a roll not that many months ago, fired my wood kiln a couple of times and was thrilled with what I got out and proud to display them and talk about them. I felt I was making progress and now I feel I am wading through sticky sticky deep goo and desperately trying to keep my footing in it.
And now for something completley different……
That was not all that full of the joys of life, I do apologise so here is some wonderful news for you. Come the end of January I will be Auntie Hannah to the first niece / nephew (I’m putting my money on nephew by the way sis) in my family. My wee sister and her lovely fella are expecting a baby and I am mightily excited about all the things I can do with it and for it, I have plans for birthday presents, for stories I’m going to tell it, for the first pots we’ll make together. The ‘look’ my mum gave me when I wondered aloud whether it would be a good plan to get the kid into clay nice and early by taking some to the hospital when it is born, maybe that was a step too far. What would I know? I know nothing about them except that they tend to be wrinkly and they scream a lot, that’s as far as my knowledge extends.