Members Takeover: Week 5 - Lisa Murray
CMYK Photo Intaglio
See how Lisa created the print from the cover image in this beautiful video
She also got in touch with Donal Billings who's created this great demo on Kitchen Lithogrpahy using common househol materials. Check it out (it will also really help get your head around the magic of litho).
Today, BPW member Josephine McCormick talks about her work...
How did you discover printmaking and why is it your main creative practice?
I was first introduced to printmaking at Liverpool, when I was undertaking a BA Fine Art course; actually the print facility then consisted of a tray of acid in the middle of the studio, so it was very basic. The reason I adore printmaking as a medium is that it offers an unending avenue of processes and techniques. Printmaking is such a democratic form of expression, with an edition facet; it offers more people to engage with and own art. One of the most important defining historical roles printmaking has played is as a conduit for the dissemination of information which has transformed society at certain pivotal points.
Do you have a preferred process and why?
I don’t really have a preferred process, it depends on the image I want to create and that informs the process. Saying that, etching is for me is a seminal technique that links you with the whole history and materiality of printmaking. There are moments during the printmaking process which offer a visceral space in which to think more about the construction and subject of your image. Time pockets for contemplation are in the preparation of the plate, the time the plate is in the acid and smoking the plate after putting on an aquatint, these are all connective actions.
Can you tell us about a favourite piece or series you have made
In each decade there has been a series which stands as a creative compass for me. I can trace the evolution of my creative practice with them. The gestation period for each major series usually is three years, involving research and a gradual distillation of imagery in response to the subject matter. However, oddly; I don’t have the luxury of such an extensive block of time now. One motif that keeps occurring is the relationship between the invisible and the visual. I got a flurogram spectrum of my DNA sequenced and made a series of work from that visual source material. I seem to embrace science as a ritualistic tool in the armoury of being a printmaker.
Another series of work involved capturing frequencies using a frequency generator, again making the invisible visible, such as the Schumann resonance which is the frequency of human beings and also of the Earth at 7.83Hz.
What informs your work?
The underlying foundation of my work has always been a visual critique of modernity, making societal strictures visible. I have a documentation site that presents all the work together with written statements on my webiste . What informs my work is mainly literature that was written throughout history at times of social transition and books that deconstruct our experience of modernity. Gilgamesh is the oldest book in the world, it is a thousand years older than the Iliad, it’s about government and balance within our-selves, the wild and the rational. One of the books I am reading at the moment is the newsletters 1568-1605 of Fugger, the richest merchant in the world, his agents sent reports about what was happening in the world to him. I’ve included a portrait of him by Durer. In the book there are reports of assassination attempts on Kings and Queens, the Black Death, the burning of witches, so it’s packed with medieval main stream printed media accounts of events. It is worth noting the Fugger was the first person to fund social housing. Another book which I read often is Simplicicus, which was written more than three hundred years ago around 1635, by Grimmelshausan. This book is the funniest book I have ever read.
Influences that also inform my work and which stand out are Agenda 20/30, published by the UN/ Janus, Guy Debords’ ‘Society of the Spectacle’, Zigmunt Baumans’ writings, especially ‘Liquid Modernity’, my Trace series of mobile phones and memory sticks commented on the rise of nomadic technology. Bauman also coined the term, ‘precariat’ to describe a new evolving class of people whose lives are marked by precariousness, anxiety and fear. His writings are so relevant to today; I am re-reading his books…at pace. All of the books are online, but I prefer the physicality of holding books and turning the page, which is such a glorious analog thing to do these days.
Is there a project that you were involved in that has been particularly influential on your work?
I had a solo exhibition as part of the Science Festival NI in February 2020 entitled, ‘The Frequency of Things’ just before lockdown. The exhibition deconstructed the different facets of the fourth ‘industrial’ revolution, which should really be the ‘information’ age. It explored ‘The Frequency of Things’ in relation to the impact of ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT). As we enter into the ‘technetronic’ era, the fourth ‘industrial’ revolution, which will deeply impact upon on our civil and human rights. The connectivity of the ‘Internet of Things’ will fundamentally alter how we live, work and relate to one another. It is characterised by the fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, social and biological spheres.
This work is pivotal to me at the moment. It will form the foundation of expanded future work. The introduction and roll out of facial recognition which demands unrestricted space around the person to capture the data, oddly enough at least two meters. (Physical), Surveillance, the city as responsive surface (Social) the embedding of a cashless society with body interfaced crypto currency (Digital/ Biological). After the exhibition I observed the rapid emergence of a ‘Quantum dot digital tattoo’ via vaccine, (Biological/Digital/ Surveillance) will be my first starting point in new work. These are the most unprecedented times across all platforms.
How are you coping with the Covid 19 lockdown?
The territory we find ourselves in has no map. However the creative response to the situation is clearly defined and may be put into a historical context of art production in response to societal change, for example the Futurist movement and the German Expressionist movement. This is the biggest change in world history, it is a global and personal metamorphosis, people will be forced to transform, our best chance is to be careful about what we are thinking and the biggest question we need to ask ourselves is ‘what do you emerge as?’
View the original post and all images, on Facebook, here.
BPW member Francois Hall talks about his work and shows us how he creates a 2 colour woodcut...
The opportunity to become more involved with printmaking started in 1996 when I was living in Brighton and joined the Brighton Independent Print Studio (BIP), a wonderful setup run by Anne D’arcy Hughes, a great teacher and etcher. Her enthusiasm inspired me to try many different printing techniques, including zinc lithography, which I found spontaneous and satisfying. Being able to use the Stone Lithography at Belfast Print Studios was also fabulous, and it was great to have helpful advice from a creative technician like Raquel who also loved the litho process.
Having a graphic design background, I always think about how to exploit new technology to produce an interesting image. Wolf Baiting, for instance was created using the computer and iPad, photopolymer plates were produced from digital files. The final print, however, was hand printed on an etching press using 5 colours.
For my woodcut prints, the process is much more experimental in the mark making, and the iPad becomes more of a reference tool rather than the image itself (as in a photopolymer plate). This balance is more immediate, and ultimately much cheaper to produce, but each have their own strengths. I see exciting possibilities are achievable by combining the computer, photopolymer and letterpress, and today, I think printmaking is a very interesting place to be.
Today we look at a beautiful installation piece by BPW member Anushiya Sundaralingam...
Since 1996 I have been an active member of Belfast Print Workshop. I have always enjoyed the spontaneous and unexpected results from the printing process, particularly through Monoprinting, Drypoint and Collagraphy. I create one-off prints rather than editions, because for me it’s like painting, every print has a unique quality of marks. I enjoy working with colour and texture. In recent years I have extended my practise to incorporate print with mixed media, sculpture and installation based works.
The featured images are of works shown in my solo show at Island Arts Centre in 2016. Entitled ‘Nothing Stays Still’, the exhibition considered women’s identity within my culture. With a particular focus on the south east Asian tradition of placing sacred marks on the forehead, known as Pottu or Bindi, this mark making represents energy and identity.
I work with a range of media to reflect the intricate and layered nature of belonging, identity and place.
Today BPW member Margaret Woods Moore talks about her work...
When did you first discover printmaking?
I was originally introduced to printmaking in college and used it in school with my pupils but not in my own work. I decided to try some classes and learn more about drypoint and etching and I was totally hooked. I joined BPW and now I’ve become a print addict. Even my drawing style has changed to suit the marks I want to make on the plate.
What are your preferred processes?
Etching and drypoint are definitely my preferred processes. My work is generally drawing based and etching and drypoint work so well for me. I love the immediacy, and the simplicity of a drypoint image. I enjoy scratching away at a little bit of perspex recreating and developing my original drawing ready for printing. Etching for me is a much more thoughtful process requiring some forethought and planning but I love the range of tonal values and the incredible diversity of marks that can be made on an etching plate. When I first starting etching I never fully realised the potential and versatility of the process and there is always something new to discover. I also love stone lithography. I love that I can draw directly onto the stone to create an original drawing with endless mark making opportunities, then take an edition of prints from it. For me at this stage in my practice the work is loose and less controlled than I would produce when using drypoint or etching, allowing me to produce an exciting and dynamic drawing that can be reproduced perfectly. It also allows me to work on a larger scale.
What excites you about printmaking?
I still consider myself to be a novice printmaker as there is so much to learn. What excites me is the potential that printmaking offers. One idea can be reworked in so many ways and even though you have a vision for what you want to produce there is always an element of serendipity, you’re never quite sure what your print will turn out like. The fact that you can also mix print processes opens up endless opportunities to develop your work. Interpreting my drawings into print allows me endless variations on a theme.
What do you enjoy about being a member of BPW?
Being a member of BPW is a chance to be with like minded people. There’s a great sense of community and sharing in the workshop and also opens up so many opportunities. I enjoy working toward deadlines and love the 20x20 print exchange a collaboration with other print workshops led by Red Hot Press. I’ve also had work shown in the Awagami Exhibition in Japan and through other open calls in USA.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature and people. I particularly love birds, big birds and small birds alike and have produced a number of prints of Crows and the corvid family in general, as well as some small garden birds and a series of quirky bird babies. I’ve also recently produced a small series of female heads and am working of a small series of etchings around women in Irish Myths and legends.
What would you like to do in your printmaking practice in the future? In the future I want to develop my etching skills in particular. I also want to introduce some colour into my work I tend to be very black and white in my images. I did textiles at college and still love to work with fabrics so I would like to somehow combine that with my printmaking in some way.
How have you coped during lockdown?
It has been difficult for me to work for the past few years as I’m also a full time carer and that takes up quite a bit of my time so I find myself always juggling things anyway. I think that it has just become more difficult to do that as during lock down I have less support. I haven’t got as much done as I would like in terms of printmaking as my facilities at home are limited, mostly Ive been exploring ideas and doing lots of drawings and preparing some plates. I am not always as focussed as I feel I should be and can drift from one thing to another but I’m taking on the philosophy of Kiki Smith and just allowing myself to pay attention to whatever is attracting me at the moment and going as far as I can with that.
Today BPW member Linda McBurney talks about her work...
How did you discover printmaking?
I have always been intrigued by prints and favour it over any other medium. I began collecting prints as soon as I started earning money for the first time. I was particularly drawn to etchings with their beautiful lines and tone and I admired the use of aquatint, spit bite and sugar lift whenever I saw it in a print. I frequently bought work from the Townhouse Gallery and Coppermoon.
I was drawn to the work of Karolina Larusdottir and in the use of colour in her etchings. Rhonda Hunter at the Townhouse Gallery took a lot of time to show me the work of Irish artists such as Ivan Frew and Stephen Lawlor. My favouite artist at the time was Karen Day Hutchinson and after many visits to her shop Coppermoon and one commission later she suggested that I try printmaking for myself. It was this recommendation that led me to do a general printmaking course followed closely by a copperplate etching workshop at BPW.
When I had enough work, I submitted a portfolio to the Studio Manager and was accepted as a member, from then I have never stopped learning all about printmaking and all my spare time is devoted to developing my printmaking skills and learning as much as I can about different techniques from the artists around me at BPW.
In 2014 I had the privilege of being asked to join the BPW Board alongside the wonderful James Allen whose etchings and painting are truly beautiful. I learnt more from Jim, Karen and Helen about print and running an atelier studio in those 4 years than I could from any book. I am proud of the role I played in getting the studio back on its feet again following funding cuts that could have resulted in the studio closure.
Do you have a preferred process and why?
If I had to choose, I would say my favourite printmaking process would be intaglio in particular etching on polished zinc with copper sulphate. However, I often use collagraph plates to add depth and texture to my prints by combining them with etched plates.
Can you tell us about a favourite piece or series you have made.
I have made two short iMovies for BPW this week (a first for me). The first video shows Helen Lavery and I working on a monoprint project back in 2015. Helen taught me copperplate etching and was my mentor that year. We worked together to create 3 large prints for exhibition followed by a session making some artist books from the large monoprinted Hahnemuhle paper.
Is there a project or collaboration that you were involved in that has been particularly influential on your work?
The second video is all about BPW, its artists, staff and visiting artists. You will see Nigel Oxley in the second video, Nigel is the author of Colour Etching which is a wonderful book (buy it if you are interested in etching). In 2016, I went to Nigel’s studio in Bexhill-on-Sea and completed an intense masterclass etching on zinc with nitric and using spitbite and aquatint. We editioned each plate and then experimented by combining multiple plates to create a range of images in colour. In 2017 I returned to for a second masterclass focusing on collagraphs, drypoint & carborundum. Following both visits I left with 6 plates and multiple prints, including proofs.
The most valuable time was the hour each morning that Nigel spent showing me hundreds of prints he had collected over the years while editioning work at White Ink and Kelpra Studios. My Favourite prints were by Kitaj, John Hoyland, John Piper and Elizabeth Frink, work I had previously seen at the British Museum but unable to view closely without glass, here I had the opportunity to see and handle some of the work from some of the best artists in contemporary and traditional printmaking.
What are you currently working on?
Due to the current pandemic both BPW and my studio at the VAULT Artist studios are temporarily closed and I do not have access to a printing press. What I do have is an xcut xpress dye cutting machine at home which I bought on ebay (thank you Julie Stewart for making me buy it!) Last weekend I successfully managed to use it to print a few collagraphs and I am happy with the outcome.
I am also working on my SIAP project at home. The Arts Council awarded me funding for materials for a project to research alternative non-toxic methods of printmaking. Although I do not have a large printing press or access to copper sulphate at home this has not stopped me creating plates. I have already started work on collagraph plates and I managed to grab my dremel before the studio closed so I can do some drypoint etchings. I am working for a few hours every day to get ready, I have my first solo exhibition at the Flax Gallery in October. The exhibition is called “A Second Life” and will consist of a mix of prints, drawings, mixed media, painting and print.
Where can people find you online?
I am rubbish at social media, but I am on Facebook, Instagram plus the Belfast Print Workshop’s website. I have been working on my own website for 2 years now, perhaps this is the time I actually finished it!