Athena’ Shield

I have been working on this collagraph print for the past week or two, learning the process as much as anything.  CATO Press in east Bristol can handle quite large print plates, this one is about 55cm in diameter and is available to buy.

Athena’s Shield
Collagraph print, 1/25, 54 x 54 cm, 2019

I think the real thing looks a bit better than this photo. Now working on another two or three collagraphs but not so big – the cost of paper can be prohibitive. This one is printed on ‘bread and butter’ paper (250 gsm) which is probably not really heavy enough for collagraph.  I had some waste having printed with the paper too damp and had peeling as a result.

We had a community print evening recently, lots of people lino-cutting, very jolly.  These are regular events at CATO Press, check us out and drop by if you are in the area, all welcome.

 

Collagraph

Ready to print my first large collagraph at Cato Press, if my paper ever arrives from Lawrence Art Supplies (Brighton).  Not their fault, just the delivery firm.  The only place to buy a good range of print paper in Bristol is Bower Ashton art college (University of the West of England) but they are shut for the summer.  I need a wider than average sheet for this relief print.

Athena’s Shield proof

Since making this proof I have altered the image quite a bit but  hopefully this will be the final effort.  Time to start work on the next one.  I feel at home with collagraph and I can work on the image without special equipment – just glue, knives, card and other thin material – in my studio at home.

Having spent a lot of time recently on my plywood toys and models – now on sale at Basically Wooden – I hope to give more attention to print making.

Collagraph

Having joined Cato Press, Bristol in April I have begun experimenting collagraph printmaking, both intaglio and relief.  I began with an ambitious piece, a 50cm circle with a variety of shaped and textures, and a number of smaller studies for this piece.

I wanted use text but cutting this by hand is tedious so I used my Cameo vinyl cutter, cutting card and vinyl.

Using a vinyl cutter for vinyl is quite simple (as the name suggests) but for paper and card requires more trial and error.

Collagraph study detail

Card can vary in density quite a lot, some paper is hard on the cutter blade due to the high chalk content.  The prints here (not great pics) are quite pale but that suits the subject.

Collagraph study, A4

There is no text on this study, just hand-cut shapes.   Something to aspire to, here is a rather more advance image by Suzie MacKenzie. 

Affinity Publisher

I just got the latest upgrade/bug fix for Affinity Publisher beta – still free.  I haven’t found any bugs and I am enjoying using it.  It has excellent file export choices including .pdf.  I found colour printout to be very good as well; although the colours of my Xerox laser can be a little over-saturated there are many possible choices in the print dialogue box.

Hokusai and Hiroshige, Japanese prints

A visit to a terrific, free and very popular exhibition – closing soon – at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the first of three looking at woodblock printing in Japan.  This one is concerned with landscapes, the next on starts on January 12th and is focused on the city.

There is also an on-line exhibition for those who can’t get to the museum.

The museum also currently has a small but interesting display of African fabric, mainly made-up clothing.

 

Poster printing

Printing documents that are larger than A4 can be a pain.  I find Windows to be way behind the mac in this respect, and most of the cheaper apps don’t have printer dialogue boxes that can handle this.

So third party apps would seem to be the way, but are there any?  I tried Wrapcandy Poster – it crashed repeatedly; Easy Poster Printer£2.09 from Microsoft Store but it is a weak and feeble thing which does not print to the correct size.  Gimp is supposed to be able to handle poster but it is difficult to work through, I couldn’t get a result.

Then, having wasted about 40 sheets of A4, (even printing both sides) I discovered that Acrobat Reader now has poster print ability.  Not the best print dialogue box but it worked and produced an 18 sheet print that was the correct size.  So two cheers for Adobe, who I have little time for, generally.

Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher all lack the ability to print posters, which is a glaring omission.

Fortress Europa

The endless waffle and panic about Brexit often seems to hide the on-going horrors of Fortress Europe.  The U.N refugee agency, UNHCR says that,  “..an unprecedented 65.6 million people (worldwide) were uprooted from their homes by conflict and persecution at the end of 2016,” and that “the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War.”  Many of these people are victims of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as is well understood.  The destruction of Libya by NATO during it’s seven month bombing campaign in 2011 is much less  known or discussed, NATO refuses to acknowledge any civilian casualties from that 60,000 air sortie attack, which they claimed was, “The most successful NATO campaign in history”, a piece of hubris long since removed from their web site.

Fortress Europe free poster 2014

Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are all major exporters of weapons and this is a growing trend throughout the 21stC.  Weapons sales rise, refugees rise.  Economic factors also massively impact, when the western world catches cold as in the 2008 crash the developing world gets pneumonia.

With the USA ramping up it’s armed forces in Africa, especially in Niger (one of the world’s poorest countries) we can expect more conflict and ever more refugees.  The current business-as-usual attitudes need to be challenged.