Process led printing

This morning was all about print with Andy Reaney, Printmaking technician. Andy gave us a short introduction to the ideas around process led or rule bound making and showed the group artworks created by instructions set out by artist Sol le Witt as a starting point.

One wall of the room had laser cut offcuts in a range of different shapes, patterns and sizes. These random found ‘plates’ would be all we would be printing with for the session. We then got straight into the ‘games’ that Andy had set up to further constrain our decision making and get us to focus on the process as much as the outcome.

We threw dice to select the shapes we would use to relief print from, again to decide the colour ink we would use and again to locate where on the paper the plate would be positioned. Each member of the group took it in turns to print on the same piece of paper creating random layered shapes and colours which created some really playful effects.

The second ‘game’ involved the first person simply choosing which corner of the piece of paper to print their ‘plate’ and the rest of the group following their lead and over printing in the same place. The group worked away creating a whole wall full of collaborative prints.

The second half of the session members could use any plate, colour and composition they wished and everyone made a one off print. Having been introduced to the materials that we had to work with and the basic relief printing process there was no stopping us now that the constraints had been lifted. Some people chose to continue the abstract pattern making theme whilst others chose a more narrative approach, using the pre cut plastic shapes to make an image that told a story.

It was a really productive morning and everyone should be very proud of the fantastic work they created in just 3 hours. It was a brilliant introduction to printmaking but also to how limiting decisions can be a very creative process.

From digital back to analogue

Our tutor Chris had taken the 3D digital models created in ‘z brush’ last week and turned them back into an analogue paper version. The group’s faces were printed onto dissected shapes to be cut and stuck together. The morning was spent in very focused cutting, folding and gluing. We learnt the different between a valley fold (concave) and a mountain fold (convex) as well as how sticky UHU glue is!

Whilst everyone worked away creating their 3D portraits each member showed the rest of the group a piece of work they had made either at home or at school. We talked about their inspirations as well as the materials and processes they liked to use. This was a fantastic insight into the incredible level of existing knowledge and skill within the group. I hope everyone enjoyed sharing their work as much as we enjoyed seeing it.

By the end of the session we had these brilliant 3D portraits. These will be sent off to London in advance of our visit to Central St Martins College of Art and Design in a couple of weeks where they will be exhibited alongside portraits of the other National Saturday Club members from across the country.

3D images vs collage zines

We got started straight away this week on taking our digital self portraits from last week into ‘z brush’ a 3D modelling programme. Chris Carter, sculpture technician, led club members through the process using a generic face, which they ‘wrapped’ their own images on to. These will be developed into an ‘analogue’ 3D model next session.

In contrast to the digital portraits the other half of the session explored basic collage techniques using found imagery and text from magazines and newspapers. Georgia De Buriatte, third year Fine Art student and Saturday Club assistant, showed us examples of her books and zines where she uses simple collage techniques, letter press, risograph printing and photocopying to develop imagery and ideas. We discussed the role of zines to create networks of people with common interests in the pre internet days and how artists often use this cheap and easily reproducible format as a way of getting their work out to a wider audience. Georgia showed us a range of different artists’ zines and bookbinding methods and then demonstrated a simple fold and cut technique which we used to create our own format to work on. Using the materials given we developed ground papers and created text and imagery; exploring the theme of portrait in a very loose, playful way.

Everyone got cutting and sticking; the finished zines were graphic and direct, exploring the possibilities for a process that could be extended further in all kinds of directions. The group embraced this approach of letting the materials and the methods lead the outcomes, rather than planning what to make at the outset. Reflecting on unexpected results and intuitive ways of working that show what you are naturally drawn to and how you like to make.