Wednesday, 5 January 2011


To summarise my printmaking module, I feel I have successfully been introduced to the print studio and processes, though I have not yet had a chance to try silkscreen printing, which I would like to try next term in my own time.

I found keeping a reflective blog of my progress difficult initially but once I got used to it I found it a logical and visually interesting way to evaluate myself. I found myself really having to think about objectives like 'visual sensibility' and 'active participation' and now feel equipped to talk about my progress in all modules with more confidence.

I feel the technique I most got to grips with was mono printing, as I used it for my final piece an I like the unique and fairly unpredictable results it produces. This is surprising, as I initially hated mono printing, and found it difficult, having never tried it before.

Here's a picture of the best prints I made this term - I put them all out out on the floor to help me decide what to include in my portfolio.

There's also a video.

Some tips for next term's printmaking people:

+Bring an old towel and nailbrush, there's never paper towels in the print room. The ink gets everywhere, and you'll need to wash your hands a lot to make sure you don't make your paper dirty.

+Have an old shirt to wear over your clothes/wear old clothes - there's a few aprons in the print room but they won't cover your arms etc, and the ink doesn't wash out.

+Use different coloured pens for mono printing (when you use the same image to make repeat prints you won't get confused about which bits of the outline you've already gone over).

+Update your blog at least weekly, so you don't forget what you've been doing and where you're going. I found it really helpful to blog about each session directly after as it consolidated the ideas in my mind as well as reminding me what to focus on next time.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Printmaking: Week 8

Today I printed my final pieces

Rose Power 27/09/10

How many prints did you make? 3x A1 ‘wallpaper’ samples.

How many of these taught you something new? These were my final pieces, but I still feel I learnt something new from them, having not worked to this larger scale before. It was difficult to stop the paper curling up and to remember which images to trace onto which areas, considering my design would be in reverse. I also realized after printing onto plain paper as a practice, that this might actually look better/ less cluttered than my original plan to print onto wallpaper.

How many hours did you spend in the printmaking workshop? 9

Assess yourself this week for:

Competence in printmaking techniques: I think my mono printing technique has excelled as I started the course having never tried it before; my first attempts were atrocious. I’m happy with the execution of my final piece because, although it looks blurry, this was inevitably going to happen due to printing onto thick (wall)paper and I quite like the unusual effect.

Thoughtful and imaginative approach to printmaking/Visual Sensibility (understanding and expressing ideas in images): The outcome I envisioned was very similar to what I actually achieved, although it’s difficult to make out the shapes of my birds as I ended up adding a lot of floral detail around them. However, I like this as I was aiming for them to look ‘trapped’ in the rest of the wallpaper, and only visible when viewed closely. If I was to make the wallpaper again I would make the birds smaller and more spaced out, as when I tried printing only 3 birds, as opposed to 6, they looked more distinctive.

Using research to expand knowledge, enrich thinking and affect your work: I found I was able to incorporate research successfully into my work, but as I was using new techniques I had to carefully consider this when researching. I think I managed to gain inspiration from Victorian wallpaper and the era in general (focusing on zoos, travelling the world, collecting exotic treasures etc) as well as adding my own personal, contemporary input.

Active participation in taught sessions: Despite hospitalisation and snow, I think I have managed to catch up the hours I missed, but I wish I could have more time to experiment, as this was the main aim of the project. If I had been able to attend more scheduled studio sessions I would have been able to bounce ideas off other students and compare my progress to theirs. However, the times I was in the studio, I made sure to have a look round and take in what was going on. This was really interesting as everyone had very different ideas, though we were all given the same brief, and I would like to see their final pieces. On unscheduled days I also talked to 2nd year students and looked at their work. This was extremely useful as they could give me advice from experience.

I give myself a score of: 95

Pictures of some of the 6 final images before I printed them all onto one big sheet of wallpaper.

I printed 3 together to look at spacing.

The finished wallpaper design on plain paper


Wallpaper with spaces

I prefer the middle one, which was going to be my final piece. I like the blurring from the ink being slightly too thick, but other people might not have the same appreciation for happy accidents. I like the way the 6 designs are linked together with additional foliage that I drew in, rather than being 6 distinct drawings.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Printmaking: Week 7

Today I talked to Caroline again about where my final piece was going (as next week is our last week)

Rose Power 06/12/10

How many prints did you make? 5

How many of these taught you something new? All, as I had not experimented with printing onto wallpaper before. Aside from the 4 mono prints I created, I tried the lino block I'd cut at home while I was ill, which probably taught me the most as I realized I much prefer the style I have developed through mono printing.

How many hours did you spend in the printmaking workshop? 6

Visual Sensibility (understanding and expressing ideas in images)/ Competence in printmaking techniques: My mono printing style is definitely improving and I am able to better communicate my idea through this medium now.

Using research to expand knowledge, enrich thinking and affect your work/Thoughtful and imaginative approach to printmaking: I took all of the research I have done into consideration when printing today which I think helped produce good images. I thought a lot about the lines I was making and drew onto the paper/ink more carefully and slowly than I have before.

Active participation in taught sessions: It was good to be back in the studio on my scheduled day, after weeks of snow and illness! I found it useful to see how everyone else is progressing and drawing their projects to a close

I give myself a score of : 85

I've decided from today's experiments that I want my final piece to be mono printed on wallpaper. I originally wanted to print my own wallpaper and then print onto that, but I realised due to time restraints it would not be possible. I asked Caroline if it would be ok to use existing wallpaper and she said yes, especially as it inspired my idea originally. I have chosen the yellow one (above) as I have loosely been using the pattern from this one to draw outlines.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Printmaking: Week 6

I didn't go to printmaking on Monday as I was snowed in.
But I worked in the print room a couple of extra days this week to catch up, here's what I did:

Some of today's more successful prints (above)

I used a mixture of red, purple, brown and black inks to give a marbled effect:

I experimented with making 'masks' from cut out pheasant shapes, drawing wallpaper-inspired floral shapes inside the outline.

I also played around with the outside frame shape I want to use for each bird image. Once I'm happy with these, I'll combine them with the pheasants.

I realised that I could use the same drawings over and over again to trace the image onto the ink, but it became confusing as I had already gone over the lines, so I found using a different coloured pen each time was really helpful.

However, different pens produce different effects, for example the line from a biro is very different from a felt tip, so I got some different coloured biros, as I preferred this stronger line. I also found different a paper thickness changed the end result; wallpaper is thick so the line comes out quite blurred, but I like this effect.

I need to be very careful when tracing my drawings onto ink as if the paper moves, the image will be skewed.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Week 5 - research

Following on from this week's discussion with Caroline and decision to focus on monoprinting, I looked at some of these ideas in more detail:
  • Victorian life - the British empire, travelling to 'exotic' places, collecting taxidermy/decorative items, discovery, zoos...
  • Victorian wallpaper/textiles
  • Modern interpretations of these
  • Birds in flight
  • Birds in museums
  • Victorian life - the British empire, travelling to 'exotic' places, collecting taxidermy/decorative items, discovery, zoos...

  • Victorian wallpaper/textiles
William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
File:Morris Bird and Anemone 1882.jpg
    I like this bird/anenome wallpaper as the birds are hidden in the design, being the same colour as the flowers. The simple use of just 2 colours lends itself well to printmaking ideas. It was designed in 1882.
    This textile design, also by Morris, looks typically Victorian and heavily designed with lots of colours and detail. I like its symmetry and could experiment with using this in my own designs.
  • Modern interpretations of these
Laura Ashley 'oriental garden' wallpaper
ORIENTAL GARDEN WALLPAPERmodern pass-production techniques allow this to be produced in large quantities at a cheap cost (compared to decadent Victorian designs aimed at the upper classes). I like this colour-way as the design looks at though it's a negative, being lighter than the background. I think the design is very pretty and, though the metallic finish keeps it looking modern, you can tell it is influenced/inspired by Victorian wallpaper.

Laura Ashley 'summer palace' wallpaper
SUMMER PALACE WALLPAPERThis is more brightly coloured than the dark/drab Victorian designs I have been looking at and looks summery/ suitable for a child's room. I think I prefer the simpler design above, but this is also pretty.

  • Birds in flight

  • Birds in museums
Victorian case in the bird gallery.Natural History museum
Egretta garzetta (little egret). Museum Number:NH.83.3/120 Not on display. Horniman museum
Haunch of Venison (Polly Morgan)
'Mr and Mrs Booth' at the museumThe Booth Museum (Brighton)

Websites I used:

Printmaking: Week 5

It's really more like week 7, but I've been away.
Today I sat down with Caroline and discussed where I'm going with my project as I've missed a lot of Printmaking sessions and the deadline's looming; I need a final piece!

From looking at my sketchbook at my drawings of a taxidermy pheasant and sketches from the zoo, we discerned that my strengths lie in simple illustrations on wallpaper and incorporating the floral wallpaper designs into the drawing.

From here we discussed wallpaper designs, the Victorian era and birds. We also decided that, due to time factors, it would not be beneficial to continue experimenting with different print techniques and I should instead focus on mono printing. This is quite disappointing as I would have liked to have had a chance to try silkscreen printing, but time is running out. The idea of using mono printing for my final piece came as a shock as I have found it difficult so far and have not been impressed with the images I have produced (see week 1's disastrous experiments if you don't believe me!)
However, I am willing to keep trying with the mono prints. The best idea is to keep practicing, I can't exactly get worse. I made a few experimental mono prints today by simply tracing an image from my sketchbook that I drew at the Horniman museum (pic of drawing).

I have a lot of more focused ideas now, so after some thorough research I will be able to begin work on my final designs.

Rose Power 22/11/10

How many prints did you make? 2

How many of these taught you something new? both did; it's been a while since I've done mono printing and, though I know how to do it, there is still a lot of room for improvement in technique. Also, I have only made mono prints by drawing freehand in the past, today I traced an existing drawing and it was interesting to compare the finished print to the original sketch in terms of aesthetics.

How many hours did you spend in the printmaking workshop? 1 - the rest of the day was spent at the computer, researching.

Assess yourself this week for:

Competence in printmaking techniques : Though I was returning to a technique I had used before, I feel I have not improved a lot as my work still looks very amateur. I need to practice more over the next week.

Thoughtful and imaginative approach to printmaking: I certainly did a lot of thinking this week, and tried to imagine how things would translate from initial drawings to prints. Mono printing lends itself well to experimentation as it is fairly quick to set up and very quick to produce. I will be able to try out my designs before I produce the final ones, to see what works well and what doesn't.

Visual Sensibility (understanding and expressing ideas in images): see above. I need to focus on WHAT my ideas are going to be before I try to express them... What do I want the images to be saying?

Using research to expand knowledge, enrich thinking and affect your work: I spent a lot of time researching today so I have a lot of relevant and interesting resources to work from now. I could look at more artists to see what they do well, and what I aspects of their work I can use/ manipulate. I think looking at modern interpretations of Victorian ideas is a useful and interesting aspect of my research.

Active participation in taught sessions: I spent a short while looking at other people's work at the start of todays session, to consolidate my work with theirs and try to fill in the gaps I where I have missed taught sessions. It was helpful to do this, but also intimidating - most people have done a lot more work that me, as I have been in hospital.

I give myself a score of : 75/great. I have made good progress today with ideas, despite being intimidated by returning to printmaking after such a lot of time off.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


I have made a few changes to my blog to make it more accessible and easy to follow.

I've added labels to diferentiate between my work and the work of other artists I have been researching.

Click here to see MY WORK

and here for RESEARCH.

I've also added labels for my ideas and for different types of printmaking: