Artist in Residence – catching breath!

Well, I am half way through my Artist in Residence time at Leicester Print Workshop – the last six weeks have flown by. The days have been passing in a flurry of  learning about acids, drawing in Leicester Market, finding a voice that shouts louder than the market sellers and well, finding my way generally.

I will be writing more write more about this fabulous opportunity as time progresses, but for now pop over to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for the news so far. And you can read a brief introduction to the Residency, and the amazing, humorous and fantastic work of Suzanne Balkanyi that my work is inspired by on Leicester Print Workshop’s site.

Throughout the last six weeks I have amazing support from all members of the Studio team,and my generous assistant Katy Goodrich (who is kindly volunteering her time and energy to support me with everything I struggle physically with). It’s been a truly wonderful learning curve and I have fallen back in love with etching after a 22 year break!

Fory first blogpost, I thought my truly fabulous session with the wonderful Kate Da Casto (part of aforementioned studio team) seemed a perfect place to start. She had kindly offered to look at my prints and to give me advice on mark making and inking up in different ways. Naturally, I snatched this opportunity to be guided and taught by someone whose work I have admired for SO LONG!

Kate Da' Casto.jpg
Kate Da Casto’s stunning print and details of mark making

Kate D’c​ went through the prints I had created so far, and she spoke of line – the purity and strength of the etched line, and for making each individual mark earn its place on the plate. It was such an invaluable critique, and I have since worked into my plates, and my goodness they are so much richer for her advice…. lines where I had “lost interest” (which was true – I was tired and lost concentration) now have intent! Areas where I had previously relied on the texture of the collagraph plate to create interest and marks have been filled. I am by now means going to become a master etcher in the 12 weeks of this residency, but seeds have been sown that will hopefully bloom in the following months. As you can see from the image here of Kate’s work – she is an expert in designing images but also highly intricate mark making to keep the eye dancing around the plate.

Alongside the mark-making and image design, Kate took time to show myself and Katy (so many Kate’s) her inking up process and more importantly, ink removal – and selective wiping. Kate was fabulous – like a ballet teacher teaching young girls to flatten my feet, and she gently patted my hands and said – flatter, flatter, flatter, gently, less pressure, new paper! And so my learning began – now I gently – not like my rubbing away on collagraphs where one can scrub away quite hard.

Jane Sunbeam - The Wyvern
My plate before and after tuition from Kate D’c

Now, I know for many people following me also have interest in etching, and Kate has allowed me to reveal a bit of an exclusive that Leicester Print Workshop have programmed THREE different etching courses over the August Bank Holiday weekend:

25th August : Hard & Soft Ground Zinc Etching with Emma Gardner
26th August: Etching using Sugar Lift with Sally Stephens
27 August: Copper Etching with Sue Baker Kenton

Thankyou Kate for this invaluable and kind tutorial….. If you want to know more about Kate, here are some fabulous links:

An introduction to Kate and her own Residency at Compton Verney:

And, as you can tell, Kate is passionate about etching – and here are a few of her insights into why she loves it so:

And finally, a wonderful film about Kate and her residency – and her amazing etchings:

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