‘redefining print’ with Double Elephant Print Studio, Exeter
From May 2014 to November 2015 I worked on a project with Double Elephant Print Studio in Exeter. Titled ‘redefining print’, for the project four artists from the South West region were asked to consider this concept or topic. These artists, Clare Thornton, Bryony Gillard, Katy Connor and myself, did not usually or primarily work with art printmaking. One intention of the project was to bring ideas from outside the field into the studio, into the work of printmaking, and to ask questions and try things out from positions of naivety or curiosity.
The project generated a portfolio of limited edition prints, an exhibition, and a one-day symposium around the theme of ‘redefining print’. Writer Carolyn Black and filmmaker Volkhardt Müller contributed to the project via commentary, documentation and the production of an essay and short film.
In May 2014, the artists worked at Double Elephant for a week being introduced to skills and methods and possibilities. Working with Simon Ripley, Catherine Cartwright, Lynn Bailey and Paula Youens we were introduced (or reintroduced in some cases) to screen printing, drypoint, collography, relief printing and monoprinting.
For ‘redefining print’, looked at ideas of speech and voice and how these might intersect with questions of print. I work with these in performance and in writing, as topics, as tools, and am familiar with how the voice can play with words, or how a script can be generated to be spoken. Questions of the repetition and the multiple that arise from the repeatability of print will cross with questions of the trace or mark left by the passing or the ephemeral.
Looking at images connected with communication, voice, speech and language, I constructed collages to prompt the generation of text material. The text material then suggests new visual constructions, and these may become the basis for a series of prints.
Alongside this I have been looking at printed ephemera, in particular at ways in which an object may speak for the wearer or bearer, whether this is a political badge, a paper hat, a coloured ribbon, a football sticker, a band tee-shirt or other item. In some of these, slogans are printed that ventriloquise the wearer, others speak for the wearer, others seem to demand a response from the viewer or reader.
I made some drypoint prints that derived from collages, and have made some photo-etchings that were built up from collaged and photo-edited material. I am now considering whether it will be important to include textual material in the editioned print, and what print method will best suit the project at this point.
For the editioned print that formed part of the Exeter Portfolio, I combined a silk-screened text in mustard yellow, under an etching of the pattern for a folded paper face-object. Th etext derived from written responses to the collage series, and the object related both to the history of paper ephemera, and to the obstruction of speech.