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Printmaking Workshop

A week ago today I attended a printmaking workshop run by Michele Wright and Jane Ashdown, at the Porthmeor Printmakers studio above the Penwith Gallery in Back Road West, St Ives.

We 'novices' started off experimenting with intaglio techniques, using engraving tools on flexible, glossy faced card. The fine lines in my first attempt below (hmm, pears again) were created using sandpaper whereas the black areas were created by drawing an outline with one of the tools and then tearing away the top layer of card allowing the under layer to absorb a large quantity of ink. See the bird and the solid black contour on the left side of the pear.

Yesterday (Friday) I applied finishing touches using pen and ink to create cleaner lines and enhance contrasts.
To produce this second print I cut and tore more of the card 'plate' - a little too enthusiastically - and later worked into it with pen and ink and collaged a small area to improve the right hand pear shape.
This next plate below was created by engraving on clear, flexible plastic from a sketch of tulips and then printing with black ink.

For this print I painted a mixture of screen filler and carborundum in the negative spaces, which absorbed the ink and printed black.

The technique was the same for this print, which I later had great fun transforming with pen and ink, watercolour pencils and gouache.

Finally we produced a collagraph - the most complicated procedure of the day - which involves gluing anything from string, card and fabric to leaves, petals and seedheads onto greyboard or mountboard, which is then sealed with shellac and allowed to dry before being inked up and printed.

For my collagraph I used sand - see the top very dark layer - and anaglypta for the Moon and Venus. The tulips were cut from beautiful paper doillies given to Jane by her Mum. The turquoise coloured ink is a signature colour used by Michele when creating her lovely collagraph prints. The painter in me couldn't resist using white gouache to brighten the Moon, Venus and tulips.
There was just time on the day to produce one more print from the collagraph plate, having quickly applied a roller-ful of yellow ochre. At my leisure yesterday - having made all of the other modifications above - I used watercolour and gouache to define the tulips and leaves, which I think improved the composition no end.


  1. Lesley, these look wonderful.I love the lacy tulips. I am amazed at the many variety of ways there are to create a print. I was disappointed when the collagraph workshop I was booked on was cancelled, hopefully it will be rescheduled.

  2. I refuse to believe you are a novice at this...they are magnificent...I love the black and white line work! x:0)

  3. What a wonderful course to have attended. I like the tulips on the second from bottom print. I bet you are bursting with ideas and itching to create :O)

  4. Jill, Mimi and Cathy thanks, it was fun and I hope to attend other workshops in the future. Enjoy the bank holiday. Lesley x

  5. What a wonderful, fun day! I love those tulips, all of them, but think I like the monochrome lacy ones best!

    You have such great talent!

  6. Really enjoyed all your forays into printmaking Lesley. You did produce a lot of lovely work. I think collographs are really fascinating but I have never tried any. Co-incidentally enough I have just taken delivery of a small table top etching press and I have been trying out some printmaking of my own.

    Btw I am making progress with your drawing. It is quite detailed and time consuming but I didn't want you to think I wasn't doing it. I hope you like it when it is finished. I love your painting.

    Have a great week!

  7. Hi Gilly, thanks it was. The white gouache looks good against the concentrated blue of the ink, doesn't it? x

    Cathy, I'll look forward to seeing what you produce, now that you have a tabletop press. As to the drawing, I had an idea that it would be time consuming and don't mind how long it takes. Really glad that you like the painting. x

  8. This is so inspiring/

    I am hoping to attend a collagraph course in a few weeks time, I hope that I have just as much fun.

    Are you inspired with a head full of ideas?

  9. Hey Lesley, thanks for dropping by my blog, lovely to hear from you. You live in a beautiful corner of the globe.
    The printmaking workshop looks like it was alot of fun, I have had a go at a collograph and it was very interesting.I love what you did with all your prints.I have dabbled in painting, watercolour and oils, but think I am a little more successful with a needle and thread!!
    Just had browse through your blog, but shall have to come back with a cuppa in hand and take my time.

  10. It looks as if you had a very productive time, of course the moon is my favourite!

  11. Thanks for visiting Julie, Claire and Valerie - I'm off to turn the prints into cards now. x


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