I am in the fortunate position to have been awarded a proof scholarship, it is the first year that this scheme has run. So it is important that the centre has some documented evidence of the workshops and the work made. Especially if you consider all the funding cuts in the art world over the past few years.
On a personal level, I am using the RPC to make work that engages my painting and expands exploration of contemporary abstraction as I relate to it. So far I have made several relief prints which engage the idea of form and the interaction and relation between other forms. I have also made an etching on aluminum encompassing these ideas. Followed by several zinc plate etchings with pleasing results.
The first workshop we attended was nontoxic etching using electro etching. A really fascinating workshop, which I hope to use more in the future. The results although experimental were actually really interesting.
The artist book workshop was useful, from a personal perspective I found that it didn’t engage with the idea of artist made books as a piece of artwork but leant more towards book binding. However I know that the majority of the other participants found the workshop very useful.
The third workshop in the series was screen-printing run by the very enthusiastic Emma Gregory, again there is a full program for each day, from the basic paper stencil to producing a three colour light exposed print. Emma guided all through the technical aspects with ease and warm encouragement.
Tracey Hill took the group through various resists relating to etching. Using acrylic and traditional resists we were able to etch some amazing marks all printable.
For our next workshop Anne Desmet introduced us to wood engraving. Being a very controlled aspect of printmaking and practiced by only a relative small group with the UK, Anne enabled the group to explore and consider the relationship wood engraving has to contemporary printmaking. We all surprised ourselves with the quality of the work we produced.
In the final workshop Paul Croft led us in plate lithography, this I believe is the first time lithography has been done at the RPC and again all who took part came away exhausted and replenished with ideas and a working knowledge of a new technique to most of us.
All the artists that led these workshops were very dedicated to making the days successful and made sure we got as much out of them as we wanted, they are all highly talented and well respected as artists and leaders in the field of contemporary printmaking it was really unexpected to have such calibre of artists taking these workshops, they were happy to show and talk about their work, which I always find very interesting and rewarding.
As we approach the end of these workshops I feel the amount of knowledge gained from being involved with the RPC is invaluable. I have always had a keen interest in printmaking but the hands on factor is the best way to learn new skills. I now feel confident to produce etchings using various techniques, have a working knowledge of screen printing and wood engraving. A developing interest in artist books as a medium which I did not expect to have, and a thirst to do more lithography.
The workshops are designed to give people a knowledge and a starting point, I certainly will continue my membership and use the print centre and all it has to offer.
Thank you Greg and Jim for this opportunity and I look forward to making much more art with you.