My printmaking work has three strands of focus: traditional editions, teaching and collaboration, and exhibition projects. When I show my work in gallery spaces I create site specific installations. This is the area of my practice where I can create larger scale work that doesn't need to be commercially viable, so this allows me room to experiment. My goal for this year is to return to "applied" printmaking and play with textiles, sculpture and collage. Editioning can be very boring. You'll note that most of my editions for sale are printed in very small runs, typically under 20 prints available. I love the process of creating images, playing on the press and comparing and contrasting subtle variations in texture between the same image. In an edition each print should look exactly the same, which can be a struggle for me. I also loving working with collage, and have found working within the bounds of a piece of paper challenging. Instead of fighting my instincts, I began exploring alternative ways to use images in multiple during my undergraduate degree at Emily Carr.
Luncheonette was a key project which set the tone going forward for how I would use printmaking. Here's a younger me (without a fringe!) having just put together the installation in the print studio to see how it looks.
I took traditional porcelain and tableware patterns, William Morris patterns and Staffordshire figurines and applied them to a half-size domestic room "scene" to explore ideas around kitsch, theatre and the uncanny. I printed lino onto Japanese mulberry paper and used wallpaper paste to arrange them onto furniture, screens and walls I built. This method of creating appliques has become a key element of my gallery work.
That same year I built Luncheonette, I also learned aluminium plate lithography and printed two editions of satin handkerchiefs, on an etching press of all things. Satin was arguably the worst fabric choice for learning to print on fabric for the first time! I developed a method which I still use today for finicky synthetics - wrapping or carefully folding the fabric around a tube or wooden dowel, then unrolling the fabric across the printing plate.
Best Friend was a full room installation. A key element was a repeated motif of pin boards filled with clippings of mixed print media. I had those classic "detective in a film investigates a serial killer" type boards in mind, with overlapping scraps juxtaposing different information. I used glass head pins to emulate specimen vitrines and suggest a medical environment. Screen prints and lino cuts of original artwork and archival/found imagery were printed onto Stonehenge coloured paper and old engineering plans from the 70's and 80's. This gave the collages some depth and variation.
Packing Room 1A was another theatre set inspired installation. I wanted to make an installation that was a sculptural version of a drawing, flat and with lines. I also wanted to create an installation which couldn't be photographed easily, asking viewers to walk around, get under and look closely in person at the work to experience it. My references were abattoirs, butcher shops, and factories. I printed onto canvas with lino, then sewed the canvas into forms, some of which were sewn onto other canvas pieces for depth. The largest piece is a long roll of printed lino with raw edges, stretching out from a spool to emulate a workshop material about to be cut and used.
At the Glasgow School of Art I continued printing onto fabric, this time sewing together large banners of wood block prints, including prints taken from found wood. I printed textural patterns from found wood onto paper, which I then collaged directly onto the walls of my exhibition space to create the shape of a stadium flood lamp. I also screen printed a full scale version of a "for sale" sign, but using my own handwriting to draw attention to the fact it is not quite the real thing.
In Future Relics, I used printed appliques to draw attention to architecture and sightlines behind other pieces of work on the floor. On the ground floor, I scanned images from glass collector's catalogues and printed them enlarged over 300% to incorporate the printing dots of the original image, the texture of the scanned paper fibres and other photographic noise we often seek to eliminate. The glass images were then collaged into a totem onto the wall, between the dado rail and cornicing. Upstairs in the second floor of the gallery I pasted a relief print on mulberry paper directly to the protruding corner of a wall above a dado rail. The print was taken from a piece of plywood I found on the street, which had dried glue drizzled onto the back. The glue was squished into a raised pattern ideal for taking a print from, since it was flat. I also chose to place this print in a room where a red light was installed and another video work was playing on a CRT monitor, to add to the strangeness of it all.