Today I’ve been on the first day of a weekend course on Electric Printmaking. This is basically using power tools to produce the plates. Just before I retired from teaching five years ago, I treated myself to a cheap set of small tools from Aldi as I intended doing some one twelfth scale models. This model making never materialised due to my discovering the pleasures of printmaking.
I used my own tools as far as possible as I would be using them in the future if I continue with the method.
After the tutor had done a demonstration using tools on Perspex, I used an etching tool to produce a plate of a Dell’s sheep based on a drawing for I did my OCA Drawing course over summer at Manchester Museum.
Original drawing of Dall’s Sheep
Perspex plate showing etched lines
I then drew the outline onto a second piece of Perspex. Using parcel tape and a scalpel, I masked the sheep itself and then used a small cone-shaped grinder to produce a background.
I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how the two plates print up. I made another plate using the power tools based on a photograph I’d taken in Marmaris, Turkey. I drew on a thin aluminium plate then used the grinder for the darker areas and the etching tool for the line work.
The plate cleaned up and ready for printing – tomorrow!
Having come home I’ve been able to reflect on the day. Unfortunately, while I was happy at the course, now I’m not as happy. It didn’t seem to be the course I’d signed up for. Perhaps I’d misunderstood what the course was going to be so I went back to the original course brochure:
“Not for the faint hearted this fun weekend will give you scope to play with electric engravers, drills and routers to create images that range from the brash and gutsy to the subtle and delicate. Utilising both wood and metal this course will open up a whole new energy to your work and introduce a new autographic vocabulary. Combine machine marks to build up a strong and complex image.”
Hmmm! What I had imagined was using ‘routers’ on ‘wood’ to produce a ‘brash and gutsy’ ‘strong’ image, which I’d assumed would be a relief block with deep cut lines. The tutor did let us use a router briefly but said he had made the decision on safety grounds that we could not use it in general. We were only offered Perspex and aluminium to produce intaglio plates. I feel that I’ve not produced anything today that I couldn’t have produced using hand drypoint tools and certainly nothing that ‘opened up a whole new energy’ to my work or which involved ‘a new autographic vocabulary’.
What I’ve decided to do is draw a thick lined drawing on a piece of plywood and take it from there! I hope I can write a more positive post tomorrow. We’ll see!