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The Printmaker In Me

The work I am making for the Neither Use Nor Ornament exhibition bears only a passing resemblance to the work I originally proposed for the project way back in 2017. No surprise though as that is what generally happens when I begin to work on something new. Initial ideas become the research and new ideas develop from these. It is what makes writing proposals difficult as the process of making invariably leads to ideas that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.

My usual approach to any new project is to start with making prints and when I first began collecting empty clock cases I made a series of solar plate etchings documenting each one.

My starting point for this project was to make a collagraph plate to help me explore the structure of the clock, using the solar plate etching I had made of my slate clock as the basis for the new plate. This rapidly turned into the process of making new ‘clocks’ using the materials I had originally thought would become prints. These newly constructed clocks still, however, feel very much like prints. Not in the traditional 2 dimensional sense of a print on paper but as a 3 dimensional ‘imprint’ of the original. I have long recognised the connections between sculpture and print especially in the casting process and I see these new clocks as a meeting point between print and sculpture.

I have only this week, on tidying my studio and finding the unfinished collagraph plate, finally completed and printed it and although the resulting embossed prints won’t make an appearance at the NUNO exhibition I couldn’t abandon the plate altogether; the printmaker in me just had to know how the plate would print.

Had I not started the process of making the plate in the first place I don’t think I would have made the other clocks. That’s why I love printmaking; it offers me a way to see things differently, to detach myself from the ‘thing’.

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