Sunday Printmaking Workshop: Rain to Sunshine at CourtX Southsea
In a digital age where art has expanded into countless mediums, the tactile allure of printmaking remains irreplaceable. Our Sunday Printmaking Workshop at CourtX was more than a simple gathering; it was a purposeful endeavour. The aim was not just to teach techniques but to link past traditions with today’s inspirations. We aspired to craft a space where varied artistic minds could unite, experience, and redefine this age-old art form for our present time.
Here I begin with doffing my printy hat to the Three Attendees – Vik, Sarah and Jane – who navigated through adverse weather conditions to arrive at the CourtX Southsea venue for our printmaking workshop last Sunday … *doffs hat* … Their commitment set the tone for a session that was equally industrious and enlightening.
CourtX Southsea as a venue itself was impeccably organised: spacious and tidy, creating an environment conducive to unfettered creativity. An uncluttered space is essential when diving deep into the intricacies of printmaking, allowing each attendees to express without constraints.
Our exploration began with the materials chosen by the attendees: blue Artway lino and speedcut rubber blocks. To facilitate more direct and engaging learning experience, I laid out pre-carved blocks: linoleum of the battleship grey variety, two-colours japanese vinyls, and the trusty pink rubber blocks – peppered throughout the room. These not only serve as visual aids, but also catered to tactile and kinaesthetic learners. Everyone learns differently – some have incredible ability for eidetic memories for instantaneous memorising capabilities; whilst others like me, prefer to see/feel/touch to handle the processes to grasp the 360 degrees to install the memories into long-term storage.
Two of the participants have attended a prior workshop with me (Thank You) and they remembered to bring images which they preferred to bring to fruition in the session;
Vik brought along her collection of vintage shabby chic labels and tags memorabilia, from which she drew an intensely cute fawn as a print subject. in a delightful twist, brought along a collection of vintage-style, shabby chic labels and tags. It dawned on me that there lies a potential future project: by employing multiple block layering or even collage techniques, she could craft her very own vintage images.
Sarah – and I love this so – carved Medusa and the Ghost Knight from the video game Hallow Knight for her children; we dubbed the Ghost Knight ‘lil dude’ throughout the session. Sarah continued to print her block using gelliplates as background and multiple colour variations. I adore the time and effort Sarah committed in the workshop to create prints for her children.
Between the two, I saw a wonderfully insightful juxtaposition between the traditional vintage and the video games modernity.
Jane decided to carve a pre-prepared shell on a rubber block for her sea-themed prints of her silver jewellery-making business. As we delved into the processes, we encountered an amusing jargon clash with the term ‘burnishing’. Whilst in both printmaking and jewellery making, ‘burnishing’ implies polishing to make smooth. In the immediate however, printmaking requires the burnishing of the paper to the inked block for smooth transference of ink onto paper.
Accustomed to the pursuit of perfection in her jewellery-crafting, Jane found the sometimes unpredictable nature of printmaking results presented a complex emotion for her, especially grappling with the immediate expectation to produce flawless prints. Recognising this challenge, rather than attempting to rewire her approach to perfectionism, we all encouraged her to embrace the ‘play’ inherent in printmaking. Speaking alongside her to scale her carvings in line with her jewellery-making aesthetics, we ventured into discussions on how printmaking could enhance the packaging of her jewellery products. Presenting a large piece of crisp tissue paper to her, we encouraged her to print her design onto the tissue paper to package her jewellery creations.
As the workshop drew to a close, the room buzzed not just with the satisfaction of creations made but with deeper realisations. In our session, printmaking is not just about the end product; it’s about the journey, the discoveries, the challenges, and the triumphs. The Sunday Printmaking Workshop was more than an event; it was a transformative experience, proving that even in our rapidly advancing world, there’s immense value in appreciating hand-wrought traditions that have shaped thw printmaking artistic expressions for centuries.
Final thoughts: As the final prints were made and the blocks and ink slabs cleared away, the significance of our Sunday Printmaking Workshop became more apparent; beyond the tactile pleasures of carving and printing, it offered participants an invaluable bridge between the age-old traditions of printmaking and their contemporary, personal artistic expressions.
In our uber fast-paced world, it’s too easy to overlook the depths and richness of time-tested techniques. Yet this workshop was a poignant reminder that tradition and modernity need not be at odds. Each participants – with their varied backgrounds and artistic leanings – found a way to adapt printmaking to resonate with their personal outlook.
Reflecting on the day’s events and shared personal stories, I am reminded of my personal journey with printmaking and how it became my sanctuary during my most turbulent times. It reaffirmed my belief in the therapeutic power of creative processes.
The Sunday Printmaking workshop at CourtX Southsea became not only an exploration of printmaking, but also a reflection on the convergence of diverse crafts and shared ideas and experiences of the community of budding printmakers. Amidst the vibrancy of our of creativity, we witnessed how diverse backgrounds converged into a shared passion for printmaking. The workshop became more than just a session in printy things; it was a testament to the unifying power of creativity, drawing artists from different spheres together and offering path openings on the infinite possibilities that the world of print opens up for us.