Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Project Atelier update

The studio is looking more like a studio as the days go on – having posted some photos of the inking and hotplate area, here’s the general work area on the other side of the studio. Things will change around again in June when my etching press arrives (ordered it this week - how exciting is that!). The glass inking slab will move to the general work area and the press will go on the bench where the glass is now. This is a much heftier bench so should take the weight of the press. I hope.

It’s wonderful in the studio; so peaceful and relaxing. I’m back to wood engraving now – very satisfying.

Also spent some time sorting out some of Dad’s tools to donate to a new project being set up in the area – bike recycling. The intention is to stop local youths nicking bikes by working with them to refurbish old ones. Sounds like a good scheme.

More found objects: a shoe last, many weights, a Salter's pocket balance, two transformers (the electrical kind, not the 'robots in disguise', a fire extinguisher, an oscillating fan, two model gliders, a rocking horse, a wind break, a gazebo, golf clubs, an elephant's headdress, a barometer, two thermometers and a thing for measuring humidity. It's quite dry in there - idea for storing one's paper

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Cardcut workshop

How nice it is to be able to just get up and walk away from one’s work and not have to pack everything up. The luxury of a studio.

Think I’ve done as much on the cockle as I can for the moment – need to etch and proof before I can do any more so that will have to wait until I can get down to the workshop; not for another three weeks unfortunately. Need to buy my own press!

Will be teaching a cardcut workshop soon (subject to enrolments) so I need to do some prep for that. This will be a two-day course, Saturday and Sunday, which I’ve not done before. In the past, it’s been offered as consecutive Saturdays, giving plenty of time for students to finish plates and varnish to dry, so will see how this goes. Teaching is exhausting but I do enjoy it. It’s great to see what the students produce having learnt a new technique. And I’m always up for a bit of printmaking evangelism!

Top:Jo Price

Ginger Nut

Bartleby Series

Cardcut and drypoint

Edition: 15

Bottom:Jo Price

Mr Boythorn's Canary
Bleak House Series
Cardcut and drypoint
Edition: 15

All images copyright Jo Price

The tide's out on my creativity

Feeling at a low ebb today. It’s been a tough week what with one thing and another. Since Mum came out of hospital three months ago just about, it’s been a constant round of appointments, cooking, cleaning, shopping, paperwork and other carer’s duties, never mind the day job; leaves so little time and energy for creativity.

And now we have to have major building repairs done on the house which means completely clearing two bedrooms for the wall to be partially rebuilt. Urgh. Perhaps I’ll end up living in the studio with the spiders…

I wanted to say what all this does to my creativity, but can’t find the words.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

From the Atelier

How wonderful it is, after a long day of number crunching and caring responsibilities, to be able to retire to the studio for an hour or two. It’s so peaceful in there; one can almost forget the city goes about its business just outside. The birdsong seems to be louder and clearer, smothering the drone of the traffic.

In the last few months, I’ve really come to cherish silence. Well, not silence exactly, but quiet. The absence of human voices. Odd really, considering it’s been a number of years since I’ve been able to go to sleep without the radio on. Plays, books, poetry; I think it may relate to the love of being read to I developed as a child.

Anyway, several major life changes over the last year or so seem to have triggered changes in me. Inevitable I suppose.

But back to the art, which is what this blog is supposed to be about. I’m revisiting the cockle but as an etching instead of a wood engraving. ‘Wimp!’ I hear you cry…

My wordless studio companion Lilly.

Monday, 20 April 2009

I have my own studio!

It’s just beginning to sink in that I now have my own studio – a long-held dream. Still quite a bit to do to get it fully up and running and it will continue to evolve naturally over time, but I pulled my first prints in it on Saturday – wood engravings. How exciting is that!

Ordered some copper sulphate crystals for etching from Hawthorn’s yesterday and hung up a load of inky scrim to dry from my last visit to the workshop. Smells wonderfully printkmakingish in there already. Took a desk and chair up today so I now have somewhere to sit down and work.

I was thinking today how… bizarre it is really. I started this blog less than two months ago, intending to write about wood engraving; the whole point was that it’s a form of printmaking that I could do at home which wouldn’t take up much room. And here I am, determined to go back to etching and setting up my own studio.

I HAVE MY OWN STUDIO! How lucky am I.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Project Atelier: Phases Two and Three begin…

Phase one continues (three car-loads of stuff to the dump so far, more to go) but being an impatient sort, I’ve started phases two and three as well.

Phase two: shifting all my existing printmaking and art-related equipment into the studio – going well and almost finished.

Phase three: procuring the necessary items that I don’t already have like heating, inking slab, etching and water baths, copper sulphate and a press. Doing well here – heaters ordered, baths bought and inking slab reclaimed from behind the garage. The main window of the studio used to have a hole in one side of it (it’s double-glazed) and when I was in there at the weekend, I realised there was no hole in the current one. Dad must have replaced it at some point. Had a look behind the studio and there was the old window, just waiting to be turned into a massive and magnificent inking slab. It’s about three feet by four and was wedged into a narrow gap between the fence and back wall of the studio, so took a bit of huffing and puffing to get it out. Also to get it onto the bench in the studio! It’s a perfect fit though so I’m well chuffed with that. The photo shows the slab in situ, and my hotplate and general inking area.

Just need to get the copper sulphate now, and the most difficult and most expensive part – the press.

Other objets trouves: a brass letterbox, an air pistol (delivered to the Police on Thursday), an old copper kettle, framed photographs of unknown early 20th Century gentlemen.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Not finished yet but here are the fruits of my labours at the workshop on Friday. The first four states of the villain from The Red Scar series of etchings. Not sure quite where I’m going with this one.

I’ve all but abandoned the cockle commission for the moment, partly due to a broken fine spitsticker (less than two months old and NO, suppliers, I had not been misusing it) and partly to my defection back to etching. The cockle is very different from my usual style of work; I tend to go for figurative images and dark narratives. It will get done though.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Project Atelier: Phase One update

Spent most of the day yesterday, and part of today, clearing out the new studio, with grateful thanks for the assistance of G who was necessarily ruthless and uncompromising with my hoarding instincts.

Found items: Great Uncle Art's cornet, three hurricane lamps, a nautical rescue line, an aircraft wheel, two very old clocks, a cricket scorer, flags from several different countries, a chord changer, a pencil pointer, a strange gadget with a handle and a compass on top attached to a stethoscope type thing, an altimeter, four doorbells, an airspeed indicator, springs of all dimensions, reels of old film from the 1930s, nails, nuts, bolts, washers, screws, rivets of every size and shape known to man (and some that aren’t) in industrial quantities, fibre glass and its associated chemicals, every conceivable type of sticky tape, rope, string, bungees [am I boring you yet?] little drills, big drills, massive drills, more drill bits and attachments than it’s sane to possess, huge quantities of scrap metal and wood, enough tools to kit out an entire DIY store – twice, sanders, grinders, polishers, buffers, waxers [I’m boring myself now], incredibly shaped drawing instruments, the biggest chisels I’ve ever seen, two car battery chargers, two multimeters, books on aircraft stressing, mechanics, engineering, electrics, physics, maths, meteorology, radio communication, a radio for listening to air traffic control, garden loungers, garden chairs, shovels, rakes, forks, hoes, shears, a tree branch lopper ridiculous numbers of flower pots … and this list is by no means exhaustive…

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Mmm, that was indeed a good Friday.
Solitude at RHP; just me, my etching and a few sea gulls.
And a spot of rain of course – wouldn’t be an Easter bank holiday without it – but it’s warm and dry in there. And above all silent. It seems odd to me that one can get to a stage in one’s life where one craves silence… but there it is.

Normally I do a lot of preparation at home for a day at the workshop, but life is so crazy at the moment that I just hadn’t had time. I wanted to finish a plate I last worked on in October (the fourth image in The Red Scar series), but when I looked at the last proof I pulled, I just had no idea where to go. Depressing. In wood engraving mode only perhaps…

ANYWAY. Once I got to the workshop and started working on the plate, everything fell into place, tcp. The plate’s not finished and I didn’t achieve an awful lot print-wise, but I had time, space and quiet for a good old think.

I had originally envisaged Project Atelier as a space to work on wood engravings; I’d be able to have all my tools and equipment in there (freeing up space indoors – I might actually be able to see some carpet here and there) and I’d could then leave everything set up. Away with spending hours getting everything out and putting it all away again afterwards – bliss! This is all good, but yesterday reminded me where my heart really lies – etching. That’s my thing. As much as I love wood engraving, it just doesn’t suit my work and processes like etching does. So, Project Atelier is gearing up a notch…

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Project Atelier: Phase One

The idea for this project was suggested by a friend some time ago but for various reasons, I didn’t think it would be worth it. However, I changed my mind yesterday morning and Phase One began in the afternoon.

The photo shows my father’s garage cum workshop which, since his death last summer, has become a general repository – for junk mostly. I’ve been dreading having to clear it as it had a lifetime’s accumulation of aircraft-building tools, gadgets, spare parts and detritus. He built real ones that people fly in, not model planes, so it’s not just a few hand tools and a smudge of glue we’re talking about here!

Good old G has mentioned to me several times what a excellent studio it would make, and she’s right of course – thank you G. Just terrifying to clear. And sad. I miss my dad and there’s so much of him in there; it’s going to be hard. But cathartic too I hope. And he’d be glad that I’m using his workshop to printmake in. Anything to do with tools, bits of wood and metal and he was happy.

Spent three hours on it yesterday but have barely scratched the surface… will keep you posted…

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

What next?
Now that my edition for Print Zero is travelling (safely I hope) to the west coast of the USA – to the city where I spent the first five years of my life, oddly enough – what’s next? I have a few things on the go, but my next wood engraving project is a commission for Hilary C. She has a friend travelling the mediaeval pilgrimage route to Compostela, the Way of St James. Apparently, the cockle shell is the symbol of St James so pilgrims wear on badges today. Hilary wants me to make a cockle shell related print.
Here’s the drawing I made for it.

Hmm, this is going to be interesting! Not quite sure how I shall manage it as a wood engraving – etching, yes; wood engraving, gulp… I shall be working on a block 10 x 7.5 cm which is twice as big as the biggest block I’ve used before; still pretty small for me. With etchings and cardcuts, I’m used to working a lot bigger, but wood engraving… challenging. Watch this space…