Printmaking Workshop

This week I attended two wonderful days of printmaking at the University of British Columbia, in a workshop led by Briar Craig. We learned about the programs offered at UBCO, saw wonderful examples of student work, tried out some of the equipment for advanced screenprinting processes , and then at the etching press we made our own spontaneous simple low-tech prints drawing directly into ink on plexi plates or applying ink to soft textured materials that we placed directly onto paper.

The images in this post show details from some printed experiments I made. On the way to UBC in the morning I grabbed a few materials from my garden. My favourite for texture and shape turned out to be the nasturtium leaves. I also loved the effect from printing a giant allium flower, but I had a few technical difficulties because it is so late in the season that the allium was falling apart in a million little pieces. I will need to try that one again, next spring or early summer.  Working with lace, string and other found objects may be more predictable than using the plants, but I love the texture and beautiful details in living materials.

MONOTYPES and MONOPRINTS: Two specific forms of printmaking

A monotype is a printed design that is completely ONE of a kind: mono is a Latin word which means ONE and type means kind.  A monotype is created without a matrix, with each one starting with a clean, un-worked surface, so it cannot be repeated. A classic example would be a design made by rolling ink onto plexiglass, making marks by removing ink, before putting paper on top and then running it through the press once only.  This would create a single design on the paper, never to be repeated again.  On the other hand, a monoprint starts with some form of basic matrix. The way it is inked, wiped or printed will be unique for each print even though the pattern or texture could be repeated in some way.  The prints we made this week were all uniquely printed without any advance preparation of a matrix but some did use textures that could be used more than once. Definitions can be a bit confusing because some of our experiments crossed borders between the two forms of printmaking, but one experiment leads into another and the creative possibilities are endless.

Detail of printed nasturtium leaves


Japanese Fern Monotype


Canadian painter and mixed-media artist, Susan Neilson is fascinated by natural geometry in micro and macro worlds. Precise realism, calm energy and intuitive abstraction combine in her art. The Pacific Northwest and parks of the British Columbia Interior inspire her current work. She is interested in biomorphic forms and patterns connecting all living systems, as well as the interface between wild and cultivated environments.

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