Summer in the ‘Bool

I won’t tell you that thousands congregated down in Victoria’s whale capital for the Diploma of Visual Arts – Tapestry summer ‘camp’ – but we were certainly a respectable gathering of both off- and on-campusers from all the diploma years and from all across the country – and it was, of course not the right season for whales. Which was as well as it gave us time to do some work. There seemed to be workshops in, well, actual weaving of course, starters, advancers, historical copiers,  and technical samplers, And in design, business matters – and a printmaking workshop.

Though the Centre for Creative Arts Building has been open quite a while now,  it has no air-con – and the weather, to put it mildly was  b l o o d y  hot. So we did the weaving material in the main building  – and a weaving session there looks like this ( though this is last year’s group in the photo):

weaving at camp

We moved back to the Arts Building for the printmaking. We tried monoprints, using acetate sheets as the plates.

First up – a reduction print – remove the ink directly from the plate with whatever takes your fancy, then press the paper to the plate:


This is of course  a positive of the plate, but reversed laterally.

Then we moved on to the transfer method – the paper is placed on the inked plate and then drawn on – the ink adhering to the parts pressed down by the drawing tool(s):


Above is the actual print. Below is the reverse side of the paper where I drew the image  (with pressure and some hand rubbing).  My drawing and the print are both positive – though the drawing does not show the hand-rubbed areas, but the print is laterally reversed. The plate is oriented the same as the drawing, but becomes negative to it. I was clearly confused over the reversal – my signing is on the wrong side! Here is the drawing:

leaf original

Calling the plate the negative, with transfer monoprints there are three options:

1. The plain transfer – the print is positive, and laterally reversed

2. The “ghost” print – laying a second sheet on to the plate after the first print has been pulled, and        pressing it down – gives a negative print laterally reversed, and

3. The ‘double print’ – laying a new sheet of paper over the damp first print and pressing, gives a            positive print not laterally reverse – or as a truth table:

                                                                        colour                                           reversal

plate                                                 1                                                         1

print                                                0                                                        0

ghost                                               1                                                         0

double                                             0                                                        1

From there we skipped making a direct monoprint – drawing the image directly onto the plate – and moved onto intaglio prints – again using acetate sheets which we disfigured with various sharp tools ranging from  orthodox burins to ground nails. We discovered that using newsprint can be as effective in wiping the plate surface clear of ink as traditional tarleton. I have found a web post which suggests organdy silk as a longer lasting substitute.   We each attempted to pull several prints off our plates:

tulp1 tulp2 tulp3






Intaglio is fun – but what if you have no access to a press? Well, see this blogpost which will solve the problem IF you are a very very patient person:

After that we looked at a couple of already prepared collographs – a plate made by pasting onto a cardboard base other pieces of whatever, and treating that as a relief print – inking it and printing using a press – I guess it would be possible, but difficult, to pull a print by hand.

Oddly enough, after seven hours or so there wasn’t time to start actually doing a lino cut though we did watch a detailed presentation by Silkcut on the methodology. I took my design away with me to be worked on later:


And now it is on to the dreaded three-part technical sampler – watch this space!