The challenge: create two 10 x 10 cm etchings, one a self portrait and the other a portrait of someone else in the group?
First response: I don't do people.
Second response: I can't remember the basics I learnt of etching 18 months ago.
Third response: I'll do it!
Five of us took up the challenge and this week we printed our rogues gallery. Following great debate about the various layout options, we decided upon a row of the five portraits of each other and similarly the five self-portraits.
Here's our template marking the location for each etching plate and for the dampened paper.
One of the prints involved three plates so initially we printed the first one on its own, keeping the end of the template and paper trapped in place under the roller so we could replace it with the second plate in order to print again in the same position.
Still keeping the paper trapped we positioned the plates for all five portraits for the third time through the press and...
Some time back I parked by the window of an industrial building that had been bricked up inside.
The layering of breeze blocks and mortar with the remains of decals on the windows and reflections on the glass created lovely, almost abstract, images. The old windows framed the images into triptychs and focusing in on sections made them even more abstract.
Some parts of my first lino print from these windows were more successful than others. The three smaller sections along the bottom of the print are the most interesting, as they were in the actual windows too.
I've continued to play around with these images, shapes and layers, having lots of fun and ending up with some mono-prints that I'm quite excited by. There's nothing like a bit of neglected building for some inspiration!
This screen print is based on my dad. He was a plumber by trade. I started out with a photo I took of an apartment block. I'd been playing around with this photo and came up with the background image that reminded me of plumbing systems.
The main image is from a photo of dad's national service days, a time that he remembered fondly. I guess it was a time of growing up and leaving home.
The image in the bottom left hand corner of 'Thinking of Home' is taken from a Chinese stamp. He always maintained that he was conceived in China whilst his father was stationed there. He always encouraged my love of stamps with their mini art-works and yes, I confess, I still have my stamp hoard. Rummaging through recently I found a Chinese one bearing the flag, loved the simplicity of the image and the link to the China conception story and used it to complete the print.
The young woman in the centre of this family photo is my grandma, Lily Evison. Her father died when she was 13 and her mother died when Lily was in her early twenties, so she lived with her aunts, uncle, cousins and grandfather here until she married and left home.
As a child I saw this as a group of people who lived in the past and who, apart from my grandma, I never knew. But as I grow older and start to investigate my family's past I recognise that their lives, emotions and experiences are not dissimilar to my own and I feel our common humanity.
I combined this image with the text from a business card from Gott's Shoe Repairs, the family business of Bernard Gott who Lily would meet, marry and share the rest of her life with. Their future, their past, creating my future and my past.
I never knew Ellen, my great, great grandmother, but I have a fondness for her. I love her cheeky hint of a smile in this photo and the jaunty feather in her hat. At a time when having a photograph taken would have been a major occasion and treated quite formally it looks as though she found it hard not to laugh at having to sit still.
In this print I laid the image over some notes I'd been making on my family tree, linking me to her. I made her feather purple as she reminds me of the woman in Jenny Joseph's poem oft-quoted to me by three generations of my family: Warning - When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. And I framed her with part of a memento mori image from the 1600s, a reminder to us all of our common humanity and limited time on earth.
My friend Sue provided me with various photographs for a portraiture project that we both undertook. One was an old photo of her as a child with her dog, Taffy, a gift from her grandpa. These days, Sue is a photographer herself. She's also a keen birdwatcher and has taken some beautiful photos of birds, both at home and further afield.
We mused on how photography has changed from the days when each shot was prized and we waited with anticipation for the developed photographs, to today's digital world where images are so instant, so disposable and so easily adaptable.
Using the childhood photo and sections of one of Sue's bird photos, I created this screen print, bringing together the old and the new, the past and the present.
As a gift for a ruby wedding anniversary for my cousin Audrey and husband Pete, I took one of the original wedding photos and played around with it in order to go from a pretty murky 1970's photo into a simplified 3-colour screen print. Luckily she carried red roses on the day, which translated nicely into a splash of red for the ruby wedding!