Thursday, 15 October 2020

                                               

THERESA PATEMAN   

My latest studio visit for this series of profiles takes me to a quiet, leafy back street in north-west London. It’s an unlikely setting for the former factory which houses the studios of Kingsgate Workshop Trust.  There are artists working in many media here; painting, ceramics, film, jewellery, sculpture, carpentry, framing and textiles. 

 


Theresa Pateman is a highly accomplished printmaker with a cv including linocut illustration, editioning for other artists and running a silkscreen workshop.  In this spacious, airy studio she practices a range of etching techniques including hard and soft ground and aquatint.

 

   
                            Beach Bodies - Photo Etching Aquatint softground

She is passionate about her own printmaking ‘It’s as highbrow as science and chemistry, yet it’s also alchemy…almost a dark art, never fully knowable…’  Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Mall Galleries, the Barbican and the V&A, amongst many others

The studio houses both her presses and she holds workshops here, currently for just two people at a time due to social distancing requirements. This sounds like rather a luxury for the lucky participants.  Theresa also teaches at Hampstead School of Art and clearly enjoys the interactions with her students and the way their individual approaches can send her off in different directions in her own practice.   

 






                              Theresa demonstrating at Southbank Printmakers

 

On the day of my visit, Theresa demonstrates how to print an etched image with chine-collĂ©.  This technique became popular in 18th C Britain when a wide variety of papers began to be imported from Asia. The image is printed onto a fine paper glued onto a heavier paper support, giving additional texture and possibly colour.

Theresa starts by soaking Somerset paper and then squeezing out the excess water before putting it between blotting paper.

 


 

 

The plates shown here have been etched with soft and hard ground techniques, and have been inked up in a single colour, in this case, black.




A small sheet of torn edged Lokta paper from Nepal, (traditionally made from the inner bark of a high elevation evergreen shrub), is rolled with PH neutral glue on the rough side. 

 


 

The plate is laid ink side up on the print bed, then the Lokta paper sticky side up, followed by the support paper, and finally a layer of tissue for protection, before winding through the press. 

 


 

The chine-collé method adds colour and texture to the image, while only involving a single plate.




Like many of us this year, Theresa has found her thoughts turning to the beach.  So it is convenient that she has begun teaching workshops in Pembrokeshire. The unspoilt beaches around Broadhaven have inspired a series of atmospheric images, taking her in a new direction:


                           Beach buddies - Photo Etching Aquatint softground

She says ‘Water patterns and sandy textures are a current feature in my prints, but above all the escape into imagined underwater worlds. I love looking at rock pools and watching the life within. 

These two beautiful prints, Swimming Skelpies and Underwater Skelpies combine a photo transfer etching plate for the watery textures with an aquatinted plate using stencils for the figures.  

 


                                 Underwater Skelpies and Swimming Skelpies 

The photo transfer process breaks down the image quite a lot, and the eventual image for the plate is often a combination of several transfers. 

Achieving the soft edges of the figures on the aquatint plate involves a lot of delicate work around the stencils. As ever with printmaking, there is a high degree of unpredictability in the process.  

 


                                          The two plates for the Skelpies

The complexity and subtlety achieved in just two layers demonstrate Theresa’s skill and sensitivity. ‘I love the discovery of a different medium…it’s never-ending… all the ancient skills mix with the new…’ 

Theresa has also responded creatively to the limitations imposed by the pandemic, by beginning to teach Zoom.  She is currently running a project in dry point. She sends a batch of materials to the student, who then makes the dry point image and returns it by post, indicating where textures are required.  Theresa runs the print through the press and then has a Zoom conversation with the student to discuss the outcome.   As she observes, it is a method she could easily continue with anyone unable to come to her London studio, regardless of lockdowns.  

As she takes a call from a student during my visit, I can vouch for her supportive and encouraging teaching style.  You can find out more about her workshops here: https://www.theresapateman.co.uk/printmaking-workshops

A wide range of Theresa’s work is on show at Southbank Printmakers Gallery at Gabriel’s Wharf, on London’s Southbank, where she is currently the Featured Artist, as well as on our website https://www.southbankprintmakers.com/theresa-pateman

 Theresa can also be contacted at theresapateman@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

Friday, 13 March 2020

Sandra Haney Exhibition 2020 April 16-19


Sandra's website

 Coddiwomple "To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination"
Since exhibiting with Southbank Printmakers in June 2019 I have been working on a series of Coddiwomple prints. Coddiwomple describes my approach to painting, printmaking and life in general. I did not have the finished images in mind when I set out to make these prints. Every Coddiwomple print evolved through a series of decisions made along the way, and each print is unique.


Layering and juxtaposing shapes, these one-offs have been created by individually inking and printing vintage wooden letterpress type, paying attention to composition, colour and mark-making. Some developed over many months, some were shorter trips, where I reached a satisfying destination sooner.


Letters and numbers were chosen for their shapes and aesthetic qualities. Images have been made by overprinting whole or parts of the letters and numbers so that they do not function to be read as such, but as elements of an image. I am fascinated with the interaction of colour, shape and texture in a variety of compositions which are open to interpretation.

By way of contrast, alongside the Coddiwomple prints I am showing a collection of images on the theme of Trees, (side wall), where the final images were anticipated before printing. These prints were created by relief and intaglio methods from initial drawings.


From 31st March we will be open

Mon to Fri and Sunday:  11.30 to 6.30pm Saturdays: 10 to 8pm

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

An encounter with HIL SCOTT

                     Hil Scott                         




For the second in our series of articles about members of Southbank Printmakers and their techniques, I visited Hil Scott in a former piano factory.  She has had a small print studio in this characterful Victorian building for twenty years.  It is, Hil says, ‘small but perfectly formed…it has everything I need, and the company of a friend.’





A highly experienced printmaker, Hil makes haunting photo etchings of the changing face of London, as well as lyrical images of the natural world. 



 Eye above wobbly bridge

 
 Eye above tree

Hil has been a member of Southbank Printmakers for six years, but her printmaking career stretches back much further. She made her first lino cut at around six years old, at a class given by two artists who lived in her Kent village. She has been printing ever since, and went on to study at the City and Guilds School of Art in Kennington, while also raising a family.  ‘I learned etching and stone lithography, wood and copper engraving.  Hil has always worked, combining her art practice with her landscape gardening business. ‘I have almost always had at least one solo exhibition a year.’

Hil is a remarkably versatile printmaker. ‘I have been intrigued and fascinated by printmaking of all kinds and have used most forms, intaglio, wood cut and wood engraving, lino cut, silk screen and lithography. More recently, I have been working with photo etching, and now solar etching.

On the day of my visit, Hil was making a new edition of an etching from a plate she made more than 20 years ago – a stunning drawing of an ancient olive tree. 





The standard etching technique involves creating an image on a metal plate by coating the plate with wax, then drawing into that ‘ground’ with a needle or similar tool. The drawing has to be made back to front. The plate is then immersed in acid, to ‘bite’ the exposed image into the metal where the needle has removed the protective wax coating.  The rest of the wax is removed, and then printing ink is worked into the lines etched into the metal.




                        



The excess ink is carefully removed to reveal all the details.



The plate is then run through the printing press to make the edition, on paper which has been thoroughly soaked and blotted beforehand.



In recent years Hil has been inspired by the profound changes in the face of London, in areas  such as King’s Cross; ‘the demolition of buildings and the rebuilding of new, the movement of people through the city and the oddities of detail and reflection and strange corners that occur in a large city.’  She now has quite an archive showing how locations have evolved over the years, from demolition, through dereliction to re-development.

To capture all of this, Hil took up photo etching, which she sometimes combines with a drawn element.  In this technique, the plate is covered in a photo sensitive emulsion. An image is drawn and/or printed onto clear acetate film. This is laid onto the plate which is then exposed to ultraviolet light. Where the light is blocked by the opaque positive image, the coating remains soft and can be developed away, exposing the metal plate, ready for the acid bath.  



Reflected cranes, print and plate

 Blackfriars bridge, nightime lazered
Etching is as prone to technical hitches as any form of printmaking, but Hil takes a relaxed approach, finding ways of making a ‘mistake’ work for her.  ‘I’ve never been a perfectionist’  ‘Oh, we’ve got foul bite again… hey ho’ she says.   While it might sound like a medieval affliction, foul bite is the effect of tiny amounts of acid leaking through the ground to create minor pitting on the surface. In the case of Hil’s olive tree, it adds an extra element of texture to the print. There’s a lot to be said for the pragmatic approach when dealing with something as unpredictable as printmaking.

Hil is putting in the hours at the moment, in the run up to showing work at the Affordable Art Fair in March, with several other Southbank members:  https://www.northlondonprintmakers.com and she will be participating in the Pullens Yards Open Studios in Kennington in June: http://pullensopen.org/
Her beautiful work can of course be seen all year round at the Southbank Printmakers Gallery at Gabriel’s Wharf, and on her own website:  http://www.haphashad.co.uk/
Check back in with us in April for a special edition of this blog when I will be covering Southbank Printmakers'  20th Anniversary exhibition in Richmond upon Thames.  
Alison Lumb