To coincide with Suffolk Open Studios we are running printmaking taster sessions, 2 and a half hour morning sessions to give you a quick flavour of the different techniques. Book courses individually or choose a selection to build your own printmaking course!
All day courses are from 10am to 12.30pm. No previous experience required. Tea/coffee and all materials included. £25 All bookings on our website.
Unleash your creativity, experiment with something different, develop a new skill and try one of our introductory printmaking courses! The day courses are held in our well equipped light filled first floor studio except the Drypoint course where in August we will be in the spacious upstairs gallery at the historic Fisher Theatre in Bungay.
Great morning today with all the folks at Fisher Arts and Social Club
It was their first dabble with drypoint. Out of the block at 10.30am a quick demonstration and everyone created a print they were proud to take home. All in just two hours.
Fisher Arts and Social Club was founded by Sophie last year. They provide creative sessions for mature people and their carers. They are dementia friendly and wheelchair accessible. The group meets each Thursday morning at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. The goal of each session is to provide the perfect mix of art, cake, friends and laughter !
Unleash your creativity, experiment with something different, develop a new skill and try one of our introductory printmaking courses! Limited to just four students and held in our well equipped light filled first floor studio to make sure that you get the best out of your day.
Pinhole photography is the term used to describe photography executed without a lens. Instead it uses the camera obscura effect where an upside down mirror image is formed on a surface in a darkened space by light passing through a small pinhole from an external scene.
Film and photographic papers
Pinhole photography can be executed onto standard photochemical film which is then processed in the normal way and prints can then be made with an enlarger. However the ability to cheaply make large format pinhole cameras makes it suitable for the creation of images directly onto black and white photographic paper. With standard photographic paper the developed image will be a mirror and a negative image. This image can be reversed by taking a contact print using a second sheet of photographic paper. The end result will be a positive image which is also the right way round. Alternatively you can use special direct positive photographic paper. This will result in a positive image in one exposure but it will however still be a mirror image.
One of the best things about pinhole photography is that you don’t need an expensive camera, in fact you don’t need a camera at all ! A lightproof container , a pinhole and a sheet of photographic paper is all you need!. You can use any old box, paint tin , old wardrobe, garden shed or almost anything as a pinhole camera.
Exposures can be worked out (a bit) but mostly its a good amount of trial and error. The photographs that you get from a pinhole camera are very governed by the size and geometry of the light proof container you have chosen, the pinhole size, the length of the exposure and the distance from the pinhole to the photographic paper. One thing you don’t have to worry about is focussing! No lens means no need to focus , everything is in focus, you have an infinite depth of field!
The crudeness and the visual distortions of the images are all part of the pleasure of pinhole photography, something to be embraced and exploited rather than something to try and design out. It is of course possible to adapt high end digital cameras to take pinhole images but it is perhaps missing the point. Pinhole photography is not just about the technical use of a very small hole rather than a lens to create an image. It is an invitation to embrace a fun low tech way of exploring how to create photographic images !
George Davison was born in Kirkley, (19 September 1855). He was the fourth child of William Davison, a shipwright and carpenter, originally from Sunderland. His mother, Eliza, (born Miller) supplemented the family income by running their home and the next door property as a boarding house. The houses numbers 36 and 37 Marine Parade still stand to this day. At the time they would have been newly constructed as part of Morton Peto’s masterplan for Lowestoft.
George attended a local elementary school before going on to the secondary school, St John’s, Lowestoft. He continued his studies at evening classes and by the age of 20 had passed exams to enter the civil service. He moved to London in 1875 to take up a position at Somerset House.
Success as a photographer
At the age of 31 George Davison became interested in photography and joined the “New Camera Club of London” . Within a year he exhibited eight photographs in the 1886 annual exhibition for the Royal Photographic Society. This included two images of Lowestoft Harbour.
In 1887 he exhibited a further seven photographs. The next year he included a Fishing Fleet image as one of his six exhibits. In 1889 he included a photograph of Lowestoft Harbour at sunset as one of his twelve images.
By 1890 George Davison had turned away from purely naturalistic photography and begun to experiment with different techniques. He developed an interest in the use of pinhole cameras to create more painterly and artistic effects. Using a pinhole camera he created a photograph of an old farmstead, later titled “The Onion Field” With its crude paper and strong painterly image it caused both aclaim and controversy when it was exhibited as one of 13 of his photographs at the Royal Photographic society in 1890. As a result of the controversy George left the Royal society and co-founded “The Brotherhood of the Linked Ring “ A photographic society which was dedicated to “bringing together those who are interested in the development of the highest form of Art of which Photography is capable” The society flourished until 1910.
Meanwhile George’s passion for photography had introduced him to George Eastman a successful businessman and photographer. This allowed him to leave the civil service in 1897 and ultimately led him to a position as a director at Kodak. One of his first projects with George Eastman was to help popularise photography through organising an amateur photographic competition in 1897. This was a huge success attracting to the exhibition of the winning entries over 25,000 visitors in just three weeks. George Davison continued to exhibit photographs until 1911. He remains one of the most important pre First World War British photographers.
One of George’s photographs from this period in the Kodak Collection at the National Science & Media Museum is a panoramic photograph of the Lowestoft seafront taken in 1905. Whilst not a pinhole image it was taken with a No 4 Panoram Kodak camera, (introduced in 1899) illustrating his continuing fascination with exploring new techniques.
Alongside his success as a photographer George’s passion and commitment to social reforms led him to start an anarchist magazine. A step too far for Kodak, he was asked to step down from the position as director in 1908. In 1912 George retired from Kodak at the age of 58, moving to Harlech in Wales.He had commissioned a mansion “Wern Fawr” designed by an architect friend a few years earlier.
In Wales George Davison further developed his zeal for social reform. He used his considerable wealth as a shareholder of Kodak to help fund the Central Labour College in London and also the “White House“ in Ammanford, a study centre for welsh miners. The White House nurtured many left wing political activists who went on to become both committed first world war pacifists and early members of the emerging labour and communist parties.
Ill health later forced George Davison to move to move to Antibes in Southern France in 1930 where he died later that year.
A successful and really productive day in the studio running our first introduction to Drypoint course.
Each student produced at least four drypoint plates using a mixture of drypoint plastic and drypoint card. The students executed initial exploratory mark making on the different materials using a variety of tools. These included carbide and steel tipped stylus’s, roulette wheels, halftone rakes ,sandpaper and wire wool. Learning from these tests the students went one to successfully produce prints using both drypoint plate media. Their resulting designs reflecting their own individual visual style.
The closeness of the basic drypoint technique to drawing together with the variety of additional mark making techniques resulted in a clutch of very strong images. Expectations as to what could be achieved in just 6 hours were exceeded.
Many thanks to our students for making it a great day! To join us on an upcoming course see available dates.
We have spent some time today making drypoint images using drypoint card rather than the usual clear plastic. The drypoint card we are using is sold by Intaglio Printmakers in London. It is a medium thickness dense white card with a thin plastic coating on the printing surface.
We tend to use the drypoint plastic more as we like freely drawing using a tool as one would with a pencil or charcoal. Repeated loose lines can build up on the plastic easily and can give the effect of a spontaneous drawing. However we had decided it was time to explore different techniques. We had already spent an hour or two the other day exploring marks with different tools and also blocks of ink that can be made by removing sections of the laminated card.
After doing a couple of still life drawings of household objects we began to feel a bit more at home with the material. Overall we found that we could retain a natural drawing style pretty easily on the card and we like the possibilities that the card provides that plastic doesn’t, namely the option of removing a blanket area to give a blacker inked space and the dense dark lines than can be achieved in the relatively soft card surface.
Four of us spent the day exploring the technique of Kitchen Litho. With spray bottles full of coke and lots of water, wet sponges and sticky oil based Litho ink it’s a fun and a messy business !
We had successfully done a dry run of the technique but with more people doing it together we got our share of mishaps. Problems generally surfaced at the inking up stage where the image became lost under an immovable layer of ink!. Its been a good learning experience and we’ve been back in the studio today to iron out the issues that arose yesterday. The main flaw seems to have been applying too much ink in one go and not using enough water on the plate and the sponge whilst wiping off excess ink. If the roller seems to have barely any ink on it as you apply it to the aluminium foil then that seems a good place to be starting from. Other issues include potential cross contamination of sponges used at different stages of the process and the fragility of the aluminium foil.
Most of the images that we worked on were using soft litho crayons. We also successfully used a children’s wax crayon to achieve finer lines. Overall what came out strongly was the suitability of this printing technique for rapid , gestural drawings.
Today we spent a couple of hours doing our first experiments with the Kitchen Litho technique. Its all well and good reading up accounts of how its done but nothing beats having a go. Blog posts that either elaborated on Emilie’s methods (sandpaper (!) and vinegar ?) , or reported failures, meant that we were beginning to approach our workshop day with a little trepidation. All this was quickly dispelled once we got our hands dirty.
The basic “kitchen” requirements include : Aluminium cooking foil, a glass chopping board, sponges, a bottle of Cola , plenty of kitchen paper and a handheld plastic spray bottle. These were supplemented in our experiments today with a thin sheet of plastic, a pack of Korns soft Lithographic crayons, oil based lithographic ink, an ink roller, blotting paper and a small etching press!
1 Wrap aluminium foil around a thin sheet of wet plastic, matt side out
2 Mark the aluminum foil with a Korns Litho Crayon ( Soft No. 1)
3 Spray the aluminium foil plate with Cola
4 Rinse off Cola with a wet sponge
5 Wipe dry with kitchen roll then pour on a little vegetable oil
6 Use the vegetable oil and a sponge to wipe off the Litho Crayon
7 Wipe off oil with a damp sponge leaving a clean aluminium plate
8 Roll out the Litho ink on the glass chopping board
9 Use a clean sponge to wet the surface of the foil then roll on a thin layer of ink
10 Wipe off excess ink using a sponge
11 Repeat wetting, inking and wiping to leave a well inked plate
12 Place on press, register paper then cover with damp paper, dry newsprint, thin acrylic sheet then thick etching blanket
13 Pass through press with pressure similar to that which you might use for intaglio
14 Remove print and dry flat between blotting paper
15 return to stage 9 for subsequent prints
So the first attempt was successful but lots to learn and improve on. We had read that Litho crayon was the easiest mark making method and there are lots of alternatives to explore. The aluminium foil is also quite fragile so we would like to explore a source for a slightly thicker and stronger one.