1 February 2017

Print show at the Mill

I entered a print for the current exhibition at the Mill, the community space in Coppermill Lane, and they asked for a website link - so I thought I would write something about the prints on show. The Mill isn't a commercial gallery and their criteria are simply that the artworks should be by local people, any age or degree of expertise. The results are quite impresssive, a fascinating sample of what creatively-minded people are doing in Walthamstow.

A lot of the prints are done with well-established traditional techniques, screen printing and all the print methods using a printing press: lino and woodblock prints, etchings and intaglio (must find out what that is). A few simply sent in a drawing. It's fascinating just trying to work out how some of the effects were created. I was evidently not the only person who looked for a way to produce a print without actually having a printing press. Several of the images are monoprints - a technique that can be as simple as using typist's carbon paper to transfer a drawing, and one exhibitor has done just that, creating a lifelike image of their dog. Others use the more traditional method of rolling out printing ink on a sheet of glass, laying paper lightly on top of the wet ink, and drawing or pressing on the back so that the image is formed by the contact of paper and ink, a nice smudgy or grainy effect rather than crisp hard lines. Surprisingly, there is not a single potato print.

My own effort (pictured) is only partly a print. I only had black and red acrylic paint so that dictated the colour scheme. The patterns are made by squeezing paint between two sheets of glass so that it spreads out into a thin layer, then when you pull the sheets of glass apart the paint naturally forms amazing fractal patterns. Lay stiff cartridge paper over the paint, smooth it down gently, and the patterns transfer on to the paper. I made a dozen or more of these, and spread them out on the kitchen table to decide how to use them. I cut out shapes and tried different ideas until I got to this abstract arrangement, then glued them onto black card. It looks decidedly worrying - someone said they looked like healthy and diseased lungs - and I don't think it will get hung up at home when the exhibition is over.

The exhibition Ink, Press, Go! opened on Monday and runs until 11 March.

More information on the Mill website