Thursday, 28 September 2017

prints, prints, prints!

cutting the design straight to plate
© Teresa Newham

#HertsOpenStudios 2017  is nearly finished -  Sue and I will be open this Saturday 30th September (see side panel for details), and the event ends completely on Sunday.  We've already had lots of visitors and are looking forward to welcoming more on our final day.  The Open Studios brochure clearly states that demonstrations will be done at Wensley Arts - so here's a peek at what I've been doing so far!

printing up the design in plain green
© Teresa Newham

People like to see printmaking in action, so I decided to make an olive branch print on an offcut of softcut lino. Ignoring the design I'd drafted in my sketchbook, I made the cut straight onto the plate, allowing for the reversing out of the image.  This year I've been doing some actual printing while our studio is open; space is limited but the design was small and I was quite pleased with the first results:

the design in green - and in silver
© Teresa Newham

At this stage I had no idea which way up the print was meant to be, but one of our visitors reckoned portrait, so who am I to argue? I cut some out some of the leaves from the plate, printed over some of the silver prints in rich olive green, and also inked this second cut onto plain white paper - all while meeting and greeting our guests.  Note the essential tools of the trade: ink, rollers, palette knife and that ever-present cup of tea . . .

getting a little more complicated . . .
© Teresa Newham

At this point quite a few different sets of prints were littering the house - usually they dry in the studio, but it's full of exhibits. Visitors passed the ones I was working on drying in the living room as they came through to our studio in the dining room beyond; by now I had cut some more of the lino away and was overprinting in a darker shade of green:

. . .and even more so!
© Teresa Newham

I've ended up with four versions of the olive:  two shades of green on white, two shades of green on silver, one green on white and one green on silver - in addition to the plain green and plain silver ones (which now look very plain indeed).  And I have another demo up my sleeve for Saturday . . . Sue and I would love to see you if you can make it!

a variety of results
© Teresa Newham

Friday, 15 September 2017

Welcome to Wensley Arts!

brushes and pencils arranged artfully on the studio windowsill
© Teresa Newham

#HertsOpenStudios has begun!  I can't quite believe that we are three sessions in already - this time last week my dining room was still a dining room, while my studio resembled the usual dumping ground for anything vaguely arty, including brochures and empty card racks and browsers.  I'd moved a few things around and arranged an eclectic mix of paintbrushes, pencils, plants and other bits and pieces on the studio windowsill, but that was pretty much it.

dining room and studio waiting to be transformed
© Teresa Newham

As Sue and I have done Open Studios here together twice now, we know beforehand how we're going to divide up the space and lay things out; it's just a question of actually doing it.  Which I finally got around to last Friday evening, having spent the afternoon finding temporary homes for a number of ornaments, a keyboard, three orchids and several chairs, amongst other things.

my work on display
© Teresa Newham

In this house, Open Studios isn't just about exhibiting art, or chatting to visitors, or offering cups of tea.  It's another enormous jigsaw - this time with pieces of furniture - or perhaps a treasure hunt would be a better analogy.  Where's the toolbox? in a kitchen cupboard.  Where's the wine rack? in the spare room. In my enthusiasm for creating space for art, I find new homes for things and then can't remember where I put them - last year two candle holders only saw the light of day again at Christmas.

Sue's work in the dining room
© Teresa Newham

Bit by bit, it comes flooding back - where to hide things, how to show things; where to dry off the soaking wet signage and bunting (well, we have had a lot of rain); which of our visitors prefer herbal tea or gluten free cake; who likes to chat and who likes to be left to browse.  I know that around 3.15pm every afternoon, Sue will declare that the watercolour she's been working on as a demo piece is only fit for the bin; by 5pm she thinks it might be viable after all; and by the time she arrives for the following session she'll be planning to mount and possibly frame it.

the living room is not usually this crowded. . .!
© Teresa Newham

Sue knows that I will be attempting to demonstrate some aspect of printmaking, and  I'll be making it up as I go along, convinced it could all go horribly wrong at any moment.  I rather enjoy experimenting during Open Studios, when most sensible artists will show the public something tried and tested and accomplished - and if things do go well I then have to find somewhere to dry the successful prints because of course my studio - where I'd normally dry them - is full of my exhibits.  So the prints go into the spare room along with everything else . . .

space for a demo on the dining room table
© Teresa Newham

There's been some lovely people through the door already - friends old and new, some regulars, some not.  We have three Saturdays and one Wednesday session left -  hope to see you here!

#HertsOpenStudios runs until 1st October - see the side panel of this blog for details of Wensley Arts and find the brochure here for details of other artists' opening times!