Archives for posts with tag: Ochre Print Studio

Enclosure is a word that has connotations of the comfort of an embrace and also the isolation of the prison yard.

In my thinking around ideas of paradise it reflects the dilemma of accepting sanctuary but also confinement.

Expulsion from Eden was surely a release not a punishment, for in reality the delights of an earthly paradise where all is provided and nothing changes would not satisfy our hungry curiosity and need for stimulation.

The exhibition ‘Enclosure’ at Danielle Arnaud covered similar opposing themes.

Gabriela Schutz’s wall sized graphite drawings ‘Holyland’ capture the bleak beauty of a territory divided by religious belief.

Gabriela Schutz - Holyland (Beit Arye)

Gabriela Schutz – Holyland (Beit Arye)

Particularly emotionally charged at the moment with the terrifying escalation of animosity and violence that the people caught between these fragile borders are suffering.

From stark realism to enchanted fantasy. Sarah Woodfine seduces us with glitter and glass in a sealed world.

Sarah Woodfine Castle

Sarah Woodfine Castle

But this is a grey landscape, a place of possibly macabre incarceration.

Also alluringly claustrophobic are Stephen Walter’s dense drawings of woodland. The eye scans the scene for an opening, as if you were within the wood hearing a sudden crack in the undergrowth…

Stephen Walter - Of This Wood Men Shall Know Nothing

Stephen Walter – Of This Wood Men Shall Know Nothing

Walter’s witty idea of using a hagioscope to scan the intensely detailed map of his invented ‘Nova Utopia’ is good fun.

The back history that he has established in his conception of this world is obsessive.

It has some of the same social and cultural grammatics  that Grayson Perry uses in his contemporary commentaries on society.

Stephen Walter - Nova Utopia

Stephen Walter – Nova Utopia

The circular peephole can be manually slid across the map revealing new zones and topographies. It is not a world view but a segmented journey across the land as through an ancient voyagers telescope.

Marion Coutts also edits her landscape to a vignette. With laborious care she removes the borders from the frame of the film leaving behind a floating island.

Marion Coutts - Everglade

Marion Coutts – Everglade

Only subtle movement within the image reveals it to be a film rather than a static projection.

My pieces ‘Would’ (1&2) hung for the Summer exhibition at Ochre Print Studio have a layered translucent surface which adds suggested movement.

1407 SAOS

This work reflects the aura of an imagined event.

2014 Would

A magical space, like an abandoned walled garden.

1407 Henstead Garden

The remnants from an age of explorers who brought back the first examples of exotic flora now thriving in the Suffolk landscape.

1407 Henstead Garden 3

Just a few miles from where I was born is the Henstead Exotic Garden.

Planted 10 years ago by Andrew Brogan it seems impossible that these sun worshippers would survive those icy easterly winds from Siberia that gave us all chilblains.

1407 Henstead Garden 2

I have met a lot of special people at the RCA – the graduates of printmaking 2014 are ALL amazing people

Here is some of their work

Vangeli Moschopoulos

Vangeli Moschopoulos

Sophia Jones

Sophia Jones

Rei Matsushima

Rei Matsushima

Pauline Emond

Pauline Emond

Pauline Emond

Pauline Emond

Jian Zhou

Jian Zhou

James Seow

James Seow

Holly Graham

Holly Graham

Hadas Auerbach

Hadas Auerbach

Gabriele Dini

Gabriele Dini

Danny Augustine

Danny Augustine

Chud Clowes

Chud Clowes

Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee

Christian Jaskolka

Christian Jaskolka

Ben Zawalich

Ben Zawalich

Theo Eriera-Guyer

Theo Eriera-Guyer

Anastasia Mina

Anastasia Mina

Alice Gauthier

Alice Gauthier

Weixin Chong

Weixin Chong

Sad to see them move on but hopefully to amazing new adventures.

It was a privilege to help with all the prep work involved in setting up the show. Now we know what to expect next year…

1407 Show prep

Such a buzz when the whole college comes together

1407 Team work

A strange bubble of expectation is created

1407 Show 2014

To see a short film of SHOW2014 click on this link

One room which stood out for me at Show2014 was a collaboration between two artists Marlene Steyn and Abraham Kritzman

1407 Abraham Kritzman Marlene Steyn 3

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

It wasn’t clear who made which pieces but the room worked as a whole

1407 Abraham Kritzman Marlene Steyn 1

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

1407 Abraham Kritzman Marlene Steyn 6

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

1407 Abraham Kritzman Marlene Steyn 2

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

1407 Abraham Kritzman Marlene Steyn 4

so much to engage with

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

Abraham Kritzman and Marlene Steyn

and from the RCA jewellery department the talent of Max Danger –

Max Danger

Max Danger

Bees are precious as demonstrated in these beautiful pieces

Max Danger - Bees

Max Danger – Worker Bees

with an eye on the ecological importance of bees as well as a sense of humour

Max Danger  - Robot Bee

Max Danger – Robot Bee

Confinement. I don’t like boundaries that restrict and I don’t want to lose being an artist to being a printmaker.

I don’t really like a show that is put together based on process yet I seem to be more and more being involved with such projects.

I went to see IMPRESS at the Courtauld Gallery Somerset House – the strapline was Print Making expanded in contemporary art.

Some works were as clunky as the premise, and no show transports you when there are wires marking your viewing boundaries and officious invigilators watching your every move.

Nicky Hirst - Wall 1

Nicky Hirst – Wall 1

Filigree in silver onto a printed circuit board – Cornelia Parker and silver work well together

Cornelia Parker - Small Thought

Cornelia Parker – Small Thought

A favourite was the impressions of controlled combustions taken onto photo-sensitive paper of spores from lycopodium plants.

Raphael Hefti - from the Lycopodium Series

Raphael Hefti – from the Lycopodium Series

Definitely an opening here for the imagination.


Saw Chimerica, an amazing new play by Lucy Kirkwood. It is a powerful exploration of two cultures – China and America.
We are taken back to the student protests of 1989 in Tiananmen Square and follow the search of an American photographer, who took the iconic shot of the student standing with his shopping bags in front of the tank, as he tries to discover the identity of  ‘tank man’.

The fate still remains unknown of the unarmed man who blocked a column of tanks as they moved along Chang’an Avenue towards Tiananmen Square.

1306 Chimerica 3

The script is very tight, funny and moving, playing out  a touching relationship between the photographer and his Chinese contact as they question their roles in history.

There are questions about cultural identity and personal responsibility.

Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood

Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood

Who is a hero and how can one voice rage against the machine.  I found it a little scary to contemplate the future in this context as China is such a hard country to relate to and it’s influence is spreading quietly across the world.

In China there seems little compassion for the individual.

Yet obviously there are individuals who raise their voices, people we can relate to in their desire for justice, for free speech and for clean air.

Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood

Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood

Chimerica explores the courage required to step outside the control of the state and the security of a job.

It also makes us wonder about the dramatic changes to the landscape, the explosion of consumerism and urbanisation and the sources of energy to power this explosion in growth.

1306 China coal

The ideas behind Chimerica can be found at

1306 smog

I have always loved the work of Antii Laitinen since being introduced to his work by Nettie Horn Gallery.

I went to listen to him at the ICA in conversation with Elizabeth Neilson, Director of Zabludowicz Collection, and Harri Laakso, a co-curator of the Finnish Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale.

He undertakes extraordinary feats of endurance to make his art such as building his own island from bags of sand, only to have it swept away by a storm and then starting again.

Antii Laitinen 'It's my Island'

Antii Laitinen
‘It’s my Island’

In his talk  he stressed that he uses nature as his material and his studio space and what he is exploring is the nature of human existence. He questions the value of effort which stems from his native Finnish culture and its Lutheran attitude to the benefits of hard labour. In ‘Sweat work’ he constructed a human sized hamster wheel and ran until he was dripping in sweat, he then removed his clothes and laid down onto photographic paper.

Antii Laitinen 'Sweat Work'

Antii Laitinen
‘Sweat Work’

The photographs were then hung on the wall where the image of his body slowly faded and disappeared.

Antii Laitinen 'Sweat work'

Antii Laitinen ‘Sweat work’

Each of his pieces has required physical exertion in often futile exercises. Originally training as a photographer he moved into performative work which he then documents himself through photography.

He likes to be in control. He prefers if possible to perform all the hard labour himself.

There was an interesting discussion on the reaction of different cultures to his sawing up of a tree into many pieces and then trying to fix it back together again like a puzzle. In Finland where there are vast forests and there is a pragmatic relationship to a tree and he had no problem getting any number of trees to chop down. In Vienna he caused an outcry at the stupidity of his endeavour. In Bristol he had real trouble getting a tree at all, and the tree he was finally given was a very small tree, barely a tree at all, weak and diseased. What is it that makes it hard for us to chop down a tree. The shortage of trees or the love of the old, a national instinct to preserve maybe.
What was it that mobilised the nation into protest recently – the threat to the forests. We might never visit them – but it’s good to know they are there. Our cultural history is tied up in the forests not as a source of fuel and income but as a refuge, as a source of myths and legends.

Antii Laitinen

Antii Laitinen

For the project “FOREST SQUARE”, new work made for the Venice Biennale 2013, Laitinen chopped down a ten meters square section of forest and sorted the entire found material such as the soil, moss, wood, pines, etc into various categories. He then reorganized the forest according to different colours – the composition referring to the pure abstraction and utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order from the De Stijl movement.

Antii Laitinen 'Forest Square'

Antii Laitinen ‘Forest Square’

I am still working on the collagraphs  ‘return of the forest’ and still not entirely happy with the way it is going.

I have been painting trees with sublimation inks to print onto organza which I will then cut onto the iceberg collagraphs I have made.

The thing about sublimation inks is you can’t quite tell what colour they will print until you put them in the heat press.

130701 (2)

I was upset to find out that London Printworks Trust had closed in February.

It is so sad that such a great resource is lost. I did think it bad though that as a paying member I hadn’t been told it was closing, I guess as they were in financial difficulties they weren’t going to refund memberships.

Now I have to find another large heat press to use.

The Ochre Print Studio Summer Exhibition had lots of good feedback. Shame I had to miss the Private View this year.

Susan Eyre 'Yellow Sky'

Susan Eyre ‘Yellow Sky’

‘Yellow Sky’ is about looking for refuge and reliance on a controlled environment to survive

Susan Eyre 'Graft i'

Susan Eyre ‘Graft i’

‘Graft I’ explores ideas about the changing landscape, the urban and the cultivated space, the hybrid landscapes and the empty inbetween spaces where imagination can flourish if nothing else.

Lots to see from other members and guest artists. It’s a good opportunity to bring the community at Ochre together.
Tom Hammick

Guest artists -Tom Hammick – woodcuts

Richenda Court's lino cut

Richenda Court’s lino cuts

Julie Hoyle

Julie Hoyle screen prints on wood

Lockwood Group

Lockwood Group artists with learning disabilities

Anna Hennings - artist in residence

Anna Hennings – artist in residence

Guest Artist - David Dragon - monoprints

Guest Artist – David Dragon – monoprints


Susan Eyre 'Subluna'

Susan Eyre ‘Subluna’


Sold ‘Subluna’ at Ochre and also some of my ‘Collected Thoughts’ sold at the Surrey Contemporary.
Always a strange mixed feeling of loss and pleasure.

I have been looking at moss. It gets everywhere.

1306 mossy trees

I found an interesting blog that puts moss in context historically…

‘This soft plant pre-dates just about everything that surrounds it…older than ginkgo, older than Turtle Island, older than the very first tree, quite possibly older than the dirt itself.

The moss pre-dates the very notion of history.  Because the moss comes from an Earth that would be completely unrecognizable to you and me, completely alien even to the trees themselves.’  Read more…

1306 mossy wall

Then thanks to Giovanni Aloi Founder and Editor in Chief of Antennae, the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture my attention was brought to the news that ancient mosses are returning.

‘Frozen mosses that were buried under glaciers 400 years ago have now been regrown. Surprisingly, the hardy “bryophytes” required no special techniques to regenerate. That means they might be candidates for colonizing extreme environments — even in space.  During the Little Ice Age, which occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, massive glaciers moved in and covered various regions in the Northern Hemisphere. These glaciers slowly retreated throughout the 20th century, and the rate of ice melt has sharply accelerated since 2004. The substantial glacial retreat is now revealing beautifully preserved vegetative communities, says Catherine La Farge, a bryophyte botanist at the University of Alberta. “It’s kind of like a blanket being pulled back, allowing you to see what the Little Ice Age was like.” ‘ Read more…

1306 Moss

So maybe my work should be looking at ‘Return of the Moss’ not ‘Return of the Forest’.

It’s not quite such a dramatic image. I have been looking at some impressions of the first trees, there were a bit fern like.

Fern looks so primordial. I have been working on making stencils to screen print over the ice collagraph. Using the scans from the ferns I pressed I have added an embryo as a harbinger of what is to come.

1306 Embryo

Every summer Ochre Print Studio opens its doors for an Open Studio Exhibition and I usually help curate this.

Lots of work arrives from all the members. We line it up and start looking for connections.

Ochre Print Studio

Ochre Print Studio

Also need to fit my own work in.

Yellow Sky

Yellow Sky

Subluna and Graft i

Subluna and Graft i

Went to see ‘Disgraced’ at the Bush Theatre. Set in New York. Today. Corporate lawyer Amir Kapoor is happy, in love and about to land the biggest career promotion of his life. But beneath the veneer, success has come at a price. When Amir and his artist wife, Emily, host an intimate dinner party at their Upper East Side apartment, what starts out as a friendly conversation soon escalates into something far more damaging.’

Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

This blog from Paul in London sums it up nicely

‘Over the course of 90 minutes everything that is civilised and awfully respectable about two New York couples is gradually undone and at times the conversation is so frank and uncomfortable ‘. ……Read more

The characters reflected a fast retreat to their roots when under pressure, to the lessons of their parents to shared histories and a sense of belonging.

It seems origins are very important and potent.

Look at the moss slowly spreading, changing the climate and allowing new growth and eventually the advent of man.

It was a good exercise for me to give a talk at the Robert Phillips Gallery in conjunction with the Surrey Contemporary 2013.  Time to think about my own origins and how they influence my work. I dragged out old sketchbooks and notes to refresh myself on the ideas that have led me to this point.

I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to talk for. I started by talking a little about my own background – growing up in the countryside – living in the city and how this has made me very conscious of the difference between my contact with nature then and now. Also the influences of the ecological call to arms on my feelings about the natural world and my love of the urban landscape.



 ‘Binformation’ always provokes lots of discussion so that was a good piece to be able to discuss. Rubbish is remarkably personal, it’s something we all produce relentlessly and often harbour guilt about. So it can be comforting to think that maybe in millennia that layer of plastic will turn into something beautiful to be mined.

While doing a bit of research for my talk at Riverhouse I went back to some old sketchbooks from Goldsmiths days and pulled out his quote that I had come across at the time. Those feelings that once everything was better go back a long way.

 “One thing is sure. The earth is now more cultivated and developed than ever before. There is more farming with pure force, swamps are drying up, and cities are springing up on unprecedented scale. We’ve become a burden to our planet. Resources are becoming scarce, and soon nature will no longer be able to satisfy our needs.” Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus Roman theologian, 200 AD

I have been falling in love with Angela Carter again. Reading ‘Nothing Sacred’ and marvelling at her insight of 40 years ago.

1306 angela carter

Writing on the discovery of the idea of the Sublime she looks at the industrial landscape of Bradford and notes the seductive attraction of grit and grime heralded by the art-house films of the fifties appealing to the romantic who was not born and bred in a back to back house.

‘The history of taste may well be that of the obscure and probably warped predilections of the bourgeois romantic intellectual gradually filtering down through the mass media until everybody knows for certain what they ought to like. After all, only a handful of eccentrics enjoyed mountains until a mountain got up and followed Wordsworth across a lake’.  New Society 1970

Despite the urban growth and industry of the northern city she finds there is still a direct contact with nature in the markets of Doncaster – ‘It’s cold and wet underfoot, here.’

‘Outside, among the fruit and vegetable stalls, it had started to rain in earnest and the cabbage stalks and shed lettuce leaves were turning to soup in the puddles. It’s very tiring, not being alienated from your environment.’

New Society 1976

London Art Fair.

Hadn’t been before. It felt manageable though we didn’t go round all of it. Headed straight to the Art Projects Space.

Bearspace had a good spot and were showing Suzanne Moxhay’s enigmatic photographs.

Susanne Moxhay

Suzanne Moxhay

I love the way her photos are staged. I have been looking at other artists that use a similar process of building sets to photograph.

Didier Massard (2)

Didier Massard

Didier Massard for example. I stumbled across a blog about his work a while ago.

Edwin Zwakman

Edwin Zwakman

Other artists are mentioned in this blog one of which is Edwin Zwakman who constructs miniature landscapes to photograph entirely from memory. Through his process all places and objects morph into new variations. Scale and perspective change. The images do not show what you could photograph but how you experience them.

I like this idea and so for the new collagraph I am making I thought I would try this approach.  Is it possible to see something in your mind that isn’t constructed from things you have actually seen and to see that immediately as a sudden flash.  My ideas seem to grow slowly in my mind, fermenting over time and then suddenly they seem ready to go from there to a very rough sketch to a plan of action.

I am aiming for a scene of desolation, a dystopic landscape – a clearing reduced to ruins. Then a last refuge. I see this as a glass house, a protected environment for things to grow.

I have bought some A1 card for the plate and am experimenting with making structures from paper and card. I am planning eventually to insert the glasshouse as a shallow 3D model into the collagraph. Eventually made from acetate and filled with sublimation printed organza images.

I have taken up key holder membership at Ochre Print Studio. This gives me full-time access to the studio so I have more time to experiment and be playful with my work. It is great to feel the whole day stretching out ahead of you without the worry of clearing up almost as soon as you have got started. I am a slow worker so I need this.

I also bought an easel with some birthday money. My studio has had a big clear out and one side looks refreshed and ready for a new episode in my work. Other side still piled up but progress is being made.

I was able to get lots of tips on different ways to print collagraphs from Katherine Jones course at Ochre.

Katherine Jones Stove

Katherine Jones ‘Stove’ Etching and collagraph on paper

Katie was really helpful and her work is beautiful. I love her colours.  She creates a wonderful ephemeral light in her work. She has done a series on conservatories. It felt a bit weird to discover this as it looks like I was copying her.

Stove is a reference to John Paxton’s ‘Great Stove’, a hothouse built and designed for the gardens of Chatsworth House in the 1800s which was later dismantled.

I asked her if she had come across Frank Stainbridge in her research about hothouses but she hadn’t. One day I will try to find out if the extraordinary stories about him are true.

It was encouraging for us to see how many prints Katie made from one plate before she was happy, changing the colours, adding and removing sections until it all came together.

Collagraph Plate

I have got my collagraph plate to a point where I want to see how it prints.

Collagraph relief

I made an impression of the print on card ready to cut as a relief print to add layers.

While thoughts of the forest and the bestial freedom that Vico wrote about in his ‘New Science’ are in my mind these thoughts have been reinforced by Haruki Murakami in 1Q84 which is my novel on the go at the moment.

The character Tengo reads passages from Anton Chekov’s Sakhalin Island to Fuka-Eri. Chekov writes about his encounters with the indigenous people, the Gilyaks (now known as Nivhk) ‘….they do not understand the purpose of roads. Even where a road has already been laid, they will still journey through the taiga. One often sees them, their families and their dogs, picking their way across a quagmire right by the roadway.’

Fuka-Eri warns Tengo of the Little People’s wisdom and power – that it might cause him harm. ‘Better be careful in the forest. Tengo found himself looking at his surroundings. True, the forest was their world.’