Another two block, reduction print, but this time using Ternes Burton registration pins – a world of difference and how on earth I managed before, I really don’t know! This is the first time ever that I have started on a print run of ten and ended up with ten good prints – hurray! The image is of Wistman’s Wood, a particularly twisted and tangled woodland in Dartmoor, in places so dense that it is almost impossible to get through. Everything there seems to be green – the mossy stones, the leaves, the tree trunks – hence the overall green colour of the print.
This is the latest image from my series inspired by the children’s novel, “A Stranger Came Ashore” by Mollie Hunter. In this, the finale, Robbie is standing on the edge of a ‘voe’ (a bay or inlet in the Shetlands) about to be beaten by The Great Selkie when, as promised, his school teacher Yarl Corbie appears in his ‘other’ magical form as a gigantic Raven, and attacks the Selkie, gouging out his eyes and sending him off into the ocean, never to entice the young girls into his underwater palace again.
This was quite a tricky reduction print, using two blocks and a lot of fingers-crossed guesswork! I did also cut a larger (A4) version of the raven to be printed independently.
Ordinarily, my job as a musician runs alongside my work as a visual artist. However, these are not ordinary times and, as such, I haven’t been able to perform with the band for almost a year now. In light of this, I decided to try and get ‘close’ to my instruments again and represent them in a lino print. This is the result – intentionally black and white and intentionally simple. I do play guitar as well but another instrument would have affected the balance of the image.
Whilst it might seem to some that this print goes against my self-imposed remit of “Contrasts and Anomalies”, the very fact that it is not obviously in keeping with my other work is actually a contrast! However, I would maintain that a black cat easily falls in with my other work, in that it is often the subject of other-worldly superstition and legend, much like the Green Man figure. The picture is of our own cat, appropriately named Salem, and she does look in a somewhat sombre mood. The registration isn’t perfect and I am intending to hand paint the eyes next week, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. It is printed on 7×5″ cards and on a limited run of A4 Hoshi paper. They are for sale, please get in touch – through my Instagram page (@grooveware_art) is probably the easiest way, as I haven’t got around to setting up a shop yet. I will soon.
In an effort to redress the balance somewhat, I have carved and printed my version of a Green Woman, or Mother Nature. The idea is that the face is seen in a tree branch, surrounded by foliage. I have printed this image on white A6 cards and on brown, recycled paper. I am planning on reprinting the image but with a background texture, printed from a highly grained piece of wood.
At last, with schools starting again, I’m back in the studio with all my necessary equipment and have spent the past two days, happily getting inky fingers and printing. I had a few anxious minutes (well, about an hour really) where I didn’t think I could do it anymore – nothing was going right, smudged prints, blotchy prints, dirty fingerprints on the white card – but eventually, I got into the swing of things and managed to produce some prints I was happy with. These are both on cards – the Drummer Boy is on 7″ x 5″ card, whilst the ‘Union” print is on A5 cards in either green or black.
Due to circumstances often beyond my control, I have been almost frantically cutting lino blocks ready to print. However, having no printing equipment currently to hand, I can only visualise what the finished products will look like when I eventually, hopefully, get back into my studio full-time next week.
There is a pretty-much nationwide Victorian legend about a character called ‘Spring Heeled Jack’, who would appear, often to courting couples, frighten them out of their wits, then leap away, often over walls and fences. He acquired his name because of his ability to leap so high with apparent ease. For many years now, I have been aware of a specifically Sheffield version of this legend, the character also being known as The Park Ghost; he would appear around the Park Hill area, particularly near the Cholera Monument which marks the site of a mass grave for victims of the Sheffield Cholera Epidemic in the 1800s.
Taking the face from an adaptation of a gargoyle, I created my own version of what Spring Heeled Jack might have looked like – the silhouette in the background being the aforementioned Cholera Monument.
This was mainly completed as an exercise in lino multi-block registration, but I am pretty pleased with the outcome. The registration isn’t perfect on all of the prints, but I managed to pull off enough copies to make it worthwhile!
Here is the completed print of Cadman Bridge, a bridge built in 1819 over the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal in Sheffield City centre, England. The bridge is on one of the streets or lanes in Sheffield bearing that name – my name. Research shows that my ancestors, the Cadmans, were mostly scissor or knife makers ie. some of the so-called ‘Little Mesters’ who populated the City many years ago, working in Sheffield steel. A couple of years ago, my band played at a wedding in the Millennium Galleries building in the City centre – it was only recently that I discovered the room we were playing in is called The Cadman Room!
The print is a reduction lino-cut, with four layers. I kept it in monochrome as I felt it better reflected the history and culture of the area – there are still small steel workshops there.