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.
Sheffield Spring Heeled Jack
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.
Shouting at The World #3
For my next image in the ‘Shouting at The World’ series, I have combined two of the gargoyles/grotesques I found on the churches in Lincolnshire, with a Sheela-na-gig found on The Church of St Mary and St David, in Kilpeck, Herefordshire. Having spent quite a lot of time working with various images of the Green Man, I felt it was time to redress the balance somewhat and feature this ancient, scared female form which can be found, in various forms, throughout the world.
Shouting At The World #2
This is the second image in the “Shouting At The World” series, inspired by the gargoyles and grotesques found on many medieval churches around Britain. This particular gargoyle is from a church in Lincolnshire. I have intentionally designed the image to have a similar look to the picture cards in a deck of cards.
The Machrie Moor Standing Stones on the Isle of Arran, are some of the most beautifully placed stones I have ever seen. They are at one with the landscape, their shapes echoing the surrounding hills perfectly. I have wanted to represent them in print for some time.
This piece was completed using a technique that is new to me – lino printing in a ‘jigsaw’ style of working. The original in-field sketch was painted using water colours, then transferred to soft-cut lino. I cut the block into several sections, inking them up and printing them in separate colours at the same time. This continued with further cuts being made before cutting the final outline block to tie everything together.
Shouting At The World Print
Having taken the photographs of the various Lincolnshire Grotesques, I chose three that I felt were most appropriate to the theme of ‘Shouting at The World’ and drew them as a group. The feature that struck me most when I first saw them in situ, was how often the figures are depicted holding their mouths wide open. I exaggerated this by having one of them holding open another’s mouth. The lino prints were a three-colour image, the second layer being drawn into so as to allow the first layer to show through with some degree of texture. The final, detailed layer was intentionally fairly rough-cut, in keeping with the old, often crumbling nature of the figures.