My obsession with cracks, …

… imperfections and things that used to be somewhere.

I am in Cheltenham this week. When I am in a new place I like to go out on foot and go exploring. I take my camera, a sketchbook and use the stimulus of my new surroundings to get inspired. Unfortunately this week my back and hips are extremely sore so I can’t manage the 2 or 3 hour walk I would usually undertake. However I have managed a very short walk to the Pitville Pump Room and a small part of the Pitville Park.

On my way to the Pump Room I saw some lovely cracks!

My obsession with cracks began in January 2021 when I spent time documenting a local carpark. Since doing that project I love (and seek out) all different kinds of imperfections and the ‘overlooked’.

Here are some compositions I photographed on my walk today.

I was also able to go inside the Pump Room. It was really quite beautiful inside, particularly the lighting. It was a calming and serene space.

I wish that I had been fit and able enough to take a full wander around the large expanse of Pitville Park. I did sit for a while and do a pencil drawing of some beautiful tree bark. For those that are interested I used a Blackwing Palomino pencil.

Monoprinting @ Cheltenham Science Festival

This week I am on the road at Cheltenham Science Festival. I have a station set up in the #Makershack

I am running a monoprint stall.

So…’What is a monoprint?’
Have a look at Tate’s definition here:

I am a big fan of monoprinting because each print is unique and you can get unexpected results. I love that it is a highly experimental process during which happy accidents can occur and you can end up with a print you didn’t initially expect. It is also very simple and a lovely hands-on technique. During the day we have had lots of visiting schools coming to the Makershack and they seem to be absolutely loving getting stuck in and creating!

I am teaching a simple hand pressed technique that could easily be continued at home with materials which are easy to get hold of.

At my station in the Makershack we are using glass plates, ink rollers, water based block ink, newsprint paper and lolly sticks. This is our method if you would like to try it at home:

Inking up a plate with a thin layer of evenly distributed ink. Draw an image into the ink using a lolly stick.

The next step is to carefully lay paper over the plate and then hand press the paper onto the plate (circular motions with the palm of your hand tends to work best). Then carefully take two corners along the shot edge of the paper and peel off the paper to reveal your print.

With this method you will create a background the colour of your ink and the image you have drawn (the scraped away ink) will be the colour of your paper. If desired, after creating your first print, you can take a second print, called a ‘ghost print’, which will also be a unique print.

I have started to fill the windows of the Makershack with prints while they are drying, with anyone welcome to return to collect their prints during the week. It is a constantly changing art installation. If, at the end of the week, there are any uncollected prints I am going to bind them to create a book.

I am having a great time here at the Cheltenham Science Festival bringing the joy of printing to young and old and everyone else in-between!

My stall was featured in two of the festival highlight videos on YouTube Here are the links: