I've just finished my last day working in the Art Department. It's been a great final week. Busy and varied, as usual. I made sure that the materials cupboards and paper store were fully restocked and the that the accounts and paperwork were in 'hand-over' order, so towards the end of the week I had the time and opportunity to do some creative stuff - printing trials.
Later in the term the pupils will be exploring dry-point etching on Perspex. Early experiments weren't getting the desired results so I decided to have a go.
It's an effective printing technique and a lot less fuss than metal plate acid etching. With this type of printing an image is scored into the surface of a piece of Perspex (acrylic sheet) with a hard needle point. Ink is then smoothed or rolled on to the surface and the excess rubbed away. A piece of specialist printing paper is soaked in water (to loosen the fibres) then dried off between blotting paper. Then you are ready to print.
I spent a pleasant morning making two plates, then experimenting with different quantities of ink and types and dampness of paper. It was a real treat, since I have no room for printing equipment in my own studio, to have access to the school printing press and a range of fantastic materials.
Here is one of my prints.
First stop was Hayesfield School where I talked to 180 Year 7 girls about my favourite subjects, story-telling and drawing. I went well over my allotted hour (with permission), stretching the creative writing workshop until the very end of the school day, with some startling results. It turns out that Hayesfield girls are excellent liars! In a good way, obvs! We had stories about giraffes, vampires, helicopters, cannibals and Justin Beiber. There was some real writing talent too. Very impressive. As was their black and purple-trimmed uniform, which is probably the coolest I've EVER seen. Wish I'd had a uniform as chic as that when I was at school!
Thank you to Jennifer from the Festival and to everyone at Hayesfield, especially Gill, for a brilliant event and for making me so welcome. I enjoyed it enormously and could have stayed all afternoon!
That is, unless Sam Eades from Headline hadn't dragged me away with an offer of tea and scones at the Pump Room!
We dodged the drizzle and bustled into the hushed Georgian building to the sounds of a tinkling piano, suddenly feeling rather shabbily dressed. 'Oh, I wish I'd known,' I grumbled. 'I would have worn my muslin frock and matching bonnet!' Sam, impressively, recognised every show tune the pianist played as we tucked in to three tiers of dainty sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes, washed down with Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. Bliss!
We couldn't eat it all, of course, so the staff packed our unfinished cakes and scones into a sculpted foil parcel to take home. http://yfrog.com/kfz5drpj
What a perfect day!