New Work & #artistsupportpledge

New Work

It’s been quite a productive start to the year for me, and I have realised that the artist residency I did in Japan in 2018 is still having quite a profound effect on me two years on – I can feel my work shifting a bit.

Here are a couple of new pieces…

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‘Support Structures’ | 2020 | wood litho, etching and woodcut | varied edition of 7
59.5 x 45cm
Unframed
Bleed print (goes right up to the edges of the paper)
£180 + postage a caption
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‘In it came, right up to the edges’ | 2020 | Plywood litho and mokuhanga | varied edition of 5
Paper size 25.5 x 21cm
Unframed
£75 + postage

These pieces form the beginning of a new series exploring themes of duality within the context of place – an ongoing theme in my work. Etching, woodcut and lithography are used in combination, the unique characteristics of each juxtaposed to create a visual language with which to explore what is exposed above the surface, and to imagine what might be hidden beneath, evoking ideas of fragility, stability, isolation and places of refuge. Piecing together fragments of this world, to make images which seem almost to inhabit another.

#artistsupportpledge

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These two new pieces are available to buy as part of the #artistsupportpledge movement on Instagram. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out! It is the brainchild of artist Matthew Burrows . Many artists, myself included, have found themselves without work due to the COVID-19 epidemic – whether it be teaching, technical work, exhibiting, or funded project work. Personally, all the courses I was due to be teaching up until September have been cancelled, and the print workshop where I work as Technician is currently closed. The #artistsupportpledge is an attempt to alleviate some of this mental and financial stress, creating a culture of generosity and support for and between artists.

The concept is a simple one. Artists post images of their work on Instagram, which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping). Anyone can buy the work and every time an artist reaches £1000 of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist/s work.

Follow me on Instagram: @desforgery

If your interested in buying work, do get in touch: katedesforges@gmail.com


Lithography Exhibition at Tarpey Gallery

I’m really excited to be showing some new litho work in this group show at Tarpey Gallery in October. The common link is the lithography fellowship at Leicester Print Workshop, which was for me a transformative experience. 

The work I’ll be showing is all based on time spent lurking around Canadian woodland – noticing, observing, reflecting, and being present. 
There will be some fantastic work on show, highlighting the creative possibilities of lithography. 

More info on Tarpey Gallery website: http://tarpeygallery.com/exhibition/a-study-in-stone/


Week two learning lithography – Photo-litho test plates and drawing onto my first stone. And a cat called Morris who likes to sit in the kitchen sink.

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A test plate exposed to an ink wash on drafting film for varying amounts of time, ranging from 9 – 18 light units. Very much like photo-etching in that the longer you expose the plate, the lighter the image becomes. But SO much more detail than photo-etching, and no need for aquatint or halftones as these plates produce continuous tone because of the way they are printed.

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Resulting prints from the test plate. Due to the nature of the printing process, more detail is revealed from the plate the more prints are taken – showing here the first print taken above, and the 9th print taken below.

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My first drawing onto stone, experimenting with dry drawing materials such as litho pencils and crayons and rubbing block to create subtle tones. We also put a first gum etch onto this stone, so it will ready for it’s second gum etch next week.

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Morris.


New beginnings and the formation of ideas.

This week I started my post-graduate internship at Leicester Print Workshop. It was a busy couple of days, and I felt as though I absorbed a massive amount of information in such a short space of time, so looks set to be an intensive year, and I can’t wait!

Seeing as this is a bit of a new beginning for me, it has brought me back to some ideas I was mulling over at the end of last year, but never got the chance to post about, about how a piece of work begins, or how an idea forms – another recent topic of conversation at the print workshop.

For me, it has always been a kind of intuitive thing. But talking to other artists has brought to light that fact that every individual goes about it in a completely different way. This may be pretty obvious, but its not really something I’ve thought about in much depth before, and its made me examine my own way of working in more detail. I wanted to try to describe how an idea forms for me – just to see if I could articulate it in a comprehensible way. Without a better way of describing it, an image tends to appear to me, (not by some divine light shining down through the clouds – it’s usually very mundane). This could be sparked by anything – a throw away comment someone makes, a song lyric, a sentence in a book, a texture on a wall, the way one piece of furniture might sit compared to another, or a conversation which seems to recur coincidentally time and time again. This then tends to result in a fairly clear image of the piece of work I want to create, although inevitably that image changes through the subsequent processes of sketching, mock-ups, proofing, etc, often resulting in an outcome which is totally different to that which I intended.

In contrast, I was talking recently to a couple of artists who work rather differently – without any clear image of how they would like the work to look. Instead they let the materials and marks on the paper, or brush strokes on the canvas, guide them through the image-making process. I really admire people who can work like that, and I think it can add a sense of freshness and vibrance to a piece of work, and prevent work from going stale.

In contrast again, I know some artists who have a very rigid idea from the start of the piece of work they want to make, and do not deviate from this original idea and see it through to the end. This I also admire, as it involves a determination and blinkered vision which I’m not sure if I possess.

In short, I think it’s really important for an artist to be aware of how and why an idea forms, and to consider the ways in which that idea could be best interpreted and fulfilled – whether to stay true to the original vision, (if there is one), whether to deviate and explore alternative avenues, or whether to start from scratch and let the work grow organically. This also harks back to my previous post about working within the constraints of a particular medium.

These are definitely ideas which I’ll be considering throughout this year, and I am really excited to see how the lithography process will influence my work.

I started off this week learning about photo-lithography, and below are the resulting prints from my first ever photo-litho plates. Ok so I think I need a bit more practice!

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