London Art Fair.

Hadn’t been before. It felt manageable though we didn’t go round all of it. Headed straight to the Art Projects Space.

Bearspace had a good spot and were showing Suzanne Moxhay’s enigmatic photographs.

Susanne Moxhay

Suzanne Moxhay

I love the way her photos are staged. I have been looking at other artists that use a similar process of building sets to photograph.

Didier Massard (2)

Didier Massard

Didier Massard for example. I stumbled across a blog about his work a while ago.

Edwin Zwakman

Edwin Zwakman

Other artists are mentioned in this blog one of which is Edwin Zwakman who constructs miniature landscapes to photograph entirely from memory. Through his process all places and objects morph into new variations. Scale and perspective change. The images do not show what you could photograph but how you experience them.

I like this idea and so for the new collagraph I am making I thought I would try this approach.  Is it possible to see something in your mind that isn’t constructed from things you have actually seen and to see that immediately as a sudden flash.  My ideas seem to grow slowly in my mind, fermenting over time and then suddenly they seem ready to go from there to a very rough sketch to a plan of action.

I am aiming for a scene of desolation, a dystopic landscape – a clearing reduced to ruins. Then a last refuge. I see this as a glass house, a protected environment for things to grow.

I have bought some A1 card for the plate and am experimenting with making structures from paper and card. I am planning eventually to insert the glasshouse as a shallow 3D model into the collagraph. Eventually made from acetate and filled with sublimation printed organza images.

I have taken up key holder membership at Ochre Print Studio. This gives me full-time access to the studio so I have more time to experiment and be playful with my work. It is great to feel the whole day stretching out ahead of you without the worry of clearing up almost as soon as you have got started. I am a slow worker so I need this.

I also bought an easel with some birthday money. My studio has had a big clear out and one side looks refreshed and ready for a new episode in my work. Other side still piled up but progress is being made.

I was able to get lots of tips on different ways to print collagraphs from Katherine Jones course at Ochre.

Katherine Jones Stove

Katherine Jones ‘Stove’ Etching and collagraph on paper

Katie was really helpful and her work is beautiful. I love her colours.  She creates a wonderful ephemeral light in her work. She has done a series on conservatories. It felt a bit weird to discover this as it looks like I was copying her.

Stove is a reference to John Paxton’s ‘Great Stove’, a hothouse built and designed for the gardens of Chatsworth House in the 1800s which was later dismantled.

I asked her if she had come across Frank Stainbridge in her research about hothouses but she hadn’t. One day I will try to find out if the extraordinary stories about him are true.

It was encouraging for us to see how many prints Katie made from one plate before she was happy, changing the colours, adding and removing sections until it all came together.

Collagraph Plate

I have got my collagraph plate to a point where I want to see how it prints.

Collagraph relief

I made an impression of the print on card ready to cut as a relief print to add layers.

While thoughts of the forest and the bestial freedom that Vico wrote about in his ‘New Science’ are in my mind these thoughts have been reinforced by Haruki Murakami in 1Q84 which is my novel on the go at the moment.

The character Tengo reads passages from Anton Chekov’s Sakhalin Island to Fuka-Eri. Chekov writes about his encounters with the indigenous people, the Gilyaks (now known as Nivhk) ‘….they do not understand the purpose of roads. Even where a road has already been laid, they will still journey through the taiga. One often sees them, their families and their dogs, picking their way across a quagmire right by the roadway.’

Fuka-Eri warns Tengo of the Little People’s wisdom and power – that it might cause him harm. ‘Better be careful in the forest. Tengo found himself looking at his surroundings. True, the forest was their world.’