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The benefit of AA2A

February 4, 2013 by Denise Swanson   Comments (0)

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The appeal of doing this AA2A project in the first place, was to have the opportunity to try out different methods and approaches to printmaking and learn from more experienced printmakers, as well as have access to various presses. It has not disappointed, as I have had the chance to try out so many ideas and whilst some have been more successful than others, the value is in having the opportunity to try. The technicians in the printroom at UCLan have been brilliant and very supportive.

When I started this project, I did not really know where I was going or how to get there, so being able to experiment was integral and has actually shown me what I don't want to do which in turn has enabled me to realise what I do want to do.

Although an experienced digital printmaker, I was a novice in traditional printmaking processes. As I tried out different methods, I found some of them a little too labour-intensive for my liking, whilst others were too unpredictable and some made me feel a little too detached from the process. As a photographer, I am used to process-based work and much of the enjoyment I gained from acquiring those skills initially was in finding my own way, breaking rules and following my own path. 
My journey through (non-digital) printmaking has been similar in that I have been able to try out, borrow, modify and adapt processes, methods and tools perhaps intended for different purposes and in doing so, I now feel that I am indeed finding my own way. It may not be conventional and may not be a 'recognised' process but I am finally starting to get the results I am after.  If it feels right and produces the results you are looking for then I see no reason not to use whatever materials, methods and means are appropriate.
It is not just about the end result for me, it's about how you get there.


Singing Debut - But Is It Art?

February 3, 2013 by Ruth Hamblett   Comments (0)

As my profile page shows that I am a very versatile person and have always volunteered as I love it since June of 2012 until present time have been volunteering at several locations one of these being the local theatre formally The Butts Theatre and renamed Albany Theatre. Have been moving furniture, cleaning, painting and turning my hand to anything that needs doing with several other volunteers to ensure that this wonderful old theatre gets back up and running. I did think about doing an internship or artist residence their but not viable as far too many health & safety issues. On the run up to the offical opening of the theatre was sort of nominated to get up on to stage and sing as while constantly in the back dressing rooms was often found singing along to my MP3 Player. This wonderful event took place on 1 Februrary 2012 at 7.30pm where I made my debut singing appearance on this amazing stage that had a hand in getting ready for all the acts. If you would like to view the news about the theatre please visit the link below.


It may form part of my art practice who knows where it may go but in the mean time hope to help raise funds to keep this amazing place open as the photographs on the the site shows how it looked before restoration work began. Just one of the many things I have an involvement with my tip to would be artists try everything and anything you never know where it may lead your line of enquiry.

using the forge

February 1, 2013 by Alexandra Harley   Comments (0)

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I had a glorious morning playing around with the forge, something I haven't done since I was a student! Huge fun. My clay pieces are getting fired and I am looking at ways of putting them together so I thought heating up small section mild steel rod would be ideal. It is, I twisted several lengths really easily and got into a good routine with the torch, so much so I now have another plan to use another slightly different method of connecting the clay pieces, never enough time!!!! Many thanks to a lovely student, Charlii Eve for taking the photos. 

Geological Map Search

January 31, 2013 by Deirdre Porter-Hanson   Comments (0)


This is hard today... the words are written in my sketch book from yesterday...but today someone asked me who I am writing this blog for.... and how badly my blogging reads.

Any way...hey ho here goes. 

The white field awaits...terrifying.

I settle

The possibilities begin to become apparent and realise I  have to make at least 4 pieces.

Words come...lines, furrowed, ploughed, multihorizons, bands, torn fractured, mapformations, NAVIGATION, lines of travel, direction, longitude, latitude, grid reference, geological map...

The first lines are made. they are enough for now.


I will collect my ID card and make my way to the library in search of maps.

There are no maps... and no geological books for this area.

But there is a wonderful book with colour plates of chrystal formations in rock minerals.

These microscope images  reminiscent of the satelitte images of the earth.

(Today on Material World  a scientist talks of quantum biology and the wonderful way patterns and forms are replicated across minute and vast scales of time as well as structure).




Updating on Student sign up campaign

January 31, 2013 by Ruth Hamblett   Comments (0)

Thank you to the adminstrators for contacting me have another three students (the last) which will be e-mailing in after the blogging. Happy that with another 4 students who have signed up today got 8 students who are interested.

After this went to a lecture on "They Kick But Do They Score" which was relevant to my looking at the body and its connection to rugby talk about a break through moment, its'nt it funny to look for ages trying to find that narrative and connection and then suddently there it is staring you in the face. It proves that if keep perserving you get there in the end but boy is it a learning curb am hoping the next discovery does not come so hard to find.

It's SNOW joke...

January 31, 2013 by Charlie Snow - AA2A Graduate Link 2013   Comments (0)

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Day 30.

Greetings log.  The weather has taken a turn for the worse again today; the x30 was nearly toppled by gale force winds on my journey to the rural studio.  After just having restored communications with my arty partner Lyndsey-dee following the epic snowfall which thwarted our many plans, we can't help but feel that mother nature has it in for us...

News has come of 100% arts and culture cuts in the Newest of Castles since I last wrote.  These truly are troubling times, but all the more reason to make the treacherous journey to sprinkle glitter on things and spread art-joy.

With all of these January times to ponder, we have discovered ART-KARMA; give a little, and get something back.  After donating a valentines-tea-set-for-two ('Hampering for Love?'), our proposal was kindly accepted for the 5th annual Empty Shop show in Durham which previews tomorrow evening.  That's exhibition number four of our ten show target! 

The month ahead forecasts a website, proposals galore and FAME (...maybe not the latter)

Will write again, sending love and hot water bottles from the North.


Intrepid artist Charlie Snow.

More monoprint experiments with water-based inks

January 31, 2013 by Denise Swanson   Comments (0)

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I spent an entire afternoon last weekend playing in my makeshift print studio at home, trying out the water-based ink sample whilst awaiting delivery of my inks. I experimented with all kinds of techniques, tried both dry and pre-soaked, damp paper as well as different types of paper. I also tried ways of transferring the image to the paper so I could really get a feel for what was possible and what the limitations were. I'd done lots of research so this was a chance to try out some ideas and have to say it was a lot of fun.

I am really pleased with the prints that resulted, some of which are in my image album. Perhaps more importantly however, I feel that this process is the one I am more connected with and that I want to pursue. A few more bits and pieces to acquire than I am good to go...

Experimenting with Latex

January 31, 2013 by Denise Swanson   Comments (0)

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One of the experiments I've been pursuing over the past few weeks is in using liquid Latex to create molds which I then use as a plate for printmaking. I had never used Latex before and. like most of the experiments on this AA2A project, I had no real idea what I was trying to achieve or even how to go about it but thought I'd have a go and just see what happened.

Initially, I thought it might provide a solution to the problem of putting the collagraph plates through the press and the paper sticking, by creating a mold from the collagraph plate. I selected a few plates that had been through the press several times, and started coating them with liquid Latex which I bought from the local arts supply shop.

I found they needed about 10-12 coats, each of which needs to dry, or cure, fully before the next is added so it was a long and laborious process. I'm glad I used a cheap paintbrush as trying to get the Latex out of the bristles, despites washing after each application, became a real headache!

When the first ones were ready to try out last week, I struggled with removing the mold from the plate without it stcking to itself so the first print in the album has a somewhat primitive look with uneven edges, which I actually quite like. I quickly found that a light dusting of talcolm powder rather than washing-up liquid as recommended, made it a lot easier to remove the molds and in so doing, they retained their original shape. The second image was printed this week having removed the mold this way so it has retained its shape more.

Having removed the molds, I laid them flat and lightly used a roller over the entire thing with oil-based intaglio ink, then laid pre-soaked paper over the plates and put them through the small relief press. Initially using too much ink, I gradually got the hang of using less and managed to get some reasonable results with a first print. I quite liked the impression given by the wrinked edges of the latex when making the print and the visible brush strokes from coating the latex which showed through the ink.

Although these were quite successful in terms of generating a print and several of the other printmakers commented on how effective and original they were, I wasn't entirey happy as they were not really what I was trying to achieve. I experimented some more with different plates and changed the techniques as I went and tried both pre-soaked and dry papers but still I was not convinced.

Creative space

January 31, 2013 by Linda Johns   Comments (0)

I rediscovered recently, while talking to Dee, Abi and Kezia (my fellow AA2A artists at University of Bedfordshire, Luton) that where I work is really important to me and my art practice.

Its not really the actual physical space that I find important. I currently work in a shed (which I gloriously title my studio), part of a garage, bits of my home, even in a marquee in the garden when I need more space or am doing particularly messy sculpture work, and when I can I work direct in a local forest.

What is important is that I get to spend enough time in the space to make it 'mine' ... my energy, my creativity - building a rapport between me and the physical environment I'm working in. Thinking about it as I write, this is totally connected with how I see, and what I want to express in, my work - the whole scientific/mythical connection with the world around us and how we explore, explain and relate to it is also wrapped up in my relationship with the creative environment I'm working in.

This is a rather unexpected and potentially awkward thing to rediscover at this stage in my residency. I really want to commit time to spend at the Uni in Luton, but I can't just pop in and out and at the same time be creative - it just isn't me.

I've realised that I need to order my time - some spent at home (like right now) working in a familiar zone on unfamiliar things (bringing my graphics experience of Adobe Illustrator into my art practice), but also making sure I spend some very concentrated time in the studios at Luton, actually working on weaving the sculptures and developing my ideas ... this will be much easier once I have the materials (see the lasercutter blog post).


An unfortunate and negative outcome of my thoughts on working in the studios in Luton - my work and that of another AA2A artist were taken down from the space we were working in. Apparently a misunderstanding but no communication directly from the Uni and it has made me feel even more unable to make their space 'mine' ...

Getting underway with the laser cutter

January 31, 2013 by Linda Johns   Comments (0)

It has been a slow start, what with sorting out how to access the equipment, who, where and when to arrange everything but I finally feel like I'm starting on the residency and I'm really looking forward to getting the metal sheets to test what I can cut with the laser cutter - my plan is to cut a series of small 'sample' patterns which will hopefully provide a new form of 'wire' to weave into sculptures.

If it works as planned (and lets face it things rarely go to plan but its the happy accidents that tend to move my art practice forward) I will be able to incorporate both science and natural pattern elements within the wire.

So in anticipation of the delivery of metal sheets I am working on the Adobe Illustrator files, which I'm creating at home at present, as its a lot easier for me to work here ... and this brings me onto another aspect of my art practice - where it takes place, but I think that's a whole new blog subject so I'll try to start one for each aspect (laser cutter, 3d printer, how I work) ...

Once I've worked out how to add images here I'll post some of the patterns I'm working with at the moment!