Previous AA2A Artist

Madge Shaw

Project summary:

I was delighted to be selected for this scheme. Having taught for many years in secondary schools in Wiltshire, having retired,and moved quite recently to Cumbria , this scheme has initially given me the opportunity to make new contacts, develop new work and build up a bank of prints, so that I can begin to establish myself as a printmaker in this area.

The AA2A scheme has enabled me to have almost unlimited use of the printmaking facilities to be found at the University of Cumbria, facilities of such diversity that would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. Plus the unfailing support and advice of the technician Alan Strogen.

Etching quickly became my chosen area, although collographs were initially what I set out to develop and explore. Already familiar with the etching process, it became almost impossible not to etch, it was clearly evident that at each stage of the printmaking process there was still so much to develop and learn both technically and creatively. During the residency having a concentrated and committed amount of time to spend at each developmental stage became very important. The scale of my work also changed, as I became technically more able, so the size of plates became larger but equally there was the challenge of producing very small detailed plates and printing both large and small accurately and clean. The scheme has given me the confidence to feel that I can now make future prints even larger.

My work is essentially concerned with my local landscape; the landscape of the fells shaped by the sheep. So the sheep etchings began to develop, as a series of soft and hard ground etchings with aquatint. In these etchings, the soft ground technique especially, allows for the symbiosis of drawing with print and the exploration of soft, tactile lines to produce a strong composition, evoking the sometimes harsh environment. The exploration of aquatint is constant, the effects produced, equally random as planned but with the developmental process of soft ground, hard ground and then aquatint, a rich tapestry of organic textures and tones can be created. 'The Magic Tree' and 'The Magic Woods', have also provided new lines of enquiry. Elements of the unexpected have developed here but the connection to the landscape, by line, shape and texture is constant 'The Sheep' and 'The Magic' in the landscape are the beginnings of a new series of etchings, arising from this residency. Working alongside students of all ages, in a creative environment has been most enjoyable. Sharing ideas, and technical achievements, becoming involved in the development of their ideas and them in mine has been very beneficial. Working alongside and getting to know Ros White a fellow Artist in Residence printmaker was equally stimulating, so much so that after the AA2A exhibition is complete we hope to collaborate with a joint print exhibition.

'The Magic Tree'
soft, hard and aquatint etching / 36 x 37 cm