A few months ago I wandered into Beau est Mein. A gorgeous print shop and studio in Northbridge. The shop at street level sells lovely original prints and giftware and screen printing, etching, collagraphy, linocut and pigment transfer workshops are taught by owner Magali Dincher and her staff in the light filled upstairs studio.
The timing was really bad with a busy few weeks and being a week prior to Fibres West, but the one day collagraphy class really appealed to me. I did a lot of etching at high school and really enjoyed it, although isn’t the sort of thing I could continue to do in a home studio, it had some pretty nasty chemicals, and textiles won me over anyway!The design inspiration for the class was architecture of your home area or your travels. I chose some photographs of doors from our holiday in Lucca, Italy a couple of years ago. We loved this part of our holiday and the variety, detail, colours and texture of the doors was a big focus of my photography at the time. I have images of over 60 doors. I met an American lady who had been coming to Lucca for 30 years painting these doors, so I think they are an inspiration to many. I hadn’t really known how to use them in my work until now.In the workshop we used A5 card print plates. My focus was to learn the technique, so due to the time constraints I traced the doors rather than freehand drew them. The design was then redrawn several times before it was transferred to the plate through the etching press, so it became more stylised and simplified. The plate is varnished with several coats and when dry, etched into with an etching pen.The plate is then ready to be inked up and run through the printing press. Lots of the etching processes came flooding back…
At home I coloured this with water soluble pencils
I am very pleased I squeezed the workshop into this busy week. I can see the possibilities of printing on fabric, of course a lot of experimentation required, or incorporating paper with textiles. I like the texture of the plate and that every print will vary, unlike a screen print. Most of the processes can be done at home (other than the printing) and there are no nasty chemicals which is a big priority for me.