Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Print Club London

Icebergs in waiting

I've heard some exciting rumblings about happenings at Print Club London and decided it was time to take a look. Any excuse for a trip back to Shacklewell Lane, where I once kept my own press. This part of the east end boasts a remarkably cheap hamam, very convenient for getting rid of stubborn ink stains, not to mention Mangal II, the excellent diner frequented by Gilbert & George, which is just up the road.

Print Club London is dedicated to screenprints. I wanted to experiment with this notoriously quick'n'easy process to see whether it would be suitable for printing the 700 icebergs needed for How To Say 'I Love You' In Greenlandic, since it's unlikely that any relief print will give me the colour saturation or subtlety I am aiming for.

I had a great day in the studios. Compared to letterpress, screenprinting is such a doddle. But it's also more flexible, and less brutally mechanical than I expected - I enjoyed playing around with half-tones and adding to sketches at the transfer stage. The glossy, immediate results seeped through the screen like a dream - no need to crank iron levers or worry about platen pressure. I am a convert, and it is exciting to have discovered a means of realising several small books that I've had on the back-burner for years, because they seemed follies as letterpress projects.

Fred Higginson, Master of Ceremonies, with squeegee

But I won't be printing the icebergs at London Print Club, after all. The devil in me has also been considering using pochoir, but hand-colouring 700 prints would have been madness if the effects could have been achieved equally well with a squeegee. Hand-colouring 700 prints may be madness, anyway, by most people's standards. However, I know now that it's the only way I will be able to evoke the watery, volatile nature of the Arctic skies. It's time I found myself an intern!

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