Blossoms pub etching taking shape

I recently started work on a new etching on the theme of pubs in Stockport as part of my printmaking project. The new print depicting The Blossoms pub which incidentally is opposite the old pool hall building which I mentioned in my last blog post.

Printing plate ready for aquatinting.

I might use this print for the upcoming 20:20 print exchange or I might do a brand new linocut instead.

On Saturday, I was due to take part in a Japanese woodcut 1-day workshop down in Derby at Green door studios. The workshop has been rescheduled for later this year due to illness. I hope to do a blog post in late October. I have never done any woodcut prints before so the wait will be worth it.

I am also continuing to work on my Vernon Park Linocut depicting a carved stone bench which I printed the second colour last week. Today I carved away a third layer which will be a light brick colour. I will show the results in my next blog post.

In mid May, I visited the capital London and spent a couple of hours in the British Museum. The museum is free and there are rotating exhibitions in the main forecourt building which you have to book for. One of the free exhibitions was the Japan’s festival float on the ground floor in Room 3 gallery as you enter the museum on the right hand side of the entrance. Apart from the beautifully crafted wooden model boat which was donated back on 1908 for the Summer Olympics, there were some amazing woodcut prints on display. I would recommend this place as a day out if you are visiting London as a tourist, lots to see.

Visiting the British Museum recently.

Printfest Ulverston

I visited Printfest on a day trip yesterday afternoon. The weather was good as I drove up the M6 towards the Lake District. Printfest is an annual print festival held in the quaint market town of Ulverston at the Coronation Hall celebrating contemporary handmade prints.

Coronation Hall, with Laurel & Hardy statue in the foreground.

I chatted to a number of printmakers while I visited the festival including printmaker and friend Pete Marsh who was participating in the festival.

Printfest 2023.

I also had a chat with the owners of a new print studio just opened in the town called Printshare Lakes which runs printmaking workshops based at premises on Queen street in the town. Printshare runs workshops such as in paper lithography, mono print, collagraph, drypoint and linocut.

Printfest 2023.
‘Kynance light’ by Hazel McNab

After visiting the festival, I headed back along the A590 stopping off with my parents for a pub meal at the Hare & Hounds in Levens village.

Sir John Barrow Monument, Ulverston

Abandoned Recreation

I’ve been working on a small series of gelli plate/matt medium prints depicting the abandoned pool hall that was once a cinema in its heyday. There’s a stone sign above the entrance which reads ‘The Wellington’.

Abandoned Recreation #5

I am naming the series of print’s ‘Abandoned Recreation’.

On one of my recent photo walks, I photographed an oval shaped boarded up window which I have used as a framing device for my some of my prints.

Abandoned recreation #1

I use acrylic paints in my Gelli printmaking and for these set of prints I have experimented with textures such as bubble wrap and stencils. On top of the gelli prints, I have added using Matt Medium to add a high contrast black and white reverse laser print. I reverse the image if there is text in the image so the text appears the right way around when the laser print is glued face down to the gelli print.

The results have been amazing and unique as each print is slightly different as not all the transfer sticks to the paper once the excess paper is removed through the process of soaking the acrylic print in a bath of water and after 5 minutes soaking removing the paper from the print by rubbing off the paper gently with your fingers.

Finally, once the prints are throughly dried out, you cure and seal the prints by applying 2 coats of acrylic varnish.

Edgeley Park

‘Edgeley Park’. Dry point with chine-collé

I have produced a new larger drypoint print of Stockport County Football Club Edgeley Park stadium. For some of my prints I have used the chine-collé technique by adding glued coloured tissue paper to parts of the print before printing.

Size A4 (297 x 210mm)

Printed on Fabriano Rosapina 220g paper from Intaglio Printmaker, London.

‘Edgeley Park’. Dry point
‘Edgeley Park’. Dry point
‘Edgeley Park’. Dry point with chine-collé

Pool Hall Gelli Prints

‘Riley’s pool hall window’ (5” x 7”)
‘Riley’s pool hall entrance’ (5” x 7”)

These are two Gelli transfer prints I recently created depicting the abandoned pool hall off the A6. I recommend using the Gelli Arts printing plates which I sourced from a local art shop. Using Photoshop Elements, I created a montage of two photographs taken from one of my recent photo walks and combined them to form a new composition. I converted the images to a high contrast bitmap and then printed them off using a laser printer.

I added a dark coloured water-based ink layer using black ink (you can also use acrylic paint).

I applied a reasonable quantity of ink to the plate using a roller. I then placed a laser print of the building onto the inked surface and lightly pressed on the back of the paper once flat with the palm of my hand a few times trying not to press too hard to ensure the image transferred to the gel plate.

After a 30 seconds of drying, I then applied a new layer of light blue water based ink this time to the gel plate with a roller over the black ink.

I then applied some fresh cartridge paper to the gel plate and rubbed / burnished the back of the paper covering the whole paper to ensure all parts were rubbed using my the palm of my hand and fingers.

Finally, I removed the paper to reveal the finished print. This method of mono-printing can be a little hit and miss. Technique is the key to getting the results you want.

Have a look at the video below which demonstrates the laser image transfer gel printing technique.

Source: Gelli Arts YouTube channel

Football stadium print

Just before the new year, I created a new dry point print which depicts the football ground at S.C.F.C. I used a thin sheet of transparent plastic and etched the image onto the plastic using a sharp etching tool. This type of printing plate is useful if you need to copy a photograph or drawing as you can place a copy of the image underneath the plate. Be sure to reverse the photograph or drawing (use a photo editing software product like Photoshop Elements for example) so that if there is any text in the image it is printed the right way around.

Drypoint of Stockport County Football Club

New Year photo walk

Happy belated new year. I thought I would publish my first blog post of the 2023 about my recent photo walk around the marketplace that I did yesterday on a cold sunny Saturday afternoon.

Starting my photo walk on Lower Hillgate, I made my way along Wellington Street up to the Robinsons brewery visitors centre which is on Apsley Street. Making my way pass the stables housing the shire horses for the brewery, I made my way down Churchgate heading towards the marketplace.

Robinsons Brewery in background with the patterned pavement barrier in front.

On Churchgate, I took a couple of photos of the signage on the side of the brewery building in the distance and noticed a metal barrier in front of me had an interesting pattern which looked like aircraft rotary blades. This could be a connection to the former AVRO aircraft factory which was prominent in the town for many years and which has since closed down. The factory was based south of Stockport town centre in the Cheshire village of Woodford where there is now a heritage museum at the former site.

I arrived at the marketplace and decided to walk down towards Mealhouse brow, a steep incline of a street which eventually heads down towards the Underbank. As it happens, the dungeon was open for viewing and I had a look round as I have never visited this heritage site before.

Before 1824, Stockport justice was administered from this small building and prisoners were held in the cells. It was well worth the visit and I managed to have a look around one of the two cells that was accessible to the public from some steep steps. I was able to look through a hole in the cell wall and view the adjacent cell. While I was in the building, I learnt about the people who had been unlucky to have been imprisoned in the cells and learnt of the gruesome stories of murderers and their fate at the hands of the authorities.

After visiting the dungeon, I walked up towards Staircase House located in the marketplace. I took a few photos of the building and also some of the produce hall which I remember used to be a fish-mongers hall. It is now a trendy food outlet where you can dine-in and have lunch from various eateries. The produce hall is very popular especially at weekends all year round.

Staircase House museum.
Produce Hall.

Having taken some photos of Staircase House and the Produce Hall, I headed for a much needed coffee at a well-known coffee shop outlet on Warren Street.

After enjoying my Flat White, I returned to the marketplace and took a series of photographs of the exteriors of the Boars Head and the Bakers Vault public houses from different angles. I must admit I’ve never been inside the Bakers Vault.

Ghost sign.

On my return to my car, I spotted a ghost sign on Park Street near the marketplace. I think the sign was advertising a men’s tailoring shop. There are quite a few ghost signs around Stockport and I spotted another one as I drove home.

Maybe I could do a blog post about these sorts of signs as there are many of them in the area.